Patrick White

Rookie (September l5, l948 / Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada)

Your Face Was A Moon I Haunted - Poem by Patrick White

Your face was a moon I haunted, and your body
twisted me into agonies of sexual driftwood
that wanted to burn at midnight under the stars
like the last signal fire of an isolated survivor
high up on your affluent shores.
I wanted to do dark things with you
in the shadow of eclipses that put their hands over
the eyes of the flowers and sent the birds to bed.

With you, I would have asked for closure
from the spring constellations swarming overhead
like free radicals paroled to the wind
tuning up the larnyx of the birch-trees,
I would have lain down with you in the bedlam
of a thousand cares and zirconium delusions
and lived beside you like an island and a telescope
drunk on the wine of your circus mirrors
that crash before they talk; all night, all night,
wave after wave, I would have caressed
the famous reflection of you in black carnation panties,
and lavished the wealth of the sea on your ears.

And we could have built a little shelter among the shipwrecks
or lived rent free with the swallows
in the silo of an aging lighthouse,
listening to the foghorns bellow like slaughtered cattle.

And it's sad and lonely and fearful
watching the sky fall on the swords of its own horizons every night
and no one to mourn the sunset
that unspools from the wound like a bewildered snake,
and it's dangerous the way I go erect as a symphony
around the hives of killer bees
still swinging from the old steeples believing
they're just a misunderstood form of fruit.

And I've tried to master the dictionary of razorwire
that's propping up the blase window, but I don't like the way
I'm always a rose short of blood at the end of the day,
and the bouquet of startled flashlights
you placed on the nightstand keeps blacking out
like the eyes of dying bees in pollinated coffee-cans
and you keep looking at my balls
as if they were always nesting pelicans with something to eat,
and I haven't talked to you about
dismemberments and Orphic skulls
in a good all-night asylum for years. What a shame
I won't get a chance to toke with your firing squads,
or be secretly committed to one of the volunteer rehab centres
you've franchised like a brain selling straitjackets to lightbulbs
suffering the opprobrium of their maladjusted shades.
There aren't more pages in the book of sorrows
or ghosts on the moon compared to the cults of the silver tide
I would have filled you with
like dolphins swimming ashore
to get their landlegs back. And think of the horns we've missed
charging through the labyrinths of our blood enraged
by the stungun behind the cape of the corrupt matador
gored and trampled like a bat in a blaze of honesty; how
some conversations would have hung in the air for years
like the get-well elegies of postcard suicides.
And maybe worse, because sooner or later,
I would have been compelled to confess
three mountains I didn't name after you
to honour your breasts on the last lunar landing I made
to read the fine print between the lines
of the pre-nuptial tatoo of the anniversary spider
I signed on your chest
when you took your bra off like an hourglass
and there were questions just too momentous to ask.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, August 30, 2012

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