The sun finds silly places to look
For things, across a cat’s fur
While it walks across the gravel
Just as evening is repairing itself
For its show.
It got mixed up with the garden.
I look down on it from my second-
Story window and watch it move
In and out of trees, showing secret
Places in them for a few precious
This evening the breeze
Will have nothing
To do with anything.
It has found something to do
“Later,” it says, "When it starts to get dark,
Just before the moon comes up.”
Maybe, but it usually lies
About important things like this.
CROSSING YOUR FACE OUT
Every line I make here I cross your face out
At the end of it. I can see the incoming rockets.
They are not hitting farm fields and blowing
Holes in rows of corn and beans. They have hit
My houses and my head is bleeding profusely.
I am having trouble moving my arm.
Look at these damn lines, seven of them now
And I’m still crossing your face out at the end
Of each one. It’s like you don’t believe me.
Let’s try this. Rip this entire page out of the manuscript
And light it on fire. Burn it to a crisp. I can’t stand to find
You anywhere in the fucking poem. I can barely speak
Out loud. Burn the damn thing up. Look, do this for me:
Print a copy of these words then hit them with a lighter.
Hold onto it as long as you are able. Look at the ends
Of every line. Your face is crossed out.
I can’t believe I love you enough to do this but I do.
It’s scraping my muscles off my bones and using them
For tinder at the end of each line of this rant. The only
Way to end this is to say Fuck You. I love you so much.
I cannot stand with these words any longer. Burn me down.
I AWAKE IN A RED ROOM
I awake in a red room.
It is packed to the walls
With Schumann’s Opus 15*.
I could not stop crying.
My mouth was still very sore.
I had nothing left to remember.
I could see the drawers
Where it was all kept.
I could see my friends looking
Through the drawers, but was unable
To make a sound, except, maybe,
That of a field of crickets
Under a full moon.
When I broke, I swore
I would never write another poem.
This is the one after that promise.
I will look for something to put
Me back to sleep that does
Not include your face, your hands,
Your eyes, your smile, anything about you.
A flight of fighter jets begin to perform
Acrobatics just above my bed.
(*Scenes From Childhood)
I threw a lantern full of fireflies
Toward her and she disappeared
Into what might have been
A forest, if this hadn’t been a dream.
I rose above the rooftops.
Still the demons came.
They clawed to catch my clothing.
They fought to speak my name,
But there was nothing left around them.
They knew not from where they came.
The labyrinth itself was a mirror
And all the images were drained
Except for fire
And I myself burst into flame.
I tried to speak of this before,
But I still cannot make your name
In my mouth, the forest too, aflame.
“He was a man who looks
at the wisteria like a man
who knows how wisteria
should be looked at.”
I was washing myself with grief.
The spangles that remained
In my heart were no more than tarnished
Chemistry. I could no longer imagine
What I came to tell you.
Everything got lost when the madness
Came to eat. It ate everything
And beat my body up and smashed
My possessions and cursed everything
I said and did or stood for
Or loved and my shoes filled up
With blood and it became
Difficult to walk.
That was love? I felt
More like I’d been hit by a car
And then blamed for being
In its way. I was on the sidewalk.
It was traveling at the speed of light.
I told you I would keep you here
And had your name tattooed directly
Over my heart.
But now you are gone.
It’s not like I can open a door
And let you out.
You are in my blood.
In the middle of the night
I can smell you on my body.
Ghosts have come to know
My name. I have seen
Where they walk.
Some of them will follow you
Right up the mountain.
From here, I can see
Their lights flickering.
I can feel your footsteps
Right where I had them
Put that tattoo.
THE DOOR WAS LEFT OPEN
I could see children playing inside
A room. The sounds were very dry.
I am sure this happened today.
If not, history would not exist as history.
Silence was floating in the air
For such a long time it became
Particles drifting in the room.
The month lay heavy upon the room.
I felt I was being assailed by memories
Rather than sliding into a narrow reality
Bounded only by gaps in my imagination.
There were elevators across from the room.
I never noticed them previously, but dogs
Began to use them. Then again, everything
Can change its appearance. One must know
The exact point from which one is looking.
I find myself not knowing what to express
About these children playing. Perhaps it was
Their clothing or the fragments of the songs
I could hear them singing in the room.
Mystery sometimes comes only to consume
What we may think we know about anything.
I have tried so hard to guide you across
The threshold of this place, but here we remain
Locked in a space that, as Murakami says,
“Smells like the palm of your hand.”
Let us watch the wind. I will throw all these words
Into its open mouth and we can see which way
They blow. Look, there is morning just ahead
Of us. It too seems as confused as we are.
WINDSONG HEARD AT AN OPEN WINDOW
Out near the edge of land,
A brilliant flash of light
Above a meadow yellow-bright
With flowers exclaiming Spring.
We walked there. Oh yes, we did.
Every day of our loving one another.
And still this singular thing
Occurs. Oh yes, it does.
So loving, so the sea, so the light,
The flowers, Our walking, The love,
Oh yes, the loving, our loving, so much like spring.
And what of dying...
What of those faces...
Children in the late rain.