Night Poem XVII

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
feverish accumulations.

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.

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A Sudden Sky

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.