Thursday, May 05, 2005

"What I hope dying is like" -- Billy Merrell

When I imagined my life leaving my body,
I could picture a clear and singular soul
taking flight, its shape nearly the shape of me,
but fogged through. I could imagine the ground
steaming as my body was given up, the very air
unendurably still. But if there is such a thing
as a soul inside me, I would rather it not
feel like I've left when I have left the world.

Instead, I would like to become connected
to the life of each thing I finally touch.
One energy, not drawn out or transformed
but reaching from my life to the living ground
to the grass or cat or man, flooding the world
like it has been wiating to surge out. If I could feel
that first swell, the sensation leaving my skin
and taking in the sense of the grass and then
that first other animal. The first other person,
living nearest to my unloving body, feeling them too.
If I could still feel as each thing that feels
is braided by touch. That could be heaven,
knowing all along that touch was there,
knowing that death is only failing to ignore it any longer.

"Still"-- Billy Merrell

Walking home a month after your call, I passed the mural
beneath the overpass, its edges sketched and still
a ghostly white. Thinking of you, how your hands felt
through the sleeves or your sweater as I led you out

to the beach, your eyes cloesd, I looked at all that was left
unfinished and wondered how soon the artist would return
with her ladder and boxes. But it had been so cold lately
and I didn't know if she'd be back at all before spring.

And when I was almost home, rounding the corner, I saw,
among gray-green and the half-light, a single flower
still opening, momentarily and shockingly white. I bent
to pull it up, press it in a letter to you. But of course I didn't

reach it, and of course there was no letter. The winter was still
turning on, your life already sketched, finished but not complete.
I thought of how you laughed when you stepped into the sand,
how you didn't open your eyes until your feet were in the water.

Monday, May 02, 2005

"Give it Wings"-- Billy Merrell

My first love poem --well, the first to a boy
that needed to be in secret --hid my love

in a cage. Cliche after cliche, singing.
I didn't stop until I had whole aviaries, love

coiming out, everywhere and relentless.
I never thought it was Love, just

love , in a simple way that was safe
and easy to say because it meant nothing.

It wasn't long before I learned who not to say it to
and who not to feel it for, who not to write about

because if you give it wings, it wants to fly away.