Category Archives: Negation

“What Peace of Mind?”

“What Peace of Mind?”

What peace of mind can find a living here?
Pundits’ fantasies will not stop the tears, the midnight cries,
Incessant lies, and still the public yearns to know what we despise
From commentators and the late show comics. Do we fear
The truth and turn the other way when asked
If what comes down the pipe is truly past
Our tacit understanding? Reasons? Seasons? Are there tasks
Beyond endurance here, or is it always first and last
A matter for the courts, the press, the cold realities
That simply digest information and ingest lucid cosmic facts:
There’s them that’s got, and them that’s wracked,
The rich, the poor, the lack of morals backed. Atrocities
And blessings rank as equals, ours to fricassee, ours to fear.
There’s them that’s got, all right, and them that no one hears.

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We’ve Been to the Mountain”

“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. . 

“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.

“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

“Perhaps Too Obscure”

“Perhaps Too Obscure”

Perhaps too obscure, absolutes, prerogatives, profits,
Relatives, feathers of the phoenix–costly downs for pillows,
Materials for bedding–indeed the silhouette
Of controversy in the bower prohibits
Poesy from kneading souls and seeding requisites
For immortality with mortal flaws and fatal shallow
Pools designed for poets such as these that wallow
In the larder oblivious to dangers, intrinsic
Natural blinds to tar pits where only fugitives
Attempt to flee from what is evident in destiny.
Notice neither freedom for the bird nor fish
To feed them gather here; unheeding species. Lavish
Ignorance and wanton lust are lost on adjectives
Whose ontogeny merely seeks but life and progeny.

“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]

 

“They Linger”

estrangement

“They Linger”

They linger by the window; they seek
What’s just beyond not so much from desire but punctuation.
Souls in single file grant noteworthy unction
To the slightest glance howsoever intently; no more than a peek,
And as it happens simply walk on by. Innocuous.  The poet says
That passion will consume its fruits,
And I believe him as the notion suits
The age in which I live or the page I read; but if he seeks a “Yes!”
doubts evaporate like myrrh as she’s quite forgot
When she airs her rooms and threads her loom as if the purpose
in his witness were merely ballast for pain–
All her earthbound joys share the momentary respite
of a rural mailbox, at best a little shelter from the rain
For those who still receive their letters with the circulars. Caught
In fantasies defined in galaxies that disappear at sunrise
there remains the death knell of all wounds and worlds,
A poverty of nouns and adjectives that obfuscate reality
beyond the pale of words.

Stairs

“Just Another Evening’s Fast”

“Just Another Evening’s Fast”

Just another evening’s fast,
By chance, a simple dinner, happenstance within the seams
And lining of sidling sibling intercourse that satisfies or possibly redeems
The thing that leaves its fossils free for future scavengers, no past
To contemplate, a coroner’s delight from the proceeds of a centrifuge.
Cleverness of movement mounts in moments somehow cleft
And processed as lesions in the lard of what’s been left
To marinate or age. Discharge, wastes from the deluge
Along the banquet boards, but dammed provide
A watershed, the simple servant to all cardinal sins
To celebrate with sufficient zeal a subtrahend
That will not be outgrown nor decompose and cannot break its stride
With backdoor vipers or ill-used garden snakes. At harm’s length
Visitations of the witnesses can only grow in strength.

…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