TEN THINGS I KNOW
The brightest stars are the first to explode. Also hearts.
It is important to pay attention to love’s high voltage signs.
The mockingbird is really ashamed of its own feeble
song lost beneath all those he has to imitate. It’s true,
the Carolina Wren caught in the bedroom yesterday died
because he stepped on a glue trap and tore his wings off.
Maybe we have both fallen through the soul’s thin ice already.
Even Ethiopia is splitting off from Africa to become its own
continent. Last year it moved 10 feet. This will take a million years.
There’s always this nostalgia for the days when Time was
so unreal it touched us only like the pale shadow of a hawk.
Parmenedes transported himself above the beaten path of
the stars to find the real that was beyond time. The words you left
are still smoldering like the cigarette left in my ashtray as if it were
a dying star. The thin thread of its smoke is caught on the ceiling.
When love is threatened, the heart crackles with anger like kindling.
It’s lucky we are not like hippos who fling dung at each other
with their ridiculously tiny tails. Okay, that’s more than ten
things I know. Let’s try twenty five, no, let’s not push it, twenty.
How many times have we hurt each other not knowing? Destiny
wears her clothes inside out. Each desire is a memory of the future.
The past is a fake cloud we’ve pasted to a paper sky. That is
why our dreams are the most real thing we possess. My logic
here is made of your smells, your thighs, your kiss, your words.
I collect stars but have no place to put them. You take my breath
away only to give back a purer one. The way you dance creates
a new constellation. Off the Thai coast they have discovered
a new undersea world with sharks that walk on their fins.
In Indonesia, a kangaroo that lives in a tree. Why is the shadow
I cast always yours? Okay, let’s say I list 33 things, a solid
symbolic number. It’s good to have a plan so we don’t lose
ourselves, but then who has taken the ladder out of the hole
I’ve dug for myself? How can I revive the things I’ve killed
inside you? The real is a sunset over a shanty by the river.
The keys that lock the door also open it. When we shut out
each other, nothing seems real except the empty caves of our
hearts, yet how arrogant to think our problems finally matter when
thousands of children are bayoneted in the Congo this year.
How incredible to think of those soldiers never having loved.
Nothing ever ends. Will this? Byron never knew where
his epic, Don Juan, would end and died in the middle of it.
The good thing about being dead is that you don’t have to
go through all that dying again. You just toast it. See, the real is
what the imagination decants. You can be anywhere with
the turn of a few words. Some say the feeling of out-of-the-body
travel is due to certain short circuits in parts of the brain. That
doesn’t matter because I’m still drifting towards you. Inside you are
cumulous clouds I could float on all night. The difference is always
between what we say we love and what we love. Tonight, for instance,
I could drink from the bowl of your belly. It doesn’t matter if
our feelings shift like sands beneath the river, there’s still the river.
Maybe the real is the way your palms fit against my face,
or the way you hold my life inside you until it is nothing at all,
the way this plant droops, this flower called Heart’s Bursting Flower,
with its beads of red hanging from their delicate threads any
breeze might break, any word might shatter, any hurt might crush.
Richard Jackson (but, of course)