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.
Who can resist the night,
disobey her giant’s arms?
See how she dims their fierce lives,
for her dark palms are cribs,
and in them lie, in equal count,
lizards and women.
They accept this,
the soft erasure of their finite span,
and call it sleep.
Given a name, sleep becomes part
of the logical momentum of our
But sometimes one, quite inexplicably,
yet filled with strange expectation,
refuses to close his eyes,
and waits up into the night’s deep realm.
And he discovers in her deserted streets,
her rustling orchards,
an amplified existence,
weird noises that echo
the weirdness of his own soul.
What the boys and girls bestowed and
named with songs and rumours,
the night assiduously removes.
What he used to call bird cries,
could now be wind, could be colours.
What once was wakefulness
is now pure tension,
the promised vibration of his fear and longing.
And the day bestows, and the night effaces.
And he walks on through her deserted streets,
out of language, out of landscape,
until his name has no meaning,
and is only a chord struck on the night’s enormous bell.
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.
Already in their eyes
a secret knowledge of smiles,
of new sweetness,
of the not yet completed.
And their voices,
which speak of mundane things,
of mornings, of childhood,
of the disappointment of rain,
conceal a tremor of bursting stars,
and tomorrows lost in endless sheets.
This precarious dance,
about the stamen of breathless youth,
could yet fail,
could burn in a conflagration
of jinxed guitars.
But, from body to body,
the night is the unspoken,
the necessary ache
that already spreads its roots
to open their brief mouths.
Untouched, the fields of soft voice
drop far behind me.
I am the departing grass,
a palm of wind holding only solitude.
the bodies I once held
like a clutch of nights,
are breeze beneath my heels.
I walk alone with a salt of sadness,
utterly my own.
And I aim my bone
at the intervals between love,
at the absence where everything gathers.