Eden in Flames
If only I could chain the wind, shape the water, move the earth;
I could be a patron saint of lessons learned, of exuberance, of joy and anger
all wrapped up in a heart no larger than a man's chest;
I could become a walking dream.
How pitiful and small I am,
chained by the wind, shaped by the water, moved by the earth.
I am the prince of pieces, all fault of the earth.
I shatter things, especially the new, the changed-for-the-better.
I dissect chrysalises; cut them snip-snip with scissors
or a scalpel
and let the dreams inside ooze out
onto a clean glass plate for observation—
how glorious it is
when the spirit is subdued and silent.
I blow smoke rings made of compressed death,
inhale the vapors for my own experience,
and I drink fire to keep me warm—I am a worm
and a cannibal, a scorpion-child to emerging dreams,
and that is all the bright-eyes can see—
not the chain of the wind,
the shape of the water,
the movement of the earth.
I am feet that are too used to a chair to run on the grass,
feet that somewhere, somehow know that love and beauty scream to them to run,
to thump unheard rhythms to the beat of nature's pulse,
but they are unruly children of years, of tears, and so they do not listen,
or choose not to hear.
They step, but do not imprint; they turn, but do not change direction.
They are my fears, my nearly-popped bubble, my own little world
that seems so strong, so intricate on paper but collapses
when bound by the wind, when shaped by the water, when moved by the earth.
I poison faith. I set fire to architecture—to buildings and bridges.
Often holocaust takes my face when it stalks the world, when it kills and burns
whatever is near enough to kiss.
Pride fills me when I see that cities and homes burn in my wake,
that I am what chains the toxic wind, shapes the acid water, moves the tarnished earth
to no end but destruction.
I love that I make you want to weep,
but when the tears should come you discover it—
your tears have been absorbed by a thirsty heart
and vaporized by an apathetic soul. They are gone.
Not long to go now:
not long until I become the chain, the shape, the motion.
Say your prayers to a dying god; kiss his feet, his lips—
do you taste my arsenic? Do you hear the echo of my keening
in the pauses between his last breaths?
What of the ice in his heart? Do you feel my hand there too,
siphoning what little hospitality is left? Can you feel the scars
that my fingers leave on his skin, smell the smoke from the fire beneath him?
I chain him, shape him, move him.
A little man like me—a little man whose dreams were cut from the chrysalis,
has become greater than a god
for no price more than his dreams, his heart, and his soul,
without which there's no room for love—
I am made of liquidated dreams,
and you will not steal what was mine,
what is mine:
is all that is left of me.
All else, I sold
to bind the wind,
to shape the water,
to move the earth.