Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

My Map of Your Blue World (Dec. 19, 2004)

This is the sacred, sacred
cartography, the lactile
courses on the blue which
route my ache to you.
There is the room
in Pittsburgh in which I
stood looking out the
window at pretty girls
passing by; here is
the beach at Cape Cod
where I first sang
the big music
of the growing wave.
There is the
great wilderness just
outside Rahway New
Jersey where at 3
I wandered off with
Paula to look for
worms, ending up somewhere
at Jacksonville Beach
where my mother's voice
fell into the sea's
and scattered me here.
Here is the motorbike
in front of someone's
house in Winter Haven
where I felt a girl-
woman's breasts the
first time beneath
a wilding moon
and there is the bench
by Lake Michigan
where I wrote my
first love poems
in the mash of wind
and wintry waters.
Here is the room
in Spokane Washington
in which I darkened
and folded and wrote
down all the words
which lined the hole
my God departed through.
Over there is the bridge
over the Spokane River
in early April where
I found all the verbs
like wings lifting and
diving around my
first love's first gentle
oh so genital and
primordial kiss. There
are the eight months
which passed into
the iciest sidewalks
in the world which
I walked home upon
after the bars had closed
and I had failed to
find the next woman
to shrine you yet
again. There is
Playlinda Beach
which that icewhale
shat me out on
two years later
where I walked so in
love with your name
I almost forgot to
curse the surf for
being so wildly
and eternally empty of
you yet again. The
sound of that surf
hangs in the whirl
of disco lights
at 4 a.m. in bottle
clubs I ravened
with the other wolves
of blue, and there
is the door which
opened into a
drunk tank's greeny
washed up phosphor,
the Ultima Thule
of my bottomless thirst,
my island on the whale
who drank the world
to find the thrill of
you again. There
are the songbooks
on the shelf in my
study which for
years now I have
filled, day after day,
which my faith
in you; here is my
white writing, wave-
riding chair, like
the ghost marker of a
lost well leading
down to every
bed in salt hell.
Here is true north
stamped in a corner
of the page pointing
directly at you
without compass
or rudder or dogma
or shoes; worthless
except when you
fold the whole map
in a boat, set a lit
match to its bridge,
and to sing of
a frail candle's voyage
out where the high
ocean devours all
in its glittering
mouth of deep blue.
And on days when
I've travelled furthest
from you -- when all
seems so grim and sad
and riven and fallen
in the brightest abysm
of the whale -- I pull
my map of your
unknown world from
my breast pocket
and unfold it in my lap,
remembering just where
I am, a mile offshore
St. Brendan's fabled isles
with you just as close
by and the sea thrashing
inside my two-dimensional
gaze, a heart inside the
heart of crashing
blue pages too wild
to be real, too gorgeous
to resist, thrilled with
the sail's snap in the
breeze as my hand
trawls down the page,
my pen everywhere
the salt angels
swoon and plunge and range.


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