Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Ghost's Truth

If you closed your eyes could you see me
Lying next to you in your hotel bed-
My ghost there to share the wall-to-wall, velvet matching chairs?
Or would I be conjuring my presence in the province of wishes?

When I walked home, dark-faced beneath my hooded coat,
I could feel wet wind hitting my cheek,
Cold comfort where you last touched me.
Was that you or a sea ghost reaching out from the night chill?

If in fact it was some extension of your soul
Rising, even pausing with me among these moon lit waves,
Can I claim truth in what I thought I saw-
Sleek shape before me, voicing my name, then slipping away?

Tonight I owe myself this stark truth in your absence -
That you are mine and you are also no one’s-
Mine is to wait and to prepare for your return.
Come back to me when you can.

June 11, 2009


You looked at your hands
When we talked tonight -
When I was speaking,where did you go?

When I leaned forward, you recoiled.
I pulled back and you sat still.
I got up to leave and you did not follow.

Intermittent blinks and long pauses
Drew from me a question - what's wrong?
And you said nothing.

Three years of incompletes brought us here -
My invitations blunt tipped to your sealed lips
I have slipped into a quiet little place

Not speaking,
Not asking,

June 11, 2009


When we first had the distance to talk about that day,
You said we could put the whole afternoon
Into a box and then float it away –
That it would never come back
That whatever slime soiled me
Would never return to shame me.
You were sorry, you said.

But the flood behind the memory
Leaked out the way these things do
Through the cocktails and the ha ha ha's
It found its way up
And took shape between us -
Stinking of old and wet,
Demanding, standing, a revived contender.

I proposed a solution:
You are I choose to stay with me now.
Can we make the expansive slick of our past
Slip through cracks and go below.
Could that be our answer since we are the ones
Who made the moments departed?
What would we want for the moments yet to be?

You accepted:
Then in the slowest of slow you drifted to sleep -
There, there, I said, it's peace coming on -
And I listened to you count one by one beyond the millions
Skipping whichever numbers suited you.
You leaned forward in your chair
And went below into sleep's vanishing.

June 11, 2009

North and South

I covered my face behind two palms
And in that prayer-pointing privacy
I came to imagine that I’d found
My north and my south
Locked away in our last days together.

I held still and kept my jaw fixed
Removed the distraction of chance
Through the absence of words.
Then I repeated some self-taught chants of transit
Feel good rhymes of sound, sight,
All to hold the post-fire glow
That formed in halo around the last bit of you.

But strength to hold the specter, even in darkness, faded -
And I had a sense of the return of motion
Of some great river flowing again.
Then, finger by finger I uncovered my face
Palms lifting and the sun touching my skin.

I re-entered discourse with the named and nameless
That recalled the day's calendar
Etched in slate on streets leading on.
I looked each way and stood
Eyes aimed up to measure distance,
Counting each step - one, two, four, nine.

June 11, 2009

Beyond Empty

I could imagine calling out
Into a gap between
The seen and the heard -
Feeling nothing more than emptiness.
I could wish for an invigorating rush-
A flash of trembling light held, not crushed
In the palms of my sweating hands.

I could even close my eyes to see
A whisper of a wish taking shape,
Floating on two wings, then four- and away.
But drained of wishes,
What do I have to hold
Other than two hands
Curled into fists.

So there is that one time when
I heard a monk's sermon on countless wants-
Of man after man climbing to his own peak
Topping out on a chorus of shouted ambitions.
The monk also spoke the existence
That hides behind the grasping words,
That wants nothing but more of itself.

If I could swallow sharp edges,
If, by degrees, the clenching eased -
Do you have a few words
That speak to how to be alive in grace?
Would you lay your hands over my ears
And bring a peace
That flows from base of my spine?

Or would you ask why
I make victories contingent on someone else?
Would you assure me
That I may have enough to love what is -
Would you coach me
To entertain a hopeful doubt
And breathe in and out to invite the calm?

Yesterday and tomorrow do not need to match
And even for a scientist,
They do not exist.
I could step forward
Though halting through the newness
If I ask how I might have it some other way
Might you say that today could be the day.

June 11, 2009