I wake in winter

I wake in winter ten till four,
Ascend the stairs to start the fire,
Subdue a spark of hope for more
Than cold endured, a hand for hire.

I need a shock, no hint will do.
If feet could speak, with sound reprised
They’d shirk in word my fears anew—
They live like deer, and die surprised.

Afraid of death, from life estranged,
In flight from fact, left meek and mild,
The ox which once grew strong and ranged
Amid the wild goes cowed, beguiled.

The pleas for peace are made in war
Which none will win; to win’s to die
And live with loss across the door
Where one is true and pairs the lie.

I wake in winter ten till five,
Descend the stairs to light the fire:
The twigs ignite, the flame survives,
Returns to fan the heart’s desire.

“Evangelists Keep Knockin’ On My Door”

Evangelists keep knockin’ on my door
Askin’ me what I am living for
I say, ‘for the money and the fame
I’ve tried to live for love, but love’s a game’

There’s something here I still don’t understand
I’m not at sea, but there’s still no sight of land
Seems to me the moon knows when to weep
Where’s the savior here who’ll lead these sheep?

Melancholy crashes like a storm
I’m too alone to pretend to heed the norm
Sky’s about to crack open and explode
The tears and planes will fall, and every hand will fold

Heart’s so weary and the soul’s age-old
Ev’ry time I stay here it all gets cold
I hear how sorrow makes room to grow
But there’s no room for me here, so it’s time to go

She held me under water in a bay
Said she never knew no other way
I gasped for air, then asked her out again
She said one day she’ll change, I guess I’ll leave her then

Come and take these shadows off my wall
Come and catch me from my next great fall
World outside looks like it won’t improve
I’m lookin’ for an insecure beauty to ask me if I approve

Sky’s so dark, the mind is so damn full
This time in the city’s already taking its toll
Can I please have a second away from noise?
Can I for once forget to pretend that I have poise?

Why in hell do these words never stop?
Why don’t I just pick up broom and mop?
I know I’d dust off every window sill
The emptier I feel, the more these words don’t fill

Well, even the trees, you know they stand alone
And even the asphalt here, you can hear it groan
This place was never meant for the likes of me
The echo I must heed, it calls me back to sea

“Nothin’ To Say”

The day has ended, but the cars do not cease
I sit at this desk, wondrin’ if anyone is at peace
I feel so far away from the only one I ever knew
I sense tragedy ahead, but what else can I do?
I need to move on, I got nothin’ to say
To stay’s to wither, and let the soul decay

The heart’s a labyrinth, the mind’s a black hole
You can get trapped in either, lose sight of the whole
To capture the foal soon to grow into a magnificent steed
You’ve got to go after what you want, and know what you need
I need to move on, I got nothin’ to say
To stay’s to wither, and let the soul decay

There’s never enough time, and something is always lacking
You’re not hungry, you’re not cold, but loneliness is attacking
In the heat of the summer, everyone’s ravaged by lust
Like a self-propelled incinerator, about to combust
I’ve got to get outta here, I got nothin’ to say
To stay’s to wither, and let the soul decay

Must my skin be touched for my passion to manifest?
Can I not touch it within, where the heart finds its zest?
What can I do when this restlessness never leaves me?
What song can I sing when even singing grieves me?
All I can do is move on, I got nothin’ to say
To stay’s to wither, and let the soul decay

Let me find a quiet place where I can think and chop wood,
Where I can feel the peace of morning, and say that it is good,
Where the fires that now consume me, can lead me to the light,
Where the one thing I’ll never touch, calls to me through the night
I hear the call to move on, I know there’s nothin’ to say
To stay here’s to wither, and let the soul decay

“Before Dawn I Tremble”

Face feels hollow, chest collapsed in
Lines appearing through my sallow skin
Who’d want to pass these traits to their next of kin?
Before dawn I tremble

Terror returns like wind with a shiver
Let it be or flee, float down the river
Each man carries a message to deliver
Mid-morning I crumble

A race paced for impending fall
Heard the breeze in the trees, heard the call
As a chill ran up my crooked spine
I asked her how she was, she just said, ‘fine.’

The sounds of sirens remote and aligned
With the ghostly whimpers I’ve left behind
What is the thing I was born to find?
At high noon I question

In times mindlessly mundane
Callous jesters feebly entertain
Thoughts of weeping to the falling rain
After noon I envision

The thunder rumbles on inside
No one can see, there’s nowhere to hide
The emptiness remains, within and around
Hidden weight takes you to the ground

Neither soft nor easy, often I writhe
Faces around me look unworried and blithe
The women are graceful, lovely and lithe
In the evening I envy

The one I thought was The One she knocked
On the door to tell me I wasn’t, I locked
The door to ease my heart, it balked
At midnight I cry out

“Below Her, Another Self”

Below her, there is another self, the self she searches for,
But will she ever learn to receive, to let the other open the door?
She searches for one to save the self she wishes she could leave
How long in her loveliness must she search ‘till soul and body cleave?

