Hold me, the way a poem holds
words, the way shadow holds light,
the way anything lost is wanted.
Let nothing aspire beyond its being,
or better yet—aspire—as if
we are capable of love
that does not change,
that risks another’s love,
and thus creates a tragedy.
I have an old aspiration
anxious to repair its energy.
It lasts as long as I think about it.
What is this worth
that demands so much,
that is never paid in full,
that is like a debt
of something worthless
now, except for its experience?
How will we ever make good
on all our promises that were coerced,
or foolishly offered, becoming these weights?
Going a little toward eccentricity,
(I slow for this) I allow myself
an occasional and outrageous
behavior (to get a laugh) or
tide me over certain embarrassments
of forgetting. (I will not be less.)
Every direction holds me curious or lost.
(A compass is no good here.)
I hurry and slow with the same
thought—am still—saving the stillness,
to savor it as time saved. I know how
to measure. (A race we run.)
The words are mine—the words
I use—play with—help along.
It’s my hand-writing that
drops vowels and favors illegibility.
(It’s my head that won’t comply.)
My eyes skim over words,
slow down when needed,
abandon them for mind-wandering,
day-dreaming, serious revisions.
Hey, now the siren . . .
hey now, coming for us . . .
coming through the faraway streets,
pushing dog-howl ahead of it . . .
the fog . . .
it is sure of its destination,
knows its job.
Oh, how I want, and find I cannot have—
I who would challenge everything that binds.
Every restriction—every pitfall—finds
me back at some beginning, nothing to grab
but hands that slip away. A curse—a laugh
escapes my mouth for that far-shining blinds
me still—and my persistence winds
its dull way forward—and its dull way back.
Oh, how I pity me—woe after woe.
Longing, for what it’s worth, does not teach much.
I lick my wounds and wish it were not so—
for still the need continues to aspire
beyond reality’s elusive touch—
and at the end, there is only this desire.
move us and delay us
create any change for misery or gain
may be healed or destroyed
shadows crawl into other territories
to suggest a fear made obvious
what does the dark bring?
(something is always there)
what is safe for the wary?
(an echo lasts forever)
and is still sounding
from the long effort of listening
we are not without worth,
the inward power of us . . .
how sorrow moves in and out
of life like a blessing . . .
how we choose what we choose
of knowing and remembering . . .
how each feat is a way to redeem
all that we aspire to . . .