Category Archives: Death

“This You Chose”

“This You Chose”

This you chose, you know, the lethal wound, external fire,
Internal final cut the cleanest; the choice was never mine.
This you chose; your arms, your scent defined
The borders, walls, the floors, the exposure. Your desires
Say nothing past the yesterdays of pre-dawn, and glad
I was to rest the while, and glad you are that I am gone.
But nothing’s rendered in the late night’s song,
The me in you, and yes! You know the sad
Result: that moon’s pain can not know a sequel.
The senses, these you know , with no contempt,
But radiant resignation in the hours of heat and pure idolatry. Spent,
The sentence stands within this world. These final sentiments rule;
The veil, the truths we’ve always known; the hourglass, the idols of our nights,
Its sands, a closing hush of breath at daybreak when all our meteors take flight.

“The Greatest Sanctuary”

“The Greatest Sanctuary”

The greatest sanctuary saves, preserves, and seals
The last and latest treasure; final fears are entertained
And in the end repeat themselves penultimate in any age
That’s spent with nothing left to say. The morass of months reveal
Themselves as names, the briefer moments cast in isinglass,
And hung above the door as witness to emotions borrowed to defend
The journey of both giver and what it is that’s given–split ends
That pass at times for purity of desire. Consternation, then, at last
Effaced, those few peas remaining within the pod will spend
Themselves while outward bound to what is after all a dream
Or merely someone’s lunch. They groom together–the sheen
Is frayed–delay is shame when every effort to confirm or to renew offends.
Reconnoitred, what were formerly evergreens
disclose themselves as deciduous devotions
That decry their former riverbeds as puddles, watersheds of desiccated oceans
And long dead seas. . 

“Oh, I know”

“Oh, I know”

Oh, I know it”s been said before but bears repeating:
Unless a man embrace estates, his sense
Of eternity, his gifts of endless strife and goals of regret intense
Enough to merit periodic casual to shameless open weeping
In the corridors; unless the deadly abyss of every night’s sleeping’s
Prone to breach and rupture within his dreams or by the clock;
unless ‘neath the lens,
His page is thus combustible by the light focused upon a spot,
his joy depends
On something well beyond his own heart’s contumely,
his gates–his paradise, his weeping–
Fall well beyond the storehouse of his eyes and its catalogue of fears,
His light is changed to fire in tragedy and myths of talismans that guide his way.
Again, unless all this is welcomed well before the final hour, his pride will swell,
His vanity implode, and circumstance becomes
a euphemism for all he sees as hell.
Remember please that breath and breathing signify that death is ever near
And in these final years, satisfaction’s just another word for nothing left to pay.

“Hamlet Asks”

“Hamlet Asks”

Hamlet asks if she is honest, if she’s fair;
The question does perplex the lady staring
At him while it happens that she’s wearing
His improprieties, while it happens on the stairs;
He frequents passages in what is advertised as home.
Still the question’s moot, Ophelia has no real idea
Of what it’s like to be a thing of less than beauty cursed; she’s a
Little foreign to the notion that one roams
Beyond the confines of what is truest north—
There are but two poles proffered by Gertrude as her husband’s only clues
And north must  be somewhere near the stove,
Her safety just beyond the storage bin that holds the spoons and forks―
No, she’ll pass on both the question and his gifts to what’s beyond the arras;
Rich gifts do not wax floors, nor is this prince so careless. She’s seen the banks,
Below, the river’s malcontent; above,
the winds’ reeds’re resonant
With restive cycles in all those reasons. So many eyes intent
On recognition of what’s lately seen when all is rank.
Still Hamlet gathers evidence back and forth along the way. Her prince questions nothing honed from stationary life;
He does not own a life whose questions never fade
Remaining here but seconds in his needling days
Of endless desert silences in a crowd or in audience to an empty city’s sirens.
That one is here implies that everyone else is there along the far horizon
Beyond the accidental mistaken substance dreams and death. Ophelia slept,
No mystic talisman comes to thwart the fall; His promise he has kept
To weed the present  neglected fallow fields and lighten pressures of neon nights.
In his peerless flight is knowing nothing of this life and spending his days in sporadic search for what in death poor Yorick must have felt.

.

Now get you to my lady’s chamber, and tell her, let
her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must
come; make her laugh at that. Prithee, Horatio, tell
me one thing.

HORATIO

What’s that, my lord?

HAMLET

Dost thou think Alexander looked o’ this fashion i’
the earth?

HORATIO

E’en so.

HAMLET

And smelt so? pah!

Puts down the skull

HORATIO

E’en so, my lord.

HAMLET

To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may
not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander,
till he find it stopping a bung-hole?

HORATIO

‘Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so.

HAMLET

No, faith, not a jot; but to follow him thither with
modesty enough, and likelihood to lead it: as
thus: Alexander died, Alexander was buried,
Alexander returneth into dust; the dust is earth; of
earth we make loam; and why of that loam, whereto he
was converted, might they not stop a beer-barrel?
Imperious Caesar, dead and turn’d to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away:
O, that that earth, which kept the world in awe,
Should patch a wall to expel the winter flaw!

