Days Go By

There was a time
So long ago
When I lifted a child’s hand
like a foreign thing
And looked on the World
Minus everything but Wonder

Days go by . . .
Agony and ecstasy
Accrue layer upon layer
Light and dark bands
sediment of sentiment
Days go by . . .

I lift a child’s hand
like a foreign thing
And see new skylines
in her eyes

poetry is always a lie ~ but this is a very good lie

under a moon the size of the sky
he said

never trust to poets
for poetic justice is neither just nor poetic
poets lie with liquid lips
their farewells are never fair
and their good-byes are seldom good

overlooking a sea the size of love
he raised his hand
and lifted the oceans from their bed
revealing all the secret treasures hidden in the seas

he said
i have cried a million tears
and all my tears have not made one inch of difference in the seas
he lowered the waters and set them to moving again

he pulled stars into his hands and twisted them into a diamond chip sparkled flower
an ever-opening flower
convoluting and growing from the center

he said
the flower can not sing
it can only be beautiful to us in this place
i would not have it so

and he set the stars free like lightning bugs
on a warm West Virginia night

she said
teach me

he said
if you could turn the sky backward
rewriting those moments when you were hurt
do you think you would be the victor?

she said
because there can be no victory
only pain and death

he said
if you could bind you wounds and grow tens arm
becoming a goddess
do you think you would be happy?

she said
because happiness is not a thing that can be wrestled
or bound
or even properly talked about

he said
if you could change the weather?
if you could grow gold in the palm of your hand?
if you could forget all your suffering
would you?

she said nothing

he returned the sky to exactly the way the sky is
he returned the earth and sea to exactly what the earth and sea are
as he twisted something in his hands
he said
this is a poem
this is a lie

she said
it looks like an arrow

he said
and it is only beautiful in flight
make a bow

she said
i can’t

he said nothing

she said
this isn’t fair
you ask me to change the weather
to grow gold in the palm of my hand
forget all my suffering

how can i do these things?

he said
you have always had the power
but you have chosen to hide it from yourself
until you were ready to transition

she said
teach me to transition

he said
i can’t
you must figure this out for yourself

she said
you are a bad teacher

he said

she said
you promised. . .

he said
i never promised anything

she said
why won’t you help me?

he said
i am helping you
if i were to be your armor
i would keep you from experiences you need
if i were to protect you from the rain
you’d become a desert
if i were to sing you sweet songs
you’d lose your place in the dance

he turned and the wind played with his clothing
the way a playful dog might
with a gesture he made a bow the shape of the night sky

he said
i can not give you love
nor children
nor courage
nor reasons for the way of things

she said
then what good are you?

he notched the poem that is an arrow
pulled it back on the bow let let it fly screaming into the belly of Nux

he let the bow slip form his hands
he laughed a snort then
held his hand out palm down
turned it over
in his hand is a piece of paper
this poem is written on it

he says
poetry is always a lie
but this is a very good lie

the garden gate’s remark

down the path
murky and lined with the weeds of regret

a broken face
a door ajar
a mouth of the past
the window agape

the tongue of curtain
ripped and ragged
flicking in and out
over broken teeth of glass

the garden gate’s remark
to the passing spring wind

The Anecdote of God and the Cardboard Men

Rainy day in heaven
God is making cardboard men

First angels bring in those
huge corrugated sheets
the color of brown noise
He begins
building a figure by tearing the cardboard
with his bear hands
Thinks about it
Tears up the first pattern and builds
a new figure out of the debris of the first
Thinks about it some more
Builds a companion
Arranges them so that they appear to be engaged
in conversation

He takes their picture

Now new figures
One lies reclining on the floor
another leaning back to see the sky
yet another doing something . . . beyond description
Now there is grainy brown a sea of indistinguishable
interchangeable heads, torsos and hands
engaging in all manner of gesture
Exploring every possible nuance of two dimensional gesticulation

Now there is nothing but cardboard strewn
He talks to them
the cardboard men that no longer exist
or is he talking to himself

He is silent
in a silent room
Then calls to his angels
and they bring in those
huge corrugated sheets
the color of brown noise

I kick off my dusty shoes

the east
splits into earth and sky
and beyond the grey/red crack
in the world
an unknown sun
hastens to this place
this desert place
that has known far too many
relentless suns

a night creature now
I remember long years ago
when I rose with the dawn
pale and fresh
but that was another place
another time
where the suns were kinder

I kick off my dusty shoes
and go inside
to sleep

The Other

The Other has always been there
when you are alone
when you are not

in your bedroom
behind the door
when you sleep
trying on your shoes
trying out your tooth brush
picking stuff out of your comb
making a face in the mirror
face in the mirror