A writer finds he has no words
for what is rising in his gorge,
that he wears small pieces of the dead
like jade rings in his body.
Once held to cure side pains,
the stones, like so many things,
are now mere ornaments.
So too with words, some precious
symbols lying in dormition,
dying in their sleep. He longs
for the soft, greasy touch of pigments,
seminal virtue; he imagines paper
like hair, a distillate. The page
must open like the lidded flesh.
The mandala is an imperfect symbol,
and this novena must end.
Half empty, another shot;
Half serious, love and anger;
Half a loaf, life a little less
Late at night before the fight
I know is always coming.
Where do we go from here
Is always the question
And the mindless, meaningless
Answer as the pendulum
Makes it’s dumb arc marking
Nothing but time and tides
That will never decide while
Eating away at the ground
Beneath our shuffling feet.
Personal best, pressure drop,
Drinking and sleeping alone
And walking on the empty
Sidelines of your own life.
Isn’t solid ground
Or a bar of gold
Or an Oracle
The Song of Songs
Is an empty bell
And a rose is just a rose
In a house full of open doors
One closing feels like an blindfold
Full of noise and no time for sleep
Sitting alone after midnight
Listening to you breathe careless
Dreamless dark distances fill the room
This part isn’t love it isn’t anything
But disappointment and solitude
In the promised land broken and lost
With nowhere to rest and fighting
When you return tonight
Slow tired and warm with caresses
And kisses I’ll sleep alone
Apart from your crowded voices
And mad loves’ abandon
This tempest tosses my mind
Like a lost wing and loses my way
In the flittering dark
And the slow black below like
An ocean of still divers
The asymmetry of science and religion
Is so great the two can scarcely share a line.
The truths of the former stand undisturbed
By the latter, no matter what its claim may be,
While religion falls and lies, enraging, daggerfull
At every pinprick science incidentally delivers.
Every green, running water,
And a thousand voices singing
Stars that cross the night.
Tribes come down like shadows
To make castles in the sand.
Here we were, a minute warmth,
An hour’s embrace, quiet days
And nights of eyes brighter
Than bright — fires, dancing,
Sighs, looping paths in the dark.
A long road to the heart for
A happy few, strong as stone,
Strong as love, and mercy
Full of wonder every morning.
Like the bird fighting a wire,
This flyer cannot run by rail
And falls, fluttering, well down
A tunnel steeper than night.
Lasting peace is always late,
A soft embrace like moonlit
Horses running away, subtle
As a dream at dawn — lost.
Let the light die tonight.
Let this ship go sailing high
On still and moonless water.
Be fearless and breathless,
The shore now close at hand.
Gateway to a dreamless land,
This last loving and leaving
Is the worst and best of all.
Ending the body electric
Is beginning nothing new.
Each candid, careful mention of a lover or dalliance
Opens my mind and closes my heart, falling
Like a shadow of ice, a grinning lictor pointing
To a precipice, sly invitation to sad self-destruction.
This love is deep enough to drown itself, sweet
As poison, and all I have in a world I cannot
Understand, a life I sometimes cannot live,
And a sunlike woman I cannot hope to hold.