Bashful light; altar of Prometheus and brother
of Daedalus do you understand
that Stephen is someone else, or have you
remembered yourself so imperfectly after
so many years of misgivings and misunderstandings?
Bashful lights, the candle held in your hooded robes
illuminate your eyes. Before you, the cold realization
of struggle and adversary seem overwhelming.
Neither fire nor flight follow the horizon. Lines between
the altar’s cracks glow with unseen light.
How did you find yourself here?
Movements of air and dust speak our histories. The histories
we are no longer content to retell bury themselves
within the deepest recesses of soul and sight.
Nothingness not nothing not no understand cold and fire and air travel if you dare.
It is not “a call for help” unless
you desire it to be so, because
that’s, perhaps, the bigger picture of sorting through these boxes
I keep in my closet’s closet
too close to my liver and stomach lining. Did you remember
how I followed you home like a lost puppy? Cliche, I know,
but I cannot describe that moment without
losing myself in that moment. Do you understand?
It is far past daybreak. I’m ready to drive anywhere
that isn’t here. Are you here? Are you ready to go?
The cool lights of a room past the view,
past my view. NO DON’T YES NO
TO LOVE UNFORTUNATELY
TO JUMP, NOT IN ORDER TO LIVE
These are not sounds
but the echos of feet. Your old shoes in the corner
breathe like cement. Before and after coalesce
and so do right and wrong, but not like that: like
a mist in the forest or a channel playing back
static on the television. These things we never remember
because we do not forget, they stay with us. They
are the screams of nothingness. Once you told me
I was afraid, but I wasn’t afraid I was too afraid to speak.
There is a difference.
And to speak is our birthright, a lamp left on
when traveling from home. We are caustic and careless
and oh so beautiful. Did I tell you that you were beautiful?
now, I can’t seem to muster the words to emptiness.
And you still sit there unaffected and pristine. Not memory
but the vivid day itself through eyes once glistening now nothingness
now cold air now concrete falling through the floorboards.
It always begins with words heard or words
read or words floating about in the air
through slight rain or angelic snow.
We speak and we do not speak.
Both are made of our language.
“Beginning” is a misnomer; a little means
to categorize and calculate
effects of placing something in a place. That act
of bringing something somewhere. Everything
so out of place and suddenly in place or
just the sound of dust settling in the shadow of past footprints.
Not the inexact as subject, but as the air that we breathe.
Become a part of the city; become flight and fight and sleep
and wake and grains of wood under the floorboards you swear are rotting.
Tables and chairs can always find new homes. Beings
are never at home; never within nor without, always straddling
that line that keeps shifting
with each and every step forward. You.
You pool yourself into old songs
about heartbreak that broke
before you were born. You.
You become this fractured kaleidoscope
both focus and futility.
I am as distant as the land before your nearsighted eyes, across a meridian
of crossings as you came and went before my sighs. It was winter
and the course of the river behind your small cabin had detoured overnight.
We were searching for pronouns, some sentient hand in the river’s new bend.
Yet no beavers,
no lumberjacks could be found for us to point and blame. Something changed
and you knew something had changed. Perhaps it was the lack of a reason
or some everlonging desire that moved you so quickly to jump
and skip over once buried boulders and the remains of springtime.
It was a search without a subject. Like some ancient mystic wandering the wood
looking for God under rocks and in dried creek beds. I wait
until evening before heading home. You never gave up and still greet
roadsigns as markers of your failure.
The river is wide yet shallow. Too murky to see clearly to the bottom.
Before sunrise you return, each day to a day of searching. Between your crawfish traps
and your firm, rising dough the days are simply passing and we both know
that by the end of June I’ll depart into the wilderness of Boston’s streets.