I am listening for a sound beyond sound
that stalks the nightland of my dreams,
entering rooms of fossil-light
so ancient they are swarmed by truth.
I am listening for a sound beyond us
that travels the spine’s
invisible ladder to the orphic library.
Where rebel books revel in the unremitting light.
Printed in gray, tiny words with quicksand depth
embroidered with such care they
render spirit a ghost, and God,
a telescope turned backwards upon itself
dreaming us awake.
Never-blooming thoughts surround me
like a regatta of crewless ships.
I listen leopard-like,
canting off the quarantine of bodies
sickened by the monsoon of still hearts.
There is certain magic
in the heartbeat which crowds the sound I seek,
but it is still underneath the beating I wish to go.
Underneath the sound of all things
huddled against the tracking dishes
that turn their heads to the sound of stars.
I am listening for a sound unwound,
so vacant it stares straight with the purity to peer
into the black madness of time
sowing visions that oscillate in our wombs
bearing radiant forms as the substrate of our form.
When I look to the compass needle
I see a blade of humility
bent to a force waylaid like wild rain
channeled in sewer pipes.
in concrete canals that quiver,
laughing up at us as though we were lost
in the sky-world with no channel for our ride.
I am listening for a sound
in your voice,
past the scrub terrain of your door
where my ear is listening on the other side.
Beneath your heart where words go awkward
and light consumes the delicate construction of mingled lives.
I can only listen for the sound I know is there,
glittering in that unpronounceable, stateless state
quarried of limbs so innocent
they mend the flesh of hearts.
Angels must be confused by war.
Both sides praying for protection,
yet someone always gets hurt.
Someone cries so deep
they lose their watery state.
Angels must be confused by war.
Who can they help?
Who can they clarify?
Whose mercy do they cast to the merciless?
No modest scream can be heard.
No stainless pain can be felt.
All is clear to angels
except in war.
When I awoke to this truth
it was from a dream I had last night.
I saw two angels conversing in a field
of children’s spirits rising
like silver smoke.
The angels were fighting among themselves
about which side was right
and which was wrong.
Who started the conflict?
Suddenly, the angels stilled themselves
like a stalled pendulum,
and they shed their compassion
to the rising smoke
of souls who bore the watermark of war.
They turned to me with those eyes
from God’s library,
and all the pieces fallen
were raised in unison,
coupled like the breath
of flames in a holy furnace.
Nothing in war comes to destruction,
but the illusion of separateness.
I heard this spoken so clearly I could only
write it down like a forged signature.
I remember the compassion,
mountainous, proportioned for the universe.
I think a tiny fleck still sticks to me
like gossamer threads
from a spider’s web.
And now, when I think of war,
I flick these threads to the entire universe,
hoping they stick on others
as they did me.
Knitting angels and animals
to the filamental grace of compassion.
The reticulum of our skyward home.
A temptress vision has encircled me like a
willful shadow of a slumbering dream.
Is it the powerful light of purpose?
If I squint with all my strength I may see it.
Always must it be inside of me
like a pilot fish inseparable from its host.
It fearlessly drinks my essence.
Such a bitter taste I muse.
Spit it out upon your table of perfection.
Compare this grain of sand with your galaxy.
This spire of sorrow with your deepest eye.
If my callous mind can see you,
there are no interventions.
No pathway away.
I am a lock-picker.
A fence-cutter of the wicked watchers.
A traveler that has sought
the mystery that eludes all but the outlaws.
The wild-eyed, unrelenting fools of purpose
that remain outside the laboratory of wingless flight.
You are the eternal Watcher
who lives behind the veil of form and comprehension,
drawing forth the wisdom of time
from the well of planets.
You cast your spell and entrain all that I am.
Am I just a fragment of your world?
A memory hidden by time?
A finger of your hand driven by a mind
unfamiliar with skin.
Touch yourself and you sense me.
Visions wild with love.
Splendor that beckons like a secret whisper of gladness
spread on the winds by an infinite voice.
The sound of all things unified.
I am part of that voice.
Part of that sound.
Part of that secret whisper of gladness.
This limitation must end in lucid flesh.
The dream of sparks ascending
quickening the cast of hope.
Avoid the brand of passivity
the signs complain.
Shun manipulation before you are stained.
Spurn all formula and write new equations
in the language of sand.
Heed no other,
nor listen to the seduction of holy symbols
standing before the windows of truth.
Define from a foreign tongue.
These are the battered keys
that have led me to unlocked doors.
Doors that collapse at a mere breath
and behind which
lay more pieces to collect for the Holy Menagerie.
The never-ending puzzle.
