saturday, march 17

i guess maybe we ask too
much of a poem — too often
go looking for some incantation,
some deep well of sense
and clarity, a refinement
into something more than prose
a frame that briefly holds
the peace which passes

we want to hold the guilt
and regret and sorrow of every
endlessly dying moment in accord
with all the happiness and love
we've ever felt, all bound up in
the structure of a kind of
perfect, suspended longing

we want to put down the
page and look off into
the middle distance - to
realize we're scaring the
other customers, and step
out into the day, shaken,
with a kind of stillness
lodging in our chests and
suffusing all our limbs,
with memory and a strange
hopeless hope brimming
in our throats —

you should take it easy
not even the poem, that memory of
a memory, is ever going to
shake you loose quite the same way

nothing will ever be like
the first time you turned
a record up real loud
the first time you toked hard
enough to light your lungs
on fire and turn the room
the voice of that girl
telling you to sit beside her
on the steps, in some dying
afternoon when you were young