Lone, the starched beaches stretch beyond me;
Bold mountains cold as the artists’ blood
Stare me down like I can answer earthquakes.
Teutonic, washed in a culture of knives,
I watch for anything to read in these lights,
The rising Phoenix of what never was:
Myths dead and dying; born and reborn
Between the broken synapses of my brain:
My neural net holds nothing but memories,
Space, and language.
I remember nothing
Between our hands but Coulomb repulsion,
Touching only in the waves where we were one.
Though the night holds simple mysteries,
How I would have held you, Alaska:
Frozen, the way you hold my dreams
In this pretended past we all agree upon:
Truthful darlings that never grow old,
Wrecked upon the rocks of necessary use
Where we wait to recover our petty youth.
Cleaved from the dream of you I remember
Our embrace that meant desired death,
To live suspended by the temptation to be
Immortal in the living words of loved language,
Tongues passed down through book and kiss,
Indelible as pheromones and phonemes.
O you who pass by, bound tight to your mast,
Tell me, on the shore, what have I missed?
Was it impressed in the smeared brass
Of a second line sousaphone, crying I’ll fly away
As the women in tall hats stepped like the dead?
Junked beats once forgotten jazz me into motion
In this sunken city held up by heat and memory,
Preserved by stained statues and cracking cathedrals,
Where black men hawk Heinekens and what never was
Except in realms where parallel lines bend together,
Glowing in planes squared to infinite spheres
Storied shards that build legends from fallen timbers,
Marble graves, and misuse.
I know this music,
Muse, and it uses me too.
Used and quiet on the banks of the river,
I wish this concrete were weathered rocks,
not stones pounded, priced, mixed, and poured.
Would I were crystalline, latticed and strong,
Laced with lovely inconsistencies;
I should not even mind the chisel’s edge
Cleaving mineral children from me,
Strong shards, bathed in this humid state.
But cleave me and I will not facet. I will crumble,
My silicosis sin choking my darlings
Unless by miracle the misaligned stones
Mistaken for bones grow straight within them.
Everything erodes. Nothing is the greatest memory.
I remember Alaska only in dreams.
Rooted in fear I lie on these lines of sand,
Dreaming of everything that can never be,
Praying for the strength to love the things that are,
Knowing everything we are propagates
Within those within us. On the syzygy of memory,
Dream, and reality, I fall.
On beaches I have never been
My dreams grow immense, untenable in their enormity.