richard and Elijah
(I am not in the wind)
scrabbling up the mountainside
he thought he might die mad,
and alone, although some dull
ghost echoed the pedantic child
tones that one should never be alone-
all that. but anyway. the walls
still build cities, the storms
whip up ocean-rise and interrupt
the global sigh, collective in things
so measured- oil and current of air.
he waits in the mouth of the cave.
he knows really it's not a cave-
hotel room, flight deck, innumerable airports.
the children of israel cry to him
from false altars, from smoked-out
corners and he watches as the seaboard
of every dark place shudders in
a destructive wash. it doesn't surprise him,
but the nature holds no voice.
he feels alone.
(I am not in the earthquake)
he thinks about some wretched queens-
how hard things can be, and how women
woolen-eyed master tragedy; not everything
is awful, except when it's expedient.
the earth opens up in some places,
the poorer ones of course, swallows
whole small epic livelihoods, ideologues;
he wishes it mattered more to him.
jezebel herself sleeps in sweaty sheets-
he knows she's on the other side of the
world, like a daughter of kings holding hands
out for a painting's face, the lamb's head in
other myths. so some girl makes the ground
shudder; so people die in droves and more are
nothing brings the tectonic shift
but indescribable fortune; this too,
about affairs in another county, in
a place he wishes he didn't have to
he lights a cigarette, watches the valley quickly in
a butane tremble, watches the rocks slide down the
(I am not in the fire)
when day comes there are things to do.
make enough a life of it; he leans against the
wall-stone, plaster, only time matters in material-
thinks back on Vietnam because all inheritance
is diplomatic failure. he thinks of the wet heat
that filled every wound, even the inconsequential
cuts. but most of all he thinks of the planes
spreading down a carpet of heated flare, so
the jungle might resemble this dry place.
he figures it started there; girls and hurricanes
and mountains be damned. some refugee of the
past- not in forgiveness or mercy, not in memory
or change, but just living
there are always airplanes lifting off and setting down
and burning villages and bringing people home. the
propulsion of fuel burns only itself, and folds miles
where nothing lives but space.
still small voice
dawn forks over the windowpane,
the cavern ledge. he walks down
the (mountain)stairs and into the
red sun and he buys a coffee and
in the thousandth forgotten corner
two boys play football and a baby
is crying from the building above
and a bird alights and everyday
movement speaks louder than
every disaster he's had tattooed
behind his arms.
in the holes of the earth,
in the smoke-blue shade,
in the ephemeral trail of jets-
well, there is home.