Category Archives: Duplicity

“The Underside”

…dedicated to the many who wonder what’s become of all that is and where the bottom is…

“The Underside”

“‘The underside’ … it’s not just in tandem, ‘Once, it’s everywhere! … sigh …'”
And she was right. It seems the predilection toward
The animal appears where there is none; the tsunami’s force is froward
Where there is no place to go but straight to hell for all but those who fly
Or settle for a second-rate mortgage off the high road’s endless traffic.
And we along the shores of what’s become the greater sea who sit
And sign within ourselves no higher there, nor lower here, are aware of it:
There is no real rest from those who foment
Condescension to Creation, laced with lies
To trap the innocent, and revel in the vanishing point
Below the picture, well beneath the edges or between the joints
Of slender bones and tissues in the body politic; cries
Will rise for them and for their victims and their families,
The “taken”, “took” and “broken for which poets scribble homilies.

Once

“The tree outside the window taps very gently on the pane … I want to think quietly, calmly, spaciously, never to be interrupted, never to have to rise from my chair, to slip easily from one thing to another, without any sense of hostility, or obstacle. I want to sink deeper and deeper, away from the surface, with its hard separate facts. To steady myself, let me catch hold of the first idea that passes … Shakespeare … Well, he will do as well as another. A man who sat himself solidly in an arm-chair, and looked into the fire, so a shower of ideas fell perpetually from some very high Heaven down through his mind.”

The Mark on the Wall
Virginia Woolf
[1882-1941]

“Wife, child, brother, parents, friends…We come only to go apart again. It is one continuous movement. They move away from us, and we move away from them. The law of life can’t be avoided. The law comes into operation the moment we detach ourselves from our mother’s womb. All struggle and misery in life is due to our attempt to arrest this law or get away from it or in allowing ourselves to be hurt by it. The fact must be recognized. A profound unmitigated lonliness is the only truth of life.”

R. K. Narayan
[October 10, 1906 -- May 13, 2001]
(shortened from Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami)
The English Teacher

“Gold Bars Soar”

gold1

“Gold Bars Soar”

Gold bars soar that may or may not be there as dollars rise and fall
While doves and hawks lose feathers and the bourgeois stain
Their corporate tablecloths; numbers genuflect as mortgage rates
And candidates trade places in the spin. Who sleeps in the caterwaul;
Who stampedes for attention in the networks’ nightly call
To arms not heard since Boston; whose cotillions root for the notorious? Bait
And bombast never fails; the remedy is ever there and altogether late,
Meticulously timed by someone out to fill the stadia and malls
With never ending seasons’ greetings and wherewithal
To keep the vital signs of spinning polls and sardines at the gates,
Martin’s dream is deemed appropriate for the calendar and numbers integrate
The use of steroids and youthful thrall so no one drops the ball.
Who needs another change for heaven’s sake as one size fits all:
…And who really gives a damn with elections in the fall?

“Feel the Fear”

“Feel the Fear”

Feel the fear in all things blithe; death,
To see what only mystic pages sign and still it’s too damn cold;
Nothing’s moving. Reckon talismans, medallions sold
For incense and bouquet; breathe once and then the second breath,
Friend. Taste reticence itself and all things flee; barter sovereignty
And youth and place the sandals at the door. Terse and curt,
They will renege, prevaricate, and standing still
their high fives fly. They flirt
With no one but themselves, their flesh disports with rude obscenity;
Daggers, canines, grey-lined barbs of cultured mumbled sympathy
For mothers long in heat, hesitant but nonetheless disposed to saying
Judas had his reasons.
Politely cut the losses, righteous piracy embroidered on the sleeve–
The tattoo leaves no space for pores–pluck the fruit,
reschedule colonoscopies.
They’ll make you know they love you;
scratch the surface, pick the scab.
And why not? If things go wrong, all is veiled,
steeled in memory, forgotten on the slab.

