I spent two hours last night
Trying to decide, should
I use “captivity” or “bondage”
In a poem. Considering the
Importance of this truth,
This mad distinction, changing
Comma to a colon, then a dash—
Does every passion end
In such frustration, foolish to attempt
A verse, a curse— more or less worse
Than howling at the full moon
Like a senseless wolf?
Upon reflection, it is impossible to forget
This redemptive urge to carefully select
The right verb, to find the word
That liberates an otherwise dense
Description, image, fragment of
Imagination poised precisely in the mind
Just outside of reach, where the breach
Tickles an interior intimacy,
To use a figure of speech, a….
Further hesitation as I pause to choose
A metaphor that tortures simple truth.
At 2:00 a.m., the dog said, “Come to bed,”
Her eyes revealed the protest,
A consequence of character bred within
The breed, the bone, the hound that wants
A nonliterary bed as background
For her sleep. So easy how it flows,
It makes me want to weep, this drama,
This desire to cling, to dream, to beg
Until, head down, the puddle on the floor
Tells the whole story— that nothing is worth
Writing about what has gone before.
Sometimes I like to imagine stars as eyes
Giving sight to a blind universe,
Collecting to themselves a gravity:
They shine, burst, flare alive,
Form invisible winds and waves of light
Piercing, transforming, inscribing
Silent night with patterns, strings,
Pools of such enormous scale that I
Shimmer when I gaze at starry nights.
Stars appear not to move at all,
Holding configuration through the years,
The constellations like tattoos of light
Upon the night, imperfect patterns
Burned onto a blind universe far, far
Beyond the edge, descending,
Bending through the distant years.
I shimmer at the thought of where
Such wonders go, finally reaching Earth,
Inscribed on back of eye, the retina
Observes the piercing, sends the
Message to the mind: sees bulls,
Horses, wings of heaven flying—
Reminds that gods speak as lovers do,
Whispering in the dark.
Outside, the trees are naked now,
Blanketed only by the blowing snow,
No leaves to shelter glance
From voyeurs who glimpse below,
Who trample down the native roots,
Who think that beauty comes in June,
The winter’s bleaker face forlorn
Without a bird or song.
The glaze of ice upon the bark
Still speaks of age and idle talk,
Reminds years after we are gone,
Resplendent seasons linger on.
Each time I look outside
The world has changed…
The snow that blows across the lake,
A silent aquamarine in ice
Reflects hues of violet in the sky as
Marbled clouds form moving
Statues, grey and white,
Reorganize the light, scatter
Through the wordless air
Wings of milkweed still around,
Settling once again to ground.
My eyes change each time I look,
Within the binding of my blood,
Dark organs of my body form
Fists of sin that anchor past again.
Again, again the flood, the flush
Of warmth, of grace
Dissolves away all salt,
Gathered crystals on the skin,
Seasoning, rinsing, free.
Some days I look across the lake and
Want to cry. I do not know why.
But why is “why?” the question?
I am One with trees,
One with wind
When it whips off leaves.
One that walks on water,
Tames the sea
Without the secret question,
“Why?” or “Why me?”
I witness dawn and watch horizon
Fade away at night and feel no fear
When cold distance of stars appears.
I want no rehearsal; seek no audience;
Desire no mirror. Only quiet.
That is enough to whisper,
“I am one with Love,
And Love is quite enough.”
It isn’t easy to live without reproach,
Considering all it’s done for me,
Leaving me on the other side of the
Garden wall, still in the dirt, weak from
Naming all the weeds, blind to flowers.
I suppose when it is gone, I will
Run after it again, missing the lesson,
The deafening noise, vanishing into invisibility,
Thinking the gold is buried far, far
Away, in the distance, under the
Rainbowed arch, believing
Maybe that is enough.