Held up inside,
it’s Halloween night.
The music’s at full volume,
for fear of the knocks at the door.
Trick, here lives a ghost
with no candy,
or a cranky old hermit
in an angsty young body,
who just wants the kids to go away,
for having lost his child-like-side of heart
not long ago.
The flickers though do enough
to bring out those haunts which have been living here.
Just enough to remember the outline,
but not well enough to remember the details.
It was my own fault, admitted,
a foolishness I’ve buried too.
I don’t like going to that part of my ghostyard,
as much I still make myself.
The harrowing recollections, from out of the far end,
set aside for the worst of me, and the grief from these,
marked off by a fence with spikes at the top.
It’s actually rather nice there,
vines have weaved through the interstices
and it always smells like morning…
I’ve engraved no better phrases
than the ones on those headstones…
and though it requires more effort to maintain than the rest,
it seems far better cared for:
that ghostyard of my falls and faults and follies.
Held up inside with a handful of memories
not keeping track of days,
not wanting to move on from night
until whatever with them that is haunting me
is released to page in ink, closed off six feet deep,
left serene to sleep in peace:
the ghosts have finally found their graves.
Following me throughout day,
lurking on my sunrise walk,
whispering to me the afternoons
and I anticipate the dusk,
well before the warmer airs have lifted,
and earth breathes in again.
Come on then, o rotation! let’s be off,
the sun rays are too much for us, and we
have withered to nothing but a skeleton,
drumming acoustics in the moonshine,
tapping its fingers on its femurs,
grinding its teeth.
Caught myself thinking in eulogy…
imagining even those I’ve had a falling out with,
or those I’ve fallen out of touch with,
or those who may still hold a grudge
telling stories about the better times…
saying nice things with only slight nods to their misgivings,
making me out to be a martyr,
or a victim…
those who wanted nothing more to do with me,
perhaps having had a change of heart
when they heard that mine stopped beating.
To get out of the cave
and make way for the light in day,
only to be found in a Panopticon
near the edge of Pandemonium
when I surfaced.
There was a bustling of the people as I sat there overwhelmed
enough to do nothing but watch
as each went on in their own way,
ignoring each other entirely…
pushing each other aside just to get through the streets,
clamoring over each others head to get the top-spots
in all the tallest towers, vying for the rooftops
just by grabbing at the ladders
which were hanging but a few feet from their reach.
The only places left there which we’d have some space
to breathe of less polluted airs
seemed nearly unattainable for us.
Unhappy as we were with our lot,
I stayed affixed the spot
while the guards kept watch,
and I went about unaware they even were.
And I still wonder to this day whether or not
the bits of information I so easily passed on off
went for the good…
and in which ways the behaviors
which were passed off to the others
made it back to me therein my cell.
They passed, but couldn’t tell who I was, or what I was about,
they guessed, and yelled at the glass
to get me to move.
And I, unmoved, wondered about the sounds,
and who or what or even where
they were coming from.
I slumbered, and shat, groomed myself, and sexed,
while voyeuristic drives were being satisfied
at my expense…
and at that of the consumers: handing over cash
at whatever they were charging for admission
to this peep-show into the hell-hole of my existence.
And I couldn’t break the glass,
the keypad could not be cracked…
the only way left I had for escape
was either only in my imaginations
or someone else’s lending me a hand.
The door at my back opened,
and I noticed someone standing there,
urging me to come.
The trees have overwhelmed me
as I walk along the ranges,
among the scattered ancient giants;
swallowed by the peaks.
With an odd mix of wonder, awe, and terror,
gripping me and my sense of adventure;
but I was not expecting these distresses
when I was stirring my excitements.
Voices in the wilderness,
whispers in the trees,
wailings from the waters,
howlings while I sleep.
Winter is the withering,
in written meditations,
walking among dormant limbs.
When hermiting away inside
seems perfectly in step with nature;
‘stay you there’ it says,
‘where you will survive the storms of day and nights.’
And yet, I must admit that it comes colder than it does
during the rest; in a chill which frosts my depths…
the caverns damp and musky airs
breathe heavy when inhaled; exhaling out a vapor.
The stone on which I sit cross-legged to ponder; and the rock
on which I lean back on in wonder,
chilling as they are, and they and I become as one:
I am the rock, I am the stone, I am the touch of cold.
Unmoved, inside, a statue among the unshaped earth,
with a chisel to my chest
to chip away and shape my frozen heart
which by summer will be melted.
Petrified, but someone has seemed to crack
the outer cast of the stone
in which I’ve been immersed.
And the chips are falling all around my feet,
the cracks are becoming gashes are becoming freed
to fall off just as well in chunks.
And but one eye can see the one who at last struck the chisel,
I think I know, but still can’t speak
Remove yourself to whatever wilderness is left
for I’m not coming into the crowd.
Commit them all to memory, evoke them when you please,
but don’t bring them here.
Follow the paved road till it is gravel, the gravel, till it is dirt,
the dirt, till it’s nothing but high grass
and monarch oaks.
And meet me there, between the trunks of the tallest one
which veered off just beyond the base,
where I have waited long in longing
for an other one as you.
Sending up smoke signals to the sky
that you may see above the minds of they all
who surround you.
If being social is a need
then I hunger and thirst all the time,
and have been getting by
on dew gathered in leaves
and the scattered crumbs of human interaction.
