Belief in the same ritual?
I pile these stones for the next
threadbare pilgrim, relieve
my dry throat with water
that cleaves the rock with its run
from a summit I can't see.
There is no darkness
in which I won't wake
to deny that the light has taught me most.
In a vise of forefinger and thumb
earth is evidence enough
of eventual decay.
Anonymous as a new moon
I follow by rote
the stones piled by threadbare pilgrims.
Need is not quite belief.*
*from "With Mercy for the Greedy" by Anne Sexton
Track Name: Lover's Lament
A LOVER'S LAMENT
Rose quartz and fool's gold
on a chest of drawers of quilted maple.
Magazines are mineral oil-stained
and the lamp is burning low on the table.
A stoneware vase of dried hydrangea,
split with a sunbeam sharp as a railroad spike,
pins a letter from a love estranged,
though I can't decipher its tenor, quite.
Sing, and wound me: love's water I cannot ford.
Such things consume me (to be held, to be adored).
So well dressed, so alone--
even songbirds jilt me when it storms.
Sing, and wound me: love's salve I can't afford,
water I cannot ford...
Clutching at flotsam in the wake
of her leaving, man drifts
and dangles as from her lobe a gold earring:
adornment adored within fashion and reason,
misplaced or cast aside at the change of the season.
Track Name: Hook and Eye
Like hook and eye, like magnets,
when we're close we're bound to touch.
Every breath lusts after
the oxygen here too much;
and as such it seems an unconvincing dialogue
in a drama I wouldn't watch anyway.
There's movement in another room
--dishwater draining, or the poor ghost
stumbling again, again.
I'll begin again:
The suicide or flagrant evasion
of warmth when it's cold outside...
Not eye-to-eye, but hand-in-hand
we'll hide what we always hide:
respect, despite an ever-present tendency
to smile, to nod, to emote our error anyway.
There's movement in another room
--long married complaining, or the old
house heaving again, again.
Track Name: Wait
Wait, for now.
Distrust everything if you have to.
But trust the hours. Haven't they
carried you everywhere, up to now?
Personal events will become interesting again.
Hair will become interesting.
Pain will become interesting.
Buds that open out of season will become interesting.
Second-hand gloves will become lovely again;
their memories are what give them
the need for other hands. And the desolation
of lovers is the same: that enormous emptiness
carved out of such tiny beings as we are
asks to be filled; the need
for the new love is faithfulness to the old.
Don't go too early.
You're tired. But everyone's tired.
But no one is tired enough.
Only wait a while and listen:
music of hair,
music of pain,
music of looms weaving all our loves again.
Be there to hear it, it will be the only time,
most of all to hear
the flute of your whole existence
rehearsed by the sorrows, play itself into total exhaustion.
Track Name: Naive
Words in my blood, don't hide, don't hide--
nourish me; let me believe what I write.
My newborn dreams have bright blue eyes.
Speak to me now. They're not born to die.
There's always time for your practical
syntax to kiss me again.
Darkness, light, cerulean sky--
rule me at will, but you're my own design.
My greatest fears begin with lies
that bind me and, spitting, say 'you must decide.'
Am I simply naïve, or barely alive?
Track Name: Dear Companions
Up you go
to the scaffold of my shoulders,
where the sea-breeze robes
your face & binds
your eyes like solder.
in the cradle of my elbow,
where my warm breath guides
your growth & shields
your eyes from the hungry wolves.
Little dream swaddled like a child:
if we're forever roving, rived
against the grain,
may there be, then, an open door,
a breathing fire, and dear companions
even the smallest
life can't do without.