READING BY MOONLIGHT

Look up, it is a full moon, I can
read so clearly what I am writing
tonight. As I write I can’t imagine
what drives me, I am grasping
at memory, I grapple gab as I
make my meaning. Tell me you can’t
read by moonlight, and it is evident to me
you are right. It is a conceit of mine
to write so clearly you read me in
sheer delight. I am a styled silver script,
words that only lovers can read.

I would dwell amongst the towers
of the illegible letters of the night;
I would be the blessed of blather,
radiant reflection of stars’
shine outside your window;
letters to be read by the light
of the moon, dancing before you,
I sigh satin rose,
“look it is the moon,
a full moon” — and you reply
“I read you so clearly!”

CHRIS MACGEE

your black heart finally rewrote
itself, and you knew it throughout,
dear friend, you knew it;
black, that bled through to true.

you cut and erased
the trial, the sentence,
you knew it was all a joke
the arrested, the penitent

and still the fire burnt.

I remember you
earnestly, nakedly
flamboyant in a
somnabulant town.

how my heart leapt to meet you
and our laughter intertwined;
never once did you complain to me
as cancer ended your life;

the painter who wrote,
“poetry is not a noun.”

TATTOO

Tattoo the shape of love into your imagination,
etch your name on the quivering wind, blow away
the sands of the desert to see what is written beneath,
erase your epitaph and replace it with a date
of your choosing. The pen is mightier than the world.

DARK

Writing in the dark
I attempt to recapture
the pleasure of ciphering.
Scratch unseen dialogue
on a mattress
that ‘s heard it all. My
lines wander, mouth mates
mutual glottals, tongue
wrapped couplets, I parade
sheet after sheet of posery
through time immemorial
(on the page what time isn’t?)
I wrestle with tempo and foot
trying to find the sense within
each. Cliches renewed,
my braille talks back with
out tearing, no breeching,
the night births unattended.

I do not push it away, hasten;
urge it into light, compel;
I do not fear the dawn — what
the revealed words might tell.

TYPOGRAPHY I

I am standing at the mantel of the fireplace
my grandfather built and I am correcting
the time on a digital clock. The figures
tumble past, little connect-the-dot people;
I think about 9 pin and 12 pitch type,
OCR characters, bar codes. I know
some people think digital fonts are ugly,
but any alphabet is beautiful, any scratch
conceives for us mathematically if not
immaculately; the letters illuminate the
source and claim it as kind. I am leaning
on something that leans on itself. The rock
is steel from which my matrix is cut, and
I am writing in time on my inheritance.

TYPOGRAPHY II

Poetry
is not a trick. It is wrapped about
the source of meaning and truth. It
exists to convince us these things do
exist. It is a picture of the moment, the
exact tally of what is said and what is
thought, dreamt and felt; it poses side
by side with the real, the tangible, the
visible, to convince anyone it happens;
it happens all the time.
It is the poet
who takes this raw stuff and consumes it,
makes it part of body, transforming
self. Heart becomes crucible, hands
hammers, fingers molten pots of lead
lines of type effortlessly trench paper
until it bleeds ink.
                    The poet’s voice
sings “It was always like this, long before
you or me.” Perhaps I found this song
scrolling on a mantelpiece. It happens.
People can’t believe it, but it happens —
all the time.