The morning was
Hard and cool.
No, it was cold,
Has been drinking.
Ramblin’ boy has come into town
On a day sticky with early Autumn.
Walking in the heat of five o’clock,
Talking to himself like he was on
The phone with someone.
Holding a piece of wood about the size
Of a tablet device, looking at it
Like it had a screen.
He was gray, gray, gray with blue
Jeans that were gray and a white
Shirt that was gray.
Everywhere he walked everything
Was gray. Even his brown hair
Was dusty, a faded black and white
He wouldn’t leave and kept
Appearing in people’s houses
“To mess with them.”
“What do you want?" he would say.
“I’m exploring everything. I’m making
A string. I can get you drugs.
I don’t have to go anywhere.
You can’t make me go away.
I’m not afraid of any police.
Ain’t nobody here going to call
No police on me. I’m not doing
Anything to anybody.” And he would poke
His piece of board with his gray
Fingers and talk to it or make
Photographs with it that were
Only in his imagination.
“Why doesn’t anybody help me
Do stuff?” he would say.
And most people couldn’t see
Him. He would fade into their
Consciousness, always talking
And getting into everyone’s personal
Space and say he was writing
About everything, typing on his piece
Of board. He had gray eyes,
Smirked from the middle of groups
Walking down the alleys, making everything
Gray and as sticky as the day,
Pulling cricket songs
Out of the night.
“Where is everybody going?” he would say
Or be just across the street
Every time you looked, telling you
He wasn’t afraid of no cops.
Nobody was going to call the cops.
He could get you what you wanted.
Nobody would see him.
Nobody could really hear him.
“I’m like your imagination,” he would say.
And someone who had a yellow face
Would walk near him and they
Would be gray too and walk away.
“I’m doing stuff,” he would say.
Floating there day after day.
People not knowing why they were angry.
Or why there was so much dust
In the air or they would wonder
Why they didn’t care about things
They usually cared about and how
Come things looked so gray?
Ramblin’ boy without a name,
Boiling up all sticky as the day,
Poking his wooden board and walking
All over town.
“I’m, doing stuff,” he would say.
“What do you want? I can get
It for you, anything. I’m making
Things. I am not going away.
Just try to lose me.
I ain’t going away.
I ain’t even got a name.”
THE ISLE OF GREAT MOUNTAINS
Ramon and I visited
The Isle of Great Mountains.
It has taken us a long time
To reach this place.
It is without parallel.
One can go nowhere in the world
That has the insistence of this place.
“We must climb every peak,” Ramon says.
His eyes are not of this world.
I play him song after song
Upon my guitar late into the night.
“You are right,” he says in the morning.
“We must go back and tell the others.”
“They will not believe us,” I retort.
“It does not matter what they believe.
We have seen The Isle of Great Mountains.
No one else has seen them.
Just tell them there is such a place.
You can write. Say that we have paid
For their dreams. They may come
Here on the great ships
We carry within our bodies.
We will hold them and marvel
That such a place can be.”
DANCING ON THE SHIP
I cannot see the lower parts of their bodies.
They dance like spirits before my eyes.
Time is blind. It puts itself in the eyes
Of others who tell us how we have changed or not.
I like the music best when it forgets the words.
It becomes possible to see the horizons once again.
When we are dancing we too become these horizons.
I press the moon into service. It will not be lost.
I take the chance that it may make the morning sad
But I cannot resist its lovely gilding, its wreath,
Its mythology before time was broken into days,
Before there was anything like dance except
The dancers breathe inside the dance itself.
They are that which is living.
A history of the mysterious, astonished
That every arrow never quite reaches its target
Which on this exquisite night, daybreak,
The rising of sun, the transubstantiation
Of all we know is only dancing on the ship.
There is a tiny blue light
Just touching the edge of the venetian blinds.
Mendelssohn’s "Venetian Boat Song"
Is playing in a night room with warm
Low lights doing a lot of work
To hold my night together for me.
I struggle to remain capable of anything,
Even in a perfect evening.
Crickets performing to the meadows,
The International Space Station
Sliding across the night sky,
A wanderer I love to notice.
It holds all of our hearts.
It speaks to our recurring dreams,
Everything from grand armored knights
To the wild spinning of the stars.
The twinkling lights of our own earth
Announce all we know of the rest of space.
For these few moments
I have no idea what time
Has planned for any of us.
I will hold you here in my heart,
Put my arm around your shoulder,
Draw you close.
Such poor stages we have chosen
To dance upon. Considering we are
The most perfect of beings
We have such a difficult time
Recalling samadhi. The planets,
Indeed, the universe whirls
Around us and the smallest treasures,
A piano playing a boat song.
A particular quality of light.
The temper of being alone
In the wick of the night.
This is all I have to draw you close,
To recall your touch, the delight of your eyes,
The comfort of your body against mine.
Some little music, a few dim lights, a quiet
Within myself that allows me
To be with you here in these words.
I stand in the quickening light
Of the International Space Station
And trust everything we know
About distances, whirling around
Our lovely Earth, kissing your lips,
Telling you how it is I love you.
WE ARE THE LANGUAGE
"There was only an immense staring
burn upon the land."
The landscape blew by the house.
Colors had particular noises.
They appeared to have a sequence to them.
The quality of our voices seemed
To depend upon to whom we were speaking.
How many ways to say “I love you.”
I watch the end of my fingers.
They remind me of something
I used to know but have
Now forgotten. There is a trembling
There. It is telling some sort of story.
I recall when were were coral.
The sea was within us and we were
Its language. We waved through
The tides and gathered the smallest
Particles to our bodies that told us
The cities were close. The beautiful
Fields would be filled with fireflies
Just as the sun set. There was a moon.
“You know the moon?" someone said.
“No, but from now on I will believe you.”
CHECK THIS OUT
How close can we come to the edge?
Far, far, below there are twinkling lights.
They are our villages. We know who
Lives there and that they trust
Us to climb these great heights.
We thought so much was fairy tale.
That the pink sky in the morning
Was the blush of a cheek.
That bird song and the piano
And the clarinet and the guitar
And the cello and that all
Things that made music were
Language. Still, no one spoke.
It was the gift of sound,
Like the waves upon the many shores,
The patterns clouds might make
As servants of the wind.
I will call you here to my side.
I will hold you safely as you look
Over the high edge. We will realize
That what the poetry told us was
As true as it gets. Even being
Here is more than enough to fill
An anthology or two before lunch.
I cannot resist the challenge.
My own eternity in a bunch
Shoved under my desk.