Sunday, November 23, 2014

SLEEP AT LAST

The night is charm school,
Is rent monies paid.
It's me in my armor
with the feel of wool,
pajamas floating across my body
like clouds in the permanent state
of about to land.
The night needs
only breath for substance,
and gentle stuff at that,
the ripple kind,
the rustling lake surface
that soaks away dirt,
buries sweat.
The day's like
a crime that's been committed.
Sleep is the cops arriving,
this body, the perfect weapon
with its chamber-full of stillness,
Arms crunched into my body,
I keep the turmoil
from getting at the chaos,
but allow space enough
for dreams to pass on through.

WHAT IF

What if
all that kisses and touches
should turn to stone,
Medusa's eye-print on the couple
in the car, or strolling through the park,
or rolling on the bed.
I’d still risk it, even blind, deaf, dumb,
as crippled as a statue.
And then if, frozen, we screamed out
inside ourselves, that cry lost in marble,
in granite, in a church wall, a building's foundation.
I’d shriek until my throat burned,
keep on believing you would hear me.
They could ship us anywhere:
one in city center anchoring a fountain,
the other in the wilderness,
crumbling into earth's catch-all.
But I’d still be feeling it,
still be fighting it.
Yes, these are the days when anything could happen:
spontaneous combustion, elephant stampede,
second coming, black hole.
Love's under threat
from ways you can't imagine.
You can't die of it
but it can die of you.


THE SETTING

Comes the night,
the sun sinks in the lake,
leaves a rippling scarlet wake.
It drops down over mountains,
paints the white tips.
It disappears somewhere
inside the windowpane,
streaks the glass.
Mantle souvenirs swallow it,
the orange Eiffel Tower,
the golden silver dollar.
My parents clink their glasses.
A star melts in the wine.
From gleaming rug
to ruby walls,
the room's a resting place
for fire, for light
On the coffee table,
that orb descends in photographs,
a most revered dwelling place,
grandparents’ ruby eyes.
Up in my room,
I capture sunset
in the pages of a crimson book,
bleeding Stevenson,
wounded Pyle.
The red world is brief
but beautiful.
For a time we live color,
thwart the ageless black.

John Grey