The Goal of Life

Is to create your soul
Is to bury your darkest hour
And darkest heart in black earth
Is to love without reservation
And yet survive to love again
I have climbed half a mountain
I sleep above the snow line
And dream a shadow of my past
When I was rich beyond measure
Or knowing

Ecstatic union
Heart open like a window
On the waters of the world
The solace of mutual syncope
She was a rose and a diamond
Filled with fire and holy water
A holy mountain promising
Heaven and love eternal
And a winding path leading
Down into a valley of darkness


I find myself sitting on the edge of a cliff,
Overlooking the world without end, wave upon
Wave diminishing into the invisible aperture
Of the far, flat horizon. Messages in bottles.
And yet she is just across the room, a seated
Portrait of self-possession and reserve, eyes
Like wells of magnetism and walls of repulsion.
And still I imagine feeling the occasional
Shy and restless tug of a heartstring unbowed,
Bow unbent, arrows like feathers on the ground.
Eyes like summer skies, she is slight and fierce
As a kestrel, beautiful and lighter than air.
Eyes alight, the sun rises, and my precipice
Spins with the vertigo of foresight and desire,
Capable of both sublime bluff and sublime truth.
Love always longs to be born, an unbearable wait.

What Is Love

Before asking, she says, “What is love?”
And the tremor passes like a breeze.
Love is the dream of a sleepless night.
A blood spring to sustain an empty heart.
The still-open hand when the warmth
Of your body is gone and your eyes
Are dark as stars on the ocean floor.
Love is the ember after the fire has flown
And before it returns with a new dawn.
Brief and immortal, love alights with
The strength to take your breath away,
Makes magic of incandescent flesh,
Madness out of hunger and thirst,
And returns you to your birthplace
At the perfect center of the universe.


Will there still be light when we are finished
With this world, taken the future from today?
Or will darkness fall like a blanket of sleep
As sterility grips every water, fire envelopes
Every forest, and our desert of imagination
Crawls across the world like armies of ants?
Yes, there will be light, there will be lovers
In the dry of riverbeds; one will take a dream
Of flowers and another bathe in starlight,
Cool as the ghosts that take us in embrace.

Mirror’s Edge

There were times when my life and dreams were perfect
Reflections, the moon and stars suspended in the water
And the sky, a diary of wonders written while they lived,
Everything to me before they died like submerged cinders.

Years of growing further and further away from love and
I am nothing but the shell between myself and the world
Of warmth and shadows, my animating spark a memory
Vague and shifting as a lost world of unborn prehistory.

Want and fear face each other in me like a hall of mirrors,
Tripwires and trenches in a moonscape of losses, every
Dip and rise surrendered to an angry mob and an army
Of ghosts, each breaking ground for the other’s victories.

The smallest of birds left my hands carrying a message
Addressed to no one, go on without me, take this hope
And make it your own, for I know nothing but to go on
Until the smallest step is too long and I must stop myself.

[The ankle marked with a rose]

The ankle marked with a rose,
Swelling calves and shy knees,
Long flanks and arms outstretched
Like Diana make light music,
The denial of perfection in perfection.
Your face can be a moon that radiates
The night of a thousand suns,
And love, in your eyes, is like a blessing
Laid down by cool, wet hands
In the heat of the desert noon.
Better than the eyes’ delights
Is the softly, warmly yielding
Depth of flesh in your embrace.
Warm as the shifting sand,
Soft as the luminous ocean,
You are deep with strange
And filled with life sublime and new.
I love you full of fear and awe.