Whenever we write we describe ourselves.
When I was young
I burned to write.
I wrote my father
up from the dead.
Dark doors slammed,
my pencil sobbed.
I wrote for god
and the hood
and the Nothing hunched
in my heart. I wrote
that little song of shame
you sing to stay the dark.
Love circled the house
but how could I hear
in that roar of words?
I wrote. I died.
My pages swirled away
in the dirty trees.
Tell them in heaven
it wasn't right. Tell them
in hell, I never said no,
|Little Song of Memory
What was it I said, or didor didn't?
Was God in his chair, was it night?
Did I say the wrong word, did I stutter
and burnworse: did I speak at all?
And where were the others, family
and ghosts, the infamous Sheriff Big?
Enough! It's done, they're dead, yet
still I claw and howl at the dark
door. Christ, child, let it go. For
even if memory yieldssays here
for what it's worth is how
it was and ishow will I know
what's real!for memories bicker
and deal, some staggering off in the
cold to die and others gnawed
by the rats of sorrow and shame
and all you can even hope to find
are bonesunder your hair you hear
them clatterbones of the mother!
bones of the son!goddamned
bones of the words that bind them
At first I wanted to praise
for the spectacle, you know,
the massy boulevards, the blare
of brass in the rinsed and shining air
I had come to visit my dead
and talk to the poets, maybe,
if they werent too busy, and Id play
a little piano to pay my way.
We never slept, the poets and I,
oh they were crazy days.
Now Im back in town
and mobbed in my yard
whats it like? whod you see?
they pull at my clothes
is there a list?No, I say
you dont understand
I tap my headit happens
here, beneath bone, in the dark
Ototoi! they shout, dont fuck
with us, we saw you board the bus,
we ran your printsweve got it
alland they fan their pagesin
in black and whiteHo! I
holler back, thats it! Heaven, its
black, its white, silent, birdlessok
I was stretching itthough the guard
I blew in the shadows said
if you stay long enough things
take on a sheen of sortsand sure
enough, as I was leaving, my mother,
thats her picture there, above you
on the wallwho had come to see me
off after our reconciliationmy mother,
who loved me, Im certain, you could
see it in her eyesstood
beneath the bare trees, tristis et
afflicta, my mother, we didnt speak,
I remember the sweater draped
round her shoulders and pinned
with a gold hummingbird, it shone
such a dark and forgiving blue.