The kind you’re born with, the kind you choose, the kind that teach Catholic school
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I reach out for you from the depths of my dream life, I reach out a hand that intuitively knows you, seeks you out in darkness. Inside me, in a shadow life you walk the streets, go home to lie down & sleep & live in a house with me. I lie on the bed in afternoon sunlight asleep. You come home & wake me with your mouth on mine. I reach out for you like a child from an old photograph, reaching, forever reaching. Old sunlight through the window, outside in the yard everything is strangely reversed like a negative. The trees stand on the lawn like white ghosts of ships that will never be built & will never sail the ocean. The dark & even darker clouds that sail by like black zeppelins. In the street dark skeletons walk by. I reach out for you, for the moon that wanders the night like a lost lover. Underneath my eyelids a thousand tiny hands knock at the gates of sleep, singing the love song of the shadow life that blooms in the rainy streets of the unconscious.
Pockets have travelled all over the world carrying nothing but grains of dust & darkness. Pockets have also carried gold, opium, watches, knives, string, money. Rain in the pocket of a farmer in Kansas as he steels himself & his land against the worst drought in memory. The gigantic dustbowl of the Midwest becomes a pocket of sorrow & hard times as the crops are blown across the desert like Conestoga wagons sailing for the West Coast. Astronomers carry maps that chart the darkness pinpointing small glowing worlds of light that hang out there in the distance of space. The President carries speeches in his pocket. The words of these speeches forget the meaning of the alphabet & gather together in a clump on the pages like small dark animals. When he pulls his speeches out to liberate a country in Southeast Asia or to levy a new tax, the words run away. A small child picks up a white stone, stuffs it into the black country of his pocket. The stone thinks it has died or been transported to a cave, to a black country where nothing breathes. The stone dies a little bit thinking of the breathing clock of the earth. The stone rides around in the pocket dreaming of home. Even the open mouth of the child when he sleeps tonight will become a pocket overflowing with darkness.
1. Thunder is an old man with a club foot who drinks a lot, stares at the rain, limps around & rumbles mournfully at his absent wife.
2. Lightning is a woman born ugly who ran away from home to the sky where she covered herself with mirrors & now spends her time flashing light out to the edges of the universe, while back on earth astronomers fall in love with this strange new star.
3. The sky is the dark side of whale bone, at night it grows a thin stubble of beard, comes clean with the sun. Sometimes this whale bone opens & everything falls out.
4. Wind was driven from the sky by thunder. Wind dreams of returning but at present works a very dull job & leads a boring life. Sometimes the wind can be seen leaping among the trees, blowing up off the water of lakes.
5. The sun is a crabby old cab driver with a long ragged mustache of solar coronas. He always has a stubble of fire on his chin & when he gets angry his muscles bulge & his hair flares. He carries a pocket watch of gold but if trapped in the desert or out of gas in Milledgeville if need be, he can tell time by the stars.
6. The moon is a thin slip of a girl who once fell in love with a sailor. The sailor had come across seven oceans in his twelve league boots, his cape of invisibility. He gave her exotic presents from the Far East but one day left her. Her light dulled & she hacked off her long hair. As she lay sobbing on the edge of night she faded down to a thin rim of light.
Steven Ford Brown