Friday, February 05, 2010

"Prodigal" reading at Shawangunk Review 20th Anniversary


Half a life wrestling with angels
and the smoky devils of misdirection:
The Son stares into his smiling face
at threefivesevennineeleven
doesn’t recognize a thing doesn’t
remember a thing before fifteen.
Muted impression of a boy on a hill,
children playing like ants a lightyear away.

A hell decade and a purgatory-half spent
searching for the ghosts of Laius and Jocasta
in blackened teaspoons and amber nectar
in chemical ecstasies clawing from an abyss of self.
Biting the hand that feeds twice too many times
forces redefinition, reassessment—
Bagels from dumpsters: Manna from Heaven.
Solace: A place out of the rain.

Run and break and burn;
the slow self-immolation accelerates,
flames lick away at the past, the future falls.

February hospital room a
quiet cocoon—
a quickening.
Hushed voices encourage
a lamb to stand, where, caul peeled, staring
wide-eyed at the snow outside, he
receives a new way to see, crystalline.
How many of us are allowed two lives?

He eases through shadows
on unsteady legs, crawling from the ruin,
understanding that the currency of old myth
can be traded for new.
Carrying nothing more than contrition,
something less than hope—
the Son rises and walks through the door
and heads home.