Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed
The dear repose for limbs with travel tired
But then begins a journey in my head
To work my mind, when body’s work’s expired
For then, my thoughts, from far where I abide—

Give birth to stories I cannot control 
Stories that unfold grandly like Oriental rugs onto my mind’s bare brown floors
I am merely a cherry blossom pattern watching from a panel of wallpaper
As dreams furnish my mind with unexplained epics
Stories told so quickly I don’t question them
In the morning, I sift through the rubble of the life I live with eyes closed 
I find locks of my future daughter’s black hair and find that I have been married
I find a pearl exfoliated by the contractions of the ocean’s belly
And find that I have drowned
Each morning, I add myself to the world, identical to anyone
But for the burden of these false memories
They run through me like diesel
And something in this writer’s blood yearns to make them real
So I draw my dreams in human language
Call them poetry, call them fiction
I am the age-old vehicle of inspiration
Nameless beside the Muse who writes me into relevance
Her altar is here, in the sheets, where the shape of my body lies like a signature

By day, you put the color in my thoughts
They warned me about this kind of love
The kind that makes of us refugees in a state of distraction
Seeking asylum in flower-laced poetry
I wrote poems to you
Once, you asked if you could sleep in my bed
I imagined you tossing and turning in my dust
Flakes of my skin swept up in yours
Your warm body coating my sheets in oil
And your dreams dripping into the dregs of mine
I said no
Baby, I love you, but you don’t tamper with this altar
This is the portrait of the artist at work
And you can paint it from a distance
See her crawl beneath the underbelly of her blanket and lie still
Still until the wee hours dye the world a million shades of black and she can’t find herself
Silence scrubs the world from her used skin and she is blank
A canvas for the scribbles of a second consciousness

That night, my thoughts, from far where I abide
Began a zealous pilgrimage to you
And kept my drooping eyelids open wide
Looking on darkness which the blind do see

I saw the two of us tossing and turning in the starry night of a closed eyelid
The next day, I couldn’t look you in the eye 
Baby, I love you, but I refuse to see you in my dreams
Nighttime is when I do my best work
That time has nothing to do with us
The morning after you invaded, I wrote your portrait
I wrote you into histories populated by silhouettes growing against needlepoint skylines
And into odes to unsung boys unsticking themselves from the rose thorns of manhood
And into the wallpaper of my autobiography
And sometimes, I still write you
But it is only ritual

Only when my soul’s imaginary sight
Presents thy shadow to my sightless view
Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night, 
Makes black night beauteous, and her old face new

When they ask me how I write
I tell them I merely shed stories through my fingerprints
When they are born, they bear my features and coloring and temper
But they can trace their lineage without spelling my name
Thus, by day I claim to wield the pen
And every night, my dreams hold ink again