A listening you . . .

A listening you can assign to the dead if you wish
       draws your words
             a lover – actual or desired – hovers over each exchange

This machine carries distance over sound
       ritual act against night
             and all the time you are blind, your rainbow eyes

You keep saying I don't want to hurt you
       even this thought hurts
             experience has gradually saddened the earth's colours

Hand down material is not put in question
       I don't know that I don't know who I am
             I should sleep I would like to sleep though not

Helplessly a wrong-doer in another's dream
       writing its black line
             those quick-sand dreams impossible

Always on a margin
       mourning the loss of bed warmth
             nature as a mirror of intelligence

As you speak to yourself using
       pain-killers in typical metaphoric fashion
             praying for the competence of prayer

As they move in solitude
       blessing comes quite naturally for them
             Something you do that you will not say that you do

Your tongue is a solitary mover
       alone in its cave, protecting and rejecting data
             the impress of reason

There can be no plagiarism in solitude
       or else it is a knowledge copied endlessly
             this task of gathering and ordering

The known solitude of your body
       is gathered from others in acts that mirror love
             how should it know or love

There is no one to tell
       these centuries of the decline of ancient thought
             these things that I do to show that I am here

Talking to myself no mirror mists over
       these are two uneasy lovers
             not reducible for a moment

To ear and tongue
       the others keep returning in vague and necessary love
             you cross over again

You don't know who you are
       though as they enter and you love them
             really you don't know that you need to know this

You have crossed through loneliness on both sides
       where you find the others who love
             and where you say the dead are

You miss the nameable dead horribly
       each time you have to go back, with ink in your mouth
             you speak because of them, grieving even their previous dead

Your solitude is strangely companionable.