In memory of Kevin Cohen

Thirteen days, I thought about the window
And where it looked out into a wooded garden,
Flowers arranged wild like dabs of paint
Beneath a sagely oak; the gentle shade,
The yellow darkness

Had crept in to the minister’s sermon,
We were swept up by summer rain, his sepia
Fear growing as I scorned the pulpit,
The centerpiece, the weary nod of smoke,
The yellow voices

Lost against the window; pagan, almost, our
Forest of pews in a makeshift meadow,
But it was glass clearer than empty space!
Between branches lay subtle brilliance,
The yellow eyes

Bowed low, hushing off green shade and
Stone doorways carved in nearby hills.
There is no fear; when we go, the tomb
Is just another window, and passing through
The yellow light.

Melodrama and the Death of Galatea

One evening, across an ocean, you turned to me with your lips lined with thought. I could not hear those last words, watching in mute horror as the marble stole into your eyes and traversed your face, down your neck and over your body, your legs, to your arms raised in silent farewell. The magic had come undone. In that instant, you were lost and all I held was a memory, as dead as alabaster. I knew then that there would be no more words.

Was it in words that you came alive? Listening to midnight music, I lie awake and wonder how your plaster construct took on breath, if the unspoken was louder than what was written. A year has passed and my pen still lies heavy. It’s been another seven since I last saw you. Are you still robed in clouds? A purple wind. A secret world?

I should tell you that I dreamt of you two nights ago. You sat on the broken steps of an amphitheater, bound by orange lamps, steam rising from concrete buildings as the noiseless troupe sang in an oval pit. You stood in recognition, held out a hand to greet me, and in those quiet hours swaying to Circadian rhythms, the months passed. What were we then, unwitting particles in an imagined reality. Strange, that I never dreamt of you before. Not that I should have by any means.

How prophetic, that absence yields to longing.

Patience, impatience. A man becomes smoke and broken promises, yielding to cowardice, afraid of the silence privy to flesh-and-blood; so I’ve waited too long until the heat ran cold and turned to stone. But here it is, paper is my medium. And now that you have stepped away so cleanly, languished and disappeared so neatly, I will write. My words have always portended the future. Tragic, that our first poem foretold the end.


marble eyes weeping heavenwards
from this fountain of youth
where copper prayers flicker off, on, in
innocent shallows,
and night after night, when all the world’s
in sweet respite, Hope stumbles to
vacant gardens and barren fields
and resurrects the damned.

it was an easy star that fell
in the lavender fountain of youth…
enough lavender and youth to always take the breath away

even with that mute understatement
of what went rightly in your head,
even without my wishful conniving
that drove laughter in
a loved but sacrificial car
nearly two decades down the line
riding River Styx in the busted car,
this relic went,
(once headed East of West)
to mountains lined with alabaster miniatures;
weary ends of these deserted barrens and derelict harems of a soul
unvoiced problems I had with “everyone’s vices”
man who both drank and was drunk.

we drank to a verdant life
and knew the crimson stars while
we still held verdant on our tongues.

in august a vernal wind well-disguised as autumn
stole you and your mind away to foreign lands I never knew existed
filling me with such a sorrowful shade of primrose–
I dreamt of them in fearscape, why should you go there

and did you see me in your wasted dreams?

you asked as leaves of everything previous fell between us,
but I complained about pettiness and
how the tree of life entertwined with
the tree of knowledge
and how both drained the eldest fountain of youth.

and did you see me in your wasted dreams

you asked me as time planted a mountain
between us not grain by grain
with stolen sands, building on and
something spilled the hourglass, I saw nothing
but there’s always been a playground with everything we said
a memorial void still holding something in form
and silence.

fade out…

shots in the dark
all those years when you looked back
and I to some kind of forward
you were the only one I could see

[Original Post Date: 11/11/2003]