Of no applause
For the subway singer
Speaks louder than feigned
Appreciation, than fetishized fawning:
The standing ovation of the deaf sheep herd.
Maybe true feeling is only met with silence, the silence
Of no return to the question of why the silence brings a silent feeling.
Like when the inner flame of thought is quelled by the outer frame of discursive judgment; the embarrassing lisp of the inner infinite first feeling; the apologetic laugh, crafted to avert the penetration of an eye; coital fumbling blocked by the self-preservation of an unknown inner kingdom.
We spent endless minutes in the basement
Our minds brimming with a joy
When the world was dusk yellow
The backyard sick with fever
Winds prophesying our immanent return
To unbridled joyful bodies tossed
Within the holy trinity of mindless rage
Of air become a vacuum
And my fingertips filled
With an inexpressible urge to run
Into the surging night
To greet its joy with my joy –
But one night
Our parents pulled us out of bed
And waited out the night below
The woman I loved
Chances to have drifted nearby
From across country;
Alights on a section of the city
Typically distant to me
But I happen to be there in evening
And see her photo on my phone,
A few blocks away in person
But still (safely) states away in heart.
I still proudly disbelieve in fate
But feel the irony that twists my heart
With thoughts of how we’re linked
And in the future, published,
I envision a woman reading these words –
Not her, someone else
Who I imagine myself feigning to love,
Imagine her reading and feeling sorrow
Because she never loved me in return.
I always see someone I think I know
But it turns into a different face.
Tell me –
Who did I see?
Did the face really turn
Casting uncertain quantum waves
Like a soggy blanket over my feelings
On a cold night, rain-swept and infinitesimal?
If I see you in so many faces,
Can’t you learn to see me too –
Anguished and searching all those eyes
For a semblance of someone I used to know?
Memory is not even a feeling
But a memory of a state of feeling,
An aborted daughter in the womb of childhood pain
Cut from limb to limb
But somehow still living.
Which face goes where?
Who places them like guitar strings
In their proper slot in a floating bridge?
O Floating World, over-full
Tune me tightly, like a lover
Until I snap from rage
Then turn again
And let your face be the one that I place there
Threading you through a bridge
Gently pulling you up and down
Smoothing out you’re trembling,
Wrapped in soggy night terrors,
Lost to the turning of eyes.
In cryogenic sleep
I wasted through space
and that was paradise.
for seventy years
in a half-remembered dream
I walked on the earth
and that was Hades.
You, where will you walk?
How will you float?
Alone, or in the host of Andromeda’s Angels?
On Brighton Beach after dark
The lovers take the lifeguard chairs
Keeping watch as their love goes out to sea.
When I’m on the train I like to try to sit quietly, stare ahead, and meditate. I try to think about nothing, be mindful of the physical world. I try to think about the train, how it’s moving from point to point, how it has an origin and a destination, how people get on and off, how each of them has a point of origin and a destination, and how it’s ok not to be in a hurry and just be mindful of how everyone is on a separate journey on the same train. Just like how we’re each on a separate journey and our lives intersect temporarily, never permanently. Each of us is alone. Never fully with someone else.