And now Im that little lame balloonman,
all knobbled feet and goat face.
I twist balloon animals from discarded condoms to make
a Durex poodle and a Trojan horse.
I offer them freely, hoping for nothing
more than a smile to steal, but no
one smiles anymore.
I steel at autumn, the winter-come-lately,
and lounge stiff against a light-and-ice pole.
I see him there, Ginsberg, shivering man of rags, and he
leers the old man at the chessboard, the one playing with no partner,
the one tasting the king and swallowing a pawn.
Who is waiting for whom, I wonder?
They both look hungry.
I startle as the Great Figure rolls a quiet, ruby line by.
The emergency is over or not yet begun.
In the humdrum silence of the crisp air,
I tell secrets and secrets.
To the expectant ducks I give away
the last of you, the little bits held between youandme
that I have no place for in myself.
I speak your secrets like an ancient religion,
something beautiful and forgotten. I say to the trees
how you told me you hadnt always loved larking, and
then how you taught me how to dance. I laugh and
tell the wind your tiny quirks and endearing flaws,
and about that time we fought and never forgave.
I tell a rock your darkest, oldest fears, and it
doesnt laugh or cry.
I tell a few newborn secrets of mine,
of lonely days and frigid nights.
Giving away those bits of me,
I give away the very last bits of you,
leaving my balloon animals behind.
I notice the men have gone, and
the ducks, too. The chill deepens, and
I count the sunsets till spring.
I shake my locks at that runaway sun,
and depart as air.