Song for the quartet
On the wide screen of my heart
a crowd scene is showing
and the girl makes modest plans.
She won’t cry, she won’t return.
Tonight will mark the end
of drunken homage to broken imagery.
And she doubts
that they’ll fall apart when she goes off
into those worst case scenarios
we become at parties.
Someone nudges a glass into her teeth,
they clank like soft loose change.
‘Lord save me I will perish, Lord
save me I will perish’. The truculent organ
and her pulse grow fainter then recede.
Something will out in her
and on the last stretch of clean sand left alive
the swansongs she haunts embrace her fairly
warmly — we’re so at home here.
She’s in the bathroom, smoking,
thinking ‘I know this from before’
and standing out from her function entirely.
Waking up to whitewashed plasterboard,
jettisoned by my pride I grew
to love this: because this was the only way
I could continue. How the tide repealed us,
then erased itself. Maybe the house,
with its palm trees, was more alive than I was.
Barely there, I was visible to others
as though by a miracle. Enjoyed the homage
of warm smiles on my shining skull. We each moved
in a private orbit and yet conflicted gravity
tore up the paths of everyone. Messes of human forces.
The flimsy world shone back with an anger
like an immovable sun. My room was all buoyancy and air.
Little blessings, like worry beads or rosary beads,
were counted until my tongue swelled up and balked
at the continual view of the placid sandy earth outside my door.
Just try protecting the innocent from belief.
I once read of worshippers who vowed to leave
no trace of their existence on this earth.
Later I understood how far from home I’d come.