She and I, we once were one, but split apart like conjugal twins
Racked with the pain of Catholic guilt, she asked pardon for her sins
“Pardon me,” she spoke in French, “je pense you’ve lost your sense,
Forgive my greater intelligence, I’m sorry you are so dense.”

So that was that, the thing was done, I wept and laughed by turns
Though many years have come and gone, the sting of loss still burns
A friend told me he met her in Japan, working as a geisha
If he had the choice—Cat’s Claw or her—he said he’d choose the Acacia

Below her, there was another self, and that self eluded my reach
Like silence in the city, like a distant island from the rocky beach
She was like Nietzsche: she hated to follow, and she hated to lead
She could live with very little, for to be herself was her only need

If I cannot be with her, at least let me find her likeness
I’m nowhere near midlife, so why am I always in crisis?
By the cypress trees, I feel the breeze touch me, like a long-lost soul
Touches a lover, desperate to feel the sensation of being whole

In a time of silence and waiting, I waited for a moment too long
Since my body lacked clear weakness, I was praised for being strong
In the darkest moment of the shortest day, I awoke to the nature of light
By the bark of the oak tree in the shade, I decided to rest for the night

I long to be at ease with another, the way I used to be with her
Alone together, we remained ourselves, neither needing to defer
Below her, there was another self, and such beauty is far above words
I hope she is free, free and unfettered, that her spirit soars with the birds

“Hard Hot Summer Blues”

Well, I’ve been walkin’ down the city street
July heat’s been makin’ me sweat
I’ve been walkin’ down the city street
July heat’s been makin’ me sweat
Tryin’ not to look at a single face
Every glance bears the hint of a threat

The hard heat of the sidewalk
It burns the soles of your shoes
Yeah, the hard heat of the city
It burns the soles of your shoes
And the hole in my soul man it’s burnin’
From these hard hot summer blues

Well, I’m walkin’ down the city street
Lookin’ for a place to dance
Well, I’m walkin’ in the merciless city
Just lookin’ for a place to dance
Longing for a mystic gypsy woman
To put me in a walking trance

The nights are torrid and lonesome
And the passion is never real
Nights so torrid and lonesome
And the passion never real
I’ve got a need to dance my way
Through these feelings as strong as steel

Walkin’ down the city street
Burnin’ the soles of my shoes
I’m walkin’ down the city street
Holes in the soles of my shoes
My soul is hungry, a hungry ghost
With these hard hot summer blues

“The Day The Music Ends”

I dance to move into the stillness,
To lose the thing that must be lost,
To choose to live, to thrust my self
To where trust counts for more than cost.

I caught something, I catch it each time
I dance in time to music that never ends.
Yet why when silence returns, do I fall apart?
Why when the body stops moving, does the heart
Fill with sorrow and grief, with the tragic jewels
That adorn the dances of sages and magic fools?

The heart fills with what always returns,
And until I am empty, will I always yearn?
In the silence of this movement, lend me a moment,
Turn to me, Lady of rhythmic serenity,
Lend me the key to see into your heart,
The gift that shatters what it later mends,
The soul still dancing when the music ends.

I dance to admit the gift, and to give it,
To give the thing that gripped is lost,
To live at last, be stripped of self,
Throw off that whip at any cost.

I held something, I hold it each time
I loosen my hold on what holds me under,
On thunder road I forget myself and stagger,
I trip over my feet, and a man with a dagger
Wakes me at sunrise on solsbury hill;
I look into his eyes as he goes in for the kill.

I have no things, and I have no home,
And until I find her, I will always roam
In this movement of silence, through the noise with the word:
I will write, and I will dance; my voice will be heard.
I will search for the key to see into her heart,
The gift that shatters what it later mends,
The soul still dancing when the music ends.

I dance to turn my sorrows inside out,
To earn the thing that has always been lost,
To learn how to move within my doubt,
Spin closer to the thing that has no cost.

I felt something, I feel it each time
The music takes my feet away from me.
I cannot say what it is that keeps touching me,
Or why I move like some demon is clutching me,
Or why when I return to the silence of my room,
I hurt like a man dragged by his hair into her tomb.

I will die someday, and who knows if these words will endure?
They may stay unread, unsung and obscure,
But the unsung can still sing, can still dance in their way,
So when the last hour strikes, on the day before decay,
I pray I have found the key to see into her heart,
I pray the gift that had shattered has healed, and transcends
And that the soul still dances the day the music ends.