“I Don’t Suppose I’ll Ever Know”

“I Don’t Suppose I’ll Ever Know”

I don’t suppose I’ll ever know; she never told me.
I had no calling card and she had no address,
Or if she ever gave it to me, it was always less
Than what she wrote to him and could never be
Disclosed. Of course, I looked for all the world; I seemed
To be forever browsing bookstores in more or less
Abandon even wonton dedication to the kind of eagerness
That only children presuppose is happiness or glee.
It was never there, you see, and yet I was ever
At the ready to believe in terms of passages that saw her through
A time or two of something close to primacy or proximity
To what it was she never found in me—sublimity
Or something that she’d read in Keats and Shelly, severed
In the end from Dover Beach and miles from Xanadu.

† William Butler Yeats [13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939]

Percy Bysshe Shelley [4 August 1792 – 8 July 1822]

 

“Duplicity”

“Duplicity”

Duplicity

Duplicity on a monumental scale alters
Vision in a neo-comatose viewing of the facts.
Phatic passports at the border, coy complications wrack
The memory in the act of glossing a myriad of Psalters
That set the price of cavilling, lead and dissect flocks of those
Who would be here, not there surrounding
Witnesses in the outer court’s estate who seek the muted sound
Of pilgrims to the inner state who know what flat rates in lies disclose.
Always here, everywhere in evidence, we are no better than intentions
Postulate and accident provides. Circumspection conceals
The truth but marks the nuance of the spell of many seals
In words of pulp and marvellous aplomb; condescension
Reigns at last where delusions of reality are drawn. Take note of the exceptions:
Who constructs the fence invites addiction and a profitable deception.

happytraders

“Humour Is Impossible”

“Humour Is Impossible”

Humour is impossible in the throes
of serious contemplation of the most potent question
ever asked on any secular page of literature:
“To be or not to be, that is the question,…”

When faced with such a query,
who will denigrate his own
imagined station and position within what is,
after all, a lethal situation for all of us?

The bourgeoisie cannot afford to ask the question;
the rich above the need of contemplation;
the poor too oppressed by the instincts,
the daily needs of hunting and gathering

simply to ensure a continued existence
in this world share  a modicum of
some comfort on the odd occasion.
The rich experience nothing because

every effort costs them nothing;
their pride, therefore, is rendered moot.
The bourgeois may well seek to own his world
in terms of expressions of what he imagines

the bailiwick of their betters,
and indeed, but fails to recognise
that ownership without purpose
sustained over a generation or two

is inevitably the prescription
for yet another application
of the Peter Principle
or the Dunning-Kruger Effect

and, as with poisons can provide
as great a lethal punch to the soul
as it can be in beneficial form to the body.
The poor experience the wonders

of life, struggle, and death but have no voice,
no language that does not promote
anything short of need at best, sedition
at worst when given half a chance,

and in the odd instance passing freedom from sheer want.
Witness: from a tax revolt in 1776, America did without its king;
1789, the French its monarchy and aristocracy;
1917, the Russians their czar, their aristocracy,
Their bourgeoisie yet all revolutions failed.

…But, Nymph in thine orisons be all my sins remembered,
strip away convention, then, and turn to prose….

Given all of the above and the advent of the credit card on the one hand, and ubiquitous Federal Reserve Bank Notes, the logical use and result of the invention of the printing press, what might have been humorous in the past has lost its flavour much like one’s wad of “chewing gum on the bedpost overnight,” simply because whether one addresses true tragedy or its counterpart in comedy, both rely on some helpful word as to what constitutes the intrinsic good or, in short, the presence of virtue and its ultimate outcome, nobility, vraiment…. Without such a word, we have no choice but to think nothing is too sacred to denigrate, belittle, or even to crucify, as the history of all of the many Prophets and Messengers of God, not to mention spiritual philosophers have experienced and met Their ends; what, then can be said of the qualities of the arts and sciences, and the “pith and marrow” of any given society on this planet?

In the end, what constitutes a poet if in fact the characteristics of the artists and sciences have been laughed to scorn just as those of the basic institutions from the kings, popes, religious leaders of all kinds, lawyers, doctors, teachers, nurses, librarians, professions of all sorts. Once one has laughed at God, Himself, it is difficult or even impossible to maintain any semblance of nobility; what should the present two or three generations expect but that after what amounts to almost continual world wars from the 1840’s and straight into the present hour? So much for religion, government, and so much for the arts and sciences, and ultimately so much for the sanctity of life, itself; if Hamlet had some difficulty in maintaining his sense of humour in a Denmark rotten to the core in its banquet days, what, then, can be said of the “remains of the day,” as it were, by the by, so to speak, as the crow flies, in our sweet time, …que çela reste entre nous deux?….

