“Watch this,” Ramon said, pouring
The entire vial of red dreams into the fire.
Our hearts escaped and flew deep into
The most ancient of written books.
We removed our shoes and placed our feet
In positions of which we had no previous knowledge.
A man named Charles came in and offered
Almost everyone a chance to read long-lost
Diaries from magicians who lived in the 1800’s.
We waited in an anteroom and could clearly hear
The rush of wings as thousands of angels donned
Masks unimagined by all except obscure tribes
In New Guinea and the Amazon basin. They knew
The secret names of the catfish-faced Hunahpu
And Xbalanque. They bought cigarettes for everyone
And spoke with reverence of the need for peace somewhere
On the earth.
You know I am speaking of the goddess.
The beautiful one. The one you know is headed
Into its proper current that leads directly to the heart?
You do know this? You can feel this rhythm in your blood?
I ventured a bit too close to the fire and could hear
So many voices I became confused and begged
The others to say what I would say.
Shadowlight had its own bells on that night.
We moved back and forth through one another.
We could be seen in the water but looked like rags.
“Where do you come from?” we were asked.
“We’ve never known, lord. We do not want anything.”
While it was peaceful, the bells began to sway.
Riders moved at the edge of the fire. Each of us
Could see a warm light moving in the other's eyes.
“Do not be afraid. Do not be ashamed. Just
Dance this way, sacrifice yourself and set fire
To your house. We want to be entertained.
You will not be burned.” We invited real birds
To come perch on our shoulders.
How quickly the fire flares up and dies once again.
THE WATER MARKERS
This pool. It must have a name.
I do not think you would have mentioned
It otherwise. The water brims into my mouth.
I didn’t think I would come this close.
Yet, I rushed suddenly and was surrounded
By too much water.
I could hear your voice as I sank.
We were talking about how much
It all felt like the mind moving.
I had stepped in for only an instant.
It was already too long.
So beautiful. Everything burst its walls.
A GLINT OF THE ROAD
I have no idea of the road.
It seems to have its own ideas
Of where it wants to go. I smell
The fine and fragrant smoke that
Spilled to my nose as I walked.
A penny whistle my breathing,
A deep and weary song began
To move within me, telling me
How to talk. I too shall talk
To the trees and know their queer
Alphabet. Who has come to whom,
What has a tune in its soul and what
They might say as well as spin
Toward the great ocean.
You will find us running,
Poor bastards that we were.
Made to create confusion
When full the dance was
Made for joy but we were
Not there for such a thing.
Bring us the beer and whiskey
And we will be devoid of all
We thought might be our
Mission. Tell me, do you
Recall any of it for us?
SHE REMINDS THE ANGELS WITH HER LAUGH
She reminds the angels with her laugh
That there is sunlight on the waves
Of this spinning blue ball we live upon.
Those who sing before the throne
Will find her eyes to hold a greater song
Than those which hold the stars
In their twinkling places high above
The blanket of the deepest night.
The horses of the wind compete
To toss her hair about her shoulders
For it is more beautiful than their manes.
And they would fain to bow before her.
And her breath upon my lips before we kiss
Makes the flowers stumble in their perfect
Circumstance and the bees in the honeyed
Hive fly to her as I fly to her sweetest touch.
Oh all these things she is indeed
For it is her heart that calls the seasons
To their glorious tasks as it calls to me
To dance the language in her praise.
THE PRAYER BALCONY
Your heart is both brave and peaceful.
You have yet to kill a person.
Make a sacrifice without death.
A tree completely of darkness
Suddenly became words.
We are able to walk in dreams.
Do you know what I am saying?
Touch your body. Go where the
Love is and make marvels of it.
Have you noticed the great ship
Of longing waiting on the wharf?
You really ought to come back to life.
We could go out walking. It is Summer.
I will bend my head and kiss you as if you
Had a throne greater than the flowers
That are heaped upon the graves of the
Ones who have survived wonder and still
Insist on living in this shabby tinsel world.
Happiness knows enough to return
To the heart, smack into its middle,
As if it were our home. Did you expect this?
My lips begin to sting from even speaking
Words such as these. Words have no eyes.
I am looking into your heart and it is a delighted
Bird, a field of corn where each ear is named
For your father and mother.
When I get down from the talons of the owl
That allows me to withstand its slashing,
I will shake you awake so you may see
The morning with me. Do not hold the moon
As you do now. These words are a golden deer.
Really now, did you think this would end this way?
I’ll not invite you to my room.
However, if you’ll do me fine enough a jig
I may find my way on through the wood,
And build a song for you, as a fire is built of twigs.
Do not take me by the hand.
I love another and still do.
She stands inside my mind
And gives to me her heart unfurled
And I still give her mine.
If you look below my coat this night
You’ll see my feet do dance.
I may not look upon your face
But we’ll favor ourselves with glances.
Come here by the well with me.
The poem, it must have language
To dance upon the tongue,
But come here, stand the well with me
And we shall both have fun.
Before I’m old and close to now
Help dress for me this song.
I have the hammers and the wood.
At least a ship of song, we’ll build
At least a ship of song.
A DISTANCE OF LIVES
We managed to pull the wind
From the bones, hoping to find
An answer, any answer, we had decided.
We floated above the bones.
They were beacons. When we bit
Into the dreamlight, they exploded
In our mouths.
I looked toward you.
You had told me not to come here.
Too many ghost stories.
Too many spoors for anyone
“Go get the dogs,” you said.
“They know all the stories.”