And Then You’re Young and Die

Nights spent on the moor with the shaman’s grandson

I hunt wolf spiders by the river and lightning’s shine

Clinging to these moments, desperate and hypochondriacal

I seek ground but find only mist beneath my feet

Cool spring blossoms around me, and I am growing old

 

Nineteen winters, they slip away like grains of sand

Too young to drink wine, but old enough to dance

I Viennese around a dark room in the wings of drama,

alone when my classes end

with the ghost upstairs and domovoi in the attic,

I haunt these broken halls

plink a melody on a weathered piano-

As Time Goes By, the Blue Danube,

off-key, as always, one note at a time.

I was never trained in music,

guitar taught me everything but notation.

 

We build cardboard castles in the moonlight

the existential crisis builds

I made a cross of saplings and wisteria

duck-taped it to the Chateau

We win first place, crush that angelic abode

a bit of me with the cardboard in the dumpster-

I’m losing pieces every day.

 

He is tall and slim like the Nuer

and I picture him in the African desert,

midnight skin etched across the heat.

I think home isn’t a place, but a feeling.”

Tides lap the silt and we dream.

 

I write poetry to make sense of the hollowness.

Prepare for tests that don’t really exist

They matter, but only so much.

The dean lists me as a victor,

but I know what true ordeals bring.

 

It is looking into the crying heart of darkness and going,

My god, even you will be loved

it is feeding agony with your own blood

on your knees, broken as you weep.

It is two decades of nightmares and shards of truth

that only through the rolling hills of years

begin to make sense.

 

It is that I own nothing, and everything I grasp for

doesn’t matter.

Because I had it all along.  All along.

 

And the gods are mad and broken

My spiders sleep in an abandoned room

Mayflies freeze a thousand times over

revived from the dead as they dance

I pity animals.  The way they are imprisoned.

I pity the things I become

I join him in his cage, rage with them.

Their poison silences the maggots.

 

The alf-boy slips through the willows

his hair wild as the Appalachian hills

we call like birds in the gloaming

speaking the language of the trees.

He carries a hat with a spider

sleeps with it under the moon.

 

I want to be like him, no edge

between myself and the dirt.

 

I want to write everything down

But there is no time, no means

No testament to my being.

And my gravestone will join rank and file

with the crushed dead in Judgement’s hall.

(But a book, I pray, has been written

Detailing my fall.)

 

I walk the paths of the Founding Fathers

breathe in the age of the stone.

The oak I sit under is eternal

And these poems are my only salvation.

The only sense in a maddening world.

 

I believe in reincarnation because I am selfish

and I want the chance to do it over again

Mind rages, I toss and turn

They say I should relax and move slowly

but my axis was off-kilter to begin

and this frenzied orbital would break Tycho’s nose.

But really, I’m just Kore in the fields,

spinning her circle dances,

dreaming my days away.

 

And I think of ending my life when I’m twenty seven

so I can blaze out and never be old.

And the psychosis slips under my skin

into my nightgown, flies scuttle across my limbs

the moon beats down like a straitjacket

and my disease is that I worry.

 

I am not mad, but asylums are private

and each of our hearts is in hell.

 

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