Tag Archives: Illusion

“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.

“Suppose Evolution”

cain1

“Suppose Evolution”

Suppose evolution the ablution of time as revelation, but gather why
We migrate. All know, of course, or should, what land
We live in, what the borders to the dream, the strand,
The stream of all acts, axioms, atolls of sanity sealed in wax. Try
Reason cupped in raw emotion in the Courts of History, ours
To bend and cherish in or out of season in the time
It takes to be or not to be the first and possibly the line
Drawn in haste in quicksand in the briefest span in feeble hours
Of loss and victory. L’Chaim! A toast to fine
Distnctions drawn between the posse and the Law!
Repeat the gaze, Govinda, and if you see the flaw
In personal salvation, seek penetration through strength of heart and mind,
Hubris in negation and his sibling’s futile crops–annihilation in rage and greed―
While Abel lies silent in the eye of Cain’s infernal whining in the weeds.

“Spotless No Doubt”

trumpimage

“Spotless No Doubt”

Spotless no doubt, thrice polished
Marauding tensions—emotions’ nomads—yet nothing moves―
There’s no breeze, no grievous moon, no licit solar meeting in the groves
Of smothered cradle songs, no childrens’ adagio. Uselessness polished,
Memory is detained in the waiting room in peculiar movement
While destiny and fate consult on who’s left wanting in the atrium. These
Foolish thoughts of weightlessness and spiritual sclerosis augur well to please
Wallpapers and clocks left crucified upon the wall. Mindless queues atone
For any lack of purpose with no hint of propinquity. Then quite naturally
The caterers and guests soon arrive and someone has to answer the door.
As the long day’s counsels end, ignition’s off, feet flat on the floor.
No need to move the mountain; the benchmark: The will has atrophied,
We’re there. Then, of course, we return or break the deadlock
So let’s get on with what the fox intends and who will watch the flock.

“It Matters Nothing”

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“It Matters Nothing”

It matters nothing in the lightly screaming
Thoughts of what I might have done
Had this not gone so far; the early’s clusters, the latter’s stars, the sun’s
Eternal meridian, no matter what the clouds, the veils, the feelings,
With midnight’s nightly thinking on the path through Saturn’s rings
Remains the same, and in the end, illusion never dies.
So constant, time in winnowed wanderlust—the skies
The seas, the cosmic meadow’s breeze where only quasars sing
Simple measure pleasures of a thought made longer than a dream
That I may walk beside the old canal that leads to even older docks.
Yes, of course.  I might have visited more often.  But clocks
Are stormy petrels, eternal days that leave a stain on what’s deemed
Meet and seemly for the nonce; so while I frequent these familiar lanes I think
On what I might have said and how I might have stayed awhile,
and wines I’ll never drink.

…photograph above by ECU…

“But at the Centre”

2-face-golden-mask

“But at the Centre”

But at the centre, in the middle, somewhere near
The eye, a briefer moment’s respite as well—yes, in sleep
You see a reticence, a full judicious leap,
Perhaps an extra lap between the truth in me and fear
In the new year, that wanderer along the narrow streets
Of cities where I am; albeit truth is here, there is no storm
Since nothing earthbound moves where angels swarm.
Where I am neither earth nor heaven retreat.
The man is circumcised; search the eyes,
What flies, what armies do you see?
Search the skies for what it means to be
Or not to be and there’s the torch raised high above the lies
Of heart and mind. From one or from the other, in solitude no one clearly sees
But eight seconds’ distance from the sun, and slightly less from me.

particles

“Allegories”

Allegory

“Allegories”

Allegories of the people ordain mere distractions and survive
The shared and ampler avalanche. Zeitgeists in the light of compromise
Through ages bleed to epochs and thicken in the rhyme
And cadence of the bounder; all is measured, finding strength in ties
Of mutual conceits and sentiments patterned and designed
To clear the balance sheets, embellish columns in the ledger
Bound in leather while practitioners mumble golden mantras: “Together
We’ll survive; our blood is blue and bonded, resigned
To fire as might—our gods continue to survive!” Just so, perhaps.
Substances that people traffic through the veins
Are indeed both grief and loss to happenstance that reigns
Reliquaries of the shaman
drain the humble shepherd’s cup of sap—
The blood of lightless suns—and fill the same from acrid rains.
Imagine, then, a people petrified in joy and wholly sheltered from pain.

