A Cargo of Green Hearts
in the stories there is a beast, a thing without a face or form
a collection of fur fangs & dank fear. not the metaphor but the thing itself
stories vary but in each of them the beast lives in a cave
or the cellar of an abandoned house afraid that the light will strike it dead
variation aside there is always a girl but how she meets the beast
why she loves it subject to interpretation. don't guess unless you've
been loved so ridiculously yourself
always the girl enters the house cellar cave or forest daily
always she calls to the beast "always, always" with her red clarion her
tender trumpet while it the beast entered called again collapses
back red-eyed into its creche of smashed lightbulbs its tabernacle of
bats which also whispers "always, always" with a cruel violin.
now and again the beast reaches a toe a finger into the light
then draws back into its catacomb of dark whispers its temple of night grapes.
each day the girl calls. each day the girl calls.
then one day she does not. she has given up or has died. maybe
not the story you expected but this is a truth too.
say the beast waits five days or ten before the absence of the girl's
voice draws it out terrified but in love the more. can you imagine
which was greater? how beautiful finally the clean taste of sunlight
or how heartbreaking the bone-snap of loss.
wake up. so you've been slugged
low harsh and unfairly
so the entire world looks
like tinder and your head
rest here. let the unkind words
the hammer-blow judgment
fall away. it seems like the earth
cannot hold it all, I know, and the
stars are too far away to touch.
so it goes. even the trees
who once held you aloft
like old acrobats cannot
even whisper. some things
weigh this much. there are places
where birds seem not to exist.
do not take the usual paths:
to lie down before it is
to crush your soul like a wad of tinfoil
to stand up before it is to become
someone's self-fulfilling prophecy
there is a wind in the pines somewhere
a brook remembers your name.
listen to these voices until
you recall on what shelf
you left the portrait of someone
who truly loved you.
take down that face. hold it before
you. spread it like putty until
it fits the horizon.
I have learned to apologize in five ways.
First, to say "I'm sorry I hurt you,"
and move on. taillights. this is not an apology
it is an excuse to exit stage left. it is what absentee fathers
say to women as theirs shadows back out of doorways.
Ganesh said to me: I will sit on your chest tonight
and squeeze and squeeze.
Second, to say "I am sorry I met you sorry
I fell in love with you sorry I went bowling with you. . ." this is
not an apology. it is regret. a dash of anger like bad salt.
a slander of the nudity of giving, the bottomless heart which gardens this earth.
Ganesh said: since you do not value your hands,
let me take them back.
Third, to say, "I am sorry my way of being acting
speaking standing hurts you." this is not an apology. it is the
thief disguising theft by insinuating against the robbed.
it is forgetting how electricity flows.
and Ganesh: I will plant you squarely in the way of everything.
Fourth, you will say, "I am sorry--But. . ."
this is not an apology. it is a sucker punch. a handshake of
needles. a kiss that draws blood.
Ganesh whispers to you: say--if like trading so much, I have something better to trade with you.
Fifth, apologize. the silence that dropped from
three words to crush my heart into a sweet, sweet wine.
See? Ganesh said, it is not so bad, riding on the back of this mouse.
from here, you can get to where you are really going.
from here, you can go home.
this starry sky. everything I have wanted to know
about love. it's true, friend. we have made our
homes on those little lights out there. it is a sea
that we must cross. the owl, guardian of that door
his feathers make less sound than an eyelash dropping
he must not be heard, but felt. the soul is weighed
against that countermeasure. I have lost so many
of you on that voyage. my words were not always
good. my throat was not my true throat. I stumbled
in and out of the shape of a bear. I knew hunger
and loss and stood on two legs. as if I were a
man. as if. but sometimes when the moon
disappears behind silent velvet, I sing you lullabies.
all of you. I touch your faces with new pens.
I see you from the other side of things. this mercy.
an escaped horse. the keyhole at my navel.
it is not enough to live and say
I could not love everything. if I was the earth
I would hold you. if the sea, I would kiss you.
even suffering, all of you. the starfish are my hands
take them. I forgive your lack of thumbs. I forgive
you the stars that you say aren't there. I have seen
them all. I am on my knees, hands out, to catch
them. don't lie to me about time. it does not
exist. an owl told me so.
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