Friday, January 11, 2008


And it was there in the firefly-gilded night I saluted you

blazing through my body

strumming like fat thumbs strumming

on the glass bones of my translucent body, sliding

through my eyes and filling my lungs

as fire fills a forest—

What shadings of desire were yours

when you stepped onto this asphalt

the soles of your feet blackening with each step...

Hovering between heaven and earth

Between the terrible crystals and the crystals of my bones

swooping down boltfalling

O cormorant angel

I felt your black skyfilling wing

brush the nape of my neck

at night on Claremont Avenue

under the sparkling bulbs of false light

and my lungs slammed against one another like massive bells—

I knew then that darkness is truth

for only in darkness can a man feel a thing

feel it in all its thingness

not sliding off its surfaces...

For you are the angel of longing,

full of light but shrouded in manifold mantles—

For true light is touched and not seen

True fire flies away from your worldcovering wings;

It is perceived through our eyes, not with them—

I was blessed that night, blessed

not to have been snapped up in your curved bill

as you descended upon gibbering prey mysterious to me...

Covering Cherub, Angel of History

What you do not know, what you must never know

is the purple ocean that boils through the veins of men

the foaming crashing endless ocean that will never be content with its shores

You must never know, O Mighty One,

that when two shattered naked humans meet

in the dark green obsidian of your sky

when they truly meet

They travel backwards into themselves through themselves

burst out the other side bathed in the vermilion sea of newness

discerning the unity the originality lost so long ago

which they have forgotten and you remember

you remember remember for it is inscribed in every filament of your pinions

its memory gallops through the airless bloodless tubes of your veins—

And they have found what you shall never find

for an endless moment

Outside of time where time begets new times

Outside of space where space begets new spaces

Breaking through the walls and the cast-iron moldings and gratings

of this brick-and-gutter world

an instant—an instant between instants—an eternal newness

its duration less than the pulse of an artery

but extending far beyond falsified centuries...

It is this, O angel of faded photographs, that you cannot know

for to know it would be your fall

a snap of northwind would strip you of your feathers

and you would crush the spired city with your drop...

We keep this single secret, you and I,

locked away like a volcano—

Heal us O Lord and we shall be healed—Amen

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