The Corner

I have stared into the ceiling and read its cracks
like the language of the Pre-Cambrian world.
I have reached for water in a poem
and a teaspoon of matter from a collapsing star.
I have seen the corner of the wall come apart
like a piling from a weathered pier
and am a peeping-Tom through louvered blinds
that mutilate the sun. I've listened by the light
and was cradled by barbiturates.
I fell asleep on the floor like an animal
who never made it back. I watched dust breed.
I have heard it said I live on the street
where the great fire died from exhaustion.

I inhale and am young and exhale and grow old.
In the cupboards I find objects and chemicals,
sacred and sacrilegious. My daily bread.

Poems by John Waldman:

The Water Month
The Heat
Of Madrid
The Lake on the Border
The Woman in the Hat
The Jewelry Box
The Corner
Huber's Tavern
The House in the Town
From the Home of Furious Wonder
From What Is Left Behind
The Den of Finitude
The Story of a Mountain

TIMES TEN: An Anthology of Northern California Poets