Come with me now to the thrilling days of yesteryear.
The streets of Aberdeen are full of water.
The Wolf Moon eating the hills all through the night.
I see you when I look to the North. I remember
The lavender you sent me when you wore lamb’s wool
And leopard fur. I could feel the sting of the weather
Even then. I said, “What do you think of this?”
A thick sunset crackling like a fishing boat
Full of the silver of fish bodies. Use your own
Body to do to me again what the light does to my lips
Tonight. Harvesting words out of the East
That cause illustrious dreaming on a night such as this.
The flood waters spread out so wide. Do not use
Your thoughts. Do you know how much I love you?
You are my misfortune, an inexhaustible flesh that reaches
The limit of what I can understand, fragments of angels
Not made of time as we are, instant after instant.
I disappear into the small hands of the rain that I had
Heard tell of. Darkness closes in. It wears goodbye
Like a cloudy mirror, constantly jumping off myths
Of ourselves, stories we have become even as we
Become the fish in the boats, the hollow of the Wolf Moon,
The wings torn off fairies barely able to contain light.
Come with me now. We will shake the mountain.
We will climb one into another again and again,
So what is the good in talking about it any longer?
Mirrors pulling the sky over us helping us to a season of infinity,
Or, if we are really lucky, toward something we can call morning.
They tore the rainbows out of my mouth.
The took almost everything.
The cat had been long gone, carried
Off ghosts of mice one fine evening.
I had decided to remain within the walls.
After many, many years
I could hear the music begin once again.
It was a very long time before the words
Were placed in another song.
The windows were spotless.
I eased myself into a chair and began
To play the guitar. No one noticed
I was there until well after lunch.
By that time everyone was singing.
Light was just coming up
As we began the dance
For fire and water together.
From this dance, steam would
Rise to the heavens, as dancers
Came together, propelled by our ritual.
First, the songs began to rise,
A verse about angels' wings,
A chorus declaring our love
For the mountains, the far
Distances, for the stilling of noises
Held by night, for the lament dealt
By those who carry time
Within their quiet appearances
Throughout their lives.
Such songs they were.
As the steam rose higher,
We knew this place, this world
Would persist past our shallow
Moments here. This was the truth.
That one is able to remember
Childhood, that all who dwell
Upon this earth can come and see
Time as it mixes everything into
This selfsame dance.
It is danced very seldom,
For all who witnessed its
Previous incarnation must
Have passed from life before it
Could be repeated. It is
Performed with great ceremony,
The dancers consuming doubt,
Uncertainty and great fears
That all might recall this particular
Time of life, shadows and mist.
Shadows and mist, the steps
We learn to take, the lips we
Dare to kiss. Through the fire,
Through the rain, though all
Becomes the past, we beg of grace,
Insist, that we may remember this.
Their shadows melted rock.
Why would I leave the lamp
Burning alone in the room?
I start out of sleep,
My eyes lit up like the moon.
I was still flesh.
I was still bone.
The ocean still flowed before me.
The crazy wind began to moan.
And here my mind stopped.
The day could not offer
Me any other way.
“I shall be no one.”
And slammed the dream
But it would not have me.
There was no reward for the
Imagination. The oil will have
Burned out and no one will
Remember that we have gone.
In the books the guardians
Told us how we are a kind
Of secret full of
So the knives of their
“You have come again.
You have come again.”
Their shadows melting rocks
At the edges of the sea.
And tonight, tonight, tonight
I shall move from this cold
North of the words, knowing all
Have forgotten how to read.
The empire has ended.
The rooms where we used to sleep
Have been given over to pigeons
Who fly through the broken windows
Worrying the owls in the rafters.
We have become nomads and sailors.
It is impossible for us
To avoid traps and dangers,
Melancholy shimmering and a dark
Kind of salvation not to be
Measured by the corpses
Lining the roads surrounding
The capitol. Some things
Will never do, no matter
What effort we attempt
To deliver an answer
To the questions of the children.
“Where are the great ships?”
“Why is the jungle so close to us now?’”
“Why is there fire during the rain storm?”
How can we answer these things?
We, who have dogs for companions,
Visions explained by ancient
Blind men who can recall
All mystery and little history.
Blankets of crows fly overhead
Causing the ground to look
As if it too were moving,
Alive with the shadow of the crows.
We have sacred places
But we are unable to find
More than a few, however
Powerful they may be.
We celebrate and lament
As we make our way to the coast.
The journey could take years
And we have no guides.
This will be important
Much later. For now
We remember faces
Across the fires at night,
Songs full of longing and waiting,
High, high upon these hills.
Chet Baker is making the day lonely.
Billows of notes float across the morning.
There are sometimes holes in the clear
Blue of day that allow
The songs through. They look like
Piles of leaves, someone peddling
By on a bicycle. From inside
This room, there is no sound
Except steam moving through
Pipes, footsteps in the hallway.
Chet says “Everything happens to me.”
The late morning sun is working to
Make the building more brilliant
In winter. I listen to music,
Wondering how many different people
I am today. I begin to play
With trans-human manifestations.
They come out as poetry, without
Leaning over too far, dancing.
—Medusa, noting that although we don't have the Robert Burns celebration at The Book Collector anymore, you can still party at The Daughters of Scotia, Kilwinning Lodge #203 (Fremont Presbyterian Church, 5770 Carlson Dr., Sac.) TODAY from 2-4:30pm, featuring Burns poetry and Highland dancers ($10 suggested donation, 916-452-7132).