Advice to a Poet

Just scorn the dawn and reap the vine. Don’t keep
concealing how the colors rage, how sunset emigrates
amid recidivistic flames that flake to scattered sea.

Not all pearls loose temporal shells to slip from lore.
Not all waves reach the other shore. You must break
but not too soon: you must not breach before the bay.

Recede from Grecian statues bound to sand and time,
whose feet are ripped to tide along the sepulcher of shore
before an inscribed skull whose glyphs reveal your name.

Beside your relic bones there lies a book of lyric verse
and lyres lost to Orpheus, when Eurydice died
the second time, the tune that sang his life alive.

He wept for so much melody. She caught his breath
within the falling universe, and held him out
in weaves of verse, in tomes now hushed to time.

This is your holocaust of dust, a burning book
that reads from back to front, each withered page
remade unlived, the silence desiccated twice.

Begin the legend anew tonight. Let lightning lash
from dawnwind, let it bathe manuscripts in breeze
that razes oil lamps, and bids an image enter in.

Now reconstruct the primal light. With no new words
to sing the genesis of grief, invent an alphabet
of pulsing wave on wave through waves of light.

Primeval galaxies redshift to sight. The sky appears
transduced to sifting winds through crumbling clouds
of pink and blue. Its translation is ever lost in you.

Its colors flare within the flask of everlasting light
whose depths you cannot quench. Now drink
of this desire to swallow evening’s solar green.

Now drink of this desire. Your life is overlived
but linger yet. When overladen branches bloom
in long-lapsed blue, a dreamblown memory returns.

It is the changeling sea, dissolved to babblings of foam,
who bids you slip your ear beneath her slumberous depths
and hear the speech that wanders, lost amid her forms.

Meander through the nettlebloom, and sleep
amid the poppy shade. Pluck the berries earth bestows
and taste the netherspeech. Leave a handful for the dead.

The tang speaks death into your mouth. Again and again
a ripe fullness flares upon your vine-leaf lips, and bursts
the slow namelessness that clods your sentient mouth.

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