Poetry is seeking the answer
Joy is in knowing the answer
Death is knowing the answer
"Fall is here." She yawns
under ruptured sun & brief,
timid cloud; helm of elm leaf
stung to beaten bronze
and sleeves of copper - the bill
of age is paid in change of gold.
The slacking breeze slugs to cold,
slumping toward the thinning rill
whose runny fingers read my palm.
She walks into an afternoon;
I lay in morning's greening dune,
writing a city's sonnet-psalm.
In this bower hours are years,
years are lives, and lives veneers.
Drinking blind pilots with my neighbor
until black poppies swim down to meet us.
Dusk-dander lilac's blocked, banished
by jejune faces that caw and crow,
birds bursting with post-paid
parcels of tattered laughter;
we flee to the bottle shop, retrieving
sweet vermouth in the nick of time.
After that, it's poppies, poppies,
poppies all the way down.
You leave for the broad south
in four days, to rasp a new curl
from old timber. Your destiny
is obliged to subdivide again,
fresh and wild. In the basement
of your goodbye I was filled
with a familiar senescence:
old wreaths, nerve-headed,
are hammered to inner doors
where I hide atomic thoughts
and hot-heart steam valves;
muffled click-clacks ricochet
in a containing pink sarcophagus.
How appropriate that I left
in the melting middle of the rain,
the road seething and spitting,
puddled rugs of mercury skating
across Saturday's lap.
H----, this life is strange and brief
& your escape to far sun country
is high adventure; but I lament
your absence, all the same.
"Our days put on such reticence
These accents seem their own defense."
-John Ashbery, Some Trees
After two tiring marriages,
& the women before and between,
she was olly olly oxen free:
come out don't hide it's safe.
Let me backtrack - I was four
& dad left, not too far, but...
far enough. I became, inside,
a two-headed monster of desire:
one me says go find love
grab it hold tight tight tighter;
a second me says wait watch be safe
they're already half out the door.
Feeling free, I gave too much,
or maybe needed same. Or both.
She left, and I was so haunted
I sold my house.
So now I just walk about,
**** an envious ear
at the young and ******
laughing into cut-glass nights.
I scry my sliding self in plate glass
reflections, surrounded by angels
on the hunt, letting the days
engrave their aches all across me.
The two-headed thing I was
is starved lean, fed only on sleep.
What now? This evening
the stars look laminated,
& streetlights hum and mumble
wolfishly over black triangles
of sweetened space where thoughts
hang like last year's ornaments.
I saw you
I know you didn’t feel it
but I did
I saw you
just a glimpse
it was late
I could be wrong
I saw you
for the first time
in such a long time
I think I saw you
but it was late
My face, knotted in the shopfront glass,
then smeared smooth, unfolding
in strangest waves and furls
until it's me again, the mask restored.
I do this several times. Step left,
I'm a minotaur, a funhouse scream,
a maze-horror, a twist and blink.
Step right, the pane straightens me
into a mid-life crisis.
But I can't help but wonder
if it's like a coat hanger:
once bent, never really true again;
the mirror regurgitates destinies
as casually as How Do You Do.
I wander down the walk and wonder
if my eye is still slivered and daubed
into a blanched, branched pool
of wild milk spoiling in the open air.
a wild god is sleeping in your bones
it is too early to tell the direction
of that thought, you know
it has a dark end
no need for an algorithm
wild images colonize my brain
they throw me here and there
it's not too late under the roof of the world
not for a bleaching heart
something is growing like a wave
that forgot its end