Meaning no longer carries me like a cresting wave
onto sands silvered by an uneaten moon.
So instead of seeking out the precious meaning
that’s left me in the shadow of half-eaten lunacy
I take a bite out of an apple. I will eat fruit to cope
with the fact that my moon has been eaten.
The grape will be my purple moon, the orange
my sunned moon, and the tomato my blood moon.
Outside, July, middle of summer, who is a pale girl
the rich girls in their animal skin coats make fun of.
Winter is a frail boy who dies of pneumonia.
Summer and winter decided not to make love
and since the moon had already been eaten
they realized they had nothing to talk about.
How much like you and I. I wish my long black coat
didn’t remind me of Death, that snapping turtle
whose shell I am. When you peel the shell off me…
but don’t remind me of that, or I might just snap.
Each day I get more used to silence. I tell myself
the silence prepares me to die. Others tell me I’m only
twenty-five. Who is right? Only the one who admits
he never is. I admit: my life is not worth the absence
of wind or God. Some days are finished for me by 9 a.m.,
and as I lie back down in bed I watch the commuters,
all of them working to earn their keep, make their way,
prove themselves worthy of being alive, in vain;
the moment we were made we were made worthy
of being kept alive and well and whole.
How can we prove what we already are? I am filled
with holes: who of you will have me? I am whole,
there is not a hole in me: who will reject me?
Goddess of night, before you nix me, rejecting
my too-sunny view on life, save me from these books
on this desk that even now rebuke my uselessness.
Double-blind me, so I might forget what I have not done.
I am compelled again to finger the books’ straight spines.
My own spine is bent-over, bony and ornery.
I have trouble believing the evidence of my senses:
that the people still speak, even to my muteness;
that the birds still sing, even to my deafness;
that the sun still shines, even on my blindness.
I search for the sun in the cave
and the moon on the sand
and only the stray cat
will lead me to heaven.
My path is to follow the stray.
I’ve strayed from the path, I’d say.
I’ve drifted from my vocation,
said the drifter.
I live too much like a fat cat
too comfortable to wander.
Come, wanderer: hand over this over-fullness
to the empty space
that still calls you
to live with silence, and not by name.
I want to write something tonight
that will be remembered.
I don’t want to be forgotten.
I don’t want to forget
what crickets sound like
in the Virginia summer.
I do want to stop wishing
I had someone to hold tonight,
but my body doesn’t care
what I want or don’t want.
I hear the crickets.
You know what they sound like.
Do I need to tell you everything?
No. I want to tell you one thing
and then fall into a dreamless sleep.
I want to speak the truth of my heart,
but don’t you dare tell me to speak.
I don’t make it a habit to be told things.
I let the crickets speak for me.
They do a good job.
I’m up past my bedtime
but not ready to sleep yet.
I’m not ready to die either.
Death doesn’t care
if I speak the truth of my heart
or if I never speak again.
And life? Life speaks for itself.
I’ll speak for this self, alone
in this dark room, listening.
I don’t feel the presence of God.
I’m not thinking of anyone
I once knew nor of those
I’ll know in the future.
I’m here. Of course, I want more
than what is here, so I suffer.
I don’t want to be forgotten, and so
I suffer more. But I won’t forget
what’s here: the crickets here
that I hear from outside the window.
And there is no one who can tell me—
tell this small, suffering, forgettable self—
that hearing this music on a July night
does not make me proud
to be an ear, and glad
to be alive.
I broke into my own home
and found it empty.
I abandoned my home
and never found the way back.
I am a captive of my own need
to capture the moment.
I am a slave of my own desire
to be free.
Truth cannot be commanded.
Love cannot be won.
Peace cannot be earned.
Goodness cannot be achieved.
My lack of aliveness
would terrify me
if I were alive enough
to feel terrified.
I’d rather not be here
with what else is here
but what else is there
but what is right here?
It’s hard to love
and it’s hard to live
and it’s hard to write
without loving or living.
I want to own a Russian cat
and read Dostoyevsky
by a fire in the winter
in the woods of Arizona.
I want to speak
I am most real
when I confess
that I don’t know
what it means to be real.
It is evening now.
The dogs have stopped barking.
The rain has stopped falling.
There is no wind.