It cannot be said—
to see it utterly absorbed
into the private blues of her clean eyes—
to feel it discharged, flushed away, by the ‘me’
she keeps hidden inside
the bathroom of her ‘I’—
Is it impossible to know her?—
Can I only purge myself of this immemorial ‘it’—
this phantom limb, this imperishable guilt,
this astonishing confinement, this self—
No, I must speak—
if only to have a word of mine
plunge into the center of her will
and be forgotten; I am homesick,
homesick for myself.
Our pale hidden hands, longing, guiltily
gesturing toward a greater cognizance of pain—
as if to misinterpret the matrix
of God’s suicidal compulsions
were to see a disk of vindictive love
fall from the sky and incinerate
the last punishable traces of our will.
Have I no tongue, no fingers, no eyes—
only ears with which to suffer the abuse
of infinite black doors
swinging open & slamming shut
in the flattened palace of the sky.
Black time rolls his negative dice through space,
as bells toll the extinction of the wild.
Ricocheting like a siren in a block of ice,
your excitement settles, a kaleidoscopic veil,
over the soft warbling of her intent.
It is not, you suppose, unlike the hysterical dawn
retrieving the stars, one by one,
from the palm of your mind.
The injustice, the torn signature
of the absolute, drawing you shut—
She tiptoes, like a priest, through your secrecy—
quivering in the black branches of her eye—
a ring of hazel witnesses poised to speak—
A labyrinth of me’s
to confuse the course of you and I—
I do not dare, I do not speak—
pacing anxiously, like a faithful dog,
the shores of your invitation—
I do not dare, I do not do,
gawking at the world as it bends itself into a ball—
thinking whether a moment’s indecision
were better spent sheltered and clean,
alone inside the cage of my me.
No, it cannot be said—
to see it exiled, apprehended
by the petty judges of your foreign smile—
doused again and again in the oils of unreason—
and sentenced to the darkening waters
of lonely remembering.
No, I will not speak, and have
my every yes shown to be a matryoshka doll of noes.
Sickened by the thought
of world masked by, and masking, world—
of some implacable creativity
miming destruction, a straitjacket of images
hurrying to restrict the mad twirling
of twisted limbs—
dysthymic jaguars or retarded fish
carried like sleeping children
to the door of insomnia—
Taking his face in his hands,
he thinks, Yes!, there is no greater joy
than that of never seeing myself,
of never feeling contained within
what, when barred without,
hangs the world in its greedy frame.
The crippled girl walks when father shuts his eyes.
I watch with shame, and wait for her to fall.
You will tire of yourself, and still ask for more time.
I have been lazy and afraid, hiding from my life
in a nightmare of my self; letting thought,
like a crippled girl, walk only when I shut my eyes.
I have sat like a dog, and watched the empty streets—
the nobodies and nothings that time will turn to fear.
I will tire of myself, and still ask for more time.
Should turns pale, and could grows thin, and you cannot—
cannot forget and cannot begin, needing time, time to worry, and time to wonder—
until, crippled in your will, you walk with eyes that time will soon shut.
Have I courage to speak, reason to try?—
when she may laugh, or pity my crooked heart,
tiring of me, while I beg for more time.
An elbow on the table, the riptide of hysterical dread
sweeping past the stove—voices rise when faces fall away.
The crippled girl walks, and father shuts his eyes.
You are tired of yourself, still you ask for more time.
Time, like God, hangs itself in the scarlet sky.
Without reason, thought descends the black rope,
Enclosing the world, for a time, in a mind.
The mind, a child, scrupulously imagines
That it is free, and arranges the night
In an austere array. Then, the mind
Forgets—the cell doors swing open.
It is as though some pitiless form
Slowly, like a fist, unclasps itself.
A procession of images
Exits the mind, the poor, inside-out mind.
Strangers with downcast eyes move briskly
Through the rain. The cold, homeless world.
Pain persists where thought from thought lies barred.
The evening whistles, walks with his hunters through the sky,
my eye sixteen thousand bicycles riding blue out of the sky.
The mad acrobat bows blindly to the crowd, whimpering,
his marionette legs dividing at the knees. A tantruming child
sin-spinning away his merry-go-round memory.
The evening blinks, wakes drugged and naked in the morning,
his hunters eight thousand blue bicycles riding black out of my eye.
Missing mothers and fantasized fathers,
exchanging fits of laugher and interpretations of dreams,
spill like violet ink into stenciled minds.
Stricken, the mad acrobat peers disconsolately at the abandoned stage.
His lies four thousand ruby eyes depleting the sky.
Meek mothers and volatile fathers,
clipping the wings of zeal, secretly auction
stained glass yesterdays and papier-mâché muses.
Morning wears a face, silver and magnetic, mimes an afternoon,
her juggling clubs one thousand jack-in-the-box fears in my smile.
Broken bells fill the world—the rocking-horse homes,
Persian rugs, and flickering trick candles—with incorrect sound
and incorrect silence, herding wayward feelings into gravedug thoughts.
The mad acrobat asks again and again, is it me?, is it me?,
the homeless animal that emptied its eyes of pitiless resolve
to give itself a name and call its thoughts thoughts; the skittish wolves
chasing worry and neglect into indignant dogs; a red-nosed crisis full of laughs.
Tomorrow stretches and folds itself into today. Figure eight heroes dissolve into zeroes.
It cannot be said—
to see it grow dim in a chamber of mistrust—
to feel it unpardonable, torn from the page
of an unutterable truth.
An unspeakably private hole in my center.
My tongue nails itself
to the amber cross in her sunset eyes—
And I see that it is you,
not her, to whom I address my silence—
Words harpooned in the fabric of what I see,
a daisy chain of voices enclosing what I am able to feel,
a two-faced mistress nude with the mind,
turning me against myself—
Dividing time into time
enslaved and time ignored—
as when an insult to the mind
sickens our love into a defensive coil—
a black hole of mercy—
Speaking, I appear,
lighting an old chaos,
from which we may never escape.