Wednesday, March 23, 2011

poem for Jim Carroll on the winter solstice (iii.xxiii.mmxi)

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

it is the midnight of the year, 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 will rise—
he crouches into her last dark breath,
not knowing how this day’s faint gleaming
will return to him for years—
(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 until
(and after) 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
(an ordinary nothing, now—)

he wakes alone, screaming,
seeing the instant her eyes stop seeing,
(a nothing, now)
knowing he can’t save her, even in his dream
where she’s within him, a flower in ice
awaiting the thaw—
but it is the year’s midnight, and it is the day’s—
the stadium fills with snow.