The Word of the Holy Spirit

We are in the moment where there is
no time to forget—no time to unwind.
We catch back in with the program
as the promises drift on the wind as they were so often
to remind us of the scent of autumn—the equinox
when all promises of this kind are given,
so later on we can catch up with them and nod as in—
“I’ll catch you later.”

When a stranger does softly snore,
and when tomorrow’s promise can blend,
intertwined with the spiraling skeleton of a fish,
laid out on an ivory plate—a specimen for the blade—
but to sort or unravel, we will have to consider,
for the answers—inscrutable, ineffable—do
have the tendency to sometimes drift in
through the kitchen window on a temperate September night,
held against the bosom when if becomes uncertain,
drifting blossoms across the pillows,
a kiss of chocolate in the sheets.
And in the nod of all is certain
we become the period to end the sentence
and step into the dawning harvest—
tomorrow’s children, tucked beneath our arms,
held to the breast real tender
like no insects could crawl inside the temple.

The carpet laid before us, our steps descend
in order of meaning—meaning there is no chance
that you will be forgotten. You’ll live on within
the autumn yawning equinox and in the people.
We realize what stands before us—in the promise of
a kiss upon your wrist when you are looking out the window
into the garden of our horizons. All thought together
becomes the harvest from which the waters erupt
in fountains of light—lightning crackles through the sky—
and we understand that, to understand, first we must forget
what it feels like to touch our skin against the fabric
of reality all around us—

in such complex ways no sense remains but
to contemplate faster than we can think
and much, much faster than we can write—
our pens clinking behind a path of sheltered pride—
opening the doors into the closets of who we were
before the storm, before we first set pen to paper
to capture this spirit, this life-force that surrounds us,
that compels us to be greater than our collective will to survive—

To catch up with the last thought that trickled out
of the kitchen sink, we think of all the blinks
we have blinked in our lives, each one a kiss
to remind us of the clichés that cling to the environment,
to the hillside where the stones and dirt drip
through your fingers like molasses coming down
to stir in the cradle between yesterday’s forgiveness
and the promise of,
“Yes—I will learn,”
that cling like pebbles to the hills that fall away from the mountains,
and yes, we are forgiven

and yes, we believe in the promise that there is something
altogether more significant than how we spend our time.
There will be refreshments later, after we bathe
in the spring we will discover bubbling under
this square of land we call home. We will arise
and lift up like clouds into the sky where we can forget
to thank our aunts and uncles for all their kindness and love—
like these were postcards to be collected on the shelves.
So let’s remember to forget where the groin grows between our legs,
reminding of the animal inside us that we have caged
but kept well fed and stocked with rage—mirrors reflect a herd
of ten thousand cattle drifting up into the stars.

Let us remember to write Can upon a sheet of paper,
underline the word and let time play out upon it.
life singes away the edges into the forgiveness
that—when the pen moves beyond the borders
of what can become fiction and the ink fades
into the utterance of all things best left forgotten;
when sunnier days hang from the rafters
with spell-checkers who are little men,
who are angry men parachuting down,
and we remember we had somewhere else to be,
to slaughter the chickens we need to feed the children—
the promise remains that when this sentence ends
the rhyme will continue ticking—
tocking away ten lifetimes—

The screen focuses on a frozen lakebed snoring into the wind.
each handful of snow is an offering that we do have hands
to hold these things and to make better things—
to draw eight circles in the snow, a peppering
of regrets trailing through the design.

I remember where this all began,
where this long chain of prefixes hooks into,
and we drag a net of creatures up from the depths
of all the infinite lifetimes before us—before
we were forged—and so became the fabric
that would be cut and sorted into all the costumes
that hang in the closet of genetics, but then you remember
where this sentence began, and we envision
all the graffiti that has been scrawled
on the walls of the subways, rails ratcheting
each tick, tick, tick of the clock—
each tick of the record caught in its spinning—

but the pen begins to question what the owner
is doing, asking for the promise that, when the cap
is finally put onto it, the button we press will
chime out the answer and the water will
start flowing out the faucet, and the rivers will
divide between the affirmative and negative.

We need to decide what kind of lies we will believe,
and which we will build into Gulags. We remember
there were stories before we could decide
what to believe, hanging on the walls
outside the apartments, the townhomes,
the condominiums, the houses, the mansions—
all these words like dust scatter, and so I fragment
into comets that rain down from the sky,
trailing knowledge of the twisted path of life.

