A Cargo of Green Hearts
not a Christian, probably never was one, I don't think of Jesus much at all
except when my eyes graze an image or crucifix, which always depicts
a hoax Jesus that could not have existed, mistakenly Aryan-visaged
for a middle-easterner
but if I do think of him, putting aside the question--man or son-of-god
or god partitioned into man or "son of man" as he called himself--
I imagine him on a isolated beach of average brown sand, no one else
around, the corner of his robes--how silly
to accept the dogma that he wore robes--caught by a breeze, his long
hair caught by the same as if the wind could not help but reach out
and touch him tentatively the way it is allowed to touch flowers and
with that gaze so benevolent
it burns right through me to the horizon fixing on something
none of us can see, perhaps a boat bobbing in a storm, perhaps
lightning licking an unruly wave perhaps a wheel within
a turning wheel. I wonder what he is thinking
of as he walks and why it is that he must be alone in a deserted
place and not Main Street Hong Kong or New York carrying
a lantern between us and all our guns and money, throwing
open the doors of our 100-story
temples where we tremble and pretend to speak in tongues.
but no, he goes where no one is looking, arrives without
a bus ticket or notice, invisible as a homeless man, carrying the basket
of fish that no one knows how to eat.
he looks out at the sea. the sun contemplates setting but waits.
there is always something lonely about him and I am not afraid
to say so. I have never seen him sit down or get to where it is
he is going and wonder
if he would exist at all without those worn sandals, the way
we could not exist without heartbeats. we rarely notice
our heartbeats, by-the-way, which go on ticking and ticking
until they don't. it's a fact: listening, turning
your entire being into an ear isn't easy unless the desolation
has filled you like a sail and the shore has been swept by the great
broom into undecipherable patterns that ask but refuse to
tell. perhaps that is why I see him only
there, among the sand like powdered bone and the tired voices of gulls
where, maybe, the temporary tide of my heart sounds surprising as the
breach of a whale, and like him I wonder the whole question
what in this wide earth the heart is here for.
in the oldest Veda, there is not just one dawn
there are many and they often ride
together or arrive from all directions
at once, shadows crumble
no holes to crawl into, stop pretending to be
a blind witness, you ARE the light
you must be it. this time of year, I wait for a
solitary red lipped daughter of dawn to open
her eyes. a bump on the horizon
will make me weep. the trees seem to
be raising their arms overhead. listen:
I am a poor man. have crawled through
the dark for eons just to lie down
at 7 a.m. and see. no more
nightingales, please. don't disappoint me
and I won't disappoint you. I'll put you
in the lantern of my heart and blow
on that flame the rest of my life.
my kisses, when they come, will burn
us down to the toes so cleanly
no ashes will remain.
I saw you yesterday.
there was ice everywhere
it is cold, rows of zeroes.
do the math for yourself.
look: the last apples have abandoned
the trees. naked branches are
assembling an alphabet that
can't spell anything.
funny, in months like this
your face, better than an apple
or even a peach
close your red eyelids, Varahi.
I long to see the sun bob across the sea
like an old boat and disappear.
the day has been too lengthy
the rough stones I piled upon my back
the way I stood upon my heart
instead of holding it. break
these things for me
break my heart.
your breath in my ear is sweet as grass
your curtains as beautiful as any
day, and I would say so even
if this were not winter.
the crickets sustain my
pulse. the owl watches my roads
with vigilance. there is no longer
any need to be frightened.
my arm hooping your round chest
I flatten myself like a field
upon the earth, your warm earth
the oval of your face or the
cut of crescent all are true in the end
in this end all geometries matter
and none your body a tribute the
nighthawks carry away how the sound
of wings lift you discretely to the secret
place those whiskered birds sleep
riverside of dreams like tender
grey stones opaque to our
but your heart unmerciful stone
lives on. we live on. we iron our clothes
we work. we breathe and hold our breath
when our toes find it:
your heart tucked in our shoes in
the morning like something the
cat left for us or plump
soft and bloody as steak on the dinner
table everything reminds while
we pass it hotly hand to hand
it stings like an orange coal and
we ache under the dead weight the
living bear but please don't let them
tell us it doesn't burn don't let them lie
and say you lived well or rightly as if
you were a clever summary
enough. I loved you too much
burn that book go now to the wind
and scatter yourself vagrantly as we
chase after, fools falling tangled
among our stupid legs. damn your
stubborn voice it always confounded
me damn the way you departed but
oh your hand that time in the dark
theater where I raged breathing salt
and wrack you placed it on my
face like so like a wet leaf. I cannot
forget how at once I came to the
surface how at once
I dreamed so gratefully of breathing air
visions of forests that went on and on
listen: it's okay you're gone. go.
I know now it was wrong of us
to hold you so long it was wrong
of us to stop breathing when you
stopped breathing. listen, love.
even now you are teaching
me how to let go how to love
again and again and so on without
ever believing I can bear it.
t's okay to lie down with your sadness tonight. you miss her.
so much between you. words the avalanche of them. what you ate or will eat.
throb of the internet, wired. a closet full of should. your phony Buddha posture.
whatever else you do to yourself. the doing, the forever of it.
burn all of that shit. let go.
something snaps like a twig in the forest, or a bone. she slides into
your closet, touches you, finger to your forehead,
finger to your heart, an accusation: Feel this.
Feeeeeeeel. wherever you have been hiding. whatever to you're going from.
imagine cats dropping like balloons around you, the soft weight, the waiting eyes.
imagine you cut yourself and bleed birds. there is a canvas for that.
imagine you pick up the phone and call someone. the stone of your voice cracks
water comes out, you start speaking like the sea. no words but all this out, Out, OUT!
imagine ice-crack on a frozen lake. how deep, how roundly cold the bottom.
ten words before you fall in.
did someone say I love you? imagine. who would say that?
ten words. stop thinking.
imagine everything you broke. the sad tinkling of glass.
such a sharp rain in a world with no glue.
imagine what you can't have. the mean little knife of it.
yes, yes. like that. like a throat in your chest.
a well you can lean over into with bound hands, ankles.
now spread yourself like a broke-back book.
now open the way the night yields to the pointy stars.
lie down. resist the way desire resists
with a siiiiiiigh.
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