All the stars in the sky
recall the purpose of your hallowed light.
Burn a hole through the layers.
Peel all the mockery away.
Enjoin the powers
to answer this call:
Bring the luminous vision
hidden behind the whirling particles
of the Mapmaker.
Let it enter me
like a shaft of light that enters
a cave’s deepest measure.
Ancient fires still burn in these depths.
Who tends them?
What eyes are watching?
Waiting for time’s flower to bloom.
To submerge in the relentless subtlety
that moves beyond my reach
with a jaguar’s stealth.
To dream of elder ways
that leap over time
and leave behind the puzzle of our making.
O’ temptress vision
you steal my hunger for human light.
If there is anything left to hollow
let it be me.
If there is anything left to cage
let it run free.
If there is anything left to dream
let it be our union.
Language of Innocence
When a river is frozen,
underneath remains a current.
When the sky is absent of color
beneath the globe another world comes to light.
When my heart is alone
somewhere another heart beats my name
in code that only paradise can hear.
Is my heart deaf
or is there no one
who can speak the language of innocence?
Innocence, when words
suffer meaning and gallop away in its presence.
I have seen it.
I have loosened its secrets in the blushing skin
when upturned eyes witness its home
and never turn away.
And never turn away.
There is this world
of slumbering hearts and hollow love,
but it cannot carry me to daylight.
My craving is so different
and it can never be turned away.
When I see your face I know you are half mine
separated by the utmost care to remember all of you.
When I undress my body I see that I am half yours
blurred by sudden flight that leaves
the eye wondering what angels carved in their hearts
to remind them so vividly of their home.
When I see your beauty I know you are half mine
never to be held in a polished mirror
knowing the faithful hunger of our soul.
When I watch your eyes I know they are half mine
tracing a trajectory where sensual virtue is the very spine of us.
When I hold your hand I know it is half mine
wintered in kinship, it circles tenderness
beneath the moon and well of water
when the feast is done.
When I kiss your lips I know they are half mine
sent by God’s genealogy to uncover us
in the delicious cauldron of our united breath.
When I hear you cry
I know your loneliness is half mine
so deep the interior that we are lost outside
yearning to give ourselves away
like a promise made before the asking.
And when I look to your past I know it is half mine
running to the choke cherry trees
invisible to the entire universe we found ourselves
laughing in sudden flight
eyeing the carved initials in our hearts.
Sparing the trees.
Bandages of the Beast
There were many random omens.
Sending olive branches with thorns was
only one of your repertoire.
You offered me a book
where all the answers lay encoded in
some strange dialect.
Symbols undulating like serpents restless for food.
If I was windborne as a lambent seed you
would still the air
and I would fall into the thicket.
If I yearned for sweet water
you would pass me the bitter cup.
If I was an injured fawn you would flush me
from the cloister, corner me against cold stone,
and admire my fear.
Everywhere I steer I seek the one look of love;
yet love humbles itself like a mannequin
changing its clothes to accommodate the dressmaker.
Underneath there are bandages of the beast.
Underneath there is the tourniquet of deliverance.
But beneath the shell there is emptiness, so defiant
it is clothed in finery that neither
dressmaker nor beast can touch.
You have mistaken my search as my soul.
Raking through it for clumps of wisdom,
you have found only what I have lost to you.
Held like rootless dreams
I will vanish in your touch.
If you pass your rake over this emptiness
you will feel clumps of my spirit.
You will find me like tiny pieces of mirror broken
apart yet still collected in one spot.
Still staring ever skyward.
Still reflecting one mosaic image.
Still the accompanist of myself.
out of this fleshy cocoon
I will rise like a golden bird of silent wing
graceful as the smoke of a fallen flame.
I will dream no more of places
Hidden–secreted away in heaven’s cleft
where the foot leaves no print.
I will walk in gardens holding hands
with my creation and creator.
We will touch one another
like lovers torn by death
to say goodbye.
We will lay in one another’s arms
until we awaken as one
invisible to the other.
I will isolate the part of me
that is always present.
I will dance with it
like moonlight on water.
I will hold it to myself in a longful embrace
that beats perfection
in the hymn of the Songkeeper.
when I curl away inside myself
I will dream of you
this flesh-covered-bone of animal.
I will yearn to know your life again.
I will reach out to you
as you now reach out to me.
Glory to covet the unknown!
That which is
is always reaching for the self
that cheats appearances.
Who dreams itself awake and asleep.
Who knows both sides of the canvas
are painted, awaiting the other
to meld anew.
Facing another evening without you
I am torn from myself
in movements of clouds,
movements of earth spinning
like the sure movement of lava as it rolls to sea.
