Who isn’t trying to put themselves back
together? Who isn’t a cloud of particles
wounded and blue from the first explosion,
trying to explain themselves to butchers
or policemen in front of departing trains
or a spilled box of pasta elbows, a piece
of tape, trying while crying to keep from
crying? The sky fails us, on Mondays
the restaurant is closed. You’re a squeezed-out
tube of toothpaste or why aren’t you?
Who is carbon-based with stars for ancestors
and still not disappointed? Gods keep being
made, restless, demanding finer blades,
but what does any deity know? They would
settle a dispute by opening the earth
like a dark jaw. Who doesn’t prefer
a flying squirrel, a road flare, the dare
that hangs between the supple
and the threshing machine? Anyone can know
how best to cross a field of poppies
and snakes around improbable curves
toward costly estates, but is such an anyone
on my contacts list? Who leaps when called
always but still maintains a cavalier grip
on the thorned stalks of lovely flowers?
All this way is a half-step in a fuming tar parking lot,
drawn on by crippled mythologies except
is it? There are those who can deny being
a raveling of notes and rests
trying to decode allure, but can you honestly say
you’ve never been a Happy Meal flung
from the passenger window of a struggling
station wagon? Even now you wonder
over the incendiary thirst
that drives the disquieting lope
through these punishing shades. Probably.
You know who we are at least half as well
as we know you. Who isn’t in a little in love
with even the worst of it?
Good night, stranger.
The welts risen in the abused sky
call out lacerations and rue, call out
and ungentle the shutters of the house—It’s alright.
The ash does not yet enter your mouth,
the capering tide of razors remains an imaginary
biting into a far concentric
and only later will the end of one world or another
roll its player piano Braille
into the tips of your fingers.
You wake before a delicious perishable,
a boulder pulses in the scullery of your attention.
Stranger, good night.
Your tongue is my tongue backwards,
your sweet my salt.
We skate awkward across an eye
through flora of exploding eyes
while folk in fleet memory
ascend and descend ladders,
phosphorescent and silvered, mute
with their mouths open.
There is a ferocity moving toward us
for which we do not have the proper gloves,
the right greatcoat,
the final, big-enough word.
Good night. The sun will be there
but there will be no newspaper. The moon
will rise, but there will be no nightclub.
The lightning we believed ours
will decathect itself from us.
We will charge through what we thought was the night
and what we prayed was the next morning
into what waits,
what advances even by not moving.
A glance is a gaze is a waving-goodbye-to.
Many-guised stranger, I love you.
Your night comes swift to my dawn
like a desperate, wasteful kiss
that tells me we are still alive,
and won’t be.