Daily Archives: July 20, 2005

As if the hazel mud

As if the hazel mud
its edges flecked with dull green
and salt-stain,
cracked and peeling along
the summer dry edges
of the viaduct
that ran its length,
a brittle concrete spine,
down through the
creosote valley
from cinder block to overpass
were somehow host
to hordes of unseen ghosts
where once the heartless roots
of dandelion split
the grey white skin into
psoriasis scabs and lesions.

That’s how the city’s heavy
mid-July became a poem;
rending itself, in slow catharsis,
from some meaningless
overpass photo op
into a metaphor
of urban blight.

As if that were enough:
to use each word from that
threadbare thesaurus,
marking up the boring proof
that being marble, made a statue,
with no sign of art
beyond the lexicon
of vague pretension.

That’s how you become a writer:
just convince yourself
your vision isn’t just another
meaningless sight.

In your world, I can never be a poet.

20 JUL 2005

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Stars at Night: a sestina

To look out at the stars at night
against a distant tapestry
of endless black, that seems to spread
beyond our fickle sense of time
and stretch the limits of our sense
to breaking, is to feed a dream.

No simple, selfish kind of dream –
the kind that wakes you in the night,
half-conscious, where you only sense
your astral footprints on the tapestry
like sand grains, swept by tides of time
into the ocean’s ancient spread;

nor nightmares through which are spread
vile creatures half-real and half-dream,
who live to devour all, in time;
dividing sunlit day from fearful night
with claws that rend that fragile tapestry
between unconscious fear and sense.

No, this dream gives to us the sense
that all of what we know, if spread
out on the floor, or hung as tapestry,
would seem as fleeting as a dream,
a single faint star on a full moon night,
a mere second in the endless hours of time.

The palimpsest we know as time,
the fickle moments with which we try to make sense
of what seem random shifts from day to night,
great gifts and curses wrapped and spread
like shiny baubles on a blackened velvet dream;
on our illusions hang life’s frail tapestry.

Yet mixed among the threads that weave our tapestry
are warp and woof from far beyond our time;
alone, under the stars, sometimes we dream
of ancestors and progeny, who sense
our presence, head back, legs and arms spread,
offering ourselves, and them, back to the night.

At the tapestry’s frayed edge, we sense
an end to time; and hopeful spread
this dream, in silent prayer, each starry night.

20 JUL 2005

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