cloud sparrow

only what you need
in paper dreams
love or nothing
this poem is not about you
nothing is better than you


only what you need
it’s not what i wanted
lying in this brightness
looking straight up
thru the sky
we could build a desert here
if we could leave it alone
long enough
and it would be home
a place to start
where we are always starting
moving our feet to fill
each step before the last
and we wonder where
we are headed
and if we will want it
when we get there
or remember our tears
because we are home again
with each new step
we are home again
clutching flowers and more
and more sky
whatever you can hold.
whatever you can hold is enough


in paper dreams
when words
like sleeping
when ink
of blood
when silence
like a sparrow
or a guillotine
or the diver
who finds
in the last
only to forget
as the water
you will know
love or nothing
it was a bird i hit.
pulled it under my car
and kept driving.
left it behind, somehow
and finding its own way.
redemption is every day
like breathing.
it means nothing
but changes everything.
probably it was always this way
and i never noticed
“everything getting in
the way of everything”
like rich said
or me
wanting love
when wanting it changed it


this poem is not about you
i can say it was yesterday
it was another life, and i have
slept and woken
between then and now.
that i am awake
or i dream of waking
and in my dream it is today.
it is simpler this way, to find you
each time for the first time
without imagining i have known you.
and still i remember what i have
imagined, the five senses of you
and the small unreal space
down to the atoms
that persists between us.
with each breath these atoms dance
and if i were awake
i would remember that each atom
is my imagination, each step
in each direction directionless.
the dream only reminds us of beauty.
to discover beauty we must become it
and there, spun out in light and dust
is the shape of you
and here, at the center
something that does not remind me
of anything. what i could become
if i remembered competely
nothing is better than you
let it go
you said
and i did
watched it float away—
white balloon
against blue sky
could’ve been a bird
or a feather
or a dandelion seed
something entirely other
than what it was
and i thought then
about what you had asked me -
“how do you know
where to be?”
and i smiled
without laughing


we have been swimming in march.
the atlantic is cold
and it takes me this way
when i want to go that way.
spun under
i breathe salt and sand
water finds water within me
and suddenly i am lost
or realizing i am lost.
i am a shrug, i say—
i found the ocean by being
the ocean.
the cost of
living is surrender
like when i was five
and almost drowned
closing my eyes
finally, and beginning again
About the author:
Cloud Sparrow is often asked if that is his real name.




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