Waking from a Nightmare
I am awash in the terrible seas of the night;
dream waves lift me and drop me.
Every hollow is a deep pit:
water for drowning is its floor
and I am sure to go under.
Gold could be lead in this lack of light,
and the sea so big
no one could measure its changes.
I am rising through blacknesses,
drowned in the bleak shutting out of
even the sheer blasts of the weather.
And as I am rising, utterly lost,
the dark water leaching my last warmth
you are there soft in the bed beside me,
the mercy of your flesh draped
exactly on your skeleton.
Your body posits axioms of warmth
as you draw breath, confident
as the geometer in the sand,
and though the soldier strike you
spilling your life force,
yours is the lever that could
move the earth.
East of the Sun, West of the Moon
In the west, the sun is setting
In the east, the moon is rising
Two celestial lamps, the wayfarer in between
It is still day, soon to be dark
The quest fits the soul
as the bear’s skin the bear –
it is loose, mobile, sliding around
the body it encloses;
it suits the need for escape.
The raven lands in the snow
This is no time for doubt
but the horizon offers no guidance
as it rings the place where
the wayfarer stands
The moon’s light is damped by a cloud
The shadow of a speck in the distance
darkens and lengthens till the shape
of a roof is drawn on the snow
A word hangs in the frozen air: Morfedloch
The traveler turns toward
the distant hut. The bird
lifts awkwardly into the air, flapping
and clocking its thick call.
Long ago and far away
Yesterday, in a distant city
On this very spot, many years ago
Not so long ago, in a town near here
Miss Annie John, Somewhere, Belgium
In the next street, in a house much like this
Before you were born, when we lived in Bavaria
Once upon a time, far, far away
I waited, as the word tintinnabulation
waited in the dictionary for Poe.
I remembered and forgot, as trees
remember and forget leaves.
I listened, as the quiet air
listens for a distant wind.
I named the name I did not yet know.
I quivered and resounded as I gave up
the music you wanted to play.
I forgot and remembered, as trees
remember and forget leaves.
I listened, as the air listens
for an approaching wind.
On a chilly day
they arrived on campus
like a new kind of weather,
settling thickly on the trees.
They made it darker – the foliage
as if trees in a watercolor
had been overpainted
So few trees in this city –
Like the birds, I was drawn
to this great double avenue. But now
I couldn’t walk under the boughs
unless I was willing
to be coated in the birdlime
raining from the weighted branches
onto the pebbled cement of the walkways.
You ventured in, despite the guanoobleck
and brought back a shivering
fallen fledgling which we named Kuzelfritz,
settling it in a shoebox for the overnight
in the vain hope of rescue.
Someday I’ll be able to buy a house
Someday I’ll be able to buy a car
Someday I’ll be able to go to Europe
Someday I’ll be able to take time off
Someday I’ll be able to buy paintings
Someday I’ll be able to give trees to the city
Someday I’ll be able to put some money into my business
Someday I’ll be able to eat out again
Someday I’ll be able to see plays again
Someday I’ll be able to put the heat up to 50 degrees again
Someday I’ll once more pay all the bills in one sitting
Someday I’ll have hot water in the evening again
Someday I’ll be able to buy pasta in the right shape for each recipe
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