Category Archives: Ends

“I’ll Not Wait”

“I’ll Not Wait”

I’ll not wait till dawn to praise the sun;
Shadows follow closely where I sleep; this night must end:
I’m guaranteed as much. What, then? Tomorrow? What? Again
A word’s delay a world away is all, so, patience me. The midnight trains still run
Their course–stampeding to the east to crawl back westward–and catch
The rising or the setting cosmos all along the local milk run. Coaches
Matter not, jettisoned or newly recreated in the Milky Way, we approach
Our destinations, dusks or dawns in proper times; passengers dispatched,
Who only seem to arrive at destinations previously booked
And so we do not blithely cease to live because we wait
Upon a final station or dream of tracks not even built. Medusa guards the gate
That turns all nightly plans to stone, and we her momentary shades that looked
To make the journey know the Night Train only claims a means to ends
Through mirrors while season tickets mark what joys the daybreak sends.

“Disconcerting”

“Disconcerting”

Disconcerting; expressionless about the face,
The eyes, the gestures, my smile in any minor step
You take; sudden entrances, exists, all essentials swept
In torrents across this mobile stage, the supple need for guidance as I pace
The floor to find my shoes. The simplest gesture burns; the sparks, elite,
So subtle brilliance in the softest action while you, the witness to it all abhor
The fact that what I am is what you are. Denial rages through a score
Of fears exhaled in sweat and tears that flood whenever I begin to seat
Your soul where it belongs, this sacred trust
held deep within me. Rest easy, friend.
I will be true to you. In later moments when I’m gone you’ll think
On it and know we are nothing if not sums of spirits
in the grip of centrifuge. We drink
From common ladles. Mortgaged mornings’ lights’ assay and bend
The prism’s light to bleed tomorrow’s rainbow’s form from drops.
We form an ocean, mariners of error and mistake;
We bear a circumstantial curse that leads
to universal light in every breath we take.

 

…a revision of the poem…”Swept Aside”

…a revision of the poem…

“Swept Aside”

Swept aside, all moments and celestial mementos collide
And waste no never-mind on credence and retention
In the wake of greater cosmic rinds and supine celestial reflection.
Mortality by definition lies; not so through what histories imply
But in the daily interaction of missives from the Goal
And penultimate ilunga * of the Source or
Sanctions of interaction in the triumphant triad of the coarsest
Ores of time, of space, and all that matters. Time, the cosmic linen folds
Of space and active order; space, the theatre of experience at the heart
Of the observer; matter, but an audience, a phenomena in passive
Active shadows of Creation and its nemesis. Simplicity is massive,
Complexity but a word; a question’s languages are art
And science while the answers form the pathos and the abstract.
What is more pathetic than to be and yet be nothing in the act?
Simplicity in the classic form requires
The prefects of a perfect vacuum
Combined in such a way as compliments the acumen
Of a strident meme, the jealous zeitgeist, tests that to the whole inspire
An urgent need to pause, to linger over bodies no longer really there,
A little more than a half a generation’s substance in a given time.
So granted this, so beautifully and tragically resigned,
Aloud comes the elegies of episodes to “Move along!”or “Retire!”
With such a cry inscribed, there was and always is
A here and there in rapid profit worshipped, fierce
As gallstones of desperation: “This, our chosen age, rehearsed
Upon a cross of memories little more than lyrics of an ancient tryst!”
And, equally, the many crowned and catalogued, remain aloof
Through symmetries of perfection in a sacred dynasty of embroidered truth.

*The word is ilunga, from the Bantu language of Tshiluba, and means a person ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time.

When there is this, that is.
With the arising of this, that arises.
When this is not, neither is that.
With the cessation of this, that ceases.

His Holiness The Buddha

“I Could Have Called”

“I Could Have Called”

I could have called last night, you
Know; you’d have answered, of course, and we,
Removed, should conquer these deserted walls; the you and me
Expressing wonder and ecstasy de facto that two
Fine tunes in a single space find nothing in our words;
No lyrics, no grandiloquent prophesies, no binding ties,
No coy deception, fitting deposition, or bold-faced lies
To truss up seams, loose and dwindling ends; just birds
Of prey whose festive table breeds in fables, birdseed, curds
In whey–nothing offered, nothing taken–
Gilded fare in a God-forsaken
Intercourse that breathes perhaps in syllables, but nowhere near a word,
Stentorian sensations that somehow subdue a nightly desperation,
Declarations masked in stilted mantras ripe with endless repetition.

