Three Shades of Night Fall


          There s(p)its in the back
of my mind’s off-duty cab,
          a man who lives off
fragments of air, radio
          silence his bane as
he eats intervals of black
          static pulsing ash
between passionate shouts and
          flat prayers, unaware
I am there with him, this pale
          vagrant stealing thoughts
away, an ill-fated fare
          tearing through my heart’s
side-streets, down the stark foothills
          of dawn, where late-night’s
street-walking sombreness fades
          to sobriety,
but not before consciousness
          slips on its torn pall,
with face funerary and
          fugitive, this man
who lives off fragments of air
          breathes for me when I
dream, since in waking life I
          am impaired by fear,
unable to take with me


          anyone to this
place where I bury my Self,
          working to feed my
Muse, to whom I am promised,
          a fickle wife who’s
jealous of my fame, shaming
          me for wanting to
deceive her, for being to
          some unknown but no
less palpable extent part
          divine, she who knows
always before I do, my
          intentions to rid
my thoughts of her presence, since
          submission to one’s
talent is a victory
          march into a tomb,
so I ask this man who lives
          off fragments of air,
if downbeat of silence he
          finds awareness, or
if my waking Self just lies
          there, as he drives from
the comfort of his pilfered
          vantage point (t)his soul’s
phantom chariot, making


          concentric my failed
attempts and his narrowing
          path, if he can feel
my fear as my breath nears his
          tongue, and why it is
he does not speak, not even
          when just before I
rise, his destination and
          mine appear, but both
obscure as one, why it is
          my own putting on
of airs and airing of these
          grievances fogs my
visions, but weeps nude fistfuls
          of light, tears wiping
crystal clear his windshield eyes,
          filling them with wet
resurrections of lost ones
          once loved, departed
flesh running fluid like oiled
          memories in old
mortuary mirrors, our
          self-importance so
much smaller than it appears,
          shades of night falling
reveal what masks fail to heal.