There are times when you will miss the fever and the madness it brought like placing a marble in a jar and calling it the moon, a knotted rope tugged on the other side of a padlocked door, and some nights you will lean against that door and hear laughter and wonder if they are laughing at you, hear the clack of billiard balls smacked and gulped by green felt pockets smeared with blue chalk dust and you will feel for a key you don’t have.
And that’s what it’s like, mourning the loss of a world to which I no longer belong, to him, I no longer belong, but I sit here in this vinyl diner booth and pick at the chips in bone white mugs I once rattled by the handle a hundred artless figure-eights each night he, to whom I no longer belong, thrummed his instrument over the southwest.
This spring the ivory flowers on the Callery Pear trees in bloom smell like semen and everyone knows it! The tiny blossoms drift down onto my face like a dervish spinning on a pinhead and I am in the mood to make something with anyone. To demonstrate their power, popes built fountains and obelisks. I pray to anticipate novelty in place of killing myself, see the amber swilling inside the pint glass and choose everything else. I can’t change the way I look at a photograph of you, who I loved painfully, without the urge to ponder some lame-as-fuck existential malady like how to quantify want, as if it is a dark and bottomless pool, as if the indelicate eye of a man in Albany squinting over his 10 am tall boy of Genesee who asserted himself patron saint of hard living, said It’s not good or bad, just different.
This spring, someone crashed a car into the church basement at the corner of Conklin and Hayes. The meetings went on anyway, a prayer for serenity indifferent to yellow tape streams that flapped in a cool breeze from the hole where the window once was. It is better. It is worse. It is different, and strange the way you persist on my periphery, though I can recall a time when poems were stuck in my head more often than songs. Even yours. A little concentration and I can still taste rose tea with turmeric and whiskey, a moon or a marble, a speeding car improvising sanity, from the stereo comes a poem that I’ve never read in a voice like my own:
There are times I think it possible to love something without being in thrall to it
It’s true, darling, the photos I return to most Are the ones where you are just out of frame