I wanted to remember,
so here’s what I arranged
in a small black box
softly lit and gently toned,
in order to erase or somehow change
the shadows I saw bordering your stare
and then I put a tiny bamboo cage…
This snow white flower, one silk Forget me not
And a single strand of wooden beads, for prayer.
I recall the place where we first met.
The hard light, falling bare across the walls,
stained with all the numbered, broken ghosts.
This will not fade and I cannot forget
My plans to take the image of your face
and hold it In a box next to my heart.
Before I even started, I got lost
and fell into the darkness of your eyes.
I closed my eyes And dreamed that I saw steps
Spiraling upwards in this quiet space.
You were the angel, waiting standing there
taking my hand, beginning to share, perhaps
some of the things that they whisper once took place
(some say) Heaven and earth were silent
Blind and deaf
While others mention grace. and mystery
but only these deep shadows now are left
as dreams and explanations all collapse
(Were you a messenger
Did you simply disappear
`An enemy of the people or the state’??,
I must confess
I dare not try imagining your fate)
This box like room grows cold
the stories still not told wait for the words.
How many words for sorrow might there be?
I could locate some
And? I would plant them here.
Letting them glow
I’d watch the slow release
of fragrant snow white threads
that spiral, turn and trace
unanswered questions overhead.
But later, when all is said and done,
I’m just another tourist seeking shade.
A temple offers shelter from the sun.
sensing a kill, thats when the boys move in
(they’ve have got it made)
like walking trees, their branches thickly filled
with crying, pulsing, tiny bamboo hearts
the voices high and shrill
(and so it starts…)
For one US dollar bill,
I (too) can buy a blessing
Set a small bird free
Sounds OK (I guess)
Whats not to like?
I close the deal
Confession: people tell me I’ve been played
The whole thing really is a simple trick.
This bird , a blur of wings, flits out of sight,
circles the ornate building once or twice
before returning home. It’s just a game.
This cage is all the bird has ever known.
Now I feel sick I’m not too wise it seems
I’ll smile and Thank them ,
Then I’ll walk away
And file it: one more lesson for the day.
But even now I fear there’s no escape….
these shadows slowly taking shape inside
This small black box found where my heart once ached
If God was here, what would He have learned?
Some say He’s deaf and blind, but I can dream…
You, breaking with your usual round of flight
to spiral upwards in the burning light…
Tear wings and breath, scream to the empty sky
your questions: please tell me what you find.