Do not sleep.
Sit by the open window overlooking the dark street;
Listen to the shadows crawling over cobblestone;
Wait for the distant train to strike midnight;
Think of the dreams in that unlit building
Across the way where strangers lie abed
Wanting rest, wanting love,
Wanting what was not had, what might come yet…

This is no time to sleep.
There is much to be considered,
There is much to be done.
Don’t think of it;

Be a witness.
Light a cigarette, and wait.

At any moment, the cat in yonder doorway,
The one who does not see you,
Will slide down the steps, along the street,
Moving like silk over a naked thigh,
Toward some secret destiny.


(Prague — 2001)




for John


Is it music you want?
I will dispatch a dozen notes;
They will arrive by bird, by horseback, by morning.
Arrange them on the mantel in a dozen fluted vases;
Admire them from a distance;
Moan when the sunlight embraces each golden bloom;
Sigh with the breeze through the open window;
Cry out with each falling petal.
On your knees weep for the beauty
That has been lost by insolence, by neglect.
Then rise, and putting the strands of your hair in order,
Wiping your eyes,
Go to the piano listing in one corner
And lightly drop one finger on an ivory key,
Then listen in the deepening silence
For the rose and lavender echoes
That rise like smoke from an autumn fire,
That fall like autumn leaves from the sycamores,
That arrange themselves like lacework about your feet.

It was music you wanted…
I send a symphony.


(Prague — August 9, 2001)





In this theater of the human heart
I mourn the dead,
And what was not.

I fell in love, did not trust her;
Sent her away, now doubt my judgment;
Worry about her, and know not where she is.

No poetry in that,
No meter,
Plainly spoken.

To have sinned against love:
The ancient horror.

You laugh?
Yes, it is comedy,
And true,
So tragic,
And deadly,
This play.

But laugh carefully,
And do not forget:

Fear is a deep well without bottom,
And hell is falling without end,
And there is no salvation in an age without oracles,
But there is sin.


(Prague — August 13, 2001)