“Hesitation at the Station”

“Hesitation at the Station”

Hesitation at the station. She met him there,
His buttercups and bouquets to her denial;
He was quiet lavender, stillness in his soul, no guile,
No subterfuge while she forecasts in this affair
But possibles, toi, toi, toi! But they knew then and there
The harvest would be bleak, potentials in the miles
Are all but melted as they speak of exiles,
Signs and images they no longer seek, the glare
Of barren tables—little more than feet
Between them—expanses and catastrophes,
The warped and weary sets and semblances
That conjure bile and even stranger consequences;
Oil slicks, creosote, and fear of breakfast bars and sheets
To match an asset and demand that does not grow but atrophies.

“They Await”

“They Await”

They await some helpful word and know the news
Their fear falls short of what it is they want to hear;
Days’ delays, too much backlog must disappear
Before the silence and its echo can renew
The striking of the bell within this people. Still
It falls within the natural healing that smatterings
Of longing, waiting, hoping in and of itself brings
Spasms of a healing psalm to the many, and for the few no chill
Will touch the man who holds the triumph of the will to heart,
A movement, distant, upward, outward toward
The next plateau, a freshly minted meme within a percolating promise, forward
Always–never moving yet never still–magnificently arched and carved.
As with a steaming rainbow, himself the crown to every several cloud
While he succumbs to resignation and relief that only ignorance allows.
They study stars to bring a second truth to hand enforced
By what the doctors know, to second guess
The odds, the capture of a second a consolation prize at best;
To cheat, perhaps, or worse, to change the windless course,
The doldrums of ordination well before conception. Even more,
Delight to undermine what primal motives strength
Of certitude command, a reprimand the breadth and length
Of all creation guided as it were to win, to score
Beyond that something, this someone, those some things greater
Than the product of a wizard or the clever second hand
shuffles across the face of clocks and cosmic signs. A man,
A faculty of man, an energy–perhaps an enterprising satyr–
Quickening the insight and knowing just how much the gathering clouds
Have missed the point will gorge himself on fate,
and blaspheme right out loud.

“Close the Books” [On the anniversary of my last day of classes in 2007]

“Close the Books”
[On the anniversary of my last day of classes in 2007]

Close the books, put away the notes,
The shipyard’s abandoned; desks and chairs have lost their rows
(The final cleaning crew arrives tonight!) and do you suppose
The office will be closed before the votes
Are in? Inevitable closing calamities. But by the clock
He sees the hours shifting toward the back
Of what was his room these many years; no lack
Of tomes and final papers, calculations, ever marking; the dry dock’s
There and oddly placed, order impertinent, his ship’s put in to port
And not a scintilla too soon, the wetted finger held aloft with storms
Approaching and heat stroke looming in the warmer
June-filled many-papered halls of what’s left in halls of lockers. Sort
The last class’s fillings, his room no longer root canals in light
And lighter proverbs of an erstwhile life; the tunnel’s end: his silent night.

“I Found Someone”

“I Found Someone”

I found someone breathing as if to pray;
No prayer, of course, no sign, no moon, no stars, silence–
Balm to souls and solace in the crisis
Of questions–many hopes absurd, what they say
Gives animas to eternity and shields simple fear from the terror
Of these days. I would not ask outright, I had no words, then,
Took flight, tight in twilight when
From cancer and fallen branches–errors,
Really, to the whole–to innocence conjuring lasting alibis,
Superfluous sentinels never come to rest, fruits of thought pressed
With violence enough that wine is produced—inebriation of more from less,
Wrath, the test , really, of what some old man once said. Patient sighs
Among sparrows egg him on while sitting on a porch swing, wisdoms at once:
“Make peace with the Fathers,” said he, “prepare to flee the Sons.”

“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
That long since disappeared. Yes, we’ve seen this rain before
and now we see it every day;
Umbrellas up, umbrellas down, yet these expose
Themselves as useless as the refugees keep running, hoping, close
To bolting at the slightest sign of teardrops in their pain.
And what is gained in either case, the with
Or the without? The question here is moot.
Is moisture poison to the man who values silks in suits,
Or to the woman bound to shake her fist
At every incident that renders hairspray a total waste?
But these are questions for the sophist’s notepad and fodder
For prevarication while what is relevant to the journey, a blotter
For veneers of life are disclaimers and discounts which so easily make haste
To negate what is evident in a common tin of oysters or a jar of lox:
The end of every one of us is six feet under in a box.

“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!”