I long for someone to smile at me again,
the way friends do…
to look at me like I belong there,
and speak to me like they care.
And I thought of the walk which led away,
far off into solitude,
detachment and distress
lurked upon the loneliness
of a life that loved
human beings intensely…
and the mystery, and the unknown,
and the never-to-be-attained,
strange constitutions of the existent…
and the light graphite contours
of our regards.
because of grace.
Who follows, to what end I know not,
the lead of an apparition
without a light
into the dark.
And, calm, for the silence of the night,
I softly smiled.
Reinvigorating my body’s downtrodden spirits!
at last I’ve caught a second wind,
and the sails of my chest uplift
with airs exhaled from out of another persons lungs.
These vibrations of their chords reverberate
my drums to row,
and not just let their gusts make forth
my way across the seas.
Then to land home I go the more
and Theseus has been remade,
and I tire of this ancient ship,
and anxious in these tidal waves.
I’m wishing for some calmer skies
and willing earth beneath my feet.
‘Want to embrace her in my arms,
but she is well off and away.
Alas! this bitter-sweet yearning tasted on my tongue,
as if it were this salty breeze I’m breathing
as its cold turns warm
when brought into myself.
When ninety-eight-point-six degrees
would meet that of the there surrounds,
and cool me justly
as it would when heated far beyond my bounds.
That for whatever reason I so long before felt drawn toward,
or rather, lured, at times, it seems,
by some siren-like muse…
who called me with her song-like speech
to swim unto the shore
and reach her there upon the rocks…
soaking in a downpour.
And almost drowned, time and again,
by the weight of my past which clung to me
as if I were its life-vest, or some kind of boat or raft.
And almost drowned within the oceans waves,
heaving in their undulations,
before I broke onto the sands.
But I haven’t reached her yet, exhausted,
and I cannot rest, and every step I take
is by the quivering of my legs…
while my brain is getting lighter and my vision’s going blurry,
and I’m reaching out toward her
with whatever shaking strength I’ve left to give.
Then desperation for my love is drowning in my river!
I see her swept off with the swifter currents during storm!
Struggling to stay afloat, writhing treading violent waters!
Waving, reaching, calling to me, pacing on the banks.
‘My love I am no swimmer!
But my love here I come!
Amen! if I drown trying to reach you…
let the currents of the world swallow us both’.
And so I jump into those frigid waters,
avoiding brush and fallen trees.
I reach my love and give my shoulder,
passing out clinging to me.
I swim toward shore but cannot hold the weight
while waves are crashing in.
Dragging us down, again, again, again without relent.
I saw her there as I was dying.
Her song was in my head as I was drowning.
Her voice was the last I heard
beside my muffled yell.
The gravedigger’s been busy,
six feet of earth each:
for God, man, history, the author, art…
the funerals had been set for Sunday,
but the hearses arrived empty;
the crowd seemed rather displeased.
Caught up in a downpour
on a far off gravel road…
drenched and sensing death
getting to my head…
stalking ’round the thrashing oaks
while I’m out here, at night, alone.
Do not shine your light on us…
we do not want to be seen in our dark.
Alone after all,
or some part of me is,
and faith right now seems foolish.
And I guess I could just will it
just so that I’d keep on going,
but the veins by now are clogged
and the airways are blocked
To, From, the part of my soul
where there was hope.
And smoke has filled the chamber of my brain,
the sparks turned into flames, and the signals
from one of the sides
is having communication issues with the other.
I still get by on one,
but can no longer see in color,
just a bright light,
flickering above the earth.
I’ve tried to call it down to talk,
but every reach for contact it repels a little more,
and I suspect with one more night it will be gone.
Be gone then star (have you misled me?),
and farewell to the last of the light
that thus far led my life…
let me stumble ‘round in dark
till my eyes adjust to night.
The signals from that light in the night sky have stopped,
here at midnight, well before the sun rise
which I wait for.
Anticipating nothing of the daylight anymore,
nothing but that this earth will turn again.
Turn out another something or some other, sometime
for someone somewhere.
As I’m moved on by this endless procession
of issues to be contended with…
while one supplants the other
in my immediate consciousness…
and is added to the list of those I haven’t cared for yet,
or those I have forgotten about.
Process is not unknown to me,
but consummation is my chimera,
And when ends are so often readjusting,
I bring them from afar into the present,
so as to, if even for but moments, sense I’ve made it.
For the mark, once set, I miss,
having shifted in the course of my trajectory.
And if that old cliché is right, then home is rarely here,
as my heart’s so often elsewhere.
We’re going to space
without gravity’s consent.
Their hands which lost some strength
but gained some grace.
The drawings on your walls
I realize only in reflections.
Your gripping at your bars before
had gnawed at me in night.
In four walls like a prison
I’d cry out against in caging…
with a warden who made sure
to remain well and out of sight.
For that rhythm in my ears
which I thought was from musicians
turned out to be reverberations
from your pounding on the drums…
that ringing in the lining, lingering after courses,
was only just the gnashing of the chords.
And blood then hadn’t fully filled your chambers,
and plaque accumulated at your doors…
darkened for decay from your red and fleshy color,
returned when I had given it to earth.
What had soothed you then
in your inflammatory swelling?
What held you together
when you neared your bursts to part?
How did you maintain unscathed?
always and only on, my heart.