on the still moment
And then it was silence for some time. It was a silence punctuated by the journeying calls of things moving, things howling, things claiming their moment of existence in this world decorated by prescient starlight. It was a silence that still retained some element of blanket noise, that kind of rustle that whispers up to your ears when your bare legs rub against the quilted surface under which you spend your nights. To think that there had once been a silence so steeped in nature’s own sense of quiet, where even the coyotes respected the still moment, is to think of a time before a footstep was ever taken, before people began to see things creeping in the distance or crawling up behind and satisfying some human urge to move toward or move away. Addison, Dante, and Beau were settled in that one moment, and every exposed patch of skin sucked in the starlight, and in some other world perhaps it became a part of them, and their souls held their hearts to its gorgeous light and followed it back to its origin, and for a moment, then, they were all together, floating up in the endless sky, where everything was there, and no one looked for a moment at what they did not have and who they were not with.
get me out of this city take me
to ontario where my grandmother
shuffles her feet from room to room.
i hear her voice on the other end
of the phone the scratch of slippers
on linoleum and this great sadness
consumes me, to think that each time
we trade goodbyes might be our last.
to think we all have mothers, and they
too have mothers, to think what that
first mother must have felt when her child
kicked from the depths of her womb,
not knowing what golden light she
was bearing into the chasm of the world.
i hear my father’s voice quivering
on the other end of the line, and i know
i have never heard him cry, and i wonder
if he does, late at night, thinking of mothers
and wives and women and my brother and I
in that bed too big for him, where love’s
faded remains have eternalized
the soft pressures of my mother’s head
on the pillow next to his own.
to see her in my mind, cutting potatoes,
to see her bare feet on yellow carpet,
to see her watching mass on tv, opening
her small mouth for that phantom cracker
of christ’s body, for that love she believed
gave his life for her time and again.
to know any moment now, the blood
will stop rushing to her brain and will congeal
in her veins and that phone on its hook
will ring and ring and it will be me
on the other end, quivering, knowing
that this is the end of things.
i want to feel my light steps running
along the frozen shore of lake ontario.
i want to look into that small gulf of ocean
and ask to buried there with you, grandma,
knowing you will tell me why
you kept your feet shuffling while
the world darkened in ever growing circles
around you, knowing what golden iridescence
you beamed softly into this vast and open earth.
on this cold night the train rattles by
and keeps me awake. i move outside
and sit. i light a cigarette and the steam
and smoke merge and there are little clouds
rising around me.
past these cold steps the buses rumble on
north towards boston where your mother
sleeps and that man who stole your childhood
rustles through thin air. where we are
and where we have come from
are never the same, they never can be.
and before my words fail me i should say
i have never felt so proud of another soul
as i did when i saw you on that stage
reaching back into some vast darkness
to find a tenuous grasp on truth and expose
it to a crowd of hot breath and dense air.
let me climb back in to the bell tower
of your secrets. let us sit in shadow
until the sun rises high enough to cast
a thin veil of light across the surface
on which we sleep. let me lift your face
to that beauty and let us watch it
together, in that luminous principle
that says that any two souls caught
in those tickled rays should care, must care
whether the other lives or dies.
and in that iridescent glow, let us
make love, for an hour or two above
the world. let me ring the bell after,
your ears riddled with the sound
your hair pitched and twined around
your neck. let me ring the bell and say:
did you know i am here for love?