Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Beauty of Sorrow, after Pauline Oliveros

The best time to look at sorrow
is a quarter before midnight.

It looks dead from the ground up,
a single withered stick.
Then opens gently,
like the luna flower.

It bursts with all the radiant loneliness
of the desert,
a shock of moonlight that pulses
only once a year,

when you least expect it,
when you’ve forgotten
the intoxication,
the pungent scent of grief.


Reina de la noche
covers the arid valley
from here to the moon.

They open their mouths
like fish in water,
sucking in the dry air.
Their small tongues
are smeared with silver.

Such beauty can never last.


The best time to listen to sorrow
is anytime if you are
in the desert.

You can listen to it
in the just intonation
of summer, when everything
is one music, seamless and slow.

I like to press my ear against
your sternum, I like to hear life
being pumped all over you.

I like the way the sage
is always silent
and full of healing,
if we only knew.

It’s not like here,
in this shitty apartment,
where sorrow yells in your ear
and all you hear
is your heart opening and closing,

and only because
it’s supposed to.


I can live with sorrow
all day without you.
I’ve gotten good
at making it feel at home.
I think I will get even better
tomorrow, and the day
after tomorrow.

I will be so good I will have
rivals, I will evoke such envy.

I will wear it around my neck,
the way those pimps
wear a viper sometimes,
just to show they’re somebody,
just to show they’re special and mean.

I can live without you
sometimes, I can feel your name
scratched into my heart
like graffiti.

Someone must have left it there
in the dead of night,
when no one was looking.

I swear it wasn’t me.


If there’s a best time to eat sorrow
it must be now,
when your hunger gnaws so deep
it feels like having a soul.

You can let it take over you
like the spirit
the shaman wakes
with a single drum.

You can turn it into poetry
or religion, whatever
is easier to swallow.

Either way it remains
what it is,
a slow, elusive bloom
that opens your body up,

and you can’t help staring
at the dead light streaming
towards you,

the dead waking the living
with these small revelations.

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