What dreams may come

the picture

Tumbling down the narrow
stone steps, the wet taxi streets,
I know nothing of your dreams,
your mood, your dark mystery nights.

Great things, little things,
rye and stout,

my hand on your waist
for the picture.

the sun

we danced around the room
we stood on the roof
we playacted
hamlet, macbeth, anything
to unsee the clouds heavy on the basilica
clouds now on the balcony,
tomorrow, your journey east
                       to die, to sleep, perchance
into the eye of the sun
                       to dream

the end

I remember the Rilke poem,
dark mystery as you turned your head,
the taxi ride, I stood on the roof and watched,
sweetest sadness of the lone wanderer,
the sound of a name, a wintry
season ahead

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Make the room bright

From my new collection, Schematics and Assemblies of the Cosmic Heart.

After wine, after friends,
in your room pushing back
bedtime forever. You strummed
songs on your guitar, songs you had written

in England, Spain, Greece, Mexico.

I read you my poems.
You fell asleep, darkness.
I stayed awake as the last bits
of beauty smoldered and went out.

I stayed awake all night
and the darkness filled with all
the joys and sadness of my life, all here,
now, in your room, the smell of rose water
lingering on the ragged edge
of time, of our time.

I stayed awake until dawn began
and your body began
to move:

“Open the curtains,” you said.
“Make the room bright.”

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Embajadoras

“Maceta” she said
a place for flowers
chilled white wine
cafe nights, friends
stopped at our table.

Step by step walking
each other home
the stars not there
just the rain, the lluvia
the closed secret
of her name.

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In the beginning

I haven’t seen you in 20 years
except in my mind’s eye
the hurricane center of the hot black night
when I slip to our trip to

Galveston. We drove all night,
knowing already it was the end,
and rode the ferry at daybreak,
the sound of the sea and the sad
cry of the gulls
scored upon us.

Then earlier, the southward journeys
past rice farms and shrimping towns
the thick humid patio nights
catching lizards
and laughing.

And earlier still, in the beginning
when we took LSD and lay
all night in a field of sugar cane
tasting the forbidden fruit

afraid

       but liking it

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Lost song for Meng Jiao

I too have seen the winter stream,
waves beating the swords
of ice, dreamed

of imperial jade, green and blue,
of topaz the color of honey.

Cold streams crumple
the ragged banks of dreary forest,
Above the stream the swells of snow,
Further still, the stars by time and distance frozen,

as far away as your language from mine,
as your solitude from mine.

Spring comes on apace.
The waves beat harder. The swords
of ice break like paper branches. We turn
inward, you and I, creatures of the winter, to seek

someone or something approaching,
cold comfort in translation, here,
the icy clarity of the mirror.

Meng Jiao (751–814) was a Chinese poet during the Tang Dynasty.

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Day’s end

Who needs gods or heaven or moral philosophies?
Your body at rest on the hammock is worth
more than all the imaginary heavens
of all the religions
ever invented

more than all the first principles
of all philosophies. All you
need to do is look at it
and see. If you listen

closely

you can hear the birds singing

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