Sometimes it seems nothing perishes.
This brace of waves,
this heaving field of fishes, who are not to blame,
your hand, this shell-shaped cove in the sand
where we've been dozing--
all this and everything else will last.
Some dark meter's behind it all.
Again on sails of sound
I drift to sleep
in the dawn-colored darkness of a fierce sun.
Billboards collide in the wilderness.
Aeons yawn, and the rains wash them away.
Little by little, alliances shift,
erstwhile enemies unite . . .
In lockstep pallorous armed police
parade the untimely ground.
What goes haywire usually comes around . . .
Attar of roses! Crimson suns!
Waves unfathomably high!
It's twilight here in the caravanserai . . .
Then I open my eyes on this beach,
it's long shape a face the breakers endlessly form.
Across the calm causeway a brown-skinned girl
quickly and quietly goes
into a cream-colored bungalow.
In sleep you shift beside me, stirring.
Who can say we are wrong?
We who are errant,
we who are high on a breaking wave,
we huddle together in spicy heat,
we mingle our breaths and our bodies like newlyweds.
We seek the unspoiled opinions of perfect strangers.
We believe in beginnings, against all odds.
In dark shades we dance through the wreckage around us,
all unchastened, leaving a wake.
Who could presume to forgive us?
What's the weight of a kiss?
Only at last to emerge with you,
out of this roiling foam, this cyprian surf,
onto an island of our own device,
Darling there is nothing I wouldn't do twice.
And so, though gears grind us up,
and the iron evil of envy oggle us everywhere,
dream your dream in the salty air;
sleep your brazen sleep in the worldly sun.
I'll keep watching the world turn.
Soon after sleep I find myself
lost somewhere but close to a home
I'd almost forgotten,
in a big playground ringed by pines.
I know if I stare
at the same spot in faraway shade
my father will come. I do; he does.
Wildly he waves. Wedding bands
flung from his fingers
make sail-like arcs of gold in the sun.
With a hollow footfall
I feel in my backbone he starts across.
He is close to me now.
Looming large, a long lost pal,
with a quick twist of his sad
familiar body, feigning effort,
he swings a heavy canvas sack
off of his shoulder across to me
and it falls at my feet, spilling wide.
It is full of fantastic blueprints.
With an almost imperceptible bow
he steps back, begins fading.
My fingers fumble in the bluish air
where his chest has been.
Alone with my lost birthright, I kneel.
At my back, cool and eternal,
the whispering pines spread rumors.
In Another New School
As you voiced the concern
that masked the objection
that veiled your fear
I thought for a moment
until I was stoned
I had never imagined that I was a poet;
but then I proved to myself, by memory,
that this was not so.
In another new school, at age nine,
I wrote to order an ode on George Washington,
in sinous quatrains singing his weaknesses.
He was weak-- he knew it-- caution became him
and saw him through. My teacher, aghast,
sent me home and threatened to skip me three grades.
Finally she gave me first prize in "creative writing."
We had only just moved to D.C.
And then, at college,
they seemed so satisfied to find, as fitting fact,
my father had taken his own life,
wantonly, against the will of the majority.
Graduating with honors, I shrugged,
attending the sirens.
And so, from the beginning you see,
I've always advocated L.S.D.
Which brings me back where I started from,
addressing you, awaiting you,
still on my way.