On Street Corners

Have you ever noticed how sometimes at night
the street slowly skulks home up the hill, alone and
head down, whistling to itself,
because the moon went its own way, three blocks back.
I look up, at the corner,
and the boys are passing by in their loud cars,
loud lives going to parties
where girls are probably waiting,
in T-shirts and jeans,
with music and shoes and dreams
made in sizes just for them,
waiting for the bottles of beer
the boys will bring,
offerings of love for their doomed youth.
There in a moment,
continents of lives whirring past my quiet eyes.
Have you ever noticed how sometimes in the night,
the trees shrug their shoulders on street corners,
and bury their chins in bushy collars,
and whistle alone,
because the moon and the world and the dogs
have already quit,
are not listening anymore,
have slipped off to other parties.

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Night Poem XXI

Night of the open heart,
I strive against my tightening song,
against the sad and familiar
crust of my human days.

New, new again beside
your blue dangers,
I fear death,
and life shivers in my blood.

To be new is to be merciless.
On your plain swept of regret and love,
I place an orange, round and alone.
As I peel it, it forms a hurt the shape of a moon.

And because I am empty
and pained by the passing
of everything I’ve been,
its juice afflicts me with a new love.

Night of the open heart,
to ache is to ripen,
to know the bitterness of new growth,
and the possibility of catastrophes.

But to the clenched darkness
and to the hollowed peel of my old heart,
I reply with the wounded orange’s flesh,
raw and sweet and undefeated.

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.

Night Poem XIII

You, my most terrifying friend,
I have needed you before all others.
When the women in my life
pained me with a broken shard of perfume,
I sought you in the moonlit streets,
and we would converse
in wide arcs of anger and solitude.
Being a morose man, I needed your dark humour.
And when the world took its too solid forms,
as if to spite me,
and the day threatened me with
a well laid plan,
I would come to you,
my oldest, most terrible friend,
wine bottle tucked under my sleeve,
ready to erase the edges of what I was becoming,
and you would remind me of what is essential;
the absurdity of the moon,
the chaos in my heart.

Night Poem VII

The night is clarity.
The clinical night arrives with a bag of instruments,
a jar of dissected silences,
and examines me on a table cold with remorse.

Out comes fear, out comes sorrow,
the wounded tongue,
the toe black with regret.
The surgeon night holds up my entrails

to the mirror of a razor fine moon,
and I see all the defeats of my mouth,
the dark failings of my sun.

But I don’t look away.
There is healing in this,
the quartering of the agonies I keep,
these open fissures where love struggles,

where the hours hew new scars
that will form my life.

My Lady the Moon

flkr-full-moon

She has everything now,
up there.
And when she turns to me,
as if to say
there is no one else you could love,
her regard bores through
these hands I raise
to show I am nothing
but a receptacle of her night.
She has confiscated all of these,
my affairs,
my days used up with love.
Afflicted by a burning chest of solitude,
in the month of her fiercest song,
I sit atop the highest hill,
far above a town full of
sleeping dogs,
of waiting bells,
drunk and full of ache
with a wind-devoured bone,
I try to patch things up
with my lady the moon.