I Am So Full Of The World (A Birthday Poem 2005)
It would seem that every year it begins this way.
Life: the slow burning pyre fades a little
every December- and I can do nothing but mourn
every spark that flickers in its vanishing.
I lament every illumination the light casts upon the shadows,
for I know, it is one less.
As a child I navigated a long procession of graves-
or so I imagined when walking the narrow hallway
to my mother’s room in late afternoon, to bring her
Comfrey tea for the ulcers and Aspirin for the migraines:
The world is full of tombs and names that ensure us
some sort of legacy.
The immense night, now more immense without the moon.
There are stars saying hello and goodbye,
jet-planes and sky scrappers that light it up-
and wind that graces the face of people simply walking.
Such a habitual routine: to step from the curb into the street,
check both ways for traffic, like a good child you remember
what your parents taught you was dangerous.
Somehow all of this comes to me, across the distance of life and death-
of mile after mile of blacktop and cement-
Somehow the world invades me
as I sit 10 thousand leagues away from all of it-
away from the headlights of rush hour,
away from grave markers that only shine when it rains.
And now a storm approaches from every corner, coming
to flood the fields the farmers have yet to reap- coming
to murder the silence with thunder: as a child I often misunderstood
as the footsteps of God. I’ve seen him more than once,
at this very moment he’s standing 10 feet in front of me
ready to step into a street full of traffic- full of people and life
tearing away in every direction- I think his intent might be to commit suicide.
I see all of it, the world revolving on a spindle,
people discarded like yesterday’s news.
I hear them in my thoughts; what they fear, who they love-
even their loneliness that always fills me with great ideas of dying.
Like I could stand atop the ruins and jump without ever considering
the alternative of flight.
It’s times like these that if I feel any warmth at all, it’s merely a space heater
that only warms one corner of the room, where I sit by a forever shut window
watching a birthday moon break over the horizon,
as autumn fills me with another year.
It’s times like these that break my heart into tiny shards of
razor sharp snowflakes, that cut little incisions on my tongue
when I try to reenact the innocence of being young,
that bleed me until I concede to the notion that: I am so full of the world.