This wisp of smoke has become
So fine it is almost impossible
To see. Or perhaps it was never there.
There are always too many things.
They take refuge at the backs of our eyes
Thinking we will not notice them there.
We may see them but often we will
Not recognize them. We find ourselves
Dealing in dreams once again as we did
When we were very young and every moment
Was its own moment. People had faces.
Resurrections were possible.
We circle and circle, moving
Even closer to some secret center
We know nothing about.
They become packages addressed
To particular yesterdays.
If we listen, we can always hear someone
Knocking on some other door.
I put on the cape of the night winds.
I draw the moon over my heart.
I mold myself into the garment
Of dreams. I move to the tides.
On that far hill I can see
Sancho Panza riding behind his knight
Who spews his visions all over the land
“I am pretty sure those are
Windmills, my dear knight.”
I can see Quixote doing this:
Watch him lower his great lance
And charge into the morning.
This morning I too will charge
Across the distances, watching
The forests open before my glance.
I believe that I too can drive
The silver from these walls,
Open the hearts of men to kindness.
The ground behind me is littered
With bodies of men and women,
Children and lovely animals.
Soon flowers will rise through
Their bones and bees will
Come to prepare sweet honey
From their suffering.
I lower my lance and wail
This, the only song I know.
HOW ALGEBRA WORKS
We have our own algebras.
One can tell after awhile
Because we find ourselves
Trying to recall the exact place
The shoreline used to be before
The typhoon, or the fire, or
That place in our family where
All of sound got mixed and one
No longer recalls who said what,
To whom, or who was married to whom.
"Oh yeah," we say, "I remember now."
But it was just a photograph
On the back of a book we read
In high school or before.
Whatever it could have been about
We can recall nothing whatsoever,
But we remember exactly where
We put it down, the color of the room,
The time of day, who was alive then.
Does the mirror multiply the light,
Proclaiming it to be real light
Or does it know its own horror
And tell the tale as if from
Horseback, riding hard through
Each moment, begging for blindness.
Knowing it will not bring relief
From the vibrating reflections.
Witness to nothing, but remembering
All that it sees, evidence
Tumbling toward the bottom of the hill
Not knowing how any adventure
Will end, expecting each moment
To be the last, promising its
Own children so that it may watch.
A PERSONAL HISTORY
When I twist my body this way
My skin stretches, then breaks.
It forms itself into a great arc,
Built of rounded stones,
In the late part of the Summer,
When the season seems to
Keep special doors, all eager
To find themselves opened.
Having a face that has gone away,
Rediscovered as a lost thing
Patched together from
Ancient fragments of words.
They mount themselves into sentences,
Uselessly billowy but incredibly
Beautiful. So real, they cast
Their own shadows, inspired
Enough by their own image
To suddenly knock upon our door
Proclaiming themselves a myth,
Dragging a hideous history
Into the light as we throw
That door fully open, gazing upon
Row after row of poor little deaths,
Each clamoring for its own history.
There was a room in which we took shelter.
It had a door much like a forest
Would have a door, had a forest a door,
And a single window that looked upon
Whatever one must look upon
When one thinks of the sky as shelter
Or the heart as a roan horse
That enjoyed stepping in a particular
Manner, believing someone might
Be enjoying its prance and circuit
Of that visible space below the window.
I will give you a castle and the
Moat filled with diamonds and the
Drawbridge fixed with the reddest
Rubies, bright as a tiger's eye,
Walls as white as its teeth.
We will stand there clutching
Toward forever, gathering colored
Stars in an oaken bucket, then
Leaving all of this as a sailor
Does any port, intent only
On what the sea might bring
Once all the land has
Fallen from view.