Night Poem XI

We get drunk and play with fires.
Faces burn like sparklers
under falling cinders.
In and out of shadow,
life explodes
in a certainty of ashes,
and nobody heeds the warnings
on fireworks boxes.
Everywhere we abandon
the salt, the sun,
and leave lovers to their sorrows,
beauties to their games,
death in a suitcase with the dead.
Tonight, we burn the sky with an
irreverent flame,
we paint in circles and eights,
our bright hearts in the dark.

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Matsuri

One summer I went alone to a festival in Japan.
Under the oppressive evening heat
that rang sweat out of me,
I watched young ladies in their bright yukata
giggling, munching down octopus dumplings
under the striped tents,
and old men scratching their arses, tough as leather shoes,
scowling at boys
who slathered ice cream on their cheeks,
and lovers holding startled fish in plastic bags,
sauntering the long lane between the crackling stands.
I watched them all, strange human lanterns,
floating down to the shrine, dark and quiet against the mountain,
while far above fireworks painted dusk
purple, pink and green.
There was no part for me in this parade of falling lives,
each like confetti, or streamers,
or the bursting brief flowers in the sky,
or sickly sweet candyfloss
dripping through the summer’s hot little hands.
But I was happy there, and unnecessary,
unwanted, unloved, unhinged,
and pleasantly left alone with the discovery of the world.