Roll Me Over the Billows

What can I teach them?

Oh, the time it takes,
has taken,
to even imagine other worlds,
much less reach them.

one lifetime in the least
as bird or beast
would be enough of a world for me.

I lament mortality
in what seems to add up to
constant ritual and song.

In between sessions of catchin’
me crying in concession,
Death puts its little hitches in my breath
all night long.

Then again,
isn’t the fog exhausting
when you keep feeling around for hands,
but they all keep belonging to zombies?

Don’t you grow exhausted
of gravity, time and honor,
and of your own story:
is it too late to change the genre?

Exhausted with hurt
cycled through with talk;
of pillars of salt;
of murals in chalk?

Do you feel that whether others choose to
carry or drop you,
it will be in either case
like a rock?

Do you fear you are a stone?
Do you just sit when alone?

Do you weigh in wet palms your worth,
imagining what it might mean to be earth,
a less eventful brown powder, for hours?

Or what it means to be
of earth,
possessing that elemental set of powers?

Do you think, ever, of famous stones—
those rolled away from caves for the risen,
to whom life was re-given;
Newton’s sphere that never slows without friction;
Mick Jaggar, Keith Richards, the rolling one of Bob Dylan;
Stonehenge; the Sphinx; the Mecca Monolith;
Charlie Brown’s Halloween rocks; the one that domeshot Goliath;
The Blarney Stone; Hope Diamond; the shoals feared by pirates;
the first thrown cross the line to incite a riot;
the one you broke your leg on beneath your tree fort;
the molten ones being reborn on the sea floor;
the ones hewn and stacked to make the Great Wall?
Do you imagine being just any rock at all?

And what does it mean
that you continue to dream
of tires scraping wheel wells
like tolling bells,
and being lost, but still propelled—
yet you don’t want to wake up
despite the coffee you smell,
and down cup-after-cup?

For you, the emblem emblazoned on love’s crest
is a pair of hands clenched in a ten-fingered fist,
because to let the absent go unmissed
seems like letting him slip from grip
as if to pretend he no longer exists,
when to have is to hold, and love is meant to be honest.

Still, what to do with the next
adolescent miss
who, in soliciting a kiss,
unties the rope from shore and cries, “Let’s go!
Let’s go!  Across the sea!  You and me!

Let go!”

Life is two-faced,
but that’s just
the gist.
Ha ha.

For all the merely measurably rich like us,
our limits outpace what we can, so must, wish.
Therefore verdicts on what we know
or can hold
are indeed tragic:
we can’t do magic.

Or ever even come close, affordably.
At best we learn to discern
butt-ugly from beautiful,
and proceed accordingly.

When I was your age,
I strayed so far out in space,
I rarely recognized the room
in front of my face.
Friends called me “Fog,”
and sounded the horn.

I found my place
so far from there,
you may as well call this reborn.
Another world.
Hot ocean floor.

I found the traveling mostly fun.
But I feel we all leave trails in our wakes,
and keep pausing mid-scan
to gaze down them, almost in daydream,
hoping to be gained upon.

Deep calls to the deep
in the sound of waves;
the breakers whip us with foam.


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