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1.9k · Jan 2012
Sky ablaze like God
The sky was ablaze like glass in the church;
recumbent on stone floors / we had knocked out

the windows to let in only the blind light,
the blind arches that pointed heavenward, now yawning

narcoleptic houses of God grasping at sky and god
somehow / we captured daylight in our hands / we were

yearning for ourselves again between long hours of waiting
we believed in gods that breathed that great sky, we believed

in the breadth of cosmos more dazzling
than the church doors that we blew asunder

in that latter architecture where we decided the height
& breadth of the pillars in their proportions like

the proportions of man, exhausted & exaggerated,
man exalted, exaudi, exaudi, voca meam quam olim Abrahim

praises to all our lords on high, we sang in drunk
communion hailing, our communion with one another,

all of us there on the stone flags, hands in hands
we beat at the chests of each other, the eyes of each other

(we were just kids beating off to one thing or another)
and it was *** and chaos between those stone walls, it captured

us, bewildered us, those yawning heavens under the church ceiling,
the one that blazed with the dazzling color of windows

covered in dust like our skin the way it crept along the stone
and we craved it and the way that it seemed to creep,

the sky seemed to creep above us, seethed with light
some days we didn’t know which way was light, up

or lower down, it was usually easy to tell after you came
but we exhausted our voices, exaudi exaudi orationem meam

believing that something would hear us—we heard ourselves
more clearly in the throes of ******, nothing was more alive

more human, than anything, than anything that sang like that blazing
sky/ so we tossed ourselves forward into lightward, lightness

dazzling ourselves with light / it was the summer of everything closing /
the bewildering truth of our own god in cells and precious molecules

we made god in the throes of ******, worshipping in the dazzling sky
we had to propel ourselves forward, it was our stunning captivation

with that dazzling maze of flesh on the yearning sky, hands
searching inscrutably for hands, for god in the feverish sky, god

who doesn’t live in the sky, the god who climbs
with us, the god who screams in our ****** with us,

exaudi, exaudi, orationem meam, ad te omnes caro veniet…
803 · Oct 2011
Prayer
On Sunday, I open up the house
to let in the June morning
to ease cobwebs from the empty rooms,
to efface dreams
adhering to the surfaces.

The weather—
of late, inimitable oppression—
has broken, and at last
we have a little serenity.

At noon, the hour of baptism,
the bed is stripped of its clothes—like a woman
praying for her old voluptuousness.

I wash the sheets in cold water
laced with lavendar and mint,
hiding thyme in bunches in the mattress
to conceal the taste of sleep
and mad dreaming.

I make a breakfast of mango slipped
from the flesh, orange water, cheese
& bread sprinkled with oils & thyme,
sweet plums. All day,
I do not speak a word.

One afternoon (or many of them),
I spent hours just sun worshipping.
It was easier than dreaming, you
could come away with a cleaner feeling.
The liquid of sunshine in the veins
was clarity.

Every so often, tempted by the suggestion of being born,
I stand naked in sun,
reminding myself of distant pilgrims who
prayed to the air or sang
their parched hymns to some tranquil god.
I search for him in the dazed clover,
my fingers grazing sound,
the tender in the long grass, all summers
distilled and scattered  through these empty rooms.

I am praying, praying.
801 · Oct 2011
Birds on a wire
Then there was the sudden stillness
of thousands of birds on the telephone wires
strung like records of our transgressions
in an unquiet pattern against
roiling gray sky.
How had they come there, how
in their alien dance had they conceived
this tautness, this bizarre
and malefic solidity
from their own selves,
a tension like a hand
on the small of your back, at the nape
of your neck.

Then there was the sudden stillness
of thousands of black birds on telephone wires,
black stones on a string, a long dash
on granite sky—
742 · Oct 2011
Derelict
I.

I was on 7th Street;
a troop of boys was riding ahead of me, their backs

blazing in light,
small lit men full of air,

their t-shirts billowing behind them
like their swelling lungs,

as though they would restrain
or guide them—
it is the same thing.

At 4 in the afternoon
the sun could collide at just the angle

with the façade of the derelict building beside us,
half a blown-out wing —just

dissolved:
A blind man in sunlight.

Its bewildering joy in that moment,
as it stood in sun, the carved interior of its lungs

gasping in air
was enough to split the heart.

II.

He came back from his brief sojourn
at the institution

slightly derelict, like a rock tossed and left in the sun.
I could see from here

his crystalline lungs expanding
beautiful and raw in the breaking.

He muttered apologies and confessions
too desolate to fully sound them.

Unbelievably whole in body,
his remaining architecure might have stood as

only a testament to past,
a remnant.

You never think you’re going to witness
the ruin of another human being.

Sunlight and chords fractured
in the crystal prism of his lungs

remind you that he was human.

III.

On my desk, a small piece of sea glass
occupies a corner with the shells

that I stole from a beach in Florida,
one of those summers I trolled sand for a single

jewelled semicircle, edges
raised and grainy with the lapping salt:

The carelessly halved base
of something gathered in glassy waves

slowly disintegrating
among my books and shells.

At times, boys up the street ride past
on their bicycles, or pause to carry

small burdens to each other,
their dialects lost on the June air

as I watch from up the street.
They are remnants of me

looking for shells or grasping listlessly
at walls dissolving

in air and sunlight. I try to gather some
of the crystalline fragments in my hands.

In the afternoon,
salt drifting across the table,

I glean a few discordant shards,
charged with surreptitious and bewildering light.
599 · Oct 2011
Some final clarity
We were startled into gazing at the sun—
forgetting ourselves, we were
startled by its sudden procession
from the air thick with rain like putrid light—
startled so that we stared hungrily
at luminescence cast
between brow and lips of cloud.
It was this one final moment of clarity,
this last, most terrible death throe.
It touched us briefly, skin to skin.
It touched us; we two shattered humans here
belying grief
in wonderment, fear or love
in our naked yearning for all sky.
Suspended in a milky absolution,
it vanished,
a mirror resolved on itself,
a sudden imprint of inverted light on our aching eyes.

— The End —