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.

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Night Poem XIX

Night of desolation,
you reduce me to this,
husk of a crippled light.
I was a man,
and man is a beast of the day,
filled out like a coat without substance.

I was a man,
and man is a word, no more than a whimper,
in your dark amphitheater.
Why do you strip me of everything,
save these two ancient aches, death and love?

Alone by your silent lake,
pure amplifier of my id,
I fear only death, its totemic heartbeat,
its beckoning festivals.

Alone in your infinite vault,
I remember only lost loves,
the luxuriant spider of a vengeful heart,
the torrid, teasing skin of sudden memory.

Night, you destroyer of my sunlit facades,
I am remade with every dark hour,
the perfected image of your
adamantine agonies.

Night Poem XVI

Who hurt you, night?
Who was it that gave you your melancholic gait?
The suffering of the void became too much for you, didn’t it?
And so you came down here and entered me,
and all the others like me.
Then you could bear the weight of your own heart again.

Now the night dwells in me
like a duke alone in his chateau.
And he wanders from room to room,
speaking gruffly to himself,
and stands at windows,
and turns away with an involuntary smile.

And he fills me with the primordial memories
of ruined love,
of all the love that came and went long before me,
the love that became the night’s blue hurt.
Night, my tenant,
I listen to your afflictions with an ear pressed inward,
and what I translate becomes my strength.

A Dozen

A dozen tiny children
squatting on the rocks,
crabs in pools,
wind collapsing seaward.
Children of a crueler world
pulling off the ocean’s legs.

A dozen sea birds
angry in the sky,
Stuka bombing
the silent fish and chip hordes.
The wind returns across the surf,
holding the hand
of a dead fisherman.

A dozen memories of you,
seaweed on the sand,
you waded here,
stones between your thighs.
The seagulls were happier then,
the children kind,
the crabs still had their claws.