T.M. Göttl at Cleveland’s Literary Cafe, 10 July 2008 [photo by Jesus Crisis]
Out of the Desert
A liar and a cheater,
like a crayon-painted road sign
melting waxy puddles through
tomorrow afternoon, I
never quite believed
in men with wings—
big and great golden eagle wings,
growing from their shoulder blades—
no. I never quite believed,
although I said I did.
Because I always watched my brothers,
carrying the weather on their backs,
past the blue welding light,
scouring the steam-loving cranes
until they burned and bled and
cracked all the gunmetal nightlights,
lifting iron ladders, girders
crossed into star-shaped flowers
worshipping a dead and contrived
And I said no.
I painted neon pink and silver
over all the attic drywall,
called it Heaven, climbed those eighteen stairs
every afternoon at four o’clock,
said my prayers, almost
thought I heard the saints
talking back to me.
And then I stood on the crystal jukebox
declaring, in forty different tongues
like a knighted prophet in
leather sandals and a corduroy tunic, that
yes, I believe
men can grow
glossy wings from their backs,
crossing canyons and vaulting the rapids.
I had to believe.
But I never quite believed.
And the doubt? I knew it,
a chewing nest of carpenter vermin
drinking the ink out of prayer books
and clipping black eyes to the curtains.
They chased me from the cathedral,
from the railroad, from the statehouse.
They chased me from the school and
from the grocery, from the park.
They chased me to an old garage
underneath an old factory.
And there, without fish-tail testimonials
or a porcelain-faced audience,
there, I found
a man, with wings,
who showed me how
to find my own, auburn and burgundy-feathered,
crossing lakes and vaulting
the heroic moon I’d never met.
And finally, finally, I believed.
(c) 2007 T.M. Göttl, all rights reserved
“Out of the Desert” included in the Crisis Chronicles Library with the poet’s permission
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“Out of the Desert” appears in T.M. Göttl’s book Stretching the Window. Order it here.
To check out T.M. Göttl’s BuffaloZEF.net artist page, click here.
T.M.’s address on MySpace is http://www.myspace.com/tmgottl.
She’s also very involved in the Evening for Chuck benefit for Pancreatic Cancer, which will be held on Sunday, September 14th 2009. Please check out www.eveningforchuck.com for more information and to show your support for this very important cause. Please!