I sing sometimes, late night, in the dark,
a cat for company and cigarettes at hand,
a candle casting shadows, keeping time
to songs I don’t sing well. I sing high
and thin, uneasy sound threading into air.
I sing of loss. I sing of roads.
You know those roads,
winding lost; you followed that dark
compulsion, too, until, as essential as air,
black, blank joy shook your hands.
You swore you’d never get that high
again, and cried and talked of taking time
to learn your hidden face, the one that time
again you see reflected back in puddles on the road
or in other eyes as blank and high
as yours. The girl looking back, is she sad and dark
like you were? You staggered in the heavy air,
pulling yourself along with both hands.
Pride shrivels, living hand
to mouth—pride fails, and in time
hard life knocks the air
from your lungs. There on the road
you find your core, the dark
yearning for meaning, for the high
lonely places where journeys end. High, again, high,
then the long fall down; with both hands
we count our losses in the dark
to the beat of miles, keeping time,
unravelling hours along the midnight road,
alone with only voices on the air.
I hear you left LA because the air
made you feel dirty, that you moved to high
green places only to take the road,
again, alone again. Your hands
bleed and beat against time,
beat the days down, mired in the dark
like me. Our hands are bound; there are no songs to air
our grief, only the high places and the passing time,
and the roads we wander, hollow, in the dark.