Night Poem XV

I turn my back and laugh
at the corpse of the day
with a knife in his back,
a smile on his face.
Around him,

the eunuchs of my memory
slumped and lifeless;
they tried to pin the deed on me.
I have no time for these stragglers,

their parrot-like recriminations
that keep me here
in the sun’s dead temples.
There are thunderstorms,

horizon devouring winds,
that will forgive me this violence;
they ready me for a pure and
uncompromising shore.

It was necessary to become
the self’s inexorable assassin,
to put these enemies of my purpose to rest.
On the other side,

I will be essential dust
in no man’s night.

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Japanese Speech Contest

The miracle of speech,
sitting amidst these young voices,
hearts beating on their tongues,
and the need to say anything,

the flower’s need to bloom,
the body’s need to resist the open sky.

In this foreign language they falter,
breathlessly,
and I think of antelopes tottering
in muddy reeds,
lions in wait beyond us all.

I think of the first words we ever said,
when our world formed like a
fragile bowl,
those first, dangerous hatchling stutters,

the first time we stood on two rootless feet,
the first time we danced with the flow of others,
the first time we dug in
against the blue and baying tide.

Did we know then what they planned for us,
these declarations of independence,
the words of these young ones here,
painfully forming the contours of the heart,

these songs that lead us to the listening edge,
and demand we give form to our vaulting lives.

Do I Doubt The What That I Am?

Do I doubt the what that I am?
I, a strange seam in the secret streets.
I who barely am.

But feel how the night
wants me to be a thing,
how it brushes past me,
a cape of quickening ache,

silent, possessed with infinite touch,
that rouses me to seeing,
how it distinguishes me
from the tree and the fish.

It peels me from myself,
leaf by aching leaf,
scatters my pages
to the lost hours of the wind.

But I am, I am
dying, burning, being.
Night wants me to be a thing,
surrounded by the scent

the others secrete.
Their sexual sadness,
their lamented joy,

and the first and last breath and dream,
endlessly lost
and then found again,
like a discovered moon.
Do I doubt the what that I am?