Available in stone,
this pure intention,
my life in the mirror,
changing as I change,
this daydream made of mind-want,
this day that is about gone:
the long line of sleep—
the complication of dream-tangles.
Oh, that I want it—
want all its anger and danger—
its little pools of hope
that I stare into.
How else do I get through
one after another tyranny
how else shall I regard you
with my glass heart and sharp eyes?—
you are my own, as I am yours
in our singular existence.
RENTED ROOM WITH NEON
In this darkened room—right above the neon
sign of the downstairs café—she could lie
across the bed in front of the window to watch
the people pass back and forth. She liked the
secrecy of this.
She could lie there with no clothes on and feel
the neon sign blink on and off of her, the
reality of herself in her inbetweenness, the
sharp or muffled voices rising up to her—their
She could pull the curtain back, or let it hang
between her and the neon blinking over her,
until she too was neon-patterned, transformed
by the summer night of this flaring room.
And sometimes she would hold the curtain to
her face, like a lacy mask, and look through it
to the oblivious people—safe from them at
her high window, her one room of interim
belonging—from where she would go, one
way or another—but not now know of it.
I tell you this because I just remembered
it—and I write of this outside of
myself—separate and without reunion.
THE DARKER SELF
I am a wall with no pictures. Mirrors
enter me and weep for their lost identities.
Great rooms of complexity
All my edges are as thin as water.
I slip through them into depths of drowning.
I paint screams upon my silence;
I utter myself from all directions.
Day by day more of me disappears.
I am the cruel center of myself.
I forgive no one,
though beggars come by with golden fingers
and stroke my arm.
Every day I feel myself
the way I fit myself
the way the wall mirror
grows sad then resigned
the way light holds me
and then darkness
and I am woven
threads of detail
on an opposite wall
my earlier self
the opposing mirror
FORCE AGAINST FORCE
I do not know myself.
LATE NIGHT MIRRORS
I thought it was the night, but it was only
the very late way
words stood in the way of clarity.
So much went by me that I should have
caught: the innuendo, the smirk,
the sarcastic line I laughed at.
I’m not cut out for complexity.
Everyone went home drunk.
I teetered at the door
of maudlin goodnights,
vowing love to everyone,
and meaning it for awhile.
Of course I love them—
my tipsy self, grown sober
in the late night mirrors
that do not look back at me.
I hope the celebration was enough
to last till the next reunion
of all who spend their needs on each other,
each with a deeper loneliness.
THE GRAY CITIES
I passed through the gray cities. Left my name
in the passing. Forgot myself there.
One by one I left my mementos—lost them to
moving—to haste—to need that outgrew them.
Fragments of places remain—a room here—
a hall there—a high and scary hotel transom.
The bird of childhood was swift. I ran to keep up,
over the escaping ground. The bird disappeared.
I was one of many mirrors. I watched my faces
change and the way my eyes studied my eyes.
The sand pile lessens. Soon I will find my toy,
lost to the voice of my hurrying mother.
Echoes roam the rooms, later and later, repeating
themselves for my articulate interpretation.
Somehow the endings are never right, like this story
—revised beyond fact—that inaccurate data.
Though I am
words fall through me.
Though I am
I cannot catch them all.