Told me to wait another two nights.
and the truth would rise like ice cubes
In a celebratory drink. Without taste
But accentuating the taste that’s there
Already, then adding volume to it
While weakening the taste but by then
It’s not the taste you’re after is it and where
Has it got to finally, absorbed, invisible?
The moon looks full but it’s not. Not that
It matters but it does. Like other things
That never happened but did anyway
And because they never happened never end
It comes back in the framework of an ache
New to the knee though you’ve had no injury
Stretching and the gap closes instantly
Between confidence and a death you’ve seen already
It’s not a ghost which keeps you up at night
It’s certainty any telltale pain appearing suddenly
The ghost is your memory, incomplete, waiting
The last memory that it comes back.
Six late-August evenings (6)
Amsterdam Avenue. A memory of a memory
Hiding beneath the cooling street. Like litter
Chasing cars and settling without regret
Along the surface and away, further away
With every step towards the next autumn.
Whose wake are we in now,
Thinking we’ll catch up to them, finally
And make it right?
‘Being Without Bent’
Light and shadow leaf out from the same tree
I sit under the roots of the sky grateful for absence
Because I know its shapes make the present
Present itself against this blue sincerity
It is too early for the crickets to give advice
The hornets of time find another corner of wood
As the porch shadow turns east and I sit in my new self
The climbing moon pauses on a mulberry leaf
And later on the neighbor’s roof unnoticed
The pale afternoon ladder has no rungs
But the moon turns slowly until upside
Down it can fall up the sky
Feathery cirrus, as if the sky itself were a wing.
What we see in the sky is the wing.
What we hear in the trees is the burden
Of signals. Darkness, intentions, darkness.
A man wakes in a hotel room
In an unfamiliar time zone. He has all his memory
and yet he carries nothing with him from that time.
Like the new summer from the spring he is all effect and no cause.
Outside in the dark he walks as if on the floor of a great sea.
But the ground plants have sucked all the water from the place
And have taken on a strange bristly beauty as if floating upwards.
Opening his mouth to say a name the word dries on his tongue.
One hundred and eleven degrees: three above auspicious.
Of the river his lover grew up alongside and the low-tide’s waves
Of the bay he knew as a child he hears nothing. But he hears
a message as when a great wave has washed over you
And floating in the foam you find a scrawled message
from the past forecasting that a wave is about to crash.
The hotel swallows the moon like a horizon.
One lizard on a row of stones.
Praying Mantis and Peony, Late May
After the peony scrolls have been read
And the leaves of the peonies are clustered
Armor, I stand for a while to hear what comes
After the words on the scrolls have washed away
After the rain on the cascading layered leaves
Stills I see one poised on one leaf then grasping
It fully stepping with little effort to its underside then
Another smaller within inches and more
On either side praying mantis and praying mantis
So rare in my childhood I saw only one and now
For the second year they are here roaming
These leaves among the scraps of longing
And the sturdy sky boats of green even
On the porch we have seen them last summer
One the size of my hand climbed
On my daughter’s head and would not come down
The cicada they say is so pure it can live on dew
But the praying mantis who catches the cicada
Is emblematic of courage and perseverance
Here at peace after the rain when everything
That can be read has been read and the mind
Is perfectly balanced on the leaves of days
We stand silently knowing something purer will come
We will have to grasp before it changes yet again