“AT THE END OF THE DAY”

for John Winston Howard

at the end of the day
comes the night
when the lights go out
you can’t see anything
when everything’s dark
anything can happen
if there’s no light on
nobody’s at home
or else they’re asleep

when nothing’s bright
no thing really exists
once all is darkness
no light comes
until morning anyway
& that’s a fairy story
fit only for sunny days
when everyone’s awake
or daydreaming

when everyone’s sleeping
nobody’s awake
if no one’s awake
anything could happen
once anything happens
everything disappears
& if everything disappeared
there’d no longer be night
only everylasting darkness

does this sound familiar
or am i only dreaming
asleep in a dark room
on a dark stormy night
with no outside lights
& no hope of illumination
at least until dawn
& will it break violently
or only brightly

that darkness is familiar
i stumble about in it
bumping against objects
that remain unfamiliar
without light or hope
without reason for living
at the end of that night
comes another night
& then no light

a warm electric current
switches itself on
illuminating screens
at six o’clock at night
the opposite of light
shining like a lie
setting off alarm clocks
& sleeping heads
like a claxon

to which my eyes adjust
as they now must
now dark masquerades
as a leader light
heavy dark as lead
a blinding night
from the depths of might
a new light rises
your night will come

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