Those Were


Those were not distant places,
in the end they were close by–
hedged estates, empty but inside
lit up like carnivals or fires,
strict way stations where the trains
we waited for were not the ones
we took, beds we sat beside
to watch and wait the little hour
that’s always gone before it comes
because it always comes too soon.
I dream of you now in places
not places but pure time
as close and far away as
stars that seem to take all night
to slide across our sky, or the
muddy riverbanks that made us
that smelled like blood and tin
and deeper in that sense that you
belong someplace you’ll never see
or never see again.
Like the silence inside thunder
everything that lets you know
that dirt that grows is the same
as dirt that buries, that sorrows
we all bear, we bear alone,
things that can’t be mended
the way they’re always borne.

altered image; original image from NOAA Photo Library


a little waiting, yes,
and waiting out
the pristine smoke and
rumblings of domestic life
we imagine
looking out on old rocks
and fashionings
how, we think, they
must or must not have
loved as we do
greeted or dreaded
the morning sun
collectively attuned
to things to be done
making all the same
bad or good guesses
what to do
what was to come
as small and finely
calibrated as
the birth of longing &
its prompt attendant loss
anticipated, predicated
on past devastations
or tales of them
or the organized chaos
of the seer, one
driven from the village
we envision there
where nothing much is left
though much was done
now that we know less or more
of the grinding implications
of time
the clock in the cell
that clocks going forth
just as well as laying it down
the sturdy fencing of
the clattering gears
of industry
with its well-lit sad places
and the slaves we make
of ourselves
or the seers sent
down a dark well to
retrieve a thing of light
how they are punished
even if they relent
there are yet disasters to add
to the blame cast on them
just for saying true things
no one will hear

The part where hearts get broken

This is the part where hearts get broken
though not all at the same time
or in the same way–there’s still time.
The terror team might come to town
with some slight expanding in their
minds till all that’s left is undoing.
Or perhaps a movie crew, inspiring
awe and hospitality just because
they have the charm of somewhere else.
But I digress. After all, it takes
only one of two to think the other
feels the same–something uneven up
ahead, but any flutter in the
universe will do for explanation.
That won’t last. This is the part in which
all other parts are forgotten, more or
less, in favor of the chemistry of
hope, the feeling someone’s always with you
when they’re not, the embellished fetish
of absence. In that imaginary land
in which time together is too short and
time apart is endless, time collapses–
you jerk awake at an alarming
border, on a bus in someone else’s
screwy dream, those guards, if they don’t
like the looks of you, they’ll shoot.