Friday, January 25, 2013

Too Much


Too much, too soon—I spent the afternoon
empty of everything but gimme, need and desire
like two hands clutching each other
angrily, hammering gaps into the walls.
I woke up twisted like this, like knotted bone,
like a nest in a hurricane,
two snakes in a swamp. I can’t slow down,
can’t stop, can’t even
make sense of these senses, the window panes
are full of rage and my head of cold wind
streaked with ancient sun.
This rug is a restless leopard skin; this chair
the mouth of a flytrap; these clothes
vines. It all hums
with the strangeness of living,
life capricious and unflinching,
the flashing eye of a cat
at night.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Heart's Hidden, Swaddled


My heart's hidden,
swaddled, wrapped and warmed in giant arms
in the shadow of a watchful wing
high in heavenly crags.
I hear it's breathtaking up there,
a whole infinity above than the waters,
a lifetime beyond the bravest birds.
You can talk to the moon
and flirt with the stars
and see everything.
But I don't know; I've never been.
I walk in the flat dirt of the earth
a soul swaddled in mind,
a mind wrapped by body and its skins.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Courage Is a Skin


Courage is a skin I wear
when it’s cold out or
when the wind bears down on the flower boxes
like two hands stiff with rage.

When I come home I slip it off
and hang it up, a pair of sunglasses
or a set of keys, swinging by the door.

My apartment is temperature-controlled.
Every window has two locks
and nothing is loud
or strangely named.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Dear Perfect, Sweet, and Blessed


Dear perfect, sweet, and blessed present lover,
dear rusty nail of my own drifting anchor,
dear kind, angelic, eager, ruddy face,
dear wrap of balmy arms that fit around me better
than a tailored waist, dear simple soul,
dear precious, optimistic, soon-spent grace,

I love you,
I love you,
I love you, so come on, calm down,

be honest with yourself.
How many does it take to make a lie—
to tell it and to hear it,
to think it and believe it,
to make it real?

Be honest with yourself,
my love, my dear thick-headed heavy-handed wide-eyed love,
and lie with me.

Why Am I Always Only Young

Why am I always only young in retrospect?
And reckless, digging for pens in the pockets of moving cars
as if grief or delight were urgent and would end.
Well, I remember when the ceiling of the earth would fall,
a great grey wall of cloud
pressing down upon our shoulders
and down on the tops of our heads,
when the earth rose up to greet our bony soles
and not to mock the weight of hanging flesh,
before desire became our enemy, before we stopped
letting empty stomachs feel like endless pits
and our hearts rise up in tightening throats,
and our eyes roam far past crowns of stars and heads of state
into truer, darker lands
of wish, and myth, and I remember days
when a blunt pencil or a dull and simple mind was no excuse.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Prince (Psalm 46:4)


The plan lived inside your breath.
You had it all worked out: each step,
each skip, hop, jump and leap through sandy time,
staining your bleach-white shoes mud-red—
the only mark you’d let years leave.
Dirty soles: the sign and surety of progress,

you had said.

The plan lived inside your breath,
and it took root and filled your people’s heart
till your desires swelled and pushed against our ribs.
And were we shocked to taste your words
heavy as our own thoughts on our tongues? No, no.

It was your destiny, your calling, to inspire; ours

the voices calling; and we murmured
happily that blessed day the queen gave birth
just as it was foretold
to a child without an umbilical cord, a child
fed by the water and the bread
of our own beloved land before he could know air

or the power of his jaw.

Sometimes I wonder if the myths are true.
I have never seen a man speaking more like a man      
to men, connecting with them
as tightly as two young trunks grown down toward a single root—
and this connection made with just three seconds
or three words.

I felt it too.

The plan inside your breath
colored our skies
till the sun shone with your skin’s bronze
and clouds with the flash of your irises.
It told us what to do with our hands
and the restless strength of our youth
and the weight of our sins.

And we were men

in love with the dreams of a child,
a silver-tongued boy,
a beautiful, blind blue eye
leading the blind.