I read old and new books of poetry,
not for “Poetry Month” — no. When
you need a month to celebrate something,
it is long past dead or not yet ready
for prime time. No, I read to
open rhythms in my veins the way
a junkie opens veins to juice his skull
full of lovely, compassionate poison.
I pray each poem’s words out,
trying them on like religions.
None ever fit right, like religions.
So I move on to a new one,
mouthing, listening, feeling it bump
against the heart, then falter,
and fall dead to my feet. Sometimes,
one sentence, one phrase, one perfect
set of syllables pulsates perfectly.
It is enough for me to launch my own
drumbeats against the wordless jungle.
The echoes come back indistinctly.
I pound away, sweating, dribbling,
loving every moment of it so shortly,
then pounding down to grist, chaff,
and fine meal, ready for a fasting,
full of lovely, compassionate promise.