The lines

I’ve rummaged through the lines
every old word monstrously arrayed around me
memories smiling before sunset and signs
of an insubstantial pageant faded and folded
into air… into air… into little shrines
to a little heart heartlessly shaped
by imagination? reality? yesterday? All lines
disappear the harbor of your phantoms
—now no hiding among the lines
—no half-smiles before vespertine signs
—only unkind shrines made mine by time

Only a suffering god can help

Heavier than the heaviest weight
waits the acceptance of no beginning
no cause, no culpability
only a curse without an inscribing sorcerer
without a scapegoat to punish
and yet we’re tasked to live anyway
knowing only what we choose to know
while forgetting that we chose.

Is that even knowing?

The strong gods have fled
with their enchantments saturating
every discipline and gift
every precinct and mood
with meaning beyond necessity: gone
giving way for every entry
to become one dimension
of thought, of world
with little being left to live
and we blame all and none.

Is there even a world?

Now, only a suffering god can help
a weak god without explanations
without riddles for hierophants
or canons for high priests
priests promising revenge in the end
in the end promising anything
to make life something
it isn’t and can’t be.

Is there ever an end?

A suffering god
of mystery for identity
of all names and none
bearing all imprecations
whispering all benedictions
for an indifferent world of difference
and distance between the real and the imaginary
between hope and nothing.

Is there really nothing?

No Signs or Stars

After three days
overcast covered lovers
feel the insecure insight of sunlight
under bundles soon shed
wondering if they can change their signs
by truly being them or forgetting them
or believing there are no signs or stars
to govern or guide
only overcast days
for lovers loving the way things are
and the way they aren’t
and the way they might’ve been
affirmation before and after and in any case
in relation to the strangest claim of all: all is true.

But what does this mean for me and you?

They live asleep

A thousand souls sleep in the old Sears building
with a view of downtown to die for
space enough for unread things
safe art on safe walls
for everyone and none
and the latest in coffeemakers, speakers, screens.

Just down below they have wine and bread
smokes, sidewalks, policemen
all living aside live music
and old music, trains, poverty.

Lower still lives the labyrinthine care of childcare
cauldrons of heat, bundles of communication, power
power for everyone and none
living near such lives and familiar music
and euphoric desperation of the building’s gospel.

Down and around the way within the turning walls
of concrete, pillars, repurposed spaces
the unlucky fortunate few
find the yellow door
the way that faintly sings to the sleepers high above
to wander down and around and through
to a world of sorrow, possibility, truth.

so little, so long

I find the book isn’t where it belongs
and the little and the long parts
of conversation circle back
to sweetnesses so strained by rhythms unbroken
for so little and so long by habit, by chance
by everything being all Seattle in Texas in winter
where such books mean such different things.

I hold an idea until exhaustion sets in
and the lost art of praying for my enemies
becomes a measure less, a measure more
more movement toward expecting
such an unwelcome realization: I have no enemies.

I find and hold so little, so long
of measures less and more lost than ever
I could have guessed. Circling back
upon disappointments devolved into energies
driving what’s broken in order to order
what has become so disordered
as it yet holds the hope
toward which the rhyming rhythms move.

Up again, old heart

Up again, old heart…
We’re driven on waves of intensity
folded through exotic familiarity
lulled-out into the deepest shallows of the real
where we’re torn apart and born again
and again with shores unseen
in countless abandoned moments:
so ordinary, so timeless, so mine, so yours
and yet, yet this moment now
belongs nowhere and to no one
not really, no, because
everything, eventually, ends.

Old souls, like ours, drown in beauty
while mothers shape our vision
and fathers fall
and friends listen
and lovers lay on their beds and talk with their hands
and the bedside light sets them in soft relief in a private world
where everything and nothing changes
while the playlist runs off
into something haunting.