UNANSWERED

I am waiting for something,

Waiting for something to emerge

Or end,

For the leaf in the wind

to divulge its secret

In this ground-down residue

Of a failed experiment.

 

At the wheel in restlessness

The signs that pass

Say nothing in earnest

The right books might as well

Have been written in Braille,

There is not a shred of evidence.

I cannot dress up in the past

I cannot rest

Until I find out

Whether all of this

Is not just a nuisance

But a test.

 

Still,

I will not have it burned in

That to love is sufficient.

Is the moment of birth equal to the moment of death?

I am inclined toward this thesis

Death is such a long process.

Will I wake up in the end

Or will I be oblivious?

 

In actual fact, this

is a matter of indifference

As long as I am not made to come back.

It is just that

Success has been less

Than the failure I’ve had.

Though I have no regret,

In the final breath

Failure is all we get.

================================

EGO

Prayer is beseeching

Prayer is supplicating

I

do not pray!

I demand

That

I listen

And

I act,

 

Focussing

On a fiery red sun

Somewhere low

Somewhere central

In an oriental mystery.

To sharpen recall

And destiny,

I command that energy.

 

Anyone anywhere,

Beware!

Your death is closer

If you think

To impose your order,

 

You are a mere impostor.

 

Step away,

You  are already invisible!

 

I  am

That higher power,

 

A  sovereign

Of

 

All  who I need

 

More and more

To see me

To adore me

To see me

For who I want to be.

============================

THE PAST PERFECT

It used to be like the first time

I ever saw anything

And now

It’s  not,

A bubbling back, a closed

system

You and I, Just all spinning round

Like in a modern dance

flailing away,

Amputated at the wrists.

Back then, I remember,

It was all there in the autumn

When I was still young and you

Were already a bundle of nerves on the wire

To your mother.

Some things change,

Some things stay the same.

================================

PROGRESS

The intermediary and the subject have fused

Into a person without blood ,

One perceived with eyes tilted down.

This other is me from far away

This other is you on the flat screen

Worn on your arm

To push away the world

To make you believe

You are not alone.

It is a way you have come to deal with terror-

The terror of the Void,

The terror of the foreshadowed.

So you dress up in distraction

To keep it at bay

Pay the Electronic Vampire

To keep you in its magnetic graces,

A blip in the atmosphere in sync

With all the friends you don’t know.

And you get sucked cleanly into this

Semblance of personhood.

What is left of being when

Everything can be denied by

A slight pressure?

Who are you if you can be anyone

And not be anyone real?

We do not need each other today

As long as we can go through

The motions instead, the body

now functioning on remote control in

This realm of the facile, a quicksand

In which we sink muttering banalities.

We have been taken over by a crafty

Master, who makes us think we

Are winning when we are losing

Almost everything.

THE SKY ANNOUNCES (2)

The pain caves his brain

 Like fast anxious fire

As

Outside,

The afternoon sun shines .

Nothing particularly untoward

reported . Only

A sense of the already been ,

The old islands of thought

Punctuated by angry siren swells,

 stick figures and

Sweating somersaults of gloom…

But

There is a place and

There is a way that is

Better than possibility, the far-away sky announces

To this wreck it addresses

Whose head’s in the closet

In search for a bonnet

And  a perfect drink.

The light moves fractionally  (his head now out for a peek)

Yes, movement opens to a room in his parched

Brain, the pain subsides fractionally, and he hides for a beat

In  a synapse of reprieve  between his words.

‘Reshape this worldview ,’  the sky announces:

‘All is empty argument,’

Blinks the blue cool eye.

========================================================================

THE SKY ANNOUNCES

Pain cave collapses brain

 Like fast anxious fire

As

Outside,

The afternoon sun shines steady,

Nothing particularly untoward reported

 in actuality-

A sense of already been –

Pain remembrances , the light

The islands of thought

Punctuated by angry siren swells

And  stick figures and already been

Sweating somersaults of gloom…

But

There is a place

There is a way

Better than possibility, the far-away sky announces

To the wreck it addresses

His head in the closet

In  hopes for a bonnet

And a perfect drink.

