Mud in the Wall

I cannot do a better work than silence
Than seeing the world through which I pass
Even the same world
Even the same love in different places

The car that somehow remains longer than the womanís face
Disjointed contours of broken cement amidst
Nostalgia of empty city courtyards under the night
Of halogen and Christmas strings and no stars

I cannot bare a greater sweetness
Than the trust of others

I do not know a more rare dance
Than the accidental elegance of eyes suffering
The jag and surge of emotion
Though I have not always seen it

Or weekend afternoons with rain
In whatever shelter there is:
Salon, silent living room, tent tarp and drugged exhaustion or
Thin drum of Mylar poncho hood in the windy silence of a ridge

This is the musty musk of wet oak
I am a wall of balancing 



Take the elation
And reel it in gently
Fear of the beautiful gleams like
The base of a very full glass of wine
It spills
Into the mystery of what feels so easy
As to be confused with abandon
What youíve learned will not save you
Only challenge your eyes to stay still
And not betray you
It is a vast height
Over a grassy canyon
Filled with time-flattened boulders
And broken trees
A garden of the sacred earth
Through which you return
By the last of magic hour
To your night time campfire
The trek might contain a danger, a story,
But its real destination is here
In the small and silent warmth
Of two friends



Drinking at The Lounge aside the Inwood Theatre
Offers an ambience
Of elegantly average attraction,
So subtle as to be strange-- and yet believable--
Until youíre living in your own film.
Or maybe itís just the immersion in the purple neon
Wreathing the top of the glass wall/waterfall
And the musty musk of dust and cigarettes
Layered over popcorn butter.
It makes you crave a good party:
Lazy pursuit of intoxication
Amid the exotic foliage of
Distantly friendly bodies,
The boredom-tinged fascination
Of living life
From the outside



Stories of combines, hammers,
children with flames,
His grandsons wore expressions of normalcy
and pride.
The mothers who were his daughters cried,
And we were all there together.
No more than a pretext for the communal grief of sins,
Death leaves no trace.
We are ourselves: a face,
a certain touch,
All of which were there to taste,
In the windowless chapel, aging and blanched.

Our cortege wound to the countryside
Where the sun was beautifully with us,
Its November spectrum giving rich contrast
To the greens and yellows and shadows.
And amidst the grace of all that winter color
I saw and embraced a woman wearing crimson
Whom I had loved as a much younger man.
Three times a mother, and yet her touch,
The way we spoke only each otherís names,
And the imperceptible pause in our parting gaze
Were all still laced with the tenderness of a secret ache.

I left with that little piece of love inside
And slowly drove through the rest of Luella
Back to the city of my life.



Every winter I remind myself
That the leafless tree limbs
And ubiquitous palette of slate and gray
Are not some grand metaphor staged by nature
About solitude or age,
Or whatever other aches we may carry.
It is a practiced separation from a world
Which invariably leeches into the fringes of your thoughts,
Though I still immerse myself in Sunday walks
Through the muddy wreckage
That stretches alongside the dredgings of Turtle Creek.

It is like
The talisman an older man carries with him
To remember that a beautiful face
Is only that.
And as much as what it inspires might resemble hunger,
It is, finally, only desire.



She sleeps alone,
Or mostly alone.
When there is no one, she knows
That the stars are closer,
That the night will hide her.
She carries the gentle weight
Of my love in a tiny, warm room
With bright paint and wooden floors
Somewhere in the walls of her chest.
It is a child, awaiting its life in the chaos of light,
Growing daily.
I am there in the pattering showers with her,
Over the texture of earth,
There in the silence of days,
Peering in the hush of a doorway
At the loveliness of her patient expectation.
I hold her
With the tenderness of distance
And my desire lives
In the well of a stare,
And in the dim stairway of innumerable days.
Through the placid December pallor
Of Sandia scrub brush,
Past the wreckage of the past
And the granite, dirt, and grass
Where a mother of mothers lies,
I am the living gift of their love,
And of hers,
Singing a lullaby of waiting
Into the ground of our lives.



Coming up the heft of Lee Park
Between the stately constancy of two magnolias,
Each flanked by aging firs,
The lift of their bows high over the ground
On trunks of striated white bark.
Stench of river mud,
Breeze of early March,
Light of spring returning even in the fading of day.
Coming up beside the road,
Beneath the transept of the old railroad bridge
In the brush and heather below the Katy trail,
A final section of rotted fencepost
Strung like a rusted violin with taut barbed wire
Protecting no one
From an entry to nothing
Here in the warming city.