Saturday, April 16, 2011


It’s good of you to be here,
to sit by the window and hold your eyes open.
Mine that are cloudy cannot tell who you are –
but it was good of you to come sit awhile, watch a man dying.
The night has been a long time going by –
a long time for a fretful old man to fidget between the blankets.
But now that I know I will not see the morning,
one night maybe isn’t such a long time after all.

Suddenly I want to say some last words,
something you could write down and be proud to have heard.
You could say, “I was there when the old man died. He said------”
- if you weren’t nodding a head too heavy, too long watching,
if you weren’t snoring, dreaming on the windowpane -.
“Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough already.”
Well, Marx, old man, you said more than enough.
But me --- have I ever said anything worth saying in my whole life?

I feel my eyelids slipping --
not the withered, fleshy ones against the wet lens,
but the ones under, up against the Being, cutting off
the shapes of this dingy room and the candle flickering on the wall.
I also can’t hear the quiet anymore. No soundlessness of the death-watch
and the middle of the night. Instead, there is this splashing on rocks,
so close I can feel that the mist of the waterfall is cold,
but still blurred in with the fading dark.

I have been a long time dreaming
but this is not like the world blacking out,
but like the glass darkly is getting thinner,
the veil keeping me in dreams falling off.
The stuff of Afterwards doesn’t bubble into the picture
through a screen of boiling water so as to make you not-sure it’s real
like in the movies. Oh, there is water - only water you can touch
and splash fingers in and slurp cold over the dry tongue.

I cannot see you anymore -- you by the window --
the realness of this waterfall has closed in over you.
But I know you could still hear me if you weren’t so fast asleep,
because right in the middle of the plunging white
still flutters that pathetic candle that called itself a light.
God, if he could see this light dumping over the mountains like a million suns,
feel this sharp infusion of aliveness!
Man, you would never, never sleep again.

Funny, I am not looking for them –
for the girl with the finger that wears my band of gold,
for the woman with the smile that the cancer took away
while a little boy watched it, begged her not to go.
The little boy is not looking for his two buried babies.
Instead I am wondering what exactly is a man with no last words worth saying
supposed to say to a very busy Judge trying him for murder.
And I’m guessing nothing.

You by the window,
giving in to the clock and the still night,
when you pass from that dream you’re in to the next one,
find my clumsy heart still beneath the sheets, thank you.
It was good of you to sit awhile, watch a man waking up,
eyelids slipping right wide open.

Bryana J.
all rights reserved

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Hound of Heaven

He put a hound on you - I asked Him to -
an animal with gasping, wild breath,
and groping teeth and lunging, starving eyes,
and he will catch you, it's as sure as death.

Two miles from town and by the clock of night
1:00 in the morning, we found prints of yours
tracking the snow with frightened sneaker-feet
and followed them right to the bolted door.

By windowlight I saw your silhouette,
made out your shape, your blackness, in that room
"Snap leashes! Subject bolting for the door!"
and all His dogs came raging after you.

We watch you jerk through darkness from the steps,
and hurtle over winterfallen white
after you they come like bullet bursts
and howls curdle blood and chill the night.

Your sleeping days are over - you will run,
your sitting-down time gone - you will pound feet.
We love you and the only way to show
it, is to free you from your sultry peace.

The world rolled out before you - you have room
Press hard heels into firm dirt - you can run,
You have a lifetime to attempt escape.
Go for it - let us know when you are done.

You will not tear forever over fields,
and up the rocks and crannies of the walls
You will not run the circle of the world
unending - someday you will trip and fall.

You will wear tired and you will miss steps
someday toes slide and you will feel the ledge
His hounds will find your flesh and meet their teeth
through frenzied skin, and drag you from the edge.

I told Him softly, “I have one I love,
one distant and one orphaned from the day.
Maybe you could send a couple dogs
To take him down and bring him in someday?”

by Bryana Joy

(all rights reserved)