“I Turned Around”

“I Turned Around”

I turned around and found that they were gone,
Swarms, the chorus of bovine hacks and seekers, friends,
And, yes, of course, the teachers with certificates in the trend–
I, but one of many minions–a catalogue, a myriad of martial songs
In sync, a jihad of rhythm and cadence in specific cacophony,
As comes the nightly roaring of the lions in the thickets of what
Is neither fact nor fiction;  wickets for just another cue, a cut
Above, or so it’s thought, but addressed in distraction and destiny
Of dispensations’ delivered duties bound to mortal schools and rules
That pass so aimlessly through the ancient sieve of marble verse
Garnished with proviso and caveat , the business of a thousand terse
And cryptic observations so confidently voiced by just as many fools.
And I woke up one spring day with leaving on my mind,
And more than reason to believe that someone must be lying.
Answers in the tealeaves, sheaves appear before the harvest
Is gathered; there within the dross, a saline silence in solution.
Questions, masked, bitters in the waters provide ablutions
To the touch; dissolved, a saviour to the rites of moot investment
In what must come when will is spent.
And what of proceeds, pensions, dubious transactions
Boxed and packaged in the cards, admiring factions
That succumb to givens in the deck? The rent
Is paid, the covenants are honoured, and here again,
The possibilities drown within themselves. When Vonnegut died
There came a deadly pause and then applause (denied
Of course, but heard) from every semi-colon on the plains
“Just so,” the concourse wails, “What now will you write?”
“What the ink,”‘s reply, “and which the nib,
and who’s the audience tonight?”

“Earthbound”

“Earthbound”

Earthbound minds’ remains
Strike supernals in the memory,
The reputation; a canopy
Of means, a certain gravitas in gains
That whet the appetite to maintain
Forever somewhere in a panoply
Of names. Icons, but samples of history,
Such denizens breed to read as fame,
The goal—lingering doubt in shallows,
Negatives—whether goat or lamb, the standards
desiccated to utter nothingness reward
The ephemeral and untoward,
And no one seems the wiser. Shadows
With the shades seek belief from nihilists and wild cards.
Radiations of the body’s appetites leave little doubt
As to who will win and who, like others in the cast, remain invisible.
Endowments rule, and somewhat less than these, the indivisible
As the people say, my misery loves company and company its clout
And so the chosen court pariahs will attain their stations spiked to flout
A mutual advantage, powers and blessed assurance, the irresistible
Conclusions of equals in collusion, equals in delusion,
but at last sanctified within the ballot, tranquilized as sequels
In costumes of saints and mystics, mahatmas—and the truth is out,
Their stories told, perhaps—but as the sun blots out the stars,
So, too, their majesties are put to flight for want of oxygen. Soon
The latest, faintest, and first recite as advertised, and we delight
In gazing not through distances, but at the destination of the light
With origins counting billions in years while within this single room
We, the sods and consequences, lay inert beneath the silent moon.

“They Scrutinise”

“They Scrutinise”

They scrutinise the inner circle, seconds closer to the sun;
They tether vague fancies in what they see.
The goal, the Holy Mountain; the seed of moonbeams,
Sentimental grace notes in devotions on the run,
And as so much depends upon the multitudes, the hours in the flight,
The centre stage, the spotlight, so little alters the day’s applause,
The algorithms generously applied to the phrase or clause
Voiced without a thought to virtue, voids, or to the rites
Of solipsism in the critical mass, the accidental moment
Seen as just another occasional comma with little heed to order in a full stop.
I see them, I speak with them; I hear their thoughts,
Their questions earmarked from time to time–no need for comment
How much less provide a flint for yet another conflagration, yet another guess
Demanding fuel for candidates greater than the sun, never more, never less.