Night Poem XXIV

Night of my harsh confessions,
you won’t let me turn away.
Tonight, regret is a new nerve,
and I probe the opening
where my years writhe exposed.

My failings dance before me.
I throw them wild flowers,
I throw them cabbages,
and they dance and sing and burn.

I failed to love anything
fierce enough to die, they sing.
I failed to be driven mad with longing
for a slice of this world.

Everything I touched,
I let drop from lukewarm hands,
my music, my literature,
my one aching adventure,
the girl who loved me with a dangerous sky.

They all got away,
and now another, bolder man
has the girl and the dream,
while I sit waiting for the night,

for the dawn, for the naked revelation.
I am the lion that never roared,
the bronco that never bucked,
the rolling stone that got stuck in the moss.

Night of my harsh confession,
I cannot turn away.
My regret is an old nerve,

and it tells me I will live out my life
in a parlor like a piece of furniture,
with my drunken relics,
my moth-eaten youth.

Can I salvage a brazen mouth,
a roar,
a life of pristine adversity,
a dangerous core?

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Night Poem XII

I breathe this same night as you,
this night humid with eyes,
this night of crushed hearts.

Though continents separate us,
the way it enters first you,
now me,
it is like a tide turning,
bringing a salt of remembered song,
this same night.

What part of you do I receive?
Your fear of love,
your day broken by horizons,
your ecstasy for another’s waist?
I receive all of this,
and I too am broken by a jealous moon.

With a rag-eared note in a bottle,
I send my reply.
I am lonely, and my body wishes this
night we share were not so immense,
so burdened with impossibility.

But a vastness of black flowers
drowns my mouth.
This night we both breathe,
alone with an enormous love,
I cannot traverse this hemisphere of ruins.

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.

Night Poem II

I can feel it coming,
because the clouds are slowly dying of horizons.

I can feel the light
abandoning its playful hour

and the lovers growing despondent
with each other’s bones,

and the birds that have become
blades of vengeful silence.

I can hear the footsteps of the ocean
prowling the shore like a night watchman;

he is searching the corners of my sadness
for enemies of the dusk.

I know it is coming,
because the sun has fallen on her sword
and bleeds from an enormous waist.

And the earth is a mouth lapping at the purple pools
of her annihilated flame.

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.