Maybe you could be here again. Maybe if I asked the memory
if it would be okay. If it was a cinema, I could keep on reel
then it would be the slowed down dreamy string songs,
the golden oldies sound of the sea that is not really
the sea but that aqua blue of what we want to wade
within in the most tender sleep. And tonight,
I don’t fall asleep early, but walk the urban brown brick
tile markets in the metropolitan area ten minutes outside
of DC, this just after rain wet neon night.
The dimmed hazel glow of an Iraqi kite shop,
where hung above the burgundy woven rug of teal paisley
and white flower blossoms are red, black, green, purple,
and navy cloth diamonds, while some are shaped into
the story of ancient birds, maybe a passerby will remember
both strangely and astonishingly the way we do
when it comes to what we might have somehow
known from the womb, in this case womb of earth,
all that happened while we waited to be born.
And I remember, too, the year when we both labored
at the institution for the lost and hurting, and you
unstrung for my hands, to give the patients their kites,
I had accidentally tangled from all the last times.
But you ethereal orchestra string master
restored each instrument, each body for its part for heaven—
sky blended with the pastel blue cement building,
you watched with deep endearment. Was I like them?
Did I belong in a place shut away with sparks of joy
and mercy brought on by ones like you. Or is it
I have remained there all this time though still
somewhat a wanderer into the sunrise where I end up
by some faded tan garden apartments and in the courtyard
find pink flowering blossoms within the green leafed
mimosa trees shaggy and leaning their shade over a pool,
the wet blue. The wet blue. Pale teal and beige
tile surrounding the look of what is now becoming
a long time ago and in fashion all at once. But wasn’t
that always my life with you? How much older than me
were you, the beauty and wounds of a generation
you brought within your denim and tweed coats.
(cont., no stanza break)
And here I am playing the reel again, the grainy film strip
in my mind. And then I see the kites again, the white ones
like wool sails or what it was to shed the still body to make
a new body of leaving, the wild washing within
the wet wind, and how you told the one crying afraid
of where one would go, imagine it a mystery, the ships
of the first ancient merchants along somewhat still early
and pristine waters of the earth bringing to the foreign,
black glass of obsidian, that which was once lava
and now holding tiny crystals. And then I took in the words
for myself, who was also sad but mainly for you.
And I took in your image black glass of wounding skin
and black glass of healing with nourishment and repair of what
would be carved again after monsoon and other damaging.
But then again that was just me going far away to feel
what was lost again close to my heart. And they say
we will even lose all the stars in the end the night
just all black and thick hurt with all of the gases’
residue that were part of the cosmic dying. But I still
believe in the kingdom come, the resurrection of what
was lost. Yet, for now, it is a time for wandering
where he walks beside me along the red clay
of the tennis courts, that is the weeping patient you knew
just how to offer gentle comfort. He does not a hold
a racket but is in red swim trunks and a worn purple t-shirt
of an athletics team no longer alive, its white logo
stickers also erasing. He says he is walking until
the lifeguard blows his whistle because now he is good
at listening to the rules and also asks if I remember him
from the institution. Also, he wants to know,
do I remember you. But before I can answer he tells me
how much he misses you but that he is all right now,
to tell you he is all right now he is happy not sad:
All better now. All better now. And I wish it was true
that I could still tell you. That I still knew you for so
many reasons. We smell the wet mildew on wet clover
that we brush our sneakers against, kicking softly
the yellow Penn balls in our way. And with our humming,
we match the birds of the orange cream morning
and the 1950’s Arabic night club music that plays
from someone’s emerald green drapery shaded studio.
And it is as though we are hearing what has carried over
from someone’s dream into waking. Soft wailing
of heartache loss and new want, which is always
somehow the old want. This over the oud thrumming
(cont., no stanza break)
and minor key piano’s moody gifting. And I think
how this might be a moment you would really love.
Ghosts and Robots
No one understands why I let my heart, my life
become so ruined over you. Why in the age of ghosts,
robots, and the new gorgeous—those bodies of pool-
like liquid euphoria, I let myself become a ghost
for you. They did not see you on the snowy hill
by the metro rails and tunnels, how you unzipped
your nylon black coat and rose petals poured out.
Your eyes, always so sad and severe. First, you
looked at them, then at me. They were lovely
but within them was the dark matter that holds
together those secret crevices of the universe.
Once I thought I would be someone of great holiness
and devotion, so I always dreamed my hands
in blue soapy water, washing wood-carved bowls
to put the peaches in for the poor—an homage
to the perfumed Jesus. Or, I wanted to be something
of great light. I remember taking the bus, and a woman
crying, going on in her thick Slavic accent,
We did not leave the barren, farms, of our youth
for such things as this, that is to have a daughter
who does not leave the bed, her only friend—
a teddy bear given to her by a boyfriend from school.
But now look, who will have her now, the slothy big baby,
my once so pretty and kind hearted girl.
And that’s not even the saddest part of the story.
It’s how she says that sometimes, she hears her singing
the bear lullabies at night, you know, the happy ones
about the horses and the birthday cake.
And there is a hope in her voice, that can only
exist for real in the dream world or a world
she can never live in., not now that it’s too late.
And I thought, young and just beginning,
in the world how seeping through my skin,
the sorrowful and the hidden, would see clusters
of stars born within me waiting to be shared with them.
But I have nothing to give and nowhere to be
but in the worlds of this city, where nothing belongs to me,
but its untouchable dreaminess. For I no longer
(cont., no stanza break)
have a labor to gift with, no gift to bargain with.
So the merchants gather in the urban warehouses
and I wander the faded cement green and neon signs
for Russian Gourmet Candy & Meat Mart
and Turkish Tobacco and Pipe Shop
and Japanese Karaoke Rooms, where bright aqua
in ancient oceans and vintage 50’s Cadillacs
through the screen, fill the room otherwise in darkness
and humming heartbreak. Kaito sings and dreams
in one of these rooms. He is dropped off here
from the group home for the intellectually disabled,
and what he also says is the lonely. And when he wails,
it is the cries of Heaven for all that is broken
within this watery and grainy earth and also
within the audio console of my heart.
I used to be a renowned orchardist back in Japan,
he tells me as he exits the door. But nobody
believes me here, nobody believes there was
any beauty grown from me. I have feeling you know
this sort of sadness. And he is of truth,
that is, if there was anything at all once beautiful
within me. And as he leaves for his bus,
he tells me to remember there are shores beyond
whatever sand one dwells within. And I know
it is the kindness of him offering words to me that
I will remember. The sky becomes a dense wet blue
and holds a creamy glow of the moon and I touch
the blossoms on the trees as though I can hold
white light in my skin. Moistening spring air,
I want to inhale. I want to be made new again.
But I am past the age of chance after chance.
Aren’t I? It’s no longer winter, but I remember you
in winter. I remember everything. All the blurring.
All the blurring around me. In the rusty tavern-
made church across the street, they name the dead,
yet rejoice in hymn at the inking of the book of life.
And it is moving what echoes through
those stained glass walls of soft lambs, and doves
in fire, the humbling longing to touch the hem
of a robe. And I’m sorry I never became beautiful
for this world, for my Lord, for you. After all
this time. I know I had all this time.