Background & Foreground
I. Silver Screen with Black Stars
Once it was natural, just for the asking,
to be fed with cake that conquered mountains,
peaches of divine clarity, love apples
or anything that wasn’t obsessive—a fetish
that gummed up the music with its
But who could forget that first fall,
that moment in space alone without drumbeats,
devoid of right angles and meaningful colors,
the limb of the tree a thousand miles away
and everything in the universe up to no good?
At least once a day I was rescued by breath,
ineffable substance promising happiness,
a curious mixture of rocks and wind,
words and signs and all the things
that one could use to fashion devices
more useful than powerplants or folding chairs,
more beautiful than a garden of skyscrapers.
At least once a day I was failed by breath
and thereby learned of evil forces; measles,
rattlesnakes, tyranny and fear; I saw
the jumble of shattered auras in city streets
and tasted the bitterness of songs gone sour.
But even in the aftermath of broken dreams,
failed overtures and eclipses of the sun,
nothing could dissolve the steady flow of light
where angels might appear at any moment
singing like birds in the silver dawn.
II. Black Screen with Silver Stars
When the clouds changed and emptiness came,
furtively assimilating the field of play,
and swallowed my kites and aerial displays,
there was another kind of hunger then
that wasn’t part of any plan or preparation,
something made of silk, and laughter
in the dark.
Everything I saw I tried to touch,
even the rainbows in the drops of water
that glistened on my hand before falling
and lighted my room in the space of a blink.
It was only a gesture, like a flag,
having to do with purity or blood or whatever.
Here they are then, water, light and air,
and even the roar of engines eating fire
and belching the soul’s dead breath
can’t change them.
Make of love’s perfect moment
less than perfection, yes, and sicken
the purring creature within, yes,
and overcome the static with more static,
darken the day and poison the night, yes,
and grow a hundred odd appendages or more.
But still I can dwell on the Golden Mean
and tap my feet to the ocean’s last melody;
I can dance in the sky’s chamber of mysteries,
parting those dim veils one after another,
stepping over the loud and dull painted pieces,
marching through an organized wilderness,
curious about the show, the drama and ennui.
With the grace of memory
and the luck of forgetfulness
I can breathe as I go.