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Poetry

The how, the where are clear enough: you left
one place, arrived another, but not whole,
and groaning like a sax gone short on breath,
the wail of way too late to ever roll

the evening back to sober, slate to clean,
forgive to forget, road unglazed with ice—
too late to take it back to unbegun
in formless, painless seeds of paradise;

you feel like prophecy and feasts of bread,
like Christ in ratty chanclas rambling down
some grit-blown Juarez street, all underfed
allure and boy-beard Buddha clay, alone

and suffering the rank unlikelihood
of being that arises from the piss
and clarifying dust of any good
rebirth. Your hard-wrung spine is gelid grease

and sparks a-sizzle along Jacob’s volt-
addled ladder, the world a-swirl with pain
and youth and nothing in that heart-jolt
instant can ever be your fault, refrain

of sorry, sorry like all things flowing pure
from Heraclitean fire toward am and am
not, towards the frictionless future
where you pay in years and every goddamned

color of careless begs the question why?
You are less you than you will ever be
again, anthem of bone, of high gray sky
and windshield glass, a bewildered body

that weighs far less than constancy, no more
than grace, a trick of light, of clarity
and broken teeth, your ghost new-born before
you could become these things you came to be.

 


The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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