Wandering, the sanctuary

September 16, 2014

I was led into the sanctuary by a wandering butterfly
to where the hills were set in low-relief against the vaulted sky
and the candle among the silhouetted pews
graced with lilies-of-the-valley and feverfew
where the congregations of the flies and lizards
sing hymns in harmonies and tongues and angels’ words.

In the woods there’s no proselytizing or preachers,
there are no dogmas, treatises or teachers,
instead there are mosquitoes, serpents, ants, and squirrels
to remind the wandering man that there are worlds
where worship is not an action, it’s a cycle:
birth, breath, worship, death, revival.

In the new garden

September 5, 2014

In the old garden, I was a man,
no more wolf than I was human,
I tended my plants and flocked my sheep.

But lately my mind has been wandering out
of my head and through the light-swept deserts
of collimated fibers and corrupted ideas.

In the new garden, my thoughts are lined up
to the rest, my heart is left untended
and I watch my body becoming an ape.

Is this what they called Nirvana, to leave
my body behind and my conscience lost
to the rest while I become the new dead?

To be subject to hell eternal and death
in the next life is cruel enough–
am I subject now to float alone

in the wasteland of what might once have been,
if not paradise, at least alive,
and decay having never been human at all?

The raindrop and the sea

August 29, 2014

A Bengali taxi driver told me I’m
a droplet, God’s the ocean, and I’m up
above, suspended, choosing whether I
would be subsumed into the swallowing sea.

As he dropped me off he told me how
to pray and when the prophets would return
and took my fare and tip and took the wind
like a leaf into the crowded forest

while I quivered, hanging to my branch,
my bag and shirt, apartment, car and couch.
Did I travel? Did I pray? Did I
seek the Prophet or the Buddha? No.

I sought the Lord the only way I knew:
in the crystal winds before the storm,
in silent pockets by the city streets,
in darkened gardens, just outside the streetlights.

I contemplated mirror pools, fountains
of government and corporate design,
the water fountain in the park, the toilet
in my bathroom, the shower at the shelter,

until at first the drops of rain I didn’t
notice wet my head became a sea
falling from the night, and then I heard
and understood the oracle at last:

Water’s water in clouds or sea or squall,
and a raindrop doesn’t choose to fall.

Were you leafing

August 26, 2014

Were you leafing while I was sprouting?

Where the sun and rain converged,
you were my shelter and my oppressor,
because of you I grew stunted and
because you were there I grew at all.

Was I your child or your brother?
Was I your friend or your wife?

Were you leafing while I was sprouting?

Would I have been you
if our places were reversed?

Psalm 30 (rejected)

August 22, 2014

I wept
with the Marys
standing in front
of the crosses,
not for the spear
but for the stone.

I wept with
Rachel and with David
as the night fell
long across my bed,
I darkened
my pillow until I slept.

I can feel
how my grave wants me,
how she flirts, and tonight
finds me in her bed
until a fit of
resurrection hits,

I gasped–
did I even dance?

What went to bed
in mourning, what
died in the night,
and what woke
not turned to dust
will give my hopeless world
joy.

The Irishman talks

August 19, 2014

One from January 2009.

The Irishman talks semiotics
and (doesn’t know but) metaphors

uninhibited to express in his
inability to express at all

the monolith of man bearing
each emperor on its faces

rolling down Sisyphus’ hill
in a steady avalanche

like Pompeii
like New York.

Celestial bodies

August 15, 2014

Why ask me how you would compare?
Women are not like thumbprints or snowflakes.
You’re like the celestial bodies.

One is a red giant, another a white dwarf, but
when you’re burning in the halo there’s nothing
but you, her, and the great fire, alluring
you as if you were a moth against it.

Or one is a comet, cold and long, that collides with
such hellish power it shatters your every layer;
another is a meteor that sparkles
for an instant and plunges into the sea.

Or one is a black hole ending time and space;
another a dark and lonely exoplanet;
or one, she was a gentle moon
that set.

But you

I could only compare to a solar system.

Yes, your legs are Mercury, and Neptune your head,
Mars is your waist, Jupiter and Saturn your breasts,
Uranus your neck, and when I touch the asteroids
I feel your spine shifting like the rock.

Pluto is your eye and all the Oort your mist of hair,
and in your Venus there’s a fire unlike any star, and
when your moon sets I wait for it to rise again.

Though many stars burn hot and bright I’ve
never called them home.

To love without a leash

August 12, 2014

Come with me into the damp and melting dark,
beyond the whispering streetlights and the serpents.

I want to love you like a street-dog loves his tramp,
without a leash, without a higher purpose.

* * *

Let’s enter a place another mind imagined,
forgetting nations, creeds, and our beliefs.

Let’s love each other like it’s easy, give as though
nothing has value, and live without past or future.

With no reason to kill, we kill without reason,
with no faith nor law to temper our bloodlust.

So let us leave the hell of our free love,
let’s seek a world without perdition.

* * *

Come now with me into the glorious light of
the chosen holy places of paradise assured.

Here my love is where I must be your brother,
you my sister, and our love constrained by holy words.

But there I lost you among the stale gold and
cold marble, and I couldn’t understand this heaven.

Find me outside the glory of the holy chapel
and let’s seek an empyrean that still breathes.

* * *

Come love, let’s free ourselves from inhibition,
embrace our bestiality and forget our sacred souls.

Let me love your flesh as you love mine, without
attachment, to satisfy and put to bed our predatory hungers.

Here I am within my skin and feeling you no deeper
than your own, and here you are invisible.

Have I lost you now completely? Come find me
in the fields beyond the dark forest.

* * *

Only here I see beyond myself, among mankind,
where we are naked and not alone.

Here the fieldflowers are our raiments and my need
never seeks to be satisfied by you, and is.

In distance there’s silence that doesn’t fade
but cuts out suddenly like a deaf man healed
when all the world floods in
and all the world floods in.

When I met my love there was no telling
whether we or the world had changed.
I left my rabbit half-eaten
and walked in the snow to the station.

Who is this Christ that through the fog
of coats beholds me of all men and says
will I give a dime to help buy a hot dog?

Although his voice asks me as a man
reduced to a dog begging scraps,
when his soul brushes mine he is god,

whose eyes search for only a friend
who will give him a kindness not from guilt
or high-minded notions of righteousness,

whose dry callused hands question why
my poverty is greater than his
and my need so much more important,

whose feet ask me where is your faith
passing without the simplest act of healing
and twelve words even a traitor could utter.

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