See where the morning wakes on smoky clouds
The world continues even though we sleep
Last night the pores the skin the hair the beard
Refused to stop their work despite the heart
That emptied with the hollow cries of night
A stabbing pain the realization cold
The way that shadows lose significance
And even dreams fold back onto despair
But eyes will open drearily it’s true
And feet walk out into the gath’ring day
The body yet may struggle, quitting ne’er
As sleep, we grow, the living flesh
your sunset was my sunrise. all the same,
you laughed to see the joy you thought i felt.
there was a bit of irony in this:
but i was in my taking phase, and so,
took you for granted, and your grace as due.
i know, because our roles are now reversed:
not times of life, but just how free you are;
although you’re rapidly approaching night,
you’ve found your grace again, and i can’t help
but glory in the wonder of it all.
for you were my first heroine; behold,
a time beside the waters, when you were
a dark young woman, with a tiny child;
whose life was stretched before her, like the sea —
as fathomless as any distant sea.
but now, our conversation breaks into
a strange, disjointed type of décollage;
like sunlight dancing on the waters edge:
a fading into something more than light,
and something less that turns into a song.
There was a final time: the stall set out,
With jewelry and fabrics in a line —
The next day, and thereafter then, no more;
No more, and soon, no one with memory
To paint in images or words the scene
That once was daily, year on year on year.
The mundane, the quotidian: our lives,
Not big events, but habits of our days,
They soon lie empty on a sandy waste —
The firebird heads into the unknown,
High o’er the mountains, just past where we see,
To leave behind our stalls for someone else
So I was with my friends, and just sixteen.
We hung out at the the beach and watched the girls;
It struck me, none of us were really “tens” –
Nor arguably, the best more than a five
So who were we to sit and judge the world?
This thought, once I’d conceived it, never left;
It separated me from other guys
And in their club, I never fit again —
At least, not insofar as dating went.
I came to see things from the other side;
And though I’ve had my share of selfishness
I lost my double-standard on that day
Which I can still recall, through many years;
A sense of justice overcame my pride.
At sixteen, I was hopeless with ideals,
But why this one stayed with me
The way I work is pointlessly obsessed,
Extracting detail from the commonplace –
To see the outline of what isn’t there:
Projecting, pushing, prodding, putting on —
Do you, friend, find reality too much?
I must have my imaginings at times;
I do believe that signs and stains are one,
And we break habits, or find they break us.
It’s like a type of fit, to be this way –
To sing when no one’s there to hear the tune,
To fly a flag that none can recognize
To long to touch eruptions of the sun…
I found a rental car, and took a drive
Back to the place where you and I, as teens
Explored the water’s edge along the lake
And touched our lips together for the taste
Of what life had that we had not yet known.
There was a perfect stillness in your eyes
As you looked past where I was to the man
You’d love one day, hoping that I was him.
And now? I’m old and vain, and portly gray;
I sit here by a lake from long ago
And ask a passing duck if he would like
To hear this poem – he does not reply.
The way I work is pointlessly obtuse:
Extracting nothing, leaving good for good,
To see the outline of the man I am
Projecting onto all
The last two out the door, and off to school,
A silence comes, as deadly as a flower,
That though he welcomes it, perfumes his mind
With poison, bringing sleep or even worse.
He calls so many things by other names
Than those most apropos. It is a curse:
To feel inside the marrow of his bones
The emptiness he won’t admit pervades
The water circulation, or the heat,
Or air that flows within the kitchen walls.
He will not say; and though he reads and writes
Of all the things that minds these days attend,
He dares not say the word. For life begins
In crevasses and cracks where shoots can grow;
And also ends, when light cannot get in,
And seals form over openings too soon
the night came fast, and so they drank the shadows;
then woke to light that stung and scratched their eyes.
a gallery now stripped of all its paintings,
uncluttered with the evidence that they
had ever changed or terraformed surroundings.
the day had poured into each crack and crevasse,
the floor seemed new again, as though to say
“you had your fill of dark, the spring is coming:
come feel the possibilities and go.”
but they no longer heeded to the light,
but lingered just to taste the last few dregs