The light moves fractionally  (his head out for a peek)

Yes, movement opens to a room in his parched

Brain the pain subsides fractionally and he hides for a beat

In  a synapse of reprieve  between his words.

Reshape this worldview , the sky announces:

All is empty argument,

Blinks the blue cool eye.

TODAY

Today  I am out of the loop

Out of the play
Out to lunch.
Today I am shiny
And No one knows it.
Today all the apples
Fall from the tree
And lay there.
No one
Not even the gardener
Picks them up.
The sky is blue
Thru my window.
The coast is clear.
Noises accost me
Outside me!
(I am not mad)
Today
I don’t need anybody
To tell me I am beautiful,
That my beard
Is just the right length.
Today I am private.
It is crazy the way people
Wear the” Do Not Disturb” sign
On their eyes.
Oh well…
Today
All the arrows point up
Despite the old miseries
And the new miseries.
What did we say in Scotland?
‘Keep on walking,
Don’t stop, don’t stop!’
Yet I need.
Today I need…
What?
I need…
Maybe just to forget.
No!
Not that.
I forgot

I forget too much already .
I need…
It is vague
Today
All about me is bright
And I need…
Oh well,
Maybe an end,
Maybe just an end.

RESPITE

The architecture of summer comes
in the form of the  perfect temperature
for your clothes
and the ideal lighting from
the window which is totally open .
So, you can light a cigar
smoke it in a dream
and  hear the swish of far away traffic
play on your pleasure zones.
Pain is on hold
Momentarily
And there is nothing to do
Except write about it.

GROWING DOWN

The belief of childhood is that
Clarity is attainable with age, that we
Will know it  eventually, so that we
Can bask in its glow, and braced with certitude,
Wear a banner of  unwavering attestation
On our sleeve. Be grown up. A god. That it’s good.
 
Who knew  the tedious, aching
Places grownups live. The sharp uncertainties
To which they are subject, the moans they
Are prodded often to voice?
If I had a choice, it would be to stay far away,
live well  in my unknowing ,  and  breathe  in
my garden of silliness.

EPHEMERA

What do any of us leave when
we leave this world except a
blemish, that is, a smear on the face
of Time that may appear further along
in the sphere of  someone else who recalls
its authenticity in the form of say a word, an
image, a remark, a posture of body that enters
likely by Chance thru a corridor of Memory in
association with other factors  or none
and then passes on again without us really
having had anything to do with it at all? We live on
despite ourselves in pieces and our fame,
justified or not,  prevails.

MEMO TO BILL (for William S. Burroughs)

( William S. Burroughs 1914-1997) 


William Burroughs

Voice

Of the afflicted

And the stoned,

I met you

one summer dawn

In a back alley on rue Ste. Catherine

Where a blonde Danish boy read passages

From  Naked Lunch to me

As I was easing my way down

From a tab of Blue Cheer LSD

Circa 1968.

We sat on black iron –grated tenement steps.

In the new light

A cat moved about

Below us.

I recall your prose clearly

Crackling in my brain,

The images searing into it

What otherworldliness this was!

Stranger still than the voyage

I was returning from.

The impression has remained for forty years.

I saw videos of you today

on You Tube

Sad and eternal

In typical proper suit and

Tie

And fedora.

“El Hombre Invisible?”

Not!

You cut quite a figure,

William.

You outshine the other boys.

I have tried to read all your books.

They tax the mind.

Today,

Of course,

We’re tired.

We like Harry Potter.

I know your appeal to me.

Beyond the brilliant prose,

It’s –

The thick-tongued St Louis delivery.

The silver cynicism,

The gangster authority.

You waited

Four months after brother Allen

Crumbled into Buddhist dust

Before leaving  us,

Too.

I hope

you are good now

In your dry bones,

Stoned still,

and

Free

Of

The  Ugly  Spirit

Past.

(July , 2008)

DEDICATED POEMS (for Anne Sexton)

                                         

Your ambition bird will fly on for eternity.

TOMORROW’S PROMISES (for Anne Sexton)

What beckoned,
What called
must have been stronger than
blood,
overriding
Stale argument.
I imagine
a black rose

Pungent
Irresistible,
A circus barker
Promising
marriage
and
Peace,
A stepping down.

