Wednesday, December 22, 2010

poem for Jim Carroll on the winter solstice (xii.xxi.mmx)

poem for Jim Carroll on the winter solstice (xii.xxi.mmx)

“she plumbs to the purple earth
light rising into her features”
—Jim Carroll

it is the year’s midnight, and it is the day’s—
the boy falls in love with the woman he finds
naked and dying on the sidewalk, fallen
from a fifth floor walkup’s window
where dusk is rising—
he crouches into her last dark breath,
this day’s faint gleaming returns to him
for years, the midnight of the year
and the day’s deep solstice
is snowing—
(he thinks of how it is to be gone in an instant)
he thinks she’s not a junkie whore,
her face still beautiful,
her mouth rasping, “I let them—”
he holds her unbroken hand and he sees
her eyes at the instant of utter change—
(in an instant—as if she were
an ordinary nothing, now)

long after she is gone he is kneeling
in the year’s midnight and the day’s deep
heroin dream— it is snowing beside her,
and he’s rising as if—
as if he could lift her with his faltering high—
but he’s crushed by her smooth unbreathing skin

(in an instant she is gone, but it’s as if he
were an ordinary nothing, now—
as if, he thinks, I’m still falling—)

and the boy still falls
now, as he covers her with his jacket,
it is the year’s deep midnight, and the day’s—
the stadium fills with snow.