Matins

Windows flung wide open, like jubilee church doors,
Sunday’s bells wring last night’s wine from ribs and eyes,
Emptying again that inner hollow–grown, so its more
Like a pit–that has your look, your shape, your size.

Or then, maybe this emptiness wells up like oil
Or incense, saturates the lungs and throat, drowns
All ordinary feeling in its dusky coils,
A serpent hungry for your smiles, your frowns.

Birds sing with the bells: the birds gay, the bells grave.
They both sing without caring who listens–empty sounds
In the great empty churches with their great empty naves–
You seem as far from me as God, with stars and mysteries crowned.

The belltones and birdsong dissolve finally to rain;
I leave the window open to let it clean the panes.

Changing Everything

“Metamorphosis occurs through passion.”
–Ernesto Grassi

When memory submits to speech
Your face, your flesh, your eyes sublime,
When words become a mental bleach
That cleanses color and poisons rhyme,

Appears the sweetened gasoline
That fires my lies and purifies
The words become a vivid scene
That burns our pretense down to size.

When we wake from our sweaty daze,
Your face is different, your eyes afraid;
When silence drifts between us, a haze
That moistens our intentions and the clay

Of our sad, earthen arms.
When did we become
so heavy
with the weight
of plans,
so heavy
with the freight
of joy?