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The Deep Heart of a Jewel

Ray Gonzalez

Kenneth Rexroth’s words rise in the morning with the coffee and the restless cats taking their time calming down. I wait for the sun to say it is true-there was a way to love without having to close the distance between the snowfall and the hurried kiss. Rexroth says, "Victory of the brain and the eye. Practice is done, the barren lake that mirrors this night’s fire will hold unwinking, unknown stars in its unblemished gaze." The man confesses he cared when the concealed mouth of a vague understanding became clear, the manner of standing under a street sign in San Francisco that reads Kenneth Rexroth Lane. It intersects Columbus Avenue where the city lights reveal the destinies of the restless. City beacons and the jagged rocks of the shore where the voice of the diamond thinks about what has happened, the outline of past love and its mistakes, how the morning fog diminishes and revelation is a weapon of silence for the taking, the catwalk trembling over the waterfall where the backpacking messenger balances himself. Look at the firs and the swollen pines. Once, there was a fumbling of cold fingers in the torn pocket of old jeans where something fell through, tinkling on the cobbled streets to flash history onto the table of love and loss. It has to do with the decomposition-a bottle of water saving the thirsty man, the smell of perfume spelling the moment it was time to leave, the wave of a hand taking him there and bringing him back. It was the deep heart of a jewel in his throat when he could not write, did not want to step into the hallway and be seen as a fool, Rexroth’s picture from a literary journal lighting his office, reminding him the book of the man on the catwalk says, "This is the source of evaluation, the strands of fibrin, the mysterious chemistry of the serum; is alone the measure of time, the measure of space, the measure of achievement. There is no other source than this." To put the object away, he must diminish its value by ignoring its point in time, broken promises and commitment weaving the waves over the western message-this is what we left behind. To search the empty pockets for the jewel of union and be satisfied it fell into the deepest sea as a poem that got away. Rexroth’s words as traffic on the lips, the way the eye closes, knowing what burns inside is a mirror’s turning into polished stone-"The stars come out and the owls under them. Dew falls between the mountains and the Milky Way. Lightning unwinds over the summit. I turn in sleep and speak aloud."