he said he wanted an angel to love
him and give him reason to live, some sweet
muse to inspire his art and drive him forward
toward aspirations of immortality
in paint and ink. love after love affair
he searched for her and begged the heavens, gods,
to send him the one, the only, his true
angel. he bargained and blustered endlessly.
fleeing from his own strange sodom, he gazed
back over his shoulder to see heaven
and his angel waving goodbye in his
rearview mirror, rented truck turning to
salt and his vows blazing before him, hell
his own creation of denial and grief.
you once were the moonlight
in a garden gone to seed
now a sweet opal of memory
friend no more distant than my heart
all those meteor nights we gazed
dreamily skyward long past
but our friendship still temperate
and passions mature with passing years
this is the real life
after fantasy fades
your brain is just wrong, she tells me. people
don’t think the way you do. nobody. you
should get help with that. maybe. still . . . it does
amuse sometimes the strange twists, ironic
divergences and impossible tangents —
have you ever once thought in a straight line?
how can you accomplish anything at all
with that symphony of worry you call
inner dialogue? you know what they call
that? neurosis. you’ve got the full-hand trump!
maybe hypnosis would help; have you tried
that? are you depressed? you don’t seem too glum;
it’s sometimes hard to tell, you know, mental
illness tends to mask itself and fool us.
she giggles at butterflies and gapes wildly
as the bluebirds fly by — a child’s wonder
still alive and celestial bright though
well into her third decade, her laughter
open as this cloudless kentucky sky
she asks what the big buzzards eat, scrunches
her nose at the thought of carrion and
runs to a cluster of dandelions
plucks a handful and beckons down the path
along the something-elkhorn river, though
here it is more a stream even after
last night’s storms. at the fallen nest, three eggs
victim to storm winds, she sheds a tear for
each before spying another butterfly . . .
you wouldn’t think it to look at her, you
wouldn’t think it in conversation, her
hoarse voice little and more a belched whisper
than anything, but when Liza sings, o!
when Liza sings, it’s something magical
angelic in a measured passion wild
and breaking free of a nested cage — she
starts out timid, voice fluttering wings at that
cage door’s wide horizon, then leaps heroic
into big blue skies and tears heaven’s veil
wide open to climb into nebulae, sing
choruses to wring the heart melodious . . .
and the only hint you’ll note before her song
is the argent flecks in her sapphire eyes.
soft raindrops pattering on your windshield
lent the night such a surreal cushion; strange
memories of being a teen (so long
ago) and fancy free, all the time you
excitedly telling me about pets
you raised growing up, and me watching you,
plotting stolen kisses should you pause to breathe
or even look directly at me a moment.
but you went on and on without meeting
my eye. I got bored from lack of attention,
though being polite tried to hold my end
of that conversation about you, just you.
we said goodnight and parted and I still
wonder what the hell went on here tonight.
stars as my witness last night your voice your
song the passion in your eyes rhapsody
in your soul and pouty lips hair flowing
no direction and every with eddies of wind
chill for early april and you poured yourself
out through song into my soul and my heart
scarred over old wounds to thrill in your bright
attention to the vibrations of song sweet
honeyed words and sly smiles and hardly a pause
between verses as we serenaded
each other in symphonies of kisses touch
touch touch and embrace and always eye-to-eye
mine full of the beauty of your face creamy
complexion and star-astonishing smile.