I’m not going to say this twice (but if I do I’m going to add more birds)

Be sure in your art.
By all means be tapped out, hard up,
on-your-beam-ends poor if you are,
but when you dance,
dance mansions, parks, chestnut trees
with pale pyramid flowers.
Flex an arm: banknotes
flutter from your fingers
like swallows. Mint motion.

Even your journals grant
principalities to princes.
The huge coffered door of your hall
bends and groans with the press
of secretaries and goatherds
clutching spice boxes,
ranch hands with gold watches,
bluebird navies, teak-timbered ships.
Go out to the harbor this morning
and swing your ideas against
their sides. Send them on their way.

Be nervous if you must,
flop-sweat stopped
like a drowned bottle,
but your hands when they draw,
draw water from rock —
white pelicans,
the most self-absorbed things in the sky,
wheel and rest at your feet,
canyons open,
the horizon duplicates itself
infinitely,
dark for the pearls of stars.

Lack faith if you do,
but your voice, when you sing along,
peals from Spanish mission towers,
beams creak with the weight of bells,
dun valleys fill and green,
dwarf pines whistle and whisper.
Keep your head down:
vesper sparrows have made a nest
in your faithless hair.

It has always been that way.
The monks have gathered for Matins
and the abbot is on the stair.
He has your arms and eyes, your hands.
And the old voice —
the one we put together
from sewn leather, trail dust,
sage, salt, wind whipped,
like a prayer —
lifts, hums, moves
the whole goddamn building
from the rafters to the crypt.

Copyright © 2019 Lilibug Publishing.

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