Decade

There are moments
infinitesimals without number
fed upon by ragged dogs
sucked dry
by dead dreams
by the labours 
of misguided Hercules

These moments
             bear
upon us
        weighted
but empty

Shades of dreams
unknown
       forgotten
                 suspended
above the shrill and shrieking
                               cries
of burgeoning warlords
summoning death in a thousand
                             vanities

Gone
is the gentle
             voice
that called me
               back
that called me
               forth
from the devil’s edge

Lost
it is now
Ghost and shade and
                   shadow
Full of nothing but
                   pain
Alight with nothing but
                        sorrow
Calling itself
              Love

Lies. Lies. Lies.
                 All
Lies.

Words
are all and everything and
                          no
thing

Their blood
           pools
in the palms of your
                    silence
in the words you
                refuse
to speak
in the chance
we had that
            You
aborted

Incubus
        Succubus
                 Mis
carriage
           Un
born

Dead

Jesus Calling

The night before
She stands inside
The bulging, burgeoning 
Closet.

What will I be tomorrow?
Pink and pearls?
Grey and gold?
 
Will she dress
To impress
          or
To cover?

There is always
               so
Much
To cover.

Morning rises.
Shower not bath
Never bath
To sit so
         still
       so
         long
In water
       so
         hot
With time, 
           Well,
No. Oh, no. Just
                 No.

Not when there is
The Mirror
To be faced
The Mirror
Whose price inflates
Whose toll increases 
With every passing year.

To lift the droop
Suspend the sag
To fill the sallow hollows
That darken and deepen
With every lie

To plump the lips
Worn out
Worn thin
By each apology 
               never made
By every promise 
               forgotten

To span the crevasse
The ever-widening crevasse
Between who she 
                Is
And who she
           Claims
To be.


There is no pink
Light enough
There is no ink
Dark enough
To fill the expanse
Of that limitless
                  Void.

Still she tries.
Each morning she
                 tries.

Spackling the wrinkles
With new and heavier
                    Layers 
Of hypocrisy,
Watching it settle 
Into the lines
Like fine French
                arsenic
Feeding flesh to bone.

"You still got it, Sister!"

She winks at the glass that
                           withers
Beneath her gaze.
Then gathering the blackened
                            bits
Of her soul into a green velvet bag, 
She slithers behind the latest
Luxury wheel, turning the key,
Shaking her head,
"Late again".

Knowing 
        He
Waits
Obvious and open
Atop her slick office desk
Flayed and splayed,
                  Calling
Unheeded 
Unheard
       Forsaken.








A Phoenix Blue

How many times we have
                      risen
from the ashes
of some ruined
               dream
of some broken
               promise
of some word
            unspoken
some deed
         undone.

How many.

If I could
          draw
with other than the
words that so often fail me,
If I could
          paint
with other than the
ink that bleeds even here, even
                               now,
I would
       paint
            Her.

I would paint
             The Phoenix
Blue
that is
       Us.

Her wings are
             indigo
lemniscates.

Without beginning
without ending
they flow,
vast and heavy
              yet
light and clear,
from the steady cerulean
flame
that is her body.

Compact and strong
that body is,
diamond hard
             yet
downy soft,
Newborn
Everlasting.

Its supple spine
                extends
to a tail of limitless
measure that
trembles and falls,
quavers and drops
in perfect time with
those phospherant wings
like the quavering vibrato
of a coloratura just before the
                                shattering.

But silent.
So silent.

Not a sound rises
from wing or tail
as she cuts the smoke-filled
air of her latest,
most pain-filled
                Death.

Until
       Until

High aloft she opens her mouth,
that crystal-sharp edge of her
                              luminous
face, that has
withheld
guarded
swallowed
so much
so many
for all these
             endless
lifetimes.

But no more.

No More.

For this time,
from these ashes,
she rises full-voiced
sure and strong and
                   pure.

And the song she sings
is Ours and Ours alone,
a deafening silence 
to all other ears.

To us she calls
as never before,
her throaty cry
breathless, broken,
ragged from the
raging flames, but
certain, strong, and
                    true.

A song
of roads not taken
of paths not chosen
of endings
          Overcome.

A song of Love.
A song of Life.
A song of Hope.

Our Song
        Forever
Thanks to
          You.

Where Are You, MK?

New Orleans is sinking
again
And this time
Gord
is going down.

The perfect white and crisp
is all I can recall of those nights,
those nights suspended
between
two lives at least
two worlds at least
two,
when worlds and words were so
much closer and so
much further than they are
now.

Mix tapes
Is how it began
Mix tapes
Is how old
we are, we were, we will
never
be.
Suspended forever
ageless
in those nights I no longer
remember.

And now he leaves us.

I see it, familiar as now I am,
making its way down the sharp
lines of his face, peeking beneath
the ashen fedora.

I see it.
I see it.

And unbidden it rises
Our last conversation
The last time I
heard
your voice.

“It’s a tumor.  There’s a tumor.  I
have a tumor.”

Are you there now?  Watching him
scream Goodbye?  Are you there now
in Kingston?  Standing in your own
tears, wife by your side?

“I owe it to her.  If this is what it
is, I owe it.  To her.  To stay.”

He walks like the old man he will
never be.  And I whisper as they
scream, “One more — please — just
one more”.  Because he is singing
Goodbye with twenty years ago.

Twenty years
ago.

When we were both tied
inextricably
to others.  When you said,
“No dress rehearsal, baby.
This is Our Life.”

The oracle says you live.
Sound bytes that are not
flow from your mouth, your
pen, your keyboard, just as
they did, just as I
remember

when we did not know,
how could we know,
we were ahead by a century
ahead by a century
ahead
by a century.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year

The voice rises across the cold
falling gently along her brow,
lolling cool atop the heart-thump
bomp-de-bomp-de-bomb
of a thumb-thudding bass
She smiles.
Splintered post cold against her
naked thigh, flanneled feet
                           warm 
against the breathing concrete.
Thank you,
She calls
For the fireworks, 
for the glittering, shimmering
firefly 
       works, 
that hang
         suspended
in the deepening dark
to mark 
the cloudless, blackened, frozen
End
of such a Year.
He smiles.
She knows 
He smiles
Though she cannot 
                 see 
Separated 
as they are

By night
only night
so much 
       Night
Still

He smiles.

Its warmth,
his warmth,
drifting 
        frozen 
over time, 
wraps itself
               warm
across her cheek.

And
for a moment
she thinks 
           Go
Go
   Join
Join him.
But 
   No.
It is enough
enough
      Enough
to call
       Thank
You
(oh, Beautiful One)

to smile
         Happy
(oh, Beloved One)

to mean
        It
to mean
       So
much more;

to be glad
          Together
across the night

That the year, 
this year,
          this 
wonderfulhorribleinterminable

Year
    Is 
      Done.
Thank you
Thank You
Thank
     You
Done
    Done
         Done.

 

 

The Unborn

I wrap it in my arms
Cuddling, swaddling
Cherishing the child
I could never quite
carry

At times I relinquish
Watch it shrink and dwindle and
fade
to almost nothing

Then comes fear

Who am I
without it
What am I
beyond it

And so I feed it
again
and again
again
and again
again
and again

Until it grows
Until it swells
Until it covers
past hope

Suffocating the host
In the guise of
Protection

Armor over armor
Steel over steel
Impenetrable
Unyielding
Stultifying

Safe