LITTLE SONGS AND PRAYERS FOR CAROL

Every spoken word is a lie but the same words being sung are true.

1

I find myself laughing for no reason

cry when there is no cause to cry.

I go out when moonlight is sharp as a woman’s slap

to see a round face that is not my own

but find I am looking into my own right eye!

I don’t know who I am not.

I am all places, all people, every seed and every open blade of grass.

I am what you are.

2

I keep a close watch on this heart

see my mind look for and find

no answers.

I watch the heart let go of everything and look to itself

alone.

You are my heart

a sky in all directions.

Above and below you are my heart.

3

All we know is what we can never be told.

But we are not forgotten when we forget ourselves.

Someone is close

someone kneeling in water whose breath is a spiral.

4

There is a yellow light the color of peach flesh

laid across everything alive.

There is a naked awe in being here

whether in bolts of happiness

or in grinding or sudden suffering.

Whether I move with those who are moving

or stand in shadows as a thief of breath I am with you.

I am you.

5

The silence after a question that has no answer goes on forever.

Our minds stop

when we are not afraid to be completely alone.

The sky cracks open

the crown of the head is born from the womb.

We see the whole blue body come

between the Mother’s legs like a mountain of sky!

6

Alone or together

our hearts are gathered into one.

We are carried up like farm dogs in a funnel cloud.

7

The heart is a spring of water.

To reach it we must kneel and put our mouths near the mud.

We have to smell the mud and taste it in ourselves

to know.

Kneel if you dare.

Drink only if you are brave.

8

All night long thunder with lightning!

Earthquakes open canyons in the sea!

Inconsequential hills are lifted up as mountains.

Cities fold in waves of salt that are red as blood!

But by morning, the tidal flood receded

I smell the Gulf drying in the nets of your hair.

Quail are ticking in the fallen leaves

and you are spread across everything like the sky suddenly awake!

Twenty-three years ago you shouted

“Every word you say is a lie!”

Between untruth and total silence I became your husband.

9

Now my teeth are going one at a time

as the petals of our ornamental cherry tree are pulled

by gusts of wind.

Connective tissue in the joints, eyesight, hearing, all are going.

There is a darkness in my heart

the dark of springs deep in earth

of water too cold to drink that must be warmed first in your hands.

Words come to me one at a time

like leaves torn from pin oak trees sixty years ago in Texas

that were carried underground in a torrent

and rise to surface in this spring of water.

As the poor make windows out of bottles, I make a bed for you

of these leaves.

10

I don’t know what love is.

There are no objects and no relationships.

Only one being like a sky that has no mouth but speaks anyway

no arms but we are all embraced by it!

I am the one behind the mirror

who sees without being seen.

I could line my driveway with the skulls

of every body I have been.

11

I am alone

in a house with no stairway to an upper room

no back door out.

In the quiet where a cricket rubs his legs together

I sit in this chair instead of working

knowing I am not a body

not the chair the body sits on

not the floor that supports the chair.

This house is mortgaged and I look around with rented eyes.

There is no sadness in a fact

and no rejoicing in what is simply true.

I am alone and like the cricket I make a song from what

I am.

12

I have followed you through all the veins of the body

and come back alone to the knot

of the heart.

All words end in the silence.

They vanish!

The heart never even forms a thought.

No words come from there

and none can reach it that are not first changed to fire.

13

Sometimes I wake up in the cold

and there is no face in the mirror

no voice

only a dry leaf for a tongue

and emptiness like a handful of fire!

14

If you walk in a spiral through this city

following lines of power, drawn by your own intelligence

you will find a place where I am already waiting

arms full of flowers buzzing with bees.

I wait for you in every cell.

There is a happiness in me

coiled and tightly folded as the wings of meadowlarks!

15

I follow you

wind blowing through me all the names

of the dead I am.

There is one name I answer to, so much like silence

that I answer it with silence.

16

Some believe in the quiet between two words

God can be heard breathing.

My faith is never to believe.

My prayer is not to speak the first word.

17

You told me

don’t resist the rising breath

even if your lungs are filled until they break your ribs.

Don’t stop

until all this sky is breathed inside you!

.

.

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