We reach

We reach forward for love
and sometimes it comes—
undulating love in waves
The dead-handed past is like
a battle more easily won than
a war, like a man of no mercy,
his tiger heart tight with bluster

I am relaxed and ready to battle
Both church and state are
inculcated, permeated with violence—
illegitimate violence like
the property and privileges
of the rich as if it’s enough for
some vicious old coach to scream

“God damn it, just catch the
damn ball” as though my singing
in the dark (as I’ve done now
for twenty-five plus years) is enough
Afraid that freedom can’t develop
unique powers of individuality in
once more annihilated worlds, we 

cling to things like a form of being
between life and death as if
trapped in myself with a lack of
something not quite  definitive  
You can’t transcend the herd
and be part of the herd
The wish to be protected by

an omnipotent father is a noxious,
stupid wish—and its nature is evil
and drenched in blood like a disease
that kills its host in a corner—
a fate as eternal as its death in a
corner, without being properly
labeled, expressed or constrained

All these years and I’m still
not right—not even sure what
it means to be right—decency in a world
like this?—Some men say they worship
women but don’t seem to like them—
Once a lion, an ox, an eagle, and a human
gleamed within gemstone, amber,

like a painting by Lautrec, caught
in mid-gesture, those magnificent
creatures on the cusp of raw action
Who will wipe the tears from our
faces when the form of life that put
them there first—that indelible form
of life—is a miserable stage of fools? 

We clutch at each other, repel
each other, talk sweetly to each
other, abandon each other, cling
to each other as though the rifts
and the clutch are waves
that undulate in and down as
we deviate and stray

Raw and exposed and not
good enough—the way you
speak tells us who you are—
Death is the great adversary, he’s
a stubborn, passionate, stupid old man
He’s the father, an alcoholic,
who froze to death in the streets

-April 4, 2020-