I breathe this same night as you,
this night humid with eyes,
this night of crushed hearts.
Though continents separate us,
the way it enters first you,
it is like a tide turning,
bringing a salt of remembered song,
this same night.
What part of you do I receive?
Your fear of love,
your day broken by horizons,
your ecstasy for another’s waist?
I receive all of this,
and I too am broken by a jealous moon.
With a rag-eared note in a bottle,
I send my reply.
I am lonely, and my body wishes this
night we share were not so immense,
so burdened with impossibility.
But a vastness of black flowers
drowns my mouth.
This night we both breathe,
alone with an enormous love,
I cannot traverse this hemisphere of ruins.
I fell into the night’s dark hair.
With both hands
I held it to my face,
I breathed the full bouquet,
and my eyes were afflicted by
a dying and beautiful hour.
Where do I go when I sleep?
What sweet lives do I nurture,
that are gone forever
when the dawn comes like a murderer?
The one who danced behind my eyes,
where is she now?
What was her name?
And is this sense of loss,
that haunts me
in the too sordid light of day,
any less real?
Listen, that one voice
translating the night.
Suddenly, I too speak
from the owl’s dark mouth,
the way the night
speaks through holes
the trees bore into the stars,
those sky wounds.
A single voice, a lament of wings,
the lament that soars with dreams.
I had thought my life
like an impenetrable hour,
a warm stone held
in the palm of my silent heart,
until the owl came
to cry beyond my window,
crying the savage night.
Some people can see the path laid out, smooth,
paved with marble lobbies and licorice sex.
Even better if someone has already laid it out for them.
Me, sometimes I only see streets
with well-manicured flowerbed roundabouts,
and those same self-satisfied birds that wait at the verge
for the man with the fabulous toupee to come,
throw them scraps of stale bread.
I’ve heard that there are radiant highways
that lead away from the sea,
that immense end to all our conversations.
Turn your back on it, go up,
up toward the smiling towers, the places with lawns
where there are no more thought terrorists,
where corn on the cob aprons smother impotent fear,
where there’s a pill for every night-intruder.
I’ve heard that in those places nothing can blow your mind.
If that’s the case, I’ll take the next exit south, back to the beach.
There, the foam is taking pains,
is deconstructing parades of plastic animals,
and paring flawless wives to their bones.
There, the sea, with a single thunder of salt,
carries off the porcelain and the closets and the perfected hedges,
and I watch them all sailing by in pools with grey-green kelp
and bright little crabs that think of nothing at all.
And I feel calm and collected,
and I know where all the roads eventually lead.
There is a point in the city
where I take a bend in the road
and suddenly emerge to sky.
There, the city slopes down, away from me,
to dip its morning feet in the sea below.
And it is all the more surprising,
because, until that bend,
I have walked huddled amongst the smoking hills,
the close, coughing buildings
of the human hive.
To arrive there, out of a tunnel of sleep,
and see that sky, endless, untethered,
it is as if someone had poked a hole in the suffocating day.
And I breathe, or it feels as though, at last I do,
or it feels like my lungs expand
with those slowly trotting clouds,
while the tendrils, the discord,
the discarded cans and loves of this city loosen from me.
And I realize, how I was never a single thing,
a voice against another voice,
or a blue flame lighting my own dreams.
I realize under that blueness
which surpasses every animal thing,
that there are birds of sleep, who without our asking,
weave such skies behind our closed skin.
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
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.