Long lines of colored lights
Have come down to guide us.
This has not happened in years.
Ramon says he can recall
The names of the lights
But is reluctant to say them.
When spoken aloud there are wars
On the edges of the sound,
Yet we must find our way back
To the center where we can
Once again pull our bodies
From the dreaming and move
Through the rooms that now
Can only be seen as flashes of lightning
Before our eyes. We must speak.
I try to be as specific as possible.
I try not to say your name.
I can see the rockets course
Across the sky as if the lights
Knew this was a promised gift,
An agreement made with us
Long before we began to understand
What might be the names of these lights,
Despite the reluctance of Ramon
To speak them aloud.
Artillery blazing just above the ridges.
THE CHARMS OF THE GATE KEEPERS
They kept charms in that room
That would create masks
Out of very ancient languages.
Echoes perhaps, but more
A looking out on gardens
And explaining myths in terms of breathing
Or in terms of what a particular
Temple seemed to offer in solitude
That only served as a mask
For letters from the beloved
Never delivered because of flood
Or dust storms where nature
Occupied all possible meaning.
Just outside the door I could
Hear them talking about the fact
That we were over here, poking around,
Discovering pressed flowers
That informed weapons,
Murder, the echo, that bit
Against our idea of what a panorama
Might truly be, our eyes
Looking past all the landscape, finding
Tapestries in the eyes of our lovers.
They have found the room but will not
Tell us where it is located. “You should be
Dead to move the keys here,” they report.
But we play piano and press upon vibrating
Strings to pull this stuff up into the light.
This is not of the dead at all.
These keys cause music to move in the head.
The morning light hugs the telephone wires
And the tree leaves. It knows us. We do not
Have to stay in this room. Tell us again of the mountains.
I have broken the drawer of dreaming. It is now possible
To see them fluttering across the eyes as we walk along
The trails near the river. We can feel the breeze
Against our faces and know we are of the divine ones.
Put your hands together and blow gently upon them.
You may hear our voices rising from that enclosed space.
We will be able to meet here as often as we wish.
We will create more rooms than they ever thought possible.
I HAD THE THICK OF DREAMING
I had the thick of dreaming
And the Chinese vase
That pulsed about the room
With a delight in noting everything
Unto the last detail.
It spun circles to deceive me
But I am of the water
And can listen to the bells of suicide
Without a thought to shadows
Or the perfect bliss of memories.
Still, I would abandon all of this
For the sight of fishermen lifting
Their nets high from the sea
Or to listen to the voices of the wolves
That pierced the quiet in some other
Could I unlock even one
Secret from this trove, driven
In by moonlight, somehow divine.
Or for the ability to feel your tongue
Inside my mouth searching for that sure
Eternity that holds such a decorated vase.
SHE HAD MADE AN ARRANGEMENT WITH RUST
To keep me from talking too long.
For years I believed everything I was told,
That all who spoke were philosophers.
I would crouch in a corner and wait
For night that I might leap
Upon its back and wrestle it to the ground,
Trying to stop the dreaming
And become insomnia.
I am still here in the room waiting
But the night never arrives. I sleep
With my eyes wide open.
I can no longer believe memory.
I have been awake much too long.
I have forgotten my name or if I have blood.
This whole thing is a construct
That defines what you love and becomes
Silence once again.
A collection of moments
Found in the presence of other
Moments, lifted from a thousand
Breaths and tumbled out across
The floor as a crystal glass might
Look, shattering on slate and sliding,
Pieces everywhere. One could cut
The bottom of one's foot just
Entering the room.
Moonlight on the edges of each
Moment, trying to draw them closer,
But they are as flocks of birds
Across the Autumn sky,
Calling each to each but compelled
To continue long after these
Words stop and able to look
Down upon perfect lakes
A LEATHER BAG
Oh little precious one,
I have your beautiful song
Inside this leather bag I keep
At my side. I know what the sound
Is made of and the currents of your heart,
Winding and unwinding throughout everyday,
Every night of my life as I sit on the sofa
Listening to my breathing, learning to keep alone.
Each day the afternoons line up near the edge,
Close to the window that overlooks the sea.
A dark sea. A bright sea. Light clipping the wave tops.
Bodies of silver fishes and even great whales lift
In these seas as I occupy the windows.
I will go to the trouble to dream of you
But it is very difficult for me to do.
I am stubborn as a metaphor, as an idea
The infinite infuses itself with whenever
I think of you.
This song can find ancient lands that are
But a few years old, peaceful mazes cloaked
With the mingled blood we have brought to these rooms.
Is this all really the same sea? Are these seasons
The same again and again? Do we see with marble
Eyes as a statue might when it weighs the dawn
On its pure white stone? What wants to be remembered?
I do want to hold you in my arms but I will keep
This leather bag almost as a comfort, a magic fantasy.
I have kissed you when I did not fear to open my heart
To you and I could meet you in our breathing together.
Now, there is only the hazy light that inquires
If this was a dream and how long and what kind.
The garden wears down to a depth I can no longer
Enter. I cannot follow you into the muddy water,
A darkness that is continuous, that assures me
Oblivion wishes to come to live in my house, my own house.
Oh little precious one.
Oh glorious shadow that is now anonymous
With my darkening agonies.
How do I move away from this glorious burden?
This flame now seen in mirrors that I carry
On my belt, so full of you. What to save?
FASTER THAN ICARUS
Usually the surface is moving
Too fast to tell where the poem is going.
One could as easily see a gibbon
Swing from tree to tree
Making its peculiar sounds
As notice that pain was what
Was really going on and that blood
Was spurting from a broken vein
Cut by a cruel remark
Rather than a placid landscape
Far from the road, showing trees
Dappled with light and languid
Sloughs obeying a morning tide.
Do not let the deceptions deter
You from a search for deeper meaning.
Just because you can see
Someone dancing a beautiful tango
Does not mean that we have
Already left the aircraft
And are falling toward the earth
Faster than Icarus, hoping the parachute
Will open and we will land safely
Out here where the morning breeze
Is cool upon the skin and that we
Are safe walking where one is seldom
Able to walk, all the while talking
About the dazzling beauty of being here
On earth, inhaling and exhaling.