St. Augustine never graced my dreams

The writer, says the poet,
must only write
what must not be written.

Such are the quests
we pursue, Sancho-Panza-less,
weak despite our dreams

secret cowards pretending
to be secret heroes.
Who remembers, now,

all those wasted hours
dreaming springtimes
that never came, never left?

Who would want to repeat
such nonsense, who would
listen anyway?

Thousands of lives ago
they, too, believed to the core
of their death-bound souls,

incarnate but powerless,
amused but mirthless
amid those others

who seemed unshackled
but bore also
the scars of sentience.

Whole stories narrated
themselves, so complete
and unpierceable

that if they were not true
then nothing was.
And now, we’ve worn away

the so-convincing patina,
exposed the tin beneath
the blinding shine.

Into the teeth of it, then!
No use making a penance
of it. Allez-op!

Who writes poems, anyway,
but poets? Who reads them
but you?

Jesus shrinks from his new notoriety

He declines to be interviewed.
A glimpse, only,
a side-long breath, let out

too late, swallowed in haste,
not to appear too gullible,
too eager.

He craves the immediate,
catches the last hint of eternity
blazing past, unholy, oblivious,

his heart as blank
as his head.

Above the dingo wind,
a scaffold of melodies,
of harmonious disconsequence.

And here I am, left only with
questions, suggestions, repetitions,
cast a-breeze with no concealment.

The oceans within, the foaming main,
who can sail these dark seas?

I spoke in riddles

I spoke in riddles
Indecipherable even to myself
Especially myself

All these words made real
Made manifest

In the beginning
–It said —
Was the word

Indefinable useless
A meaningless jumble of
Sound unless

That hunger not yours but mine
Is the meaning of all of it
Or the infinite cosmos
Of conscious beings

Until the face in the mirror
Sweeps past me into the distance
Unable at last
To recognize the original

I always thought I was some kind of Gypsy
Racing from edge to edge
Never stopping never asking
Weariness my goad and my goal

All will good or bad
Known and unknown
As deep and suspicious
As an autumn breeze in April

Where is it exactly you want to go?
Don’t you know all places are the same?
All contain your ghosts
The dead can’t help you
Any more than the living
You are yours alone

I lived riddles
Myself indecipherable
Especially myself

The word fire

“The word fire,” says Sensei,
“does not burn your lips.”
But say, Sensei, that the word fire
Burns your heart, the heat rising
Through your neck, and, yes,
Singeing your tongue on the way out?

What if the word eagle
Makes you feel like soaring,
All the while tethered to your
Earth-born dreams, that seem only to rise
Slowly?

Or the word dying, though it seems a lie,
Still feels dark and wet, not exactly cold,
But too thick for that?

I think, Sensei, that even your
Ancient schemes cannot touch
These depths.

Your finger points only to a place
Where the moon might have been