for Ann Anderson
I’ve come to an uneasy peace running from the past
Where voices speak your name
You living ghost come out of darkness
Blinding me with joy only animals know.
I was your toy, a thing nearly real
For love ever is
But marriage is money in the big city
And a soldier’s son
Was unwelcome to a physician’s fair daughter
Lady Anne of quiet beauty, love of you nearly killed me.
Where are you, barbed eyes, sex like E
Raw love of a man
Ruin of my youth locked in my arms?
So foolishly cunt-struck was I
I’d have killed for you
Like some kill for gold or dreams
I had none, only love, pathetic love–
Nights on a sea cliff
Where the waves thundered invitations!
What a scar I might have left
But I could not in any way harm you–
As you flew out of the city
Forever away from me
I felt you sitting next to me in my car
I guess you were
Floating over me, I turned and said your name.
Will you smile real pretty when I pull the trigger?
Will you let a squadron of dragonflies carry you
By your nipples and hair into a green forgetful sky
By your toes, your nose, the white fuzz on your ears?
You will forget the red and blue years
Sailing a typhoon of moonlight, money and mercy
Mercy for queers, money for roses, so many
You can give one to every hobo-drunk in the world
And ten for me, your god-forsaken rebel.
If I whirl a twister of wishes and dreams
To right the wrongs we have brought upon our children
All the animals and insects gone to extinction
If I gather the lint from our toes, sox, bras, underwear
Into a sudden mighty wind and knock the leaders
Kings and tycoons off their murderous feet for good
To say there is something very different from
What they promise and what we get, my dear
Will you smile, will you smile, will you smile real pretty?
The long hours of your drinking are now the short hours of my sleep.
Sleep covers me with black sheets
but your latino voices startle my ears.
I would cry out the window, ¡Cállate!, but civility prevents me.
So amigos, I still up with you
Hearing the riot of your banter
Pretending I’m a writer.
Have you so many considerations keeping you from calm dreams
Or is it a lady that stirs you
Keeping your tongues wagging
into the moonlit morning?
It is true, the young believe they will live forever, talk forever
Of conquest, business and love
Yes, they will live forever
But will they learn to love their neighbor?
I am not so old, but tonight I am in an old man’s body
With an old man’s longing for peace
Wishing I could sleep, sleep forever
While beyond my window
A mockingbird laughs at me, the moon falls to the west
Falling as I should be, word by word, laugh by laugh, into dreams.
He holds me so close we dream the same dream
But I cannot sleep while I remember
A dream of driving down a back road in the dark
Hoping for collision, a head-on in his arms.
That could be my freedom, no one really knows
Exactly when we go and I am recalling the look
Of wonder on his face when he knew I knew
The love of beauty, the beauty of love is stronger
Than his embrace– time wears me down to dust.
Love, keep me close, keep me here a little longer.
He wraps big cold arms around me with the blanket
And the sheets, we lie down to sleep again
Death and I, turning a blind corner on a back road.
Make room for a quiet sound, take a broom
to your heart, sweep distractions away
clear away notions and fear, let the sound
sweep through you, a wave washing sand
let the silence between two waves find you
Wander in mind without care, be the wonder
of a day lily opening slowly, the voice
not of power high or low, your own voice,
and when you hear it, be still and listen
as you did to the voice of your mother
Listen as to an old friend, as to a song
on your deathbed, lost in listening, listen
as to a great love you lost come back to you
to love you and never leave you again.
Cover photo and poem by Rayn Roberts
Star stalker light walker
Night dissolves you dream talker
Speaking the colors of symbols in time
and small myth balker
Your mind lifts like fog over water
Like mist over land
Imagination is creation–
Countless ways open to wisdom
Follow one, woman, go on man
There is one road to take
The one you’re on
You are who you make: Religion
Rayn Roberts 2017