FOR JANET 

For those who sprawled, nevertheless with grace 
for those who shivered morningless in the cold 
grave of the mind
for those whose arms are scalded by golden fears 
who reach and have no mouths
whose bellies are bloated with starving self hate 
for all who were crucified on a piece of paper 
the duped, the confused, the martyrs
of certain worthless thoughts
for those who dreamt in the tomb of
their angry, childish caring
for those who shuddered at the wolf on the lawn 
and lost peace

Like a caged plant it claws the windowpanes 
for sunlight and the air, heart wants escape
it wants the salt wall splash of ocean domes
pushing sand down in a wet release
wants wind’s flute to play mad waltzes
on the buttocks and breasts of any safe lawyer 
sun to rain oranges hotly on the bald heads of clerks 
heart wants out, it wants brush fires along
the borders of our eyes, jungles to grow in
the neat slippers of school marms
and sudden monsoons to flood the hesitations 
of dishwashers, secretaries, congressmen, cooks

You lead the way, You take the first leap 
laughter flares in the tiger lilly red of your lips 
rages along the pulse of your throat
caresses like a hand the bottom of your breasts 
swoops to your guts where it clangs
in a shattering alarm of roses and plums flowering

Everything drifts green, the sun grows dark and moist 
on the leaves of the lilac bush, the grass dodges 
green left then right as wind like a tide ruffles
the spray of ivy and oak, the cedars burn 
with a green blazing and the punk apple trees smolder

When we fall through one another into the oceans of 
deep night and silences, all my arms know
are the truth of your waist and the shock
hot wires which touch together
of soul striking soul within the rich dark of space 
light years gone and remote in our fingertips
stars which spark briefly in the black petals of night 
aromas and musics that pass like a sudden shower of leaves abrupt
 cries anviled from a hammered admantine joy 
these blossom and perish
sand in a bubble of sea, scarlet leaves Autumn lost 
rapid in a timeless surge
of bright sleep, dreamfullness, dusk
I could lie in the blind shade endlessly
fasten my will on the slope of your hip to fall
down the strange labyrinth of roared night
and gorge endlessly, drunk from this drug of love 
drugged from this drink of joy
but my thumbs panic, suddenly anguish to taste
the spiral of your ears or slide reverently laughing 
down your shoulderblades
I want to look at You, to know the way your lips 
pout in half sleep, to study the succulent splay
of your limbs and grow almost sad at the grace of your brow

Ah, but this is all song
it mentions nothing of the anguish of held jobs or the 
dull scrape of hours when the energy drains and the
lastest war kills someone who almost had our names 
I would end it if I could
As any petty tyrant says
I would teach us to love the child inside
but all I know is the soul’s peace, a displaced joy
that keeps its strength far from the
hurt minds of our everyday grief
heart’s Sierra is a clue, we must climb up to it
must build an engine of love convert our terror
into warmth, must see the mirror of another man’s face

like a caged plant it claws the windowpanes for 
sunlight and the air, heart wants escape 
hold me in your arms tender and strong, teach me 
to love the child inside, The sun grows dark and 
moist on the leaves of the lilac bush lest we lose 
the way and forfeit the song. Fall through one 
another into the oceans of deep night and silences 
teach us to love the child inside 

You lead the way, You take the first step 
man must see the mirror of another man’s face 
must see Auralia’s face in the green flames of the maple
must see Rubin’s face in the still water of a pond 
silently a sunfish is one with the water, must see 
our face in the brown swaying of cattails 
geese lift like a wave from the shore of the lake 
must see my face in the shadows of rock 
speckled trout gem backed float sunwards 
the haw of the crow called the little black eagle 
moves the air with an unashamed joy 
a dragonfly romps in the hedge by the blackberries 
must see Malala’s face in the gnarled tree bark 
for a moment set free my tongue speaks to your body 
my hands are happy in the play of your thighs 
You walk your fingers deliciously across my back 
our knees adjust each other and lie in a row 
I feel the soft rise your stomach makes as You breathe 

Then, when we are wombed and childed by one another 
and sleep the dark traveling of sex 
we burn in the calm flame of each other’s
gentling arms, but outwards our arms 
beyond business dress and a fashionable opinion
outwards the scythe of night 
outwards the habitual face, the handshake, the glower 
outwards our toes, the cut of our knees, the crater armpit
when the light cracks in our brains 
and all things fall edgeward, peripheral our lives 
strike through the mask, blank, mediocre, sacred
there the birth begins like a smooth extraction 
of teeth, there the smooth rupturings of arteries 
the smooth death on the thruway
the tranquil napalm drift from anguish to ashes 
the soft unfolding of abrupt losses, loves 
ageings and growth, the sign and promise 
and mock of it all, the fat, sweet face 
of meaningless 

I am scarred on a nail of just so much affection 
call me a scarecrow hangs on a post of 
just so much tenderness a bug smashed beneath 
the boot of sufficient concern. Why are we 
small and mean, to strengthen the chances of a nickel more?
I am choked with the stink of our piggy concerns 
I swing in the wind, ropenecked by usuals 
choking to speak a life-word, some Yes 
like a prayer gurgling a reverence 
We are alone because we have chosen 
We are cancers because we have chosen 
We swing in the wind, strangled by usuals 
hoping to prove we are regular fellows 
and really concerned, because we have chosen 

Jose must stand on a chair just to reach himself 
     shall we spit each other on the fire some more?
John must drop everything just to hold himself
     roast our host till the hot grease drips? 
Kate must lose everything just to gain herself
     can we skewer the innocent just a little bit longer? 
Radha must smash every mirror just to see herself
     let our blood turn to porridge and our heads fall splat?

Silence his words just to hear himself

some hours scratch a blackboard in the brain
life is a wound, a long hurt, a loss
Ah, have I let another good woman go from my life? 
I tally it three miscarriages, one heart attack
and a blunt final word from a friend
Is it all to fall away from me and life to recede 
into the shadows?
nothing but a blunting despair
a pig-iron hollowness rings in my chest
but a business, a home, an emptiness
a scab, a scar, a bleedingness
and the sudden briefness of years on a wheel 
moving faster and fast, dreams that fade
and fall off the edges of my life, a gradual 
quickening of losses, chances falling away from me 
loss, loss, losing

let the suffering come down, I am too weary to move 
let it bind me with its weight to the wet ground
I am too tired to crawl out from under it all
let me be a slug and sink in the soil
drown in the hot mud and be gone from it
only let me sleep the long sleep and be done
with it, tired, I am tired, I am tired

It is all false, even the sorrow
it means less than the drift of dust through the air 
and when we lose the meaning, though we’ve never 
had a meaning, when we’re empty
meaning cannot hurt us anymore

None of it I like, not even the distractions
that amuse me, only the dark flame of our being
when we flare into life
only the taut living stress of a tree, the force river hurls itself
through the cliff face, only the dark flame
of life, the surge and roiling liquids
of lawns and scrublands, not even the poems
though if they speak for a moment with an actual voice
a wild river is set loose, the poem is a
door to the waters and dark flames of life
then I am satisfied, I dance, laugh, sing
when life asserts itself beyond compromise
as terrible and innocent as the bloody tearing
of life when a life is womb rent
when a fierce joy strengthens our spines
with a shattering laugh, when the life that is in us
is larger than us, when we must grow to it
then I am answered, I become       possible
the lilac tree blossoms, the pear tree puts forth
ravished by laughter, got with a terrible glee
when a spirit burns in me hotter than my narrow flame
and I must climb up to it
then I am set at peace with the world