Category Archives: Separation

“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.

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“Just What You Meant”

“Just What You Meant”

Just what you meant is not too clear today
While all the world feels indisposed but then, aside
From that, it seems the effort to decide
To see must equal if not dwarf the weight
Of longing to be done with this and out
The door and down the street, and gone.
You might well ask what siren draws me out along
A path to worlds away from you, when the route,
The melody we felt, inevitable as the juggernaut of dawn
And all we pledged through pale eternities in this
Fresh day still shone. Together, a certainty that ruled those early mists
Throughout the early morning’s night, what had drawn
Us so close with lightning’s grease to both our spirits’ light?
Instincts lost left walls of thought, but in the end,
all actions dulled as the sun rose and both of us took flight.

“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

“But Was It Really Wise?”

“But Was It Really Wise?”

But was it wise to see the end in the beginning?
Once, some years back, I had a dream
That with some fellow travelers in several cars it seemed
W’d hit a traffic jam cum parking lot, the condescending
Leavings of some dire event up there at the sea in the ninth inning
While we were yet in the bottom of the fourth; the team
Had halted, caught bumper to bumper in the scheme
To escape or somehow reach the sea, in spite of spinning
Wheels and going nowhere, gears remained in “Park.” I spied a service road;
Seduced by prospects of short circuiting my journey’s
Trial, I pulled right over the grassy divide and hit the raked
Lane leaving the sheep in the dust. In short time, my naked
Chosen lane brought me to the shores of the ocean as foretold
By discovery of the secret solution but, lo! impatience replaced by
Circumspection proved a Pyrrhic victory, and was it really wise?

…within the dream, I had reached that sea, but as I looked back at the snake that was the long and winding trail of traffic, I realised that I had achieved the goal, I had arrived at the destination,…alone….

…I once had a student to whom I said, “It’s the early bird that gets the worm!” in a discussion we were having in class about the evils procrastination, to which he promptly replied, “Yes, but there’s no point in getting there before the worm!” Above the howls of disapproval from the rest of the class, I gave him an extension on his due date for the essay in question over the weekend for his blatant originality…

“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]

 

“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.

“Decades, Fondest Friends”

“Decades, Fondest Friends”

Decades, fondest friends I will not see
Before I go; in off-appointed times
Each star appears to lead the way, divine
Appointments within the centrifuge , the siege
Of any given hour’s search for souls
Who bear hearing, to share an elemental joy,
Who bear witness to burdens nailed to every tree
within a tundra of grief, deployed
As when sagebrush in the undergrowth
Overcomes the vineyard, the goal–
Attained by twos not ones–steadfast
Forms hewn in solid granite, certitudes that
Worn become the greater victories.
Born, each in turn must then chose,
each will go his way, mysteries
Preserved, masteries revered set at last
Within an honoured niche, hallowed and adorned,
Placed duly on shelves of sixty years and more.

“Mars”

“Mars”

Mars ever declares himself the victor, always;
True only to what he is and what he feels
Surpassing consequence
and common sense; zeal
Is passion unabated in the haze; the phrase
Is justice set above all love or hate
That cannot truly satisfy. The abyss, my friend; he stands and stares.
Who sees the ends before beginnings will not pay the fare
And will not hear the pebble drop. Too late,
It seems, he draws the line with single eyes
Or hairs removed and split from heedless heads.
He wills and the wine is crimson, so it’s said;
He loves himself and all who love him; he flies
From those for whom he’s longed and denies he’s ever erred.
Impertinence, sweat upon his brow; bile, his denial that he’s ever cared.

“He Lingers”

“He Lingers”

He lingers to the left then for years and more;
She satisfies herself with seconds to the right and even less,
A glance or two at captive lantern lights and sparks addressed
To moths who do not know the reason for
Their fascination nor what sweet dangers lay
In this or that confection spread between days and weeks with little time
To verify the obvious–candles all but disappear
in sunlight and words that rhyme
With fire usually point the way to fatuous invection,
the pox of every yesterday;
And in the convalescence of the early dawn,
her doubts evaporate like myrrh she’s quite forgot
When she airs her rooms as if the purpose
in his witness were merely balm for pain–
All her earthbound joys share the momentary contents
of a rural mailbox, shelter in 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 worlds,
The casuistries of nouns and adjectives
that sue for peace beyond the pale of words.