Near the edge of the cliff
Tiny lights dance in the air.
They are the souls of those we knew
As children, lost to us now.
They seem to move back and forth
And then wink out, only to reappear
Years later in dreams, moments
When we least expect them,
Glowing in the corners.
How we are filled with longing
As they burn the air with
Their lovely energy. We travel
To far places to see them.
We cultivate memories so they
May have food in this state
Of being. You may find yourself
Among them, playing near the border
Of a pond, thinking, the light on the
Water is beautiful. You are eight
Years old. The summer, lean in
Your muscles, the shade trees glistening.
A ROOM WITH A PHILODENDRON
Tempted by seabirds,
Their long wings a comfort,
There was a room with a philodendron.
It was almost unpredictable
That I would knew consequences
If I followed the gestures
Their wings made toward
The morning. I could see
The storms beginning in the West,
But was certain they had no knowledge
Of me and my desire
To leave this place.
There were no words here.
Things here were made of the infinite,
Like dead soldiers buying and selling
Silences as if they were water,
Trading them for cigarettes,
For stories of those who had lived,
Of the watchers who slid
Their cold hands down
Into our lives whenever they felt
Like it and pulled the breath away
From the familiar. “Here are tears,”
They would say. “They are very beautiful.”
They lied. I had come down the strand,
Past the cisterns, through
The anterooms and libraries
Until I got to a window.
I flung it open.
The seabirds were whirling and
Circling, engraving the air with their wings.
They had our memories.
They had our yearning.
They rose higher and higher.
I knew I must follow.
I knew I was not of the dead.
Everything became mathematics.
It was like Springtime
Abandoned by nothingness,
Suddenly full of the separateness
Of a dream.
SORROW JUST BEYOND THE MORNING
They tore off a little piece of the morning.
It was the part where the mouth was located.
Not all of it went missing, just enough to allow
Some of the light to slip out the back and follow
Night to his house of shadows.
We were able to see him reach for and hold
The hand of sorrow as if he were trying to staunch
Blood pouring from a wound. Even the blood
Looked dark. We could hear it splashing
On the floor. You said it was the sea.
I had my eye on the sky, so wasn’t sure.
I bent down and picked up a small part
Of light that had fallen from the edge of a wall.
That morning was touching as a lover might
Touch the most intimate parts of a mirror.
I reached for your hand but it was the same
As that of sorrow, and my belief that this was more
Than a mass of sand that could go no farther
Stopped me dead in my shoes. I looked past
Where the corner had gone missing.
No one would notice it. It would become
A distance, a whispered voice, the broken
Part of moonlight caught in an unforgiving
Carnival. No matter how many of us might
Gather, we would remain forever alone.
A couple of clouds that had nothing much to do
Found their way to the torn corner of the morning.
They managed to fill it with birds and small animals
Running across the lawns looking for food.
With an impossibility known only to clowns,
I tore a nail building a magic tower,
A kind of flower structure that was supposed
To be full of wonderful windows that looked skyward.
I liked the newness of your body under mine.
I love how love feels against such a sky.
Maybe it is just the world or maybe it is
Just your legs wrapped around my body
That stops my mind so completely
Before the thrones of our wanting
One another. To skyward, I think.
You pull my mouth down upon yours.
It is worth everything, the kissing,
The laughing, the parting of the flesh.
The nakedness of all the doorways.
Feeling up beneath our clothing
We encounter streets we never knew.
I keep trying to think of anything
That is not your body against mine.
All our amused legs walking skyward.
I was trying to remember if it was
A long time ago that I saw you.
It was in the April time, I’m sure
And then again the leaves were falling.
I was waiting by the waterfall.
You were walking on the shore.
The sky was dressing itself with great clouds.
I was waiting by an open door.
There were dreams all about the camp.
There was magic in your hands.
There were songs. We both sang them.
There were words we could understand.
It was like this forever, I recall.
It was never this way at all.
I only know that it was you I loved.
I never knew you at all.
LOOKING FOR THE STARS
Looking for the stars, the edge
Of the sky folds back and I can
See them dressing for the evening.
They are delicious in their colors.
They are informal in their constellations.
I wait down at the end of the street
For you to appear. You said to meet
You here for reasons that still
Remain unclear. Maybe it's just
Fantasy. I first see your reflection
In the rain puddles. The night is warm.
We walk for hours to explain
Our lives to one another. It doesn’t
Do any good. There are entire trains
Highballing through our bloodstreams.
We can only watch the Mars lights
Spinning. You tell me to trust you.
I hold you with my eyes, point to the stars.
On a ghostly sea.
On ghostly trees.
On ghostly roads
By ghostly toads.
From ghostly throats.
In ghostly coats.
From ghostly sleep.
A ghostly breeze
With a ghostly sweep.
On ghostly hills.
And ghostly thrills.
On ghostly things
To every life
All ghosts do cling.
This voice, a ghost,
These words are too.
A ghost you know
Brings them to you.