Looking heavenward, I see only the earth.
The stars align and the planets turn,
But what of the holy?
Archangels sit and smoke and weep on tenement rooftops,
And the collared cherubim bleed into the rainswept gutters
Like cut dogs in cardboard boxes by the highways of New York,
Or the roadsides of back-alley Brooklyn or Paterson,
Where the demonic masses lie naked in the streets,
Their souls bared raw to heaven
And their hair as messy as sidestreet dumpsters.
The misted rain fogs on the busted double glazing,
The bare limbed trees outside fallen victim to a long winter
And a late spring.
The air that blows through the streets of these mundane cul-de-sacs
Has passed through the lungs of cancerous dodgers
In those hell-indulgent cities,
Where children find their kicks by freerunning
Across buildings of bricks made from c-grades,
Or by standing atop high-rises in the grey wind,
And biting their tongues only to feel their own consciousness
Burrowing into them
Like parasites from the condemning schoolhouses or university halls.
You’re alone when your skies turn grey,
And the rain falls with all the purposeful intent of a neon god.
You’re alone when your smashed milk bottles and broken plates
Are like music on those drug-dampened dawns,
You’re alone when your cold, ash-stippled roof gardens
Are your only way to heaven,
You’re alone when your fingers are cut on your own writing
And you are dizzy from spinning yourself sick
Alone in your splintered art lofts.
Your stars are misaligned and your planets need engine grease to turn,
And you sit and smoke and weep on tenement rooftops,
But you still look heavenward.
You see your madness in the same silver moon
That compels the tide and transfixes wolves,
You recognise yourself in newspaper clippings proclaiming ******,
You acknowledge your expression in broken syringes
And powder remnants
On the glass-topped coffee tables of water-dripping apartments,
You feel your heartbeat in the gasolined engines
Of stuttering Cadillacs
And taste your own warm lifeblood in the burgers of roadside diners.
You see cosmological galaxies bursting like Van Goghs,
Horrible, bitter-cold starstorms underneath white skies,
Raindrop-dripping garden leaves in shrubberies and verges
And earthy rockeries,
You dream of enlightened, ***-smoking boys in beat-up trailers
And the cluttered box rooms of sky-high apartments,
Of screeching atop stone-cragged mountains of green in highlands,
Of bell-rung harbours in the white seaside towns of England,
Of the salt-chapped lips of fisherwives
And the bone-skinny children of sailors,
Of visionary angels in stained glass cathedrals,
Of the cobbled thoroughfares of lamplit cafes in a Parisian purgatory.
And yet you lie naked on floors,
You lie high on floors and let visions spill from your hands
Like the whiskey you drink.
You are under us now,
Under the earth like meat sacks.
But your vision lives on
In every piece of self-indulgent fuckery written for you,
In every copy of your collected works
Or your novels.
For you are immortal, in the end.
**** ending, but endings are hard.