Tag Archives: Self

The Season Of It

Some summers I would write
Poetry in the night
Automatically as if possessed
By the house I found myself in.

The old walls and wide floors
Like water to float a body in
Making my thoughts quiet freely
In the silence of it all.

I resent my porousness now
The power of my circumstances
To cause my head to fire or rot
To make good sense or not.

I fear my life draining away
Without the notes I need
To know where I’m going
To see where I’ve been.

A moose in paint looks down on me here
Alternately sorrowful and confused
The conscience of a butler
Brought far from home.

In the parallel universe of myself
Sat on some other couch
I am elsewhere and happy
I envy him and hope he knows.

 

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Space

When my house is empty
But my heart is not so

I will write of all that is here now
But goes unmentioned

Because of the space
Required to do so currently inhabited

By the daily dust of the doing
Which does not require reflection

And thus in its own details goes unrecorded
And is fading all the while

And day by day and on top of itself
Until an older man without distraction

Finds himself sat and cautious
At the task of even slightly remembering

And he will ask me then
Through the walls of these years

For help with his task
But though willing I will not hear him.

On This Third Day of July

It’s ten in the morning,
on this third day of July,
and I am sitting on a narrow bench
(too narrow for the bones upon it),
on an old wooden deck in a tangled garden
at the back of a tangled house.

There are bricks and twigs
roughly assembled here on the table
and a long shell stuck nose down
into the hole designed to received umbrellas.
There are small reasons for all of this,
as there are for mostly everything.

It is the hot of New England,
for we are closer to the sun here
(although it remains uncertain
if the sun feels closer to us).
My fingers and this pen are a shadow on the page,
as if the left-handed sundial of myself.
Two lines the most moderate of detectives
could spend a full day in the field over.
What can be known from the little that is told?

They say in other dimensions you can slip through time,
as if off the back of a creased envelope,
and this is also true of relationships long-developed.
Any different word or way of saying it
can rip through this fabric we consider so strong.

The bricks, thirteen of them in their pieces,
some still clung to by mortar,
came from a chimney on the roof
(where chimneys tend to be).
There was a storm some weeks ago
while we were in the west and elsewhere,
as though a movie left running
with no one in the room.

The lightning rod served its purpose
and is propped up here beside me,
disconnected and dead for now.
The bricks I don’t know about,
they remain gathered up
awaiting word of their fate.

The twigs, also poorly collected,
are a kindling pile for the smallest possible fire.
They were fingernails from a branch
that was connected to a bough,
once limber on a thick trunk,
that was snapped suddenly by the wind
during the same storm and are nothing now
but items of evidence in a court that will never convene.

Upstairs my wife sleeps.
It’s ten twenty five;
what has been learned?

 

 

Dark light

What we see
in the dark light
persuades us that our fears
know of matters
we know to be not.

Dark matters
born in heavy weight
that will not matter
come the morning.

There are no known dreams
just a belief in the unknown
and the silent universal sounds
it makes for each of us.

Only the dogs
of our selves hear them
and each is unknown
by any other unknown.

The Love Desk

I have always made an effort to avoid missing those things beyond my reach; so little point. Not always possible, of course, but a proof of free will is sometimes to be found in our struggle against incapability (as free will itself can often be).

To love some thing (or one) is to be infected at the same time by a fear of its loss or removal. For all of that this struggle to avoid is also what leads to an unconscious holding back, even a reluctance, when it comes to fully celebrating the place of a loved one (or thing) in the very present of its presence.

This reduction of the here and now is (very precisely) a great pity and one I also try to avoid, as one should with variables in any equation. All good, in essence and theory also, but I sat at my desk today and sobbed at it (the desk itself).

I was happy to see the old thing again
sat there inanimate as ever, but massive and metal
not in need of any speaking, such a statement does it make
just by sitting across half the room’s width.

The weeping was also because
the nine or ten months of the year
we are not together
are a symbolic absence
of what has been lost.

I have another desk, in Austin.
It is there now
cluttered and full,
awaiting my arrival in August,
phlegmatic, unfussed, complacent almost
(I had a Nanny once who always told me
that to anthropomorphize oneself
was a terrible mistake, she never once
mentioned doing the same for desks
or other common furniture).

The Austin item has a metal top also,
but it is little more than beaten silver foil,
a thin layer on a wooden base.
This magnificent beast before me
weighs several hundred pounds
and on the rare occasion of its moving
requires many men and awe as well as cursing.

We lived in New York City then
as everyone should consider doing
if only for a little while.
It was a Sunday afternoon, a warm Autumn,
and we were walking downtown
when she pulled me into a shop
that stood across a whole city block.
It had many departments
(being that kind of store).

She took me down into the basement
where there were endless (and endlessly large)
industrial objects made mostly of metal
iron and steel, shot-blasted,
and not originally constructed
for domestic use or purchase
by the bourgeois classes
of which (that afternoon in New York City)
we were then masquerading.

Love at first sight is real.
As is loss, eventually and afterwards,
and therein lies the thing of it.

 

 

Six short poems written on six cold days

one

Some write for noise
for the naming of two dimensions only
but calling a spade a spade
limits the metal’s sculpture
the handle’s wood and its life on the hillside
the ore of the blade inside the same earth
brought with rivets like slaves
across unimaginable country
to another place of mine
to lie fused and break soil
as though birds fed on the bones of themselves
their mothers and feral blood.

two

I stand as the stork
or some veteran
giving birth to the war of myself
on one leg.

three

Foreign
I am the only native
living in this city
of myself
trying now at last
to return to my home village
a house and a hut
the simple earth.

four

To wish in two ways
at one time
is both wise and untrue
whole and otherwise
to want is to need
you should never be.

five

My body bends
as the mathematic curve
we bought as other boys
bent stiffly
a wire through its middle
until tested too far and become broken.

six

The letters of love
are four like the compass
pulled free in all directions
each true in light
while in darkness (at best
south, north, east, and west)
we become lost.
I am overwhelmed by these differences
and within them their simplicity.