We snuck outside under the cover of an awning
yesterday, and each day after we will begin to wonder
whether our vision held more than we’re seeing
with each interface inside a porcelain chamber
where you and I mix like a chemical compound
from which glue is made that will cement a bridge
into each tomorrow’s showering of flowers—
sparkling of light—light—refracted off the pond
we remember cupped inside our palm.
We can find somewhere comfortable to sit,
And we can reflect on each lifetime of regret—
later, after each threat is sobbed through the lace
draped across the woman who stands
in the center of all this attention and
in the center of the stage, reminding us of the law
and all we’re allowed to do by our fathers and
by their fathers too, they who shaped
the way your lips reflect the silence.

each lifetime we leave to grow under the rug—
each creature we have lurking inside us
that will snap forth in a great tidal wave
and say, standing proudly on the shoreline,
“if each discrete moment were to thrive
within us, we could find the deep basin
of life.” We have to pull out the dictionary
to describe the kinds of emotions that inflect
through each tremor of the ground—

should it quake, so we bend and on knees
ask for the father’s forgiveness, who stands
up in the press box, fifty floors above the action
that unwinds each time we rewind the screen
focused on the field so many hundred feet below.
we utter each chant of supplication, wishing
each syllable would last ten lifetimes—
and ten tomorrow dawnings when the neighbors
survey the wreckage of last night’s offering
under the totem of tomorrow’s forgiveness.

Ten thousand bottles full of clichés,
like loose change, tinkle the moments
as each bill falls to the carpet from our fingers.
In these moment we can remember and
most especially believe that the daughters
of tomorrow’s children will bring the harvest
in from the wind and pile ten thousand reasons
why we shouldn’t do this: don’t you remember?
What did momma say about trusting strangers?
How much slack should be given to the rope
We find has been dragging through our fingers,
folding the fibers into our skin?

But then we remember all our fathers—
and all of theirs—solemn, gravel-faced,
looking over our shoulders to remind us
that, yes, what we are experiencing is real,
and the deeper shades of ink will soak
into each page we discard like tissue paper
out of the car’s window, and we are reminded
to switch the focus from tomorrow’s forgiveness
to the promise that we will make the sincere effort
to connect each dot and color in the outline.

Water spills onto the sand where a girl lands,
legs twisting before the next thought can
suck her back into the sky, and all that’s left
is the certainty that money is an illusion
and nothing is certain. With each affirmative
there is the negative where the chain balances
all sense that what we are doing—
what we, together—what we are doing
is building a monument that will last ten lifetimes,

and when the cities fade into the winter’s
knowing glare, we will realize that
there is a woman looking back—
not a man, for men do not seek but to go between
each corridor. We need to be led by the hand
and reminded that, yes, we were children,
and, yes, before we were born there was language—
the primordial gelling pool.

In the evening we are reminded that the shores
of dawn looked different when we were looking
back from our lifeboat, back across the gleaming water,
past the flotsam of each lifetime we passed
through to reach deeper waters where we
were promised that monsters lurked—serpents
twisting, stirring bubbles out of the water,
the tentacles that might hold us down—
so we can bend them under our control,

and so we can pry from our fingers the scent
of tomorrow’s dinner that we will bake and eat
all together, gathered ‘round the table where
each face we will gaze upon reflects each face
we forgot to draw, and we will find that the postcards
we sent yesterday are being returned to a location
we’ve never heard of to be able to confirm that,
no, officer, I was not there on the date someone specified,
although the documents concealed his identity,
and whether he acted alone, or if there were dozens
of people meeting out in the forest during lunch break
as the sun glared up in the menacing sky.

We will find ourselves staring just a moment too long,
and in this moment when we are at our weakest
someone—be it man, woman or child—will spring
out of the landscape, out of each September ridge
that frames each pasture, and the speckling of light
that does sometimes reach us by this great thing
called the sun—Sol—the star of our fathers’ quest
to find a name to ascribe upon our worst fears—
the fear that each sentence we begin will bend
before it ends, and if the sentence should break
and we were to fall from a ladder and break a leg—
God forbid worse!—
that in our deepest moments of suffering
we should see—the only word that will do is God,
and not because of what this word means,
but because of all the lips that have echoed
out the meaning like nails being driven
into a coffin to remind us where all we are doing is headed.
Try not to make a mess of this place, and should
a sentence drag on longer than you expected,
you can always—as your father once said—shut up!


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