Years Before His Resurrection
On the sidelines
in a tale as lasting as fairy tales
he recounted the details
of his Russian heritage,
several centuries past.
Through an open window
he stretched his neck and laughed
at all the sidewalk walkers
walking beneath him.
With tortured eyes and soft, cold skin,
he spent his time playing piano in candle light, sometimes
counting his collection of exotic butterflies.
He longed for death or for some substance
in the wind. He caught the night between
his eyelashes, reading Nostradamus outload.
Behind closed curtains he nourished the cavity within
by reciting the prayers of obscure saints, offering appeasement
to his guilt that no hope could overcome. He was not
a typical man, not proud, not tender,
but full of churning lava, full like a storm cloud
before the storm, like the belly
of a soon-to-be mother, full and focused
like a predator sensing
the frightened heart of its prey.
I hold my love before you
in the silver eye of winter.
I nudge myself from a restless year,
dancing upon the crust of a breaking wave.
I feel the taste of Japanese ginger enter my mouth.
My head is full of phantoms. My fingerprints
are held hovering inches from fire.
Starships and everglades are overturned.
Thumbs are caught in car doors.
The blunt scythe of Death carves, shredding
history’s figures of ruthless pride.
Ideas of beauty change from century to century
but not ambition, not the way
the ego demands to be heard,
regardless of brutality or waste.
I open the empty pantry. I write down names
on the pieces of a shattered lamp post.
In the silver eye of winter,
I hold my love before you.
Out of Dreams
Like clay brick eroded
by rain, thoughts sear
my better part, calling me
to the altar, to kneel and
discipline these fantastical wanderings.
Like an egg yolk pierced, I spill
my substance flat across the frying pan.
I live in the time just before dawn.
I curse the crocodile but praise
its authority. The clock strikes seven
and I have lost my sparrow for good.
I have waited for the change, wished myself more
than this life, making a remedy from imagination.
I will walk the straight line as an experiment, walk
to feel like a buttercup flower tied to the forest floor -
satisfied with its display of tiny splendor, at peace
with its place amongst the aged trees.
Whenever I touch him
around my shell.
He says no, no,
to the great descent
to hands locked in the wind,
on pillow or sheets.
October sun beating on my covered spine
So many walls erected in the name of home
He talks of black birds glowing
or running into webs as wide
as a tree’s open arms.
Toads and kestrels shape
the river’s being.
Being what? But song
and bird’s breath
and even lovers who need
her current, her living fury
that communes equally with the sun and moon.
Seedlings and butterflies,
the river engulfs all in her rushing blood.
Death reflects beautifully in her
foaming shine. And the devil’s rage
the salmon’s struggle, the child’s tossed-in penny
shapes her surly figure, is wine to her thirsty veins.
Branches and stones
vanish in her womb where never
the light has crept. Snails ride
her flesh to shore.
And though she is tired, she never rests,
desperate to embrace the sea, to ride
his undulating loins, and be bonded forever
to his salty grandeur.