Burial of the Dying

and Love is more than my written words,
the constant occupation of a yearning mind,
or the sound of my soul wailing


Waking, half in sleep, and half in pain
– the damp of dew-fermented dawn
a flash of memory – or, perhaps a dream?
(I dream so often of this tragic thing)
Anguish like waves of mudslide fear
compelled by gravity of regret –
(it pours so easily from the bottom of a glass)
Might I have said what we both know?

Were I so selfish as to bleed nostalgia
from my veins
I could unchain those titans that we
to our heap of voiceless thoughts
behind the locked doors of our cellar places –

or worse, that I might pick your lock and find
your damp and secret rooms


in the arduous wait;
peopled only by the skeletal lines that dance
and wander as a funeral procession across the nameless papers of your desk.
(Are they even mine, those lines?
Did our narrative dissolve, unpenned?)

We are little, maddened scrawlings: ink-black and dead.

Your words surprise me with their primal beauty:
a cannibal dance in celebration of the concupiscent feast.

Solar body, the vast gravity of your startling:
such endlessness of force
that I recoil from the Sun’s embrace –
mooring in vacuous shadows,
that hedonic Novocain of stranger’s stroke

You are everyone: they are but shadow puppets
cast by your artisan hand
(and would be nothing without your movements).

I fear were I to say what we both know,
the words might leave my lips, and my soul implode
(Instinct compels such butterflies
to escape before the frost)  

So plainly voiced, how words to bombs transform –
A barrage to snap our fragile frame,
the cornerstones of metaphor,
that bitter, brittle mortar of the pen.

Yet sometimes it seems we still are building...

Cowardly we eulogize that which never lived
with words that fall on the heart
hot-heavy as volcanic ash.


Unwilling tenant, you pay nothing
but will not leave –
thus, I wake each dawn a little poorer,
and those who might move in refuse to share the space
over which you reign with dark and haunting eyes

Even when I entertain another, you refuse
to disappear
my ghost, my curse – You terminal addiction.
Does not the tomb have moss on it by now?

(No – I do not mean to, but

I all too often tend our stone.

Even if you were to leave one day, your ghost would stay
and spread a chill to chase even the bravest from my door.

Your poetry falls on my heart
like stranger’s sweat to tired sheets.

I cower worthlessly in the shadows of your memory.


When the soul’s battering ram broke through,
catharsis was fleeting as the Southern frost.
Has the ice not cracked the stone by now?
(Certainly it has not.)

But what words to extinguish the embers of my longing?

How you haunt still, dark chambers
with the specter of patchouli.
But ghost-love, my dream
(that daily I forsake, such that I do not daily die of loss)
You know me so well, and how I
unsettle in the darker months

It becomes too heavy an endeavor, to let you free,
hearing the wind blow, whistling
through the same magnolia trees;
I decay below the very Nashville sky that I once learned
through awe-struck eyes resting upon your naked chest!
I will admit I love you now much as before,
if but the way a pin is dulled by rock –
your endless women weather me, it’s true
And in your cruel parade do I compete,
and always lose

But there is no winning, no – I’m sure

Yet I – still wary to take more credit than is due –
if I defiled for you Beauty,
or even Truth,
my contrition has been less than I deserve:
a tideless saudade, both cruel and calm .

(even if you object, and indeed,
you’ll likely never know)
In my dusky catacombs of mind, I
will bury us together, yet apart.
But, oh My one and terrible Darling,
You will never know the fruitful kingdom

that for years you kept within my heart.