…painting by Stephen W. Douglas…

“What Is Even More Sinister”

stare

“What Is Even More Sinister”

What is even more sinister
is a certainty, a pensive sense of foreboding
in dealings with the others
in person,

point blank, face to face;
shades who address
everything and everyone in two dimensions
as if they never leave their living rooms reviewing
what they think they see

on one of several pods or receivers
with or without screens,
with or without speakers,
with or without this firewall or that font

and that I can be deleted
as easily as noticed
in an instant, not even a moment’s hesitation.
Default comes to mind where love should be.

If not or should I insist on being addressed, despised,
I am entertained as a possible virus
or some kind of Trojan that needs watching
if only for that reason and no other.

“Lest Led Ajar”

Agèd

“Lest Led Ajar”

Lest let ajar in blindness, we must surely know
The juggernauts will move again this week,
As highways clog, evacuation buses seek
The higher ground and seeds of fear are sown
Within the airways, “Danger! Friends beware!”
And no one now may turn away and say
He’s not apprised nor moved to reëvaluate
The ground with prudence; diehards raise the fist and swear
They’ll not be first nor yet a second time removed.
But in the main, these , the sparks and fire
Among the cries, pathetic measures kill for hire
Throughout Nigerian muds and Balkan floods, and lewd
Wonders in what traffic walks the boiling streets of Texas and California.
Behold the spectres! closer to truth, of reigns of Cain in nomine Pacis Romanum.
.

“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 ‘Once’, the ‘Ever'”

…dedicated to Hermann Bloch
1 November 1886– 30 May 1951
“”I shall not die of a cold. I shall die of having lived.”

“The ‘Once’, the ‘Ever'”

The once, the ever, standing in the atrium must burn;
The nexus of the meeting of the feeble lamps are lit as Virgil sits alone,
The flint stone at the confluence of the rivers; a tone
Once heard, a trace no more than words. Ever then discerns
A wisdom in the lengthening of days on end;
A reconciliation of the first sun’s now within
The pale of the last night’s then and all its many-eyed kin;
The End, scintilla of a notion’s distant toast:
“To Cæsar!” Distractions in the movement defer to mortality, defend
The pattern as it is, the peoples’ choice, a proud
Morbidity based in universal song on this, a night of leaving, joy
On this, a day of meeting. Stars and verses, voids,
A universe of empty consummation never executed while clouds
Obscure the moon, as ever toils below;
Perspicuous, yes! the once and only suns express,
So dark a night as never and one more day of less.

.

Block’s Death of Virgil had to be the most ambitious reading of any single novel I have ever read with James’ The Ambassadors right up there with it, but a close second. The stimulus of both novels, however, is incomparable in value and I can suggest that anyone who values the language should read both of them at least once before death simply because they exist; as Everest has been for the mountain climbers, so both novels have been to anyone who reads and loves the language.

Block’s “Virgil” is not fun to read, but it represents an incomparable challenge and once conquered, a kind of badge of honour having braved the greatest storms of both prose and poetry that could be imagined short of blowing out the circuits of both.

With the James novel, it was said that it was his favourite, but apparently almost impenetrable to some readers of his time. To one “Lady ‘whomever’” who complained of this, he advised sticking with it and that once having arrived at a certain point in the narration, the specific gravity or gravitas of that novel would hit and the worth of the whole vindicated. And so it was; I had to read that novel page by page, reading each several times to get anything near clarity in what was being said or where the action of that novel was going. Then, one late afternoon, while cooling off from a very hot shower in preparation for going out for the evening, I decided to sit on my bed, pick up that novel and continue plugging away at it. Suddenly, there it was! A catharsis of unimaginable majesty that hit so hard that I almost cancelled my evening out in order to continue reading to the end. Great works are like that.

For me, there is no “fun” involved in reading, but the rewards are everlasting, something that is rare in the reading of secular prose. Block’s work is a combination of poetry and prose in a mixture I never thought possible until reading “Virgil,” and I cannot imagine now, an equal to this. My sonnet alludes to but one of the thoughts that seem to dance throughout that work in spite of laborious, endless poetry, all of which may be beautiful, but only in small doses like genuine truffles; like chocolate, there are some things in this world that are “legal” but close to lethal in effects, and Block’s “Virgil” comes quite close to that.