I have known the
richest scent of life.
With beautiful eyes,
I have seen
every last beautiful thing.
Is there no part of my body
that does not sing
I am sated,
the way the cicada does
just before she dies?
Looking down at my fleshly toes,
I creak to the loo at 4 in the morning,
a listing dreadnaught,
careening into doorframes.
Flick of the cold light puts first signs of age
in stark relief,
and I transfix on swollen pink
round the callouses
I’ve gathered like memories.
There was once a boy who
drove these long-neglected feet
over wild fields of autumn,
revelling in the sensation
of sharp, dry leaves,
that crackling sound of victory,
young projectile body,
tumbling down slopes,
a mad-capped wind at my heels.
Do I still want to climb mountains,
like that one over behind my house,
with its antenna
erect and ridiculous and
contemptuous under the sky?
I dream of that hill,
and the things I might find up there,
a place above the heaviness
the weight of noise.
Up there, I know,
on nights thick with summer
young bodies still writhe and love
in the grass under the stars.
musical bodies go off like
Without a heart, they cannot break as we do.
And without dreams, they love the way that soil loves,
They are the warmth of movement in our decay.
But we are burdened by a thought and an image
that expires in a sad flame.
We are what they diligently tear and scatter
in an undergrowth of dead years,
awaiting the mouths of their relentless love.
I gather about me a moss of need,
sentiment, dream and craving.
Like the rock of afflicted mollusks,
I am a burden of sea, a salt trailed by wounds.
The clay of accumulated sorrow spoils my form.
But they are nature’s perfected coil,
the smooth and frightening form of life without remorse.
Everything else is unrequired.
I do not want a bone of song.
I no longer desire a midday loaded with light.
Beneath a country of moist leaves,
I seek transformation, like you,
to outlive the skeleton of my death,
to be a raw and glistening nerve under the moon.
On a bitter leaf, I struggled from
a chrysalis of memory.
Everywhere, wings were blooming.