What would you choose? I’d like eternal life such as the dandelions aspire to across my lawn this morning. They will shine all day in my imagination while they rise, their golden crown they’ll lift to throw away turned seeds, the fuzzy diadems plucked by the wind. I’ll be that stalk remaining, tall, to fall.
But also I will be the wayward seed descending to flush the storm drain and pick clean the rainbows of the motor oil’s sludge across the grates, and maybe I’ll descend with one of the tomorrows down that drain
and then—Imagination stops me here. My last poem will inscribe that paradise.
Just as I came out of the Gallery, I saw a gull among hoards of tourists encircling the statue of Lord Nelson, crazed while I prayed he'd make it out, resume flight I attribute to all birds, boundless.
But my dying: I try to keep it lined around the edges of the ordinary so I can—shall I say—appreciate?
Drawn to that picture by the glowing dark around the woman, kneeling, Christ standing, the Scribes and Pharisees shrouded in black, I saw she, too, has just discovered light, knowing, moments ago, she escaped stoning.
Since I can't pay my tribute to the sun like citizens in the Roman Empire, especially that old ragtag Nazareth where things happened and are progressing here in my fingers—I have to pay Rembrandt a kind of tribute, poem after poem.
A man should never outlive his own son. Titus, you were the last to leave Rembrandt. Here, seventeen, you will live ten more years.
I started to write these poems about light. Now all I write about is death and hope: Titus, looking out at us, planned a life, marries ten years later, dies in a year.
Say it: the obscenity of dying.
I'll muse on him: a memento mori. I'll prop his postcard up to light my desk.
Chosen to be passed over by this wind although I'm still inside, the hurricane breaking down as it comes ashore, I pray next time I'll find my way to pray again! I may not. Given fair weather I drift as clouds, my favorite image, scud the sky, taking on light's fanciful images and poems I write from extremity drift off like yesterday slipping away.
But where? Prayer flies off into the storm's eye there to direct the wind or dissipate as the divine writes us or does not write.
To be open to receive the spirit. Easily said: just writing down these words. But it may not come as we would have it in some Byzantine icon of the Christ, Buddha rotund in my neighbor's yard, a thousand Muslim men salaamed in prayer. It may have to appear in ugliness. Today out of a sky black, cold and hard as onyx I still had the vision come. It was the bird we all call tomorrow. You know the one: you saw it as a child. It came to you the first dawn you saw light and found the word for it: the huge not-you. You stood up in your crib. It spoke to you.
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