LADY ANNE LEADS  (for Anne Sexton)

Anne Gray Harvey
You touch me plenty,
I’m stalking your ghost.
You,
of the Greta Garbo mold
Sold me on the dark plunge.
You make it look so easy.

I love your words,
though
“Love” is too mild:
They eat at the core of my
Obsessions.

Even if we are family
I would steal your gift
In a heartbeat if I could.
Your casual utterances
And kitchen talk
Make me weep,
Your bullets that go down
in Technicolor.

Why did you get with A.?
Was it for the Sexton?
One day,
lost in a cigarette haze
you couldn’t help yourself.
You queer witch,
You know you always
Needed it.

We were born apart.
Time made us strangers,
You and I.
You’re gone somewhere else now,
The much desired place
While I’m still here
Dying to find out
What you already know.
Is it fun and games?
Is it still hell?
Anne,
I do hope you’re well.

 

AMANDA TODD

Amanda Todd

There is a part missing

We will never understand

The space inside and the space

beyond

The way the signs collide

If there are any signs at all.

She was her mother’s favourite

A child as fresh as a meadow’s breath

With aspirations and infatuations

that made her death

 

One of those the Fates intended

To fall into strangers’ hands

To be marked for her simple manner

The way she loved and the way

She danced.

 

The vile reaches of a vacuous public

The product of a bankrupt estate

Ripped at this flower on a constant basis

Until not much was left to chance.

 

She withstood their brutal plundering

In the shadows of the human touch

A martyr for what is decent

In an age of much mistrust,

 

She trusted

 

The lies hurled by rabid children

Against her reputation and grace

wounded her once too often

Touched her in a tender place

 

And caused a commotion of feelings

To rise up from her core.

She eventually succumbed to the bleakness

She could no longer endure

 

Yet not until she had relayed her story

In a most public domain

Did anyone go out of their way

To try to understand the pain

Of the ages

 

The plight of the young

The mysteries of a hatred

That is with us so strong.

SAYING GOODBYE

I wait for the summons.

When it arrives I comply

And enter the chapel.

I sit like a king removed

listening to the thin silence

Draw me back into the

The mysteries  and wonder

What artwork to expect fashioned

This day by the devil’s mouth,

what shapes will the body of

the snake take on , whether pointed,

or curved like punctuation, or rather

coiled almost seamlessly into an O.

I don’t know.

Death’s needs hold sway,

It’s odors must speak sweet

And fill up the air as in a stable

Or a house of ill –repute.

My back arches like The Thinker

Elbows grinding into tops of thighs.

The light is weak.

Then I jut vertical to open

To give the babies passage

And kick back.

They rush to oblige, creating

A symphony, besides, dropping

plop plop into the drink.

I think, that is enough.

But no, wait, I was wrong,

Another comes along to

join the song.

And yet, another follows.

Oh, my! I sigh, I must’ve had too

Much for dinner.

One day, I vow, I will be thinner.

At least, I’m lighter.

And now the party’s over.

Time to tidy up.

That’s less fun but has to be done.

Scroll down.

The white pages, the tugs and pinches,

the moustache all coated.

Fingers probe, scoop up the soil.

Acknowledge it’s the wet season.

How much to stem the flood? This

Is becoming drudgery! Pad after pad.

But look how bright we’re getting!

Maybe another roll will do it.

Finally, yes, here it is: unblemished. Pristine.

Not a hint of muck. Good as new.

I stand. Roll up. Buckle tight. Proudly,

Focussing down, I lean on the handle

And with sadness wave my goodbyes.

BLOCKED

You feel  like a promise.

So you step up to the table

where  you face

instead

a wall in your

forehead

and

every impulse buried

under a carpet of snow.

And

still ,

there is a need that works

like a constipated machine.

After a while

You think, well, nothing.

Maybe this morning it all went swirling

down the drain like hula hoops.

And you panic.

In time,

Words  do come, in fact

pile up like the newspaper

Saying nearly nothing.

It is getting dark by then.

The afternoon is tired.

It’s winter, remember.

There are days like this

There are days like this,

Lots of them.