“There’s Nothing in Neruda”
There’s nothing in Neruda* that’s not been said,
No subtle hint, no helpful word, no turn
Of phrase, no bold assertion that to earn
A place beneath the skin one must be bled,
Detained, flattered in the stacks of libraries, betrayed,
A Caulfield** in search of what Bukowski***never found
in hopes of finding hidden pearls among
Unnatural grains of sand before the oyster’s song was ever sung,
And all before his cock crew thrice—You know he never paid
Beyond the going price. Are we not forgetting something here?
The witnesses? Another round of hemlock, please! and as the academics cheer
the proceeds of yet another idle idyll, a second glass of wine, perhaps a clear
And unequivocable glance at the mirror sitting there to interpolate
the riddle loaves and fishes of enigma or the positive benefits of fear.
Ah, yes! Neruda may have told the tale, but who was he to give us hope,
And from what box he now quotes himself and never
gives a river’s damn about what it was he wrote?
Of course, I can’t be sure of it, but from here it looks
For all the world that in truth I am you
And you are me and there’s the misery, the mystery, the view
That’s missing in the metaphors and similes, the clue refined from brooks
And seas, the bakers’ scales and finely tuned anomalies,
the national sport of news and fresh cacophanies, hooks
By which we are urgently define and hone the truth askew
From certitude, and based in faith that separates all from each, proved
Or unapproved in swarms of groups and nations, the accidental nooks
And crannies of every greatness, every generation, seminar, religion,
Clan and sanctified plan proposed, to accent ancient schools and families.
All experience expresses the inverse from Hammurabi to our beloved Ramses,
Seen as freaks and distant relatives and relegated to exceptions
With a shot of charisma or some other social clot, profusion
In the masses of exclusion throughout of all the spies of life that seek.
So much to say with so little time to speak,
Whether for the self or for the same in orderly confusion.
Still larger loans from banks of life’re sired from brothers,
Even greater obligations and demands from mountain peaks,
And beyond the heights, the snowy summons of the higher roads and streets.
The recreating lights that cut the edge of fear of sacrifice in grieving mothers
Leads the restive albatross to discover, possibly to smother
In the blasphemy of his own need and greener pastures elsewhere―
a weak and weaker Icarus―in search of tests that cannot keep
His lightnings’ glories save in darker South Georgian seas, blunders
To suspect within his breast and nothing when at last he sleeps:
He discovers little more than what the drop within the puddle seeks.
*Chilean poet and diplomat, Pablo Naruda [12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973]
**Character from the novel The Catcher in the Rye, a 1951 novel by J. D. Salinger
***German born American poet Charles Bukovski [August 16, 1920 – March 9, 1994]
…Art at the top of this post, Liu Bolin 刘勃麟 – Photography of China