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I Wake Up Late Again.3 PM

I wake up late again.3 pm. More afraid
of what the world can do to me in the light
than in the dark of the night. Depressing grey
of the clouds smeared on the windows
like the salt and dirt of last winter
still clinging to my third eye where the rain
can't reach to wash it off. Why is dread
always the alloy of the pain I feel
as soon as I open my eyes to the devastation
I have made of my life, to write something real
in fire and roses and ashes and blood, to pursue
an earthly excellence from world to world
well beyond the bounds of an ugly life
out of the suicidal folly of staying true to an art
that's keel-hauling me like the moon
over the hull of my own heart encrusted
by the corals and worms of my worries and griefs,
the gnawing anxieties knotting nooses
in the frayed shoelace of my spinal cord?

And the only ray of light at the end of the tunnel,
this stoic sword that's always tempting me
like an exclamation mark, to fall upon it like a man
and put an end to this long apprenticeship
in a guild of sacred clowns. Put the pen down.
Leave the page blank. Take my hands off the wheel
of this apocalyptic moonboat in a pyschic storm
of stars arising in the desert every hundred years
like the lost imam of a long-awaited mahdi
surrounding Khartoum like a galaxy of dust and doom
being swept up into the black hole of a vacuum
nature abhors. I steel my will like the sabre of the moon
and imagine I'm anti-heroically carrying on
this long-standing, counter-intuitive aesthetic tradition
of winning every battle and still losing the war.

Just once I'd like to surrender before
shooting out the stars, raise this white flag of a page
and say here, take my sword, give it back to the lake
I found it at the bottom of beside the herb of immortality
the snake stole from Gilgamesh, bursting his bubble
as soon as he came up and fell asleep on the beach,
exhausted by the trouble he'd gone to to underwhelm death.
As I do, night after night, in a living coffin
of a smoke-filled room, shedding my life
like the scales and skin of an old circumpolar dragon
trying to keep the horns and stars of its constellation,
dry as powder above the uneventful horizon
of the false dawns in the whites of their albino eyes.

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