sunday, september 8 (early)

i step out into the rain, pipe in hand
and look in a cardinal direction
i wonder what's happening down that way
and suddenly i'm thinking of you
of what it's like in your life
how far away you are

i wonder if anyone we knew back then
is in town for the conference
i wonder why i'm wondering
earlier, standing at the bar at the mountain sun
i looked around half-dreading the moment
when i'd see some familiar face

but it's been a while since that life caught
me unawares, caught up to me
like it was still a real thing
for years i couldn't get away
i kept staying in colorado despite myself
despite all the world and time out there

and while i wasn't looking,
the mountains became part of my horizon
the foothills sunk themselves into my bones
down alongside the wheatfields, the farmyards,
the endless god damned sky, the sound of
an ocean in some suburb of christchurch

the drops spatter down on my jacket, the lights
across the street are all spread out in the
falling water and my sketchy vision
i strike a flame and draw one down,
the paving stones wet under
my feet, the stars nowhere to be seen

do you remember the west coast? the way the
sky looked out there in maybe the darkest night
i'd ever seen, those unknown constellations
the harsh, unbearable sweetness of looseleaf tobacco
(that terrible continental habit of mixing the stuff in
- the first place i ran into it was another hemisphere)

you were so lost out there on the edge of the waves
i didn't know then what i could have said
i still don't, for that matter

and i guess it doesn't signify any more, if it ever did
we must die a hundred times in any given life
at least as often as we actually live:
everything gets lost
even eventually to memory
whatever it once held.