Reginald Shepherd

April 10, 1963 – September 10, 2008 / New York City

Michael Who Walks By Night

For his sake drifting away from the true
windlessness, torn sails the aftermath
of him: white canvas suffering too vaguely
from the beautiful agreeing with these arguments,
but far away: sought him, found him

not, distant from image, archetype, the typical
sublime’s encroachments, archaeology
of his innocence which is to be destroyed. Shaped,
shaping, shapes, and shape, the neverwhere
intact, the unearth disinterred. Hermes mi amor,

mi partida, mi pobreza: him my dark
of the moon, my mare nubium, oceanus
procellarum, whatever’s not shown there, a man
who wants to make him shadowless. I windward
into disbelief unmoored, drowned

splendors of my own speech. Then beauty with his hooks
and pulleys, block and tackle has his way. Him
just across the boundary of the sayable, tradutore,
traditore, willingly acceding to any formulation
on the other side of words, spoken, spoken of,

but never said: him always
the him, object of the hymns I wrote, subject
to song, so he can’t recognize himself, come down
to rescue his or mine, danger invites him, a popular
tune (taste of betrayal

on the humming tongue, the hearing ear,
but wrongly): my occupation or claim
on Argus-eyed blind night, trill, partial, whistling
untuned: this stubborn wind, his
mandolin. He knows I’d love.
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