And yet, is light wasted, scant on the floor,
Pilfered, where love’s shadow is at its door,
Or mud ink beholding direction met?
I set these lines to defiance and lust,
Watermarks and mudflats, the crippled must,
Amid nowhere they stay, their glow, their gust.
You trust distrust instead. You guard distance -
Unglue yourself, angel of resistence!
You are free after all. Insinuate
Verse, conjured, keaned from my deepening wake.
Unmine them, make them yours. You I wrote of,
These near rhymes from afar; show them the love
You did not love. Mute my voice now cracking.
Words were everything, but mostly lacking.
Nothing’s changed in my life, at all, yet it feels everything has,
that under me grass has surely replaced the snow and
the Second Coming has swiftly come and gone, leaving
me behind because I believed I was more or less saved.
So, in this way, it is like a lie. And this from me, of all people,
who startles away truth as though it were a lost pet
running away with each bellow of its name. And, you
posting your signs, you making your calls, you reading
our astrological forecasts online, that poetry of transcendence
and my solipsism of regret. It just floats awhile in that bouquet
of regard, then sinks, glad to avoid the ignominy of the
Hindenburg. And you realize the absurd faith of it or,
let’s not mince words (because poetry never does that, right),
its desperation, miasma of wine and garlic and salmon
and my tongue, wherever it went. The days were a
misprint, pestilence and clipped dialogue slipped in at
the end what all this time was a colouring book,
chock-full of castles and aquamarine lakes and a lovely
hipped-woman glowing under a moon with breasts as moony
as the Alps, and a scarred, old prince holding the tips of
her hair, as though he had discovered America for the first
time. And yet how much of this is a lie, because above,
we see plainly that this is you, colouring inside the lines,
and me circumnavigating every outskirt and every hair-line
meridian, always calling in for more supplies, more air. Yet,
maybe you just kept things close enough for long enough, the
eggs you left in the fridge for a month, never touched,
rotten but fresh-like and suffocating in the stultifying cold.
Or, when you joked that I was such a romantic, that I was the
kind of man who believed love would save the day, but that’s
only an hypothesis: we’ll never know. It’s like this: you wake up in
the middle of the night, your heart trembling, and for a moment
you think things have changed, that something is really there,
but it’s just the blackness.
Then the cold rushes out, and the light goes on.
Now the deer that leads me away
from here, tracks the snow’s talk,
and listens – how silence stalks and
closes in and sniffs along the banks
for this defeat. But we are thirsty for
the cold, the two of us, and we hear
the river will fill us, again and again,
so that our hearts will flow, and quiet
will be our heart’s content. So, we
will hold together there, still as divers
before the dive, bend to it like a tree,
to let the darkness fill, to let it come
to us as the river does, to disappear
into your blackness, your blackness.
Her name is air
in the valley betwen us
— the echo there.
At least the bird cries, sweetly, without the
treacle of hope, like the persistence of winter,
to tear at its lungs. How its air is yes, yes and
yes without leaning into the forbearance
of possibility, or never landing quite
upon the pitched angles of yearning. At least the
bird cries, sweetly, in the background of our
clenched hearts, the luminous air dangerous
with clarity and rancour. At least, these
lines glimmer and spread on the dash of my car
through watercoloured roads that underline what
I will never forget, the end of sweetness,
and before a city that blooms
exhaust and the insolence of traffic and the
mumbled coins of derelicts, whom I listen
like brothers as I pass, and whom my own
words and insistent tones abide, though I refute
the world that hears our laments of praise,
this carol repeats, persists in its new love,
not to cajole. This is only my only voice,
separate from the sound of her apotheosis pouring
over our skin, the inside of her body, or her
exquisite hand on my skull. That was music
composed by a provender of want, emptied
now, replenished with a new ignorance,
a freshness that hunts amid the loneliness,
Some heart that tells itself the weather, but fails,
happily at last, hungry for what it is becoming.
And as I walk for coffee, I hear how the birds cry out,
resident inside light standards and parking garages,
their gifts to strangers, hurrying under the ungluing
pain of cold that burns with seraphim beauty.
My carol mostly is unseen like the wind that is
sometimes visible in their flight but, yes, these birds
are extravagant souls, not of the dead, but of ours,
as long as we are here and alive.
When this white river runs dry
Bury me by bramble
Bury me by stone.
When this white river runs dry
Let the white flowers grow
Let the white flowers blow.
For this snow fall in Spring
is a thousand ghosts of you.
I wonder whether you drop by now and then to read my poetry.
Sure, the two of you never saw eye-to-eye, but it spoke about you fondly.
So, I like to think both of you arrived at some sort of understanding.
Met for drinks, admit I lost myself, confess the versions you took for granted.