Yet when I arrive from my dream
you are still gone from me
twenty-three footsteps away;
a bouquet of the abyss.
When I look to the east I think of you
softly waiting for me
to chisel you from the matrix
with smooth hammer strokes
from my hands.
Freed of barren, untouched shoulders,
you can open your eyes again
flashing the iridescent animals,
valiant vibrations of your rich spirit.
Your picture is the centerpiece of my table
I stare at you in candlelight,
the windows behind, black in their immensity,
only enlarge you.
Making you more of what I miss.
At night I go among your body
to feel the presence of your heart beating
spun from another world.
You can feel me when this is done
though I am invisible in all ways to you, but one.
A reflection in the mirror.
Beneath your eyes
you see me dancing away the body.
Dancing away the mind.
Dancing away the incarnations
of my absence.
Life carriers spawn in the primal waters
of a giant embryo.
Their progeny will settle in human dust.
Pieces of clay
with tiny thoughts of flight.
Knife-points veiled in turbid cloaks
that shun the light of a tranquil star.
In the remote wilds the life carriers
emerge and perch upon
the shoulders of gray stones.
They signal their desires to fly,
but their homes are suited
for the comforts of rain and earth.
The sky must wait.
(The dirt companion smiles.)
Life carriers deny their ancient pull
from the ground.
Wings sprout like golden hair
sinuous with nature’s artifice.
Ragged feet are left behind.
The earth replaced with vivid sky.
Gravity shines its menacing stare
to hold them
with assertive hands.
are left to rot.
To sink behind the groundless sky.
Earthen faces have dropped their smiles
and lost their smell of fresh dirt.
The dream of flight
has invaded somber walls—
life carriers have bounded
to the other side.
There they meet the next rung
of the endless ladder,
and trade their wings for wisdom’s eye.
One skin may hide another,
I remember this from a poem when I
launched a fire across a field of deadness.
At least, to me, it seemed dead.
I felt like a liberator of life force
renewing the blistered and dying grasses.
Actually, more weeds than grass,
but nonetheless, the flora had flat-lined.
I peeled back skin with holy flame
and brought everything to black again
as though I called the night to descend.
From blackness will arise a new skin
cresting green architecture from a fertile void.
As the flames spread their inviolable enchantment
I saw your face spreading across my mind.
Remember the fire we held?
I hoped it would unfurl a new skin
for us as well.
Forever it will roam inside me
invariant to all transformations and motions.
One person may hide another,
but behind you, love is molting a thicker skin
than I can see through.
No flame can touch its center.
No eyes can browse its memory.
I want nothing behind you in wait.
Seconds tick away like children growing
in between photographs.
I will not forget you in the changes.
Cursed with memory so fine
I can trace your palm.
I can inhale your sweet breath.
I can linger in your arms’ weight.
I can hear your exquisite voice
calibrate life with celestial precision.
One purpose may hide another.
I heard this as the fire died out
to reveal the scent of the wet earth
and growing things.
I could feel my love decompose
returning to the uninhabited realm
where it belongs.
Where all hearts belong when
love is lost, and the code of the mute,
coiled in fists that pound,
reveal the wisdom of another.
Of This Place
Her heart ran
in the wilds of deserted plains.
Sun-etched land barren of clouds
and singing water.
If she listened closely
her hand would call
and signal its thoughts upon her brow.
But in this place
she could only offer her arms to the sky
like a tree its branches
and a flower its leaves.
In this dusty basin,
silence gathered like smoke
clearing the mind of the scoundrel.
The infidel of thoughts.
Blots of yellow leaves and white bark
could be seen hiding in pools of life
surrounded by red rock spires.
Clustered sand monuments held together
by some other life form.
She wasn’t sure.
Perhaps one life is the same as another
only tilted sideways.
Caught from underneath
by some invisible hand that animates
even the coldest stone of this place.
A smile emerged and perched upon her face
drinking the sun’s clear ways.
She could spear
a million miles of air in a glance
and send the window of her flesh
into the cloudless sky.
Upon this ocean a hawk sailed ever closer.
She watched the silver speck
spiral overhead dreaming through its eyes.
Feeling the winds gild her wings
in the softest fold of time.
A tree of pine sent its sky roots
deep within the air to weep its sweetness.
gliding through branches
to every needle in their factory of air.
So strange to feel the pull of earth in flight,
but she knew the antagonism well
in the splendor of this place.
She knew it had settled deep,
lodged like permanent ink
in the heart of her.
Under skin, muscle, bone
it fought the single path.
What madness calls her away?
What dream is stronger than this?
