Days of War, Nights of Love
They could be the same, if by war we mean
confronting those powers, and by love
we mean embracing them. Those powers.
Some found aloft, some in the depths.
They could be the same, and may well be
nowhere at all. So this may be another
imaginary elegy, and it is time to change
direction. Not so easy as it may
appear. Not so easy as things begin to
disappear. Once he asked how I stopped.
I didn’t know the famous story, but surely
he did. You take the horn out of your mouth.
But in case of emergency, you take
the horn with you, leave everything else
behind. But he had stopped listening,
was into something else. As was I.
So. So easy. Not. In the wood. Lost
and found again. After a long night,
alone and scared. It’s these trans-
formations, long slides down the
throat. Longingly, we have come
by night and day. As a kid, I thought
it was a pillow of cloud, a pillow
of fire. As a kid, I thought I would
grow up to sacrificed.
Little does he know.
Now it is time to speak with the master
seated in his little boat, on his throne of
skulls, in his chariot of rhyme. This with
harmonium. This with mellotron. This
with brass choir. Christmas angels, but
this is not Christmas. Christmas is
over. No solos, but this is a solo, for such
is the nature of the beast, making his
cold, his windswept sounds. Now it is
time to bring those sounds into every
home, every house on the block. There
among the big wheels, the pierced dolls,
yard sales, yard signs, signs seen,
marks seen in each street. Now
the wanderer speaks,
calling again but from elsewhere, from
otherwhere, and here, and here, and
here. Too much light, say some of the
ghosts. Not enough, say others. Too
many voices, too much information, the
system is overloading, but it’s about
damn time. Time damns me, dollars
damn me, there are ships sinking in the
harbor and the harbormaster, addressed again,
is nowhere to be found. Is he below the line,
has he crossed the line, are there revels,
streamers, exotic drinks, moonlight
on tropical seas? No we are
past that, we will not meet him face
to face. Perhaps it is time to rest,
perhaps it is time to go below.
All hands on deck. This is an
example of synecdoche.
Tag, You’re It
for Peter O’Leary
Work backwards. The things above
are as the things below, and the things
below are as those above. What matter?
Books were made for secrets they cannot
keep: this is what it means to be
read. Such spaces, such expectations.
I used to think in numbers, adding
and subtracting. Now I think of zeroes
multiplied by threes. Like this, and
then you figure the tip. How was
the service? Good, but the bread
kept turning into meat. I don’t
think I’ll eat here again. I don’t
pretend to know much about it, but this
I know: you have to stop preparing us
for these appearances. It’s better
to run with it, the way he did after
the disaster, without a song. The tenor
sax haunts me, but then, so does the
accordion. Fold after fold, as he said.
He? That was you, meaning me.
Music isn’t in the air, it is the air,
at least on good days. Is this a good day?
I don’t know, it’s awfully cloudy.
Awfully—meaning full of awe.
Is it the King?No, just another ghost of answering questions.