Monday, February 6, 2012

(older poems #2)

....................................................................


a cold and anonymous 
illinois river valley


only now,
     when the soft cubes of rain cannot think,
do our stories of how those bullhorns
     forced us to live on the bottom-
in the murk, without teachers or natural medicine,
     desolate to the point where we almost
lost track for a moment
     that the ancient beauty has always endured,
even in suffering-
     matter.

might your own jurisdiction have extended
     further out than expected?
this morning wet only whispers
     thru the half-light for dovetails,
left behind like abandoned berths
     still and unseen in the crater,
where the clean water has slowly
     been gathering.

exquisite colors are yours.
     some even voice to inscribe them
on calm, rippling surfaces responsive 
     to the draw of low places-
leaving behind the cast images and
     only reflected back on much later,
around dusk,
     after the direct path had faded.

only now.


...............................................



brief but solid advice 
discovered accidentally, anonymously,
scrawled with pink crayon inside 
of a hospital elevator
sometime in 1998:


whoever you are, come.
don't look away, don't look down at your shoes,
don't pretend to feel something you don't,
only come.
it is evening, please come.
the shadows have vanished, come inside.



........................................................................



I wanted to hold you
thru the terrible night.
I wanted to say:
 "It's alright.   Things
can only get better."

But you push me away.
You change the locks on your doors.
The key you gave me is useless now.
I want to carve myself up with it.

All I wanted was you.
And if you have bad nights,
them too.
I wanted to say:
"Friend, I love you-
where you go I go also."



..................................................................



(for vincent)

(and the near-starvation wages
that continue to this day
for his rag-tag band 
of unregistered pupils)

to be hollowed-out, careworn-
and to know that the oiled world
does/has indeed come to an end-
the quiet brilliance of spinning wheels-
the terrifying blank of lost thunder-
it soon sweeps even your magical color away-
no breadcrumbs left behind for the others-
they set out into the glittering gallery district
as if for the very first and last time.

the summer dusk-
it is radiantly, irrevocably tangled
inside all of the thin, haggard winters
that we could not speak or work
or even look out of the broken window at. . .

       . . .what?

     what    are    you    looking    at,     vincent?

it is lingering inside of your studio
after you are no longer living-
the purest, most ennobling genre
that chance almost existed.

an endurance test for the masses!
a hollow masterpiece's first opportunity  
to deliberately see its own semi-accidental results!
"not to be missed!" the papers say- "holographic!"- 
and yet not divulging what the ocular rawness, 
if there is any, near-obscures 
or paradoxically indicates. . .

who fucking cares, baby?!?!
we're just a few blocks 
from the magnificent mile!!!
our hotel room alone costs 
2000 dollars a night!!!

it is every voice/gaze joined in one,
all of them lining up for the gruel,
and the hangwire finally gives way
to dusty wall space,
to emptiness.



...........................................................



I held onto you like an inmate
holds onto the bars of his cell
in the morning as he watches
the so-called free people 
shuffling past in the corridors.

Most prison terms never last
but that was never the point-
I don't like being in jail!
I don't want this iron between us!

So I lunge out when I think
you have may have accidently strayed 
near enough to be clutched-
(so absent-minded you can be sometimes, baby!)
But I miss, of course, 
and the guard sees me trying
to cover it up-
I cannot.
I am caught.

They 
just 
move 
the 
bars
a
little
closer 
together.

But I can still see out, by golly.
And I still watch you slink by,
and sometimes I imagine, I catch, 
just for a fleeting moment, 
your eye.

So I'm not forgotten entirely?

Golly.

Sorry I held on for so long!
Last night I gave my poor advocate
the old dance and miserable song-
that our laws are too strict!
punishments way out of proportion!
He just sighs and advises
to try avoiding another
literary so-called 
late abortion.

Oops!
Too late, sir!
Oh well.  
(I've still got plenty of time
on my hands here, by the way-
"all the time in the world"
is the common lyrical rendering, f.y.i)


....................................................................



With a stony heart, broken,  
sinking up into his own tiny 
wrecked oceanic last-destiny,
the rich pocket of death-in-life  
(or vice-versa) 
that the Lorax
in the final scene 
disappears 
thru
and 
beyond. . .

cannot 
will not
shall not
must not
think about the many
terrible and beautiful things
which have not yet occurred in this parable.

Or we could just say the future,
a haggard vulture at times,
scaly talons and cawing thru
the vast prisons of denial and maya- 
we party all night in our chains because
we know the doddering jailer won't hear us,
he has died and is already rotting away
in his office, a little pool of human slime
at the feet of society's halloween skeleton.

Or the future,
a morning songbird,
tiny and nameless and fleeting
and with no discernible effort
showering over the history
a small 
and 
pristine
ray
of
absolutely
undeserved
hope.



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