A street filled with memories.
They litter themselves through people,
Some half-remembered, some as persistent
As a lucid dream.
She saw him fall from the cliff
Toward the sunset, over the boatyards.
He is forever caught in the air.
Birds come to perch on him.
Eventually they come to build nests
There, raise their young and fledge them.
He recalls a bicycle ride through
Small villages in the south of France.
From the doorways of the shops,
The houses, come men and women
Made of sand, singing of Whitman,
Singing of Dante, singing of vague
Victories over evils. They are
Dispersed by biting winds,
Clouding the sun. The landscape
There are advancing armies darkening
The horizon. They smell the horses,
The stink of fire in the clothing
Of the pike bearers. This is the founding
Of new nations. The drums,
The vows of vengeance thrown over
Them and they did their bloody work.
I wander through the labyrinth
Unable to gain these streets again.
Turn after turn, another blank wall.
A mysterious and curious music
Pervades the dying afternoon.
I hear the clunk of a bucket
In the cistern. I turn on my heels.
I am in the path taken by the blind.
They cluster about me with their
Endless words, their clouded eyes.
FINDING THE EDGE
I was able to move through the rooms
But I was never allowed to stay there.
What happened to me there was not
Something I could own, but I could feel
It as if it had parasitic roots in my brain,
Roots in my blood and could pull words
From me without my even noticing.
I was always able to feel the pain edge of everything.
I didn’t live here. I had no brothers hung up
On drugs to move pain away from
Their bodies and leave them limp with the blank
Ecstasy of no longer knowing feeling, only the coolness
The mind adopts as those drugs no longer allow it to move.
I take my people out to the edge of the great plain.
This morning would work. It may be as clear as any
Move consciousness might make while searching
For a room on the second floor, above the bar,
Just beyond the neon, sitting on a bed, begging
For there not to be anything else that feels like this,
Begging for an oblivion that offers rest without
Dying but still offers a room to do so, if needed.
I head for the longer distance. I can see the traders
Gathering near their camps, preparing their goods,
Opening the veins of the dreamers to see what might
Dwell there. They find great ships, with beautiful,
Tall sails and a following sea that will remove
All the rooms, all the walls, all the pain even
As it asks us only the favor to speak with a clear
Voice, that of mountains, of jungles, of the open seas.
PULLING UP THE BLANKET BEFORE GOING TO SLEEP
The stars pretend to show eternity.
They claim to be the cape of paradise.
They form constellations only so that man
Can talk about them and think them other
Than the flaming balls of gas they are.
Tonight I saw the stars as human skulls,
The constellations as the same and as I watched,
Time came and unloaded some of its trash
In a far corner of the universe just to keep
It expanding. Just to keep things interesting.
I took the path that went through a small wood
And opened out almost at the edge of the sea.
The tide was at neap and what were waves
Were very far away, as if one were in Maine.
I went down to where the edge of the water
Would be in a couple of hours and listened
To these skull stars in the chorus of their
Divine realms of space. They were voices.
They were voices as the sea is voices,
As the wind is voices, as the rain too finds
The earth a place that can make rain to speak.
And I did not know the words and I did not
Comprehend the music that I heard but I
Tried to be as these things were. I became
Naked to the night and walked across
The rocks farther and farther, on my way
To meet the water, the great ocean, the
Endless sea, to welcome it back to the shore,
To believe as I was racing ahead of it, pulling
A great blanket up to the woods to give
The starry skulls the mirror their flaming vision wants.
We moved out of the corridors,
Into the crowded streets.
There were so many people.
In the middle of the streets
Were the days, all of the days
Walking with their feathered headdresses,
Holding their stone knives and walking.
The days were walking and they were making
People. We were part of the days.
We crowded around them anxious
That they realize we were their
Children. They continued to move
Toward the horizon, all of us following.
Children of the days, ever children
Of the days.
THE TASTE OF WATER
Seeing her move away from
Whatever collects about herself
So that one might come to believe
This strengthens its chance for eternity
Rather than the garments a memory
Makes, so we may wear it without
Bitterness, only to watch it become
Indecipherable or become
Regarded as innocence looked over
By others as the mind loses its details,
Finally crashing behind some bushes
In a great garden of reasons
Where it is found by a lovely child
Who plucks it from oblivion and runs,
Returning home to show the visiting
Guests what she has found. Each
One inspecting it as if they may
Be doomed to recall. They show
Their scars to one another, frightening
The child who leaves the room
For something to drink.
THE DAYS OF SAYING
We know so little to be true.
Sometimes the air moves around
One and something is seen.
The smallest of flying things
Tracks around a light
In the middle of the night.
Is this small creature diminished
Or exulted by having been seen by us?
Its life is so miniscule and yet
Here in the last minutes of a day,
It is flying around a lamp left lit
Late, is noticed, and this is reason
For its being. To be seen.
And such are our own lives, as alone
We sit in the late dark and hear
The night freight train hurrying
Through these same last minutes
And fancy them important as well.
I do not recall you looking at me,
But surely I was wrong. Surely this
Train, this flying mote, are both
Of greater song.
TRYING TO GET THROUGH THE MIRROR
Touching happiness briefly
As its train moves through what
May be a moment or an eternity.
We are so easily confused.
Do not look too closely at these words.
Everything is here. Nothing is lost.
The faces will leave us, sliding into mirrors
Right in front of our eyes. A glow
We will beg to be part of, for we
Believe we are leaving this place,
When it is only the reflection
Abandoning all its corridors,
Slipping into the perfect sunset.
I beg you call these words a destiny,
Nothing less, that all that one could
Possibly become is one moment
Of our discovered lives.
Yet when we sit at the table
At the end of the day
Time offers us the choicest morsel
This is forgetfulness.
SPEAKING OF ANYTHING
In my voice, I hear him
Dictating the poem to me.
He offers clever deceit,
A view of the infinite that could
Hardly be obtained, no matter what.
I can speak of anything:
Flights of stairs leading to
The suicide room.
The glass returning my gaze
From shop windows full of the most
Marvelous of things. Heroes
In great ships, dead soldiers,
More of them than I would ever
Want to use, a month spent
At the seashore, roaming
In and out of fog banks,
Spying cattle and black and white
Sheep on the most perfect
There I will speak of food..
I will speak of shadows
I will call upon glorious angels.
I will call my own name
And hear myself answer.
MAKING A SQUARE
Counting the syllables.
Building a fruitless night.
Trusting to no one else.
Trying to find a way.
Opening the last door
A perfect square is made.