A Brief Meditation on the Retrograde

Let these be your desires…
To know the pain of too much tenderness. 
To be wounded by your own understanding of love; 
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.

Khalil Gibran, The Prophet

I turn the pages over in my mind, this forgotten volume, my crypt for the living. I see a name on one folded corner, a riddle in emerald ink. The excitement flickers and dies: a glint of tenderness slinks away into nonbeing. I hate the sight of words unread, of all love’s language lost. It feels oppressive, arid. It is the heat on my bare shoulders in Southern California: the salt and sweat that slid like crystal down my neck, the desert sky dimming, its ocher cast yawning, Sagittarius gripping the sun.

You were a suicide in seven stages, swelling and breaking like the sea. The currents ebbed, the ichor-floods receded. I opened a vein and the truth poured out.

Springtime arrived, then, that harbinger of sordid thrills and half-formed resurrections; of dark intricacies and melancholy glamour; of glimpses of bone and bloodstained soles; of burning reminiscence and aimless capillaries of stillborn thought. Unfolding beneath the earth, warm and damp with its own remorseless carnality–Spring, the undone lover, can never be meant just tenderly.

All the same, I etch away at old scriptures in the soil, wretched or restless, harboring shreds of humanity in the depths of my brass-knuckled soul. April, my oldest catastrophe, recalls a violent beauty, but I no longer know its lost way of loving. Because a life is not a thing to take or give or sacrifice. It does not belong to us. To live is to share, to take part, to bear witness. So flood the world with kerosene and shards of lightning. Learn to conjure moonlight where the stars have all gone out.