Let’s be blunt. You tore up jail linen
with your bare teeth, commenced
to hang yourself like a side of pork
from the window grate, but a lousy knot
and the quick eyes of a guard
rewrote the end of the play.
I cry a grateful tear and you dismiss
this watering, this second chance.
Trapped in a ditch you shoveled yourself
with pencils of weed,
a vodka, Valium, Xanax meal
for breakfast on a chilly day --
you see no lanterns in the moon,
no sturdy coals in arching suns.
In detox, they label your fate:
one of the living dead --
then plan a tune of renaissance
you cannot hear or won’t.
I remember a spirited boy
who climbed a tree to speak with birds --
a calvary of heart and lust
determined to train a golden sax
to sing against dull silences.
I hear some minstrel in the wind
so far away it could be God.
There has to be a sonnet here,
pasted on the subway wall.
I’d walk you toward the reckoning,
but it’s only your leaden feet
that matter to this pale ground.