I Wanted To Be A Clam

I’m standing in a torn-up lot,
my toes hanging over
the edge of the earth.

The world behind me disappears,
and I am surrounded
by the music of sailboats
at anchor, the water-full
easing of wooden docks,
the winging of shorebirds.

Crystalline light extends to a far wall
of silent rust. In the center,
a ghost trapezoid,
a shaft of quiet exploding upwards,
a white ship.

I follow the lines between tides,
the unending curves of whirlpools,
surging over shallow reefs
to find all the coves unvisited,
and finally, a lion
with his old, cracked bell.
around my head. My eyes are full.

I touch my ear as I’m washing my hair
I know you’re there behind me
I sink into the dark sand
left in the coffee filter
I hand you the cup
I wait all day to curl in sleep
around your body
I walk nowhere
I will not walk
until I remember your name

There is an equation
that locates every place
in the blue of time—
the same equation
which proves that place needs time,
but time needs no place.

I’ve swallowed the wind,
and the cold has sunk
right to my core.
Uphill in the bright
winter sun, I shiver
the mystery of fall trees.

I wanted to be a clam,
steaming in the morning light,
my grey shell easing open.
What else can I do
to become myself?
I would need another lifetime.

I would have become a father long ago
if I was not so afraid of being alone
I am in danger
of being less than other men
What I choose can never be enough
I am short of breath
I will not breathe
until I remember your name

Looking west
across a city built on sand,
my memories wrestle for air.
A machine
works away in the dark.
Ancient fire
explodes in the street.
Bricks climb mortar
climbs gold.

Here I threw a bunch of roses
from the window of my truck,
watching them
paint the crosswalk at 16th and Nightbirds.
I saw the same bright red at 2am
on a Tuesday as I made a left by the park.
From there, the avenues are drawn
straight down to the damp grey light.

I look to the horizon,
take bits of cloud in my hands
and place them in my open mouth,
feeding myself scraps of sky.
There are no words.
My eyes are full.

I can speak too many languages
I say yes too easily
What good would it do me to see you?
I had to borrow a heart
I will have no heart
until I can remember your name

I draw cards and pull a banana-square,
a cup of tea,
a broken branch.
I stare and stare my eyes
to slits, staring into the space
between shells, the places
I would crawl through
when I was small,
the dark corners,
my hideouts.

I dig, when I can,
and when I cannot dig, I sleep.