Moloch whose eyes are a thousand blind windows.
Pity the man who spits on the mirror
to make it shine. I am talking to you,
world, the face I gave you a monster,
my shame a little circle I plunged into.
I say this the way daybreak says be tall
to the shadows. Be deep to the grave.
Day’s fly sizzles at your windowsill.
Once, I feared desire would not leave
me alone, or worse, in time, it must.
I am talking to you, battered bell
by the warehouse, drunkard of the mast,
gulls that cry like a great sad wheel.
The day my mother died, I walked for miles.
Mother death, there’s madness in you still.
If, late in the journey, we see in brief
pleasure the hollow nothing of relief,
the momentary removal of some affliction
of want we cannot want, being human.
If, as we hunger, we ache like a lantern
from one long night to another, while wine,
to be enjoyed, must be poured, swallowed,
down the hatch, shadow after shadow.
If we sharpen our pencils in the grind,
do not say that misery is the ground
we walk, but rather a cloud that lifts now
and then, to illuminate the difference
between pleasure’s needle and happiness,
a book we relish as the sun goes down.
The arguments for the existence of God
do not exist. Any god will tell you.
We give allegiance to the same blood
that floods the iris when it closes. True,
a bird might call you in the lost tongue
of your birth, pour its grief clean through
the hole that is its memory, its song.
It knows the heart that has no heart to argue.
It sings, if it sings, in the cardinal key
of the garden. Or in the dark whisper
of the soldier who lies still, his body
warm with morphine as you kneel to hear
him breathe, to take down his final story.
Dear God, if you are there, believe in me.