time

Reasons Not To Go Home

The city is drunk
and then there's me -
sober, surreal, softly
walking beside the viscid river,
witnessing:
her spangles, white and orange;
her patience, the way she gathers
everything in strange arms
as gifts for the ocean.

I have gifts, in a plastic bag:
a chocolate egg left from Easter.
A copy of Time Magazine.
Stray words in my mind,
which I will write down
because that is how I can stay alive.

My mother gave me the egg.
She wastes nothing, except time.
She never learned how to live
with time, and its gathering
of all the pretty things
to the mercy of their endings.

Alone in my bedroom, I can hear
traffic, voices from the street,
wind sometimes, and if it rains
I will leave my window open
and imagine that I am on a journey
across many miles of water.

I truly have no reason to be here
except that I'm waiting
to feel my lover's hands on my face -
I'm waiting to lie with her
and whisper that I remember her
from a lighter, more gentle place.

One day all the stories of me
will end, like the lights on the river -
maybe borne like funeral candles into the sea,
or maybe disappeared into daylight,
but either way, tenderly, without harm,
no one there to see or be afraid.

For now, I can only be a prayer
in the living darkness,
heard by silent companions,
stilled into the air's memory
even as I am carried without end
from moment to moment. And she
is the prayer that I am, the plea
that I make, the desperate language
that no one ever taught me -
no one ever needed to.
 

The Spider Temple

In the Spider Temple the stone has no voice -
the millions of tons of its silence drip like water
down the countless limbs of its statues.
Centuries of unbreathed air
cling to the flagstones and the altars;
the kind of stillness that old women mean
when they say, “Everything is becoming still.”

From the roof the Spider Temple is a dance of gargoyles,
pale brown in the darkness,
their heavy legs not scraping the rough-carved floor –
quiet as ballerinas, the beautiful golems curve
to the physics of their forgotten religion.

There is no fear in the Spider Temple,
so ancient that it has forgotten its weight, its meaning,
and floats in the soaking forest like a baby.

Insect Orange

When the lowest clouds turned insect orange
I looked through you and saw stars, atoms, petals
realized I was flaking away like white iron
because you were breathing on me

you foamed in patterns of arms and legs
circled and eddied to iris and pupil
became a river to inhale me
became a screen to show me visions

the moon shivered like a penny
through cloud-branches, dead silence
summer cold, sun-music
singing like a child with my fingers in you

everything peeled off like fruit-skins
even time itself, we see each other
“luminous undying and translucent”
we are a fire within a fire

we are doors opening to one room
what we love is the part that is the same
recognizes itself and kisses and cries and comes
reaching out to itself like a baby

I never knew who you were, tiptoed
around you like an idiot not to wake you
let there be no morning, no endings
one of us dreams the other, let it not be me

4D

All this time –
I have seen such changes
in you, counted the dry
husks of your selves arranged

like a calendar.
A simple thought – that I
might keep you together.
Your fragmentary life

I would chronicle,
wrapping your sloughed skins
around my wrists and ankles,
saving them from the wind.

My scattered lover –
as you freeze from instant
to instant, I will recover
the true shapes of your existence.