Darkling with Lightning

I wanted to become a burning myth in my hot youth,
pined for truth, but owned

the largest voice to speak the smallest lies;
from the center
of the wheel

I ran nowhere fast, said little
of substance to drill through the noisy substrata—

darkling days,
twilight & dusk,
talking shit,
the rich, thick gloam
of my young dumb life

—shouting down
from the tower overlooking Somerville’s
blinking guts, to the Boston sky
close by.

I thought night was a god & we were its subjects,

so I fashioned
the wheel myself, screwed myself
in place, with glue was stuck

but I was only human-turning-churning forward toward—I wrote

my way out,
escaped through the side door

And that has made all the difference

—aha! The ordinary horizon
was an extraordinary mantel;

I used to walk its line
while it brightened & quavered
in the morning after,
now I quiver in my Nikes

—flight, I wish

for the one word: fly.
I’d like to try

to speak before the committee hands down
its disapproval;

the brain isn’t the instrument I need most
to make me shiver with joy.

I still miss
undulant nights beneath me like sheets of dark water;

it was impossible
to know how far the fall, how deep the dive.

I’ve never won a prize before, but that feeling—
how easy to allow myself to be lost in it.

Revised: the greatest trophy I ever held, I kept

for a year, kept
for the fish, the trophy

even larger than the massive
rainbow trout
I caught & landed,
that my family
wanted to mount
when I was still a boy,
for me to remember—anyway

my family forgot about the fish, it stayed
dead in the freezer
for a year or two until someone remembered
to throw it out.

Memory made of water, vague & cold
to touch,

If you should dip your hand in,
your wrist would ache immediately

—the past is a flash, it

burns with a dark grey flame

remix & reprise
to give it a name.

Image: Photo by Mandy Beerley, via Unsplash.