Jeweled City

There is an entire jeweled city full of poets down there in your unconscious. Visit often.Doug Anderson, who calls me “Kiddo”

Hundertwasser- Yellow Houses, It hurts to wait with Love, if Love is somewhere else, 1966.

Perhaps it is best
I only visit,
and I’d say the fare
is always free
but it isn’t true–
there’s a price
on solitude: foregone
invitations to eat and drink
with old friends,
a distance
between me and you
that only the dusky birds
seem to clasp.

And yet I answer the phone
when they call
from the jeweled city
and ask me to come sit
under the apple tree again,
to sweep the hearth
and sway to voices
so angelic
the relief of their arrival
makes me weep.

These are the nameless
ones whose light
sparks a fire
in the late afternoons.

Today I read a story
about a writer who crafted
her own obituary:
I was given the gift of life,
and now I have to give it back.
Her peace made me wonder
if I could be–
or would I tear the shirt
you’d bury me in
before my last breath,
cling to my children
and beg for another
minute, hour, day
with you?
Yes. That.

Is it natural
to wrestle
so intimately
with mortality
or uncommon
to want to sink
so deeply into the days
I’d surely disappear
into pure being
if I didn’t have to show up
at work
or get the groceries?

The poet says
the tension between the two
worlds is what makes
the jeweled city thrive
while I’m sleeping,
body at rest
while the subconscious mind
explores and scavenges
for gems lost,
discarded, simply
I tend to believe him–
not because he’s thirty years
my senior
but because he knows
the horses by name.

And so it happens
that I find myself here
the gentleness
of another day ending,
then race the secondhand
towards an empty moon,
breathlessly crying out
as the train pulls away
from the station:

I’m here! I’m here!
Don’t leave!


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