Night Poem XIV

I don’t want this voice of day
to follow me into the night.
I want a cabin in a clearing
beneath the broken river of stars,
far from love.
I am exhausted by my failed plans,
and the grandiosity of my youth,
my shadow like a wet and miserable dog.
In a clearing by a cabin
deep in the mountains,
there is a hole, deep and wide,
where I will bury the weight of this body.
And then I will give the stone my name
and toss it into the broken river.
And I will ply the bandit’s trade
with the outlawed night,
and like a stolen heart,
I will never return.

A Different Life

What secret do I hold,
you ask,
where do I find in this
uncertain place
a wind of promise,
a map of belonging?

There is no familiarity
raised around my soul
that endures,
I confess.
Instead,
a future palm,

a mischievous beckoner,
sometimes grasps me,
leads me to ever increasing
continents of vulnerability
and boldness.

Do you think that only
I hold this secret,
that alone, I arrive
at the equatorial flower’s
opening song?
But you ignore

your parallel self,
its pitiless multiplicity,
as if it had come
un-tethered from you;
and yet,

it leaps and plays beside you
in an unseen ocean,
where you could learn to
fear again, your own impossibility.

No, I am no different
from you,
but I have conversed alone,
trembling,
with my
reckless love.

Japanese Speech Contest

The miracle of speech,
sitting amidst these young voices,
hearts beating on their tongues,
and the need to say anything,

the flower’s need to bloom,
the body’s need to resist the open sky.

In this foreign language they falter,
breathlessly,
and I think of antelopes tottering
in muddy reeds,
lions in wait beyond us all.

I think of the first words we ever said,
when our world formed like a
fragile bowl,
those first, dangerous hatchling stutters,

the first time we stood on two rootless feet,
the first time we danced with the flow of others,
the first time we dug in
against the blue and baying tide.

Did we know then what they planned for us,
these declarations of independence,
the words of these young ones here,
painfully forming the contours of the heart,

these songs that lead us to the listening edge,
and demand we give form to our vaulting lives.

Numbered

Since you left,
you’ve gained a new sensuality,
your lips full,
like a season of rain.
And the men who circle
like doomed matadors,
would wear you like a pin,
or carry a banner
to your fallen love.
But all this futile lust,
thrust your way,
only plunges you further
into your own voice.
Ah, your words on the dark paper
stitch solitude
into deeper need,
for storms and savagery
that will one day love you.
While the men circle,
living their fathers’ dreams,
while their day only returns,
you, on page after page of
your numbered hearts,
plot all the beautiful ways
to exhaust this life.