Turning again, yes turning back to the bedroom
in late afternoon when the door had closed finally,
and seeing again, yes seeing on the end of the bed
the white shawl that had been held – no, clasped –
by hands I’d enclosed in my heart,
and looking but not seeing out the window
that held, yes held part of a reflection
of part of something receding,
as my thoughts encircled her again as she folded
the shawl over her arms and paused staring past me
and set it down next to, not into, her bag,
and I not seeing this but only its soft white strands
on the green-blue spread and her legs moving,
yes moving past me and out of the room.
And I remember later lifting the shawl limp and white
like a tiny child, it fitting my arm easily
and bringing it part way up to my face
then turning to the closet door and raising it,
yes raising it up to the first bare shelf,
before turning, yes turning away from the door forever.
Mr. Boodles #1
Mr. Boodles swug a swig of bourbon
and spun on his bar stool
squinting at the turning room.
Who will it be tonight, he asked,
and laughed eyeing the amber swill
which was, great Jesus, procuring
another angel face, all orange
and indistinction – bewitching
if he could just see past the shimmering
quick-silver mirror image
of his own left eye.
Once he had a pretty girl,
Mr. Boodles was thinking,
round, long-haired, and red
or some such succulence, like fruit, he recalled.
Yet why did he think of yams?
No, he remembered, her hair
in the wind, rusted, tangled with leaves,
Medusa of the Fall;
and her smile, though she did not smile
much at him, he confessed,
but like into a mirror,
specifically the one in her room
on the dirty turquoise closet door
draped with bras and other underthings
like old pancakes, at which he did not
like to look,
and a few headbands no longer in vogue
yet symbolizing youth to her,
he somehow felt.
That was once, that is.
Then there was another …
In the night
when sight slackens to clouds
or luminescent waves
and streaks of light hint across them
reminiscent of Saturnian rings,
when spirits from the downed draught
flood in wild whirl over the eye
and wash upon the brain,
when night lies most deep and most visible,
then do I feel my descent
back to primordial time,
to the tar pit,
to undulating inland seas
and the marble-eyed coelacanth
sucking me into its tunnels black as nothing,
this side of the first thought, the first eye.
There I can hear its gills sway
in the warm sea waters
and taste their salt,
and there I can sense walls within the space
of my existence,
unseen arcs of pallid, ancient flesh
hanging white in the wings of my vision,
vision of sights not seen yet sensed
like that fish unsought yet caught
in ocean currents as old as other men than I,
of the last love fallen in one year
when give gave way to fear,
and of family desperations
nursed by no common tongue
in time of one common cry.
TO A MOURNING FRIEND
When we lose a friend
or some dearly held hope,
our minds for a moment stumble
like a blind woman on a heath
for some path or guiding rope.
Reason, it seems, supposes reason
of some undefined though paternal mind
moves a hand to hold or hurt
according to some grander plan,
though we can see no reason.
A blind and heathen world
that entertains no questions,
black and sees no sun;
more clearly this has spawned us
than that other sentient one.
Yet we need an explanation
some all redeeming plan;
things do not happen for no reason,
ask any hopeful man;
the stars do not burn at night
just for laws of science.
But that’s the twist
we all fall in,
that man and world are thought
or so we’re taught
and come to see ourselves;
there’s reason in an atom,
wisdom in a band of elves..
Oh how our minds to turn
to find some kind, consoling plan
and in the search
do hide the only truth
that man’s alone with man.