He hung around those storefronts and

Outside of those desolate churches

Where addicts smoked

And shed their tattooed skins on basement floors

 

Where sweat is blood and

Each word has a knife-edge

Honesty is never called into question

Light does not easily overtake a translucent veil

 

There is no life left on these corners

Light comes from the inhaled glow of cigarettes

The sky has a night-gray tarp over its essence

The hot concerns smoldering from each cigarette

Become the coals of moonlight

 

No one has a guide

Oil-stained navy blue hoodies

Obscure the juvenile beards

Of boys who cannot become men

 

A secret need is conveyed in every word

Words like drugs stop working when

The only engine is desire

And pleasure becomes hot steel on the skin

 

Like the Tower of Babel

Buried beneath their feet

A nutrient-death that grows fertile language

Where no one wants what was inside the old words

 

The forged steel of anger

Catches the glint of a new empathy

That keeps fearful eyes on each other

And nervous feet don’t walk

 

Many still refuse to look inside

Can a soiled brain ever be washed?

Cults excavate the real and leave a false idol

To replace what pleasure took away

 

No one admits fear

That impervious skill implanted at birth

Into the motherboard of nurturing voices

Where fear never leaves and hides disguised

 

Because no one has the imagination

To consider life without fear

So fear fills all the stanzas and occupies

All the stadium seats making sure

Runaway truths are trampled by hooligans

 

So the dark angels of fear continue always

In the musculature of the heart

And insinuated into the dream of personal thought

And hold sway in every movement until

Your feet move to the ground outside that desultory church

With the drawn faces and vacuous eyes

Where the hot-coal cigarettes form a unified moon

That could finally become a guide

 

A wandering star obscured by unconscious traps

That put anything destined to help in locked rooms

Until all the cries and shafts of light

Call out loud enough

 

To make feet move to the damp stained concrete

Outside the foreclosed house now a church

Darkened by old legends

Yet the spiritual guide is clear

 

He knew this from years ago

Those mysterious gatherings

Where the last of the money

Screams out through cancelled eyes

For help from the withdrawal

 

A need in the face of complete scarcity

Awakens demons ready-made for a new version of death

An end to that long procession

Of what makes death feel like a natural prayer

 

So he walked up to all those darkened and hovering

Blessed that they had found their way here

And then one night amidst the hooded faces

And prevailing cigarettes

A collective light reached the sky

 

Faces looked up and eyes suddenly emanated light

The vagabond’s feet felt solidified into a new firmament

Shadows dispersed like bat’s wings

All the men looked up at him

A new searchlight panned across faces that had never seen each other before

 

All eyes looked out onto the burned-out street

Where the arc-lamps hung like dying willows

Cigarettes were dropped to the ground and twisted

Under the burnished toes of prison boots

 

A new light replaced the cigarettes red cinders lifting hope

A new moon now hove into view as clouds whispered

A nearly full moon with an apparition

Of a silver island next to it

The glow released a painfully aching light

 

Then the Poet changed his view

A good man releases others from their own cancerous desire

By showing them the moon

If that same man attempts to become the moon

He battles his own desire to become God

 

Even the detritus of a man’s old thoughts

Carried over in small bits

Can turn to light generated by each man

And propagate into a guiding siren of moonlight

That is of their own making