We mine smoke crystals
on Dinosaur Hill
As the deformed sun
Like an ill-omened eel
What doesn't glow in dirt?
Dry rain of sticks
on brown summer grass
puts the mind in its place
with the stones and acorns
more still than the grass
and nervous branches
without the dry leaf's tongue
like every other thing
for an unnatural connection
that will work so seamlessly
who knows it isn't real?
I tried to be mortal, really I did
But "the end" was never a reliable answer to any of my questions.
Love was just too endless, grief too immense.
When we held on to life we were clinging to much more:
A one-minute egg, the smell of fresh timothy,
Old magazines left on streets for the junk dealer,
Compassion for one's lover -- besides, death was always
What happened to others, like a Little League trophy
That changed not a thing but remained in the basement
For owner after owner, 'til when the house was torn down finally
It seemed something timeless, a variant of mercy,
With a persistent and meaningless glow all around it.
The door hit me on the way out
Like cactus at sunset as the sandbox turned to dust
And the puppeteer laughed,
At the thought of another fool
Like yours truly, as disposable as razors
But never nearly as sharp,
To grimace under her fingers
And call it a dance.
While the players writhe in pathos
At my poor, unfathomable fate,
The take back of the golden handshake,
My emotion is not hate, but crazy love,
That she thought enough of me to cut me off
Like an alkey at three lime-green gin philosophies
Before the madness set like concrete,
And she was sweet to kill the light
So I didn't have to see leftover faces nursing miseries
Their soft, unfeeling hands
Rehearsing their own ghost limb shake.
And I wish that she and I could meet
In a nicer place, where time has healed
Enough that together we could laugh
At the gift we concocted in limitless love
Instead of this head let loose from the bag at parting,
This waiting for the black hole our legs will soon fall into
As if we are illusion, not the trap doors each steps through.
No one is as pure as California light
And the cool become old in this wind
That carries the egret like a gaunt moth
On the venting of dry phantom tides.
The red cactus came here a long way to die
Where the half-alive stalks cry in unison
To leave this last russet of earth alone.
But what else can we touch when heaven's this close?
We're squeamish as the estuarine mud,
Silently making each day from clay
Til the pictures are framed and stories playacted
Like a fish that leaps without need of a bug.
The devil is only as evil as we are,
As wounded, as cursed -- his coyote chuckle
Echoes through the night a kind of kindness --
After the blows have landed, on what remains of our flesh,
All pretense of dreaming torn clean, all reasons
Not to love.
The clamoring herd moves like clouds past the stage
And an eerie quiet of light resumes
The candle now
still bearing light after war.
The peacefulness of flowering weeds
Draped along the waterline
The green that reaches through all grime
I see they're all not there now
To be seen
They're paintings of the train
That stays on rails
Its cargo is too fragile
To look within -
And Willow Auto Sales
Will do for now
These trees move much too quickly
Like thieves in the night
When the leaf vale finally flows
A softness far too perfect
To ever compensate
For the hard-luck lock-down winter
Where all was lost, all forsaken
This new thing at the gate
Has no pain left but the future
It must, like a spring, await
The dispossessed they cry
But it's never quite as real
As those who're crying for them
-- The anger out of line,
The victimhood unseemly --
What has all of that to do with me?
The watcher understands.
Yet the specimen parade, in cages
Is the only voice of freedom
We're supposed now to attend --
The loving touch of those outside
Too much like us
"The contradiction between ethics and aesthetics in Western society is symptomatic of a dying culture." - Larry Neal, Director of Education for the Black Panthers and Guggenheim Fellow.
The cool passed all their tales to us
Like a bag of phony dope.
Toasting by the dozens,
The dominant jazz
Oppressed the printed Miltons
In their ghettos.
A child sees only this,
How pale his own skin is,
The skies are finally thick with a silvering grey, not like every otherwise blue day, when all manner of thin etchings balloon in gassy sick criss-cross in the sky, back and forth, up and down. The skies that would break the silence of God to us forlorn mortals are now sprayed with human waste like some vast and secret dog marking impossible territory. So we evolve, beyond the shapes and thoughts that brought us here - to new visions of what's real and true and right. I begin...with you.
The gaslight is not real
-- people say --
but they can't really know
if saying "you've taken my soul"
saves or loses it.
I'd like to think
there was a voice
you stole from me;
your total lack of honesty
let me believe
But now I know
there was no you
only me --
even loneliness was feigned,
it took every piece of
the city of lies I built
to fool myself.
Your gift of nothingness
I thought was life itself.
The false hope - becomes real
With a wave of one handkerchief
- For you remember how you feel
At each turn of love's leaf.
If the thing - underneath
Merely fills the echo of space,
The face of God's the form bequeathed
- Fixing your gold from its base
Like any altared Lord
Can't exist without thankful breath
- Something later nailed to a board
That won't die a real death.
Heaven's in you - now Hell,
As if it's from something you've done.
The pictures you know all too well,
Subtracting one to one.
That thing you remember
Is not your old life, well disguised,
It's barely the flare of an ember
Pops the dense seed - outsized.