I ran across a puddle of sky
blood pumping, the sheen on the sand,
running on water, the slap of cold,
on the verge of something.
Out into the neon streets, kids
in black and chains glide across concrete, the rumble of their going…
the gray sound of waves sucking through ashy teeth.
Driving over bridges that boost me towards God —
dim outline of factories, shipyards, swamp smell of methane and sulfur,
a heron picking through quicksilver.;
the exit ramp is only a dream
in a future of smuggling and equatorial heat.
Cruising up behind a boy all in black,
tattooed letters on his neck, I look twice to see
if it is someone I know. He raises his head, feeling my mistake.
In a matter of seconds we have desired,
wooed, screwed, argued, and split.
Now he will go home and write a song about it.
I drive on. Looking for the graffiti someone scrubbed off.
A girl flutters into the street cussing her dog.
In the line of the surf they glide in, graceful,
complete, perfect. I like to pretend it is some kind of animal
living in the foam, not ageless pretty-boys with cutout bikini girlfriends.
Beer on the beach. Two embracing figures on the pier.
An overinflated snowman on a balcony.
At the corner store someone gets jumped, the song of sirens.
People waiting for the bus, smoking prose, old woman
sleeping on a bench, head in her man’s lap — he’s brown-bagging it,
uninterrupted by some marginal Christ.
Mass at St. Paul’s this afternoon that I never made it to
reminds me of St. Patrick’s.
How I kept meaning to see it.
Footsore, weary — Central Park, 42nd Street, Union Square,
the East Village, Broadway, Brighton Beach —
my feet a stigmata.
You rub them with ointment like some biblical virgin.
(The bolt on my ankle —
your finger there, my Muse,
felt nothing like enlightenment.)
I guess there never was some embodied god.
Nevertheless, I feel a kinship with you — I, too,
have been accused of having a savior complex.
Cheap trinket from the dollar store, made in Taiwan,
forgotten, small enough to fit in your pocket.
I guess no one told us
that saviors don’t exist, and the dove of peace was a pigeon.