William Shakespeare
[1564-1616]

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, ActV, Scene 1

“Kenesis”

“Kenesis”

Kinesis for
The many who remain to wait
Silently for some benign constriction in the state
Of things, some sinister situation in the molten core
Of what it is they hope that God forgets to do or say.
Oh, yes. There are the borders to defend,
Concessions, lights within the processed prisms bend
And warp–so many suns are strong–schemes to calculate
With nests to build and chicks to feed,
but come the harvest, guests, the gathering
And celebration, the stories to be sold across the newsstands of the land,
The hands all sit here waiting with the others in the band
And ask themselves why grace and bounty seem so much like common tragedy
When in the once desired brilliance of the promised summer’s yield
The time for satisfaction never comes and the crop’s left in the field.

“That We Fall Is Natural”

“That We Fall Is Natural”

That we fall is natural; that we rise, elephantine.
The elemental flow of oceans cannot be
A thing so scripted in the stones nor greater than it seems,
But ever-striving, ever-writhing, natural peaks declining,
Irreconcilable in their conniving, twice and more desired falling
In or toward Themselves, the Mothers of all Waters, yes. Rivers
Die and are reborn at once–revivals in their streams and noted divers
Books, catalogued as tributaries and watersheds–calling
And recalling from a moonstruck swollen pinnacle
even to the least and last most holy drop.
Confucius* said it long ago that greatest glories
Come not so much in never falling, but in histories
Of revision, sublimes in tectonic prodigies at the mountaintop.
Little wonder save to mortals what the matter is;
energy is the bright selective gleam
Of noble souls who
like the stream, the river, the brook,
must at last rejoin the sea.

*Confucius B.C. 551-479

“Summer Like the Lion”

“Summer Like the Lion”

Summer like the lion has so little time;
Reflections on horizons only seem at rest,
Refractions, hungers in the higher grasses are at best
A blind, a routine introspection, attest to sun and pride,
Alike as natural season’s slightest change rewards the prey
Of both with perspicuous signs and insecurities but nonetheless
Concrete enough to cause a wonder in the every power; less
Than single clouds occlude the sun, the slightest hint of grey
Upon the main, both signal gain and loss. Clearly crowned,
They have no equal in selection’s schemes
Save Death, itself, yet each pays out in measured penalties. Extremes
In greatness and renown sustain but reasons, diadems and crowns
Subject to circumstance of cycles in the main—in means
A certain end—in cosmic tragedies beyond the need of seasons.

“She Replied”

“She Replied”

She replied, “I wonder sometimes about that last breath,
will it pain? Will it bring peace? or will we be unaware?
I do wonder.” Her thoughts incorporate a stare,
A swelling vision of what must come of what is left
Of time amongst a thousand nursery rhythms, inadvertent theft
In recitation of “Now I lay me down to sleep,” a certain flare
From the bridge that binds its victim
Alone to any other soul, bereft
Of substance, comfortless in wrenching prolixity
Of what to the emperor were too many notes;
To posterity a masterpiece in some historical
Reference made in passing at the lectern–a rhetorical
Question perhaps on a Wednesday afternoon–an entity
That has no purpose, expecting no answer to what she wrote.
Of course I wrote a thousand words in recompense
To that dark lady scattered through legions
Of tomes of literary justice far below what Dickens
Might have hoped were words of solace for the whitest chickens
There beside that ridiculous wheelbarrow on which Williams rent
Himself in twain to measure a leased infallibility in season within reason.

“Imagination Styles the Face”


“Imagination Styles the Face”

Imagination styles the face of vanity that solves a thousand wrongs,
And no one guesses what’s behind the door.
Closer to the truth, the portal to escape closes just behind him; gore
And all that glitter exposed, tinsel moments in the early morning songs,
Playground glories among the boys and toys, reasons to declare
An eminence–petulant and sulking–ever hamartia, ever cool,
Who stalks the school yard–recess, lunch, and after school
And preys on younger lambs who cannot see nor dare
To think beyond the present master and the class
To one day leaving what was never meant to be
A permanent abode but stepping stones to what only seems
To be a day’s delay until the graduation fantasy, and one more hall pass.
“But, then again, I never meant to study, people…

I never meant to pass the test!”

“The Rose You Left”

“The Rose You Left”

The rose you left scotch taped on my front door
Was there for me that night when I returned;
I smiled, and then, of course, the tears began to burn.
My eyes; my God, my eyes! I dropped in that sweet moment on the floor
And felt so warmed, so gifted, honoured, blessed, and while
I knew you’d placed it there, I also knew
From Whom it truly came, and so, it seems, did you.
The several days had passed before I saw your smile
Again, but I was sure that when the moment came,
You’d probably forget somehow you’d placed
The blossom on the door and summarily effaced
The memory and the deed. I thanked you, just the same.
You left this world some nights ago; I wasn’t there—
Too many guests—but, here, alone, for you, Shapoor, I’ll say a prayer.