I’ve grown sick of the light, now that the once-distant sky has laid down beside me and spread the sun like a flaring map across both our knees, coquettish and cloying, groping my trunk and fleecing me of change; obscuring the authority of the seasons with eternal summer, when, time ago, days would darken to mark my way and progress, making cool the thoughts that now turn only in fevered, dull half circles; that tip away from invention and lean into surrender –the way the poor and kinder dime-a-dance girls once leaned just so into me, when I was over there.
Our country as well has grown silent with the burden of love, no single heart fully imagining the immensity of what it joins. We fight for the right to more –an odd and unholy sacrifice– our hopelessness the evidence of our greatest hope. We barter with blood and don’t know it –then trade it all back for peanuts and do; spend our first song asking the sparrow for her very last, then wonder why she pivots and leers, then leaves us wanting.
I used to see God in the song and myself in the silence –one betraying the other. Only now in the brief moments lured free of vanity do I hear both as music.
But listen: I am tired just now. I am a long way from home. I am home and afraid to know it. The dragon of my discontent describes a wild arc above me like a bridge I believe I can safely cross. Heaven help me, I am delighted by my own whimsy; and my dragon knows me better than I do. The circus stands alive with color at the edge of the water. There is an organ surely playing and I cannot hear it. Yet, here we are in any case...
This world is too old to change; and death will meet those who cannot see the future in the past.
As for me, I hear your voice in every song. I see your face in every statue, in every dark angel hovering by library vestibule, wedding chapel, and arcade emergency. I catch your eye in every waitress, shine boy, chambermaid and customs official; and every year I’ve spent with you --or spent waiting in terrible, triumphant exile-- is rung out on the street like prayer bells, like someone offering fish and lamp oil for sale, wool and buttons; onions, eggs, cut flowers and great plumed birds in cages.
I nod even at what I don’t understand, and smile when looking away, having stepped now into your past. And those angels I mentioned, they let me through unaccosted.
Lucky for me, my love, I know how old our future is.