Friday, March 31, 2017

Three Poems From The 1990s

I Was Going to Say Something Important

Be quiet. I have something to whisper to you,
only I've forgotten what it was, how its
seamless story began, perhaps with two words,
and then began to grow and develop
an emptiness it hoped to fill with you
and your listening. And you would have listened,
would have felt my lips at your ear,
whispering as an adult will whisper
so no one else will hear,
so that the story is meant.
It is meant for you from me,
and it unravels for us alone, for
us in the darkness, the whole cloth
of space in which we embrace.
The air becomes darker as I forget
whatever important story it was I'd whisper.
It becomes so dark that for a moment
I considered offering a story to the darkness,
to appease it, to hold it off a moment.
But I am a poor storyteller, and the dark
takes all it can without thanks or deals.
So here, let me take your hand and place it
upon the plate that covers my heart,
and I will rest my mouth at your heart
and my jaw upon the muscles of your shoulder.
In the darkness we should make no sound.
The darkness, knowing every plot, every ending,
would only betray us. Keep touching me,
and I'll be quiet.

What Happened Before the Big Bang?

A boy wondered why he wasn't a man.
An eternity passed. He wasn't a man.
He turned pages and pages of notes
he'd made about himself. Black ink.
Gray blended past into future.
Talk. Talk. Talk. Was that all?
He scratched the wall. Phoned people.
And what could they do? It wasn't their business.
He considered a drunk on a grate,
a drunk looking down the slats cut
in thick steel, down where water runs.
There were cold waters for those
who wondered what happened, numbing
waters in rivers for those who ask,
"What happened to me before I was born?"
A boy wondered why he wasn't a man.
An eternity passed. He wasn't a man.
Talk. Talk. Talk. And then bang,
he throws his door open. Bang. You
wanted an explanation? So did he.
Talk, talk, talk, and then bang.
So many trees. So many stars. So much light.

The Anonymous Poet

He was powerless over poetry.
And he listed all the words
he squandered, each turn
of the "morning breezes" that moved
across his face, and he followed,
while all the time "the sun rose"
bracing the red clouds and "driving
each wind" he absurdly sniffed.

He admitted to the trees,
even admitted to another human,
the exact nature of his body,
how it sagged, how it could never,
ever possibly contained what he needed.
It could never be fixed or whole.
He was powerless over the poetry
over cells that coursed
and died within him nearly
as randomly as his own words
coursed and died across the page.
He wandered. He was
not even a creature, only a shadow
mumbling at its own profound black.
He had become that intoxicated,
that deeply driven away from the human
reason and the human touch.

He no longer questions how it is he wakes
to see the waste of himself,
all the mist of the morning--
what kind of morning is it?
is it cold? is it keen?--
all the mist of the morning
has gone with the shadow of the man,
the shadow of who he had been.
The sun pushes breezes warmer, wilder
around him into the noontime when
trees gather and use the light to grow.
He came to believe in the planet
of blue larger than himself.
Part of it belongs to him.
What part does he carry to others?
What does he say, having awakened?

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