What heart beats more pure?
Of this place,
it is so hard to know which is host
and which is guest.
Which is welcome, which is pest.
Which is found and which is lost.
Which is profit, which is cost.
She gave her prayers
to the skypeople and waited for a cloud –
her signal to leave.
She should return home
before dusk settles in and the golden
eyes peer out against the black code.
In a single breath she held the ancient ways
that never left.
She turned them inside out
and then outside in.
Again and again.
Waiting for her signals in the sky.
If not a cloud…
then perhaps a shooting star.
(Besides, it was too dark for clouds anymore.)
When the first star fell she held her breath
afraid she would miss its spectral flight.
She wondered with whom she shared
its final light.
What other eyes were heaven bound
in that secret moment?
Was this their signal home as well?
And what was it they found
buried so deep in a whisper of light
that none can tell?
She waited with solemn eyes
for more stars to fall,
to gently sweep her away
from the magnets of this place.
If she listened to her hand
it would scratch a sign in the sand for another
to take her place.
It would touch the land
in honor of its grace and wisdom,
and become a tree, rock, hawk, or flower.
Through this night I have slept little.
My eyes, closed like shutters
with slats that remain open,
wait to invent dreams
of some charred reality.
I sense you, but no weight on my bed.
No shift or creaking other
than my own restlessness.
and released to the night
like a mantra slowly drowned in music.
Your presence grew with the music
devouring it in silence.
You came to me so clear
my senses aroused in electric storms of clarity.
The buzz of mercury lamps
alongside rutted roads,
shedding their weightless light.
In all of this waiting for you
no fortress or foxhole bears my name.
I lay on the Savannah
staring at the sun hoping against hope
it blinks before I do.
My wounded cells,
tiny temples of our mixture,
have weakened in your absence.
I can feel them wail in their miniature worlds.
My feet resist their numbness,
deny them their war.
As I lay here alone
waiting to be gathered into your arms,
I ask of you one thing,
remember me as this.
Remember me as one who loves you
Who pierces shells, armor, masks,
and everything protecting
your spirit in needless fervor.
Remember me as this.
As one who loves you unmatched
by the deepest channels
that have ever been forged.
Who will love you anywhere and always.
And if you look very closely at my love
you will not find an expiration date,
but instead, the word, imperishable.
You are not here.
In this moment all that exists is here.
But you are not.
There are so many footprints
leading to my door.
Let us enter, they say.
We cannot sleep in the desert
it is too cold.
Our tears will dry too fast.
Our ears will hurt from the silence.
Let us in.
And so I gather them all up,
swing wide my door,
and step aside as they enter
hoping they will lay in peace beside my fire.
You were not among them.
I looked everywhere for your face
and saw only mimicry.
The blind eye buried behind brain
searching for your heart.
An antenna so alert
there is a peculiar nearness of you
flying inside my body.
I can hold this like a tiny bird in my hands;
fragile, vulnerable, waiting
for my move to decide its fate.
You are not here.
I wish I could reach your skin,
remove the camouflage
tearing it away like black paper
held before the sun as a shield.
Unbundle you from your other lives
and distill you in my now.
You are my last love,
my final embrace of this world
and all the others that drop their prints at my door
are dimmed by your approaching steps.
I can see you will be here soon.
There is victory in my heart
and something invisible yet massive wants to speak.
Reminding me of you and your coming.
Quick, I plead, give me your lips.
Give me your womanly tenderness
that understands everything
so I may lose myself in you
and forget my loss.
If you were here, I would tell you this secret.
But you would need to be staring up at the stars
when I told you, held within my arms
feeling the earth rise up beneath you like a holy bed.
You would need our union to be your ears.
Song of Whales
Your voice lingers when it speaks
like rippling heat over desert floor.
It draws my heart and I find myself
leaning toward its source
as though I know it will take me
where you always are.
It draws me near to your breath—the spiracle that
holds the words of home.
It draws me to the blanket you hold
around your soul you so willingly share.
If you were to dive below the waters
where the whales sing their songs
into the gathering of deep currents
that pull our courage along,
channels that flow free of worldly levels,
you would find me there.
Listening to the voice I hear in you.
Feeding my heart in the waters of deep blindness
where currents flow
mindful of you and your spirited ways.
Sometimes I listen so perfectly
I hear your soft breath forming words
before they are found by you.
Before you can bring them from
the deep blindness to your heart.
I wish I could take your hand
and let it hold my heart
so you could see what I know of you.
So you could know
where we live where we always are.
And you could pull your blanket of words
around us and I could simply listen
to your voice
that honors words
like the songs of whales.