I miss the holy boy I once pretended to be.

When the reason to live was simple—

love is not only greater than ruin,

it is the master of ruin. We are holy

is what I knew and there was no shore

beyond that holiness. Only love. 

If a strong stone stirs in me,

know that it is backed by a mountainous 

softness. That you could push a sparrow’s

feather through my breast as easily as

you can feel the wind. That I will be soft

until I disappear into it. Tell me, tell me

every city cannot be romantic and I will 

take you and push flowers up from

bar-tops in biker bars, rescue a poor

pup from his master’s whip, sing hymns

from every dead fountain and grocery store,

turn the turning of rubble into mother Mary’s

harp: she bleeds notes broken, she bleeds

notes beautiful. Hear the lovers in the air!

They are there, so many of them there. 

There is love in the mother. There is love

in the bar room. There is love in the monastery.

A whole lot of love in the hand that reaches 

for the wrong hand. I spend my time often

in a single room thinking of love outside

of the room. Everywhere else. And it 

almost completes me. The void 

I preach is never what is truly missing.

And in the ungodly hours my face turns

into objects you wouldn’t believe: knife,

bird bath, plow, tourmaline, a cross

on a hill saving no one. They are not metaphors.

They are new ways of seeing the world. 

We make our own belief. To be truthful 

to my only heart, I have wept to it vows.

I keep them inside and they decorate 

the walls of my flesh and bone like 

ancient drawings in caves. I do not 

understand my own language. One night,

drunk on a hillside in West Virginia, 

I tell my father the hole he left is 

also the hole he fills. That his ruin

and regret one day will confetti 

into a beautiful poem. I am trying

to write that poem. With both pen

and body. I have been trying 

my entire life.