I think, ‘The moonlight is thick tonight.’
It is not but I think that it is. That maybe,
I could hold it in my hand and it would take
A long time to run through my fingers
Back down the ditches to the river.
I used to come here at night, long
Before I even knew you and I never saw
Anyone else this close to the riverbank.
But then the place had a lot of shadows
And shadows are in love with the moon.
They follow her everywhere, believing
They know her. But they only know
That crisp blue-white that reflects
Like Emily Dickinson did when
She found a piece of blank paper
And brought the horizon closer
Than we have ever been able to see it.
I sit on a rock for a few minutes.
I can hear the Nightjars, their wings,
That sound they make.
They are cutting the palm fronds
For the Sunday services. It is still too
Far from Easter to create purples
This deep, nights this still. I have
All the time I need to wait for it.
Somehow, I always think that I do.
The rider locked on the carousel.
The inability to show motion
While the whole of the day
Remains overcast and gray.
Night not so much coming
With an adhesive tape
Not found in the imagination at all.
The voices come together like parentheses
Gathered into a bag along with peppers,
Cauliflower, containers of tofu,
Cat food and paper products
Separated from each other
In yet smaller bags, chapters
Of a novel. The folds are screens
Set up to divide a room
Or perform a service that proclaims
The imagination while showing us
Images of the old Battersea Bridge,
Architectural drawings, collections
Of West Indian bird skins and hundreds
Of picture postcards decoupaged
To pretend a language of exploration.
We find ourselves opening and closing
Our mouths, obstructing what
Might be seen clearly
As a collection of jars and wheelbarrows,
West-running brooks and songs
Of the self. Changes of melody
Attaching themselves to any object
They may choose, hoping the song
Will still be understood
After the parties have fled the room.
We thought we would find stars
But the garden had been abandoned.
There was a blank light at the end
Of the field, no light outside
Of its crisp circle.
The rooms filled with red.
The little wolf bounding across
The new snow listening
To the ice shattering on the tree
Branches. The rain of frozen
Someone unwraps a package.
Startled deer pour from out
The silver box. Their movements
Are slow, like clockwork. They are silver.
Their eyes founded on children
Who have become lost in the forest
Never to be seen again.
The faith of the high circling birds.
The branch that blooms with eyes
And we can see through them
Yet they are not our own.
What is more hideous:
Or seeing through these branches
Thinking they are their own visions?
Where do we gather?
This giant hall has a thousand
Doors and each opens on a different place.
Angels killing children.
Kings trembling on paper thrones.
Airstrikes crossing the morning
Of generation after generation.
The glaciers melted. The water
Gone deep into the earth
Where it again becomes sacred.
We are the beasts of transformation.
We run ahead of the meat-eating
Animals striking down the poor,
The halt, the blind and deaf
To make food for these dark animals.
They will catch us eventually.
Our teeth will be the lion’s teeth,
All of language lost, lost, lost.
A horribly long and narrow
Hallway filled with terrible roaring.
A MILLION SILENCES
From the window we could see
The wind skitter across the yard,
Over the pond, intent on making
A Winter of itself before it lost
What it knew of the world,
Becoming a glass the spirit
Could only move across.
Never a majesty again, only a part
Fitted like a lilac or forsythia,
A long and twisting smoke.
Could it be that silences are fitted
To our cells as the seasons are
To our souls?
We are not without feeling.
We are object only to the idea of silences.
Became the chords, where it is
Always late and all is going to sleep.
The light comes from within that sea
Where silence is permanent.
We recognize those silences,
Thousands of them, millions of them.
They shall never be stronger
Than they are now. We feel
Their nobility as they flood
Into the sea of our imagination.
They will become water again.
The window will remain glass.
The Winter will still delight
In showing us its teeth.
From the edges of the room
Silence covers us once again.
It becomes deep as if we were
Finally without our breath
And covered with earth.
THE THRONE CONCEALED
You may find yourself
At the side of the road
Trying to explain how you got there.
You may find yourself, gun in hand,
Creeping between cars to keep
From being noticed by a pursuer.
You may find yourself caught by the arm
During a dream, only to wake
Up with blood on your sheets,
Your eyes swollen shut.
Let these dreams go by.
Let them remain as such.
Do not fear the glowing, pulsing
Light in the forest or the strange
Singing that comes forth from
The darkness surrounding you.
You are the high thing. You are where
The singing comes from on this white
Night. Do not fear the journey. We all go.
You are in service to that which shines.
No one can touch you. You are the shape
Of heaven blinding even the angels in your
Miraculous dreaming. You may find yourself
Saying that you love someone and pushing
Another round into the chamber, fondling
Peace as if it were the child of God.
AN ULTIMATE GOOD
An infinity of misery.
It has its own landscape and is bereft
Of people. Cricket sounds,
A part of the night thrown
Across a plain. Parts of the plain
Were dark, while others had light.
Haphazard contradictions. A house
With its lights blazing and four feet
Away, children swimming in a sunlit
Pond. To inhabit this kind of place.
Imagination seems higher than anything.
Come here. Sit beside me. We shall talk
Of the shifting of the light
In this manner. Imagine
An ultimate good.
We will call this our lives.
—Medusa, with thanks to D.R. Wagner for today's Kitchen fare, and a note: poets and other friends of the Kitchen will be saddened to know that Michael J. Cluff, loyal contributor of poetry, passed away this week. Michael was an English Professor at Riverside Community College in Norco, Cal. as well as an actor, teacher and director of community theater. I posted a poem of his yesterday as the LittleNip without knowing he had passed away; he sent me poems several times a week for years, and was featured in the Kitchen on June 5, 2007. Check that out, and his Facebook page as well. You and your work will be missed, Michael—another poetic voice lost.