This first appeared in Exileschild 11/22/16. Strange how poetry adapts to its context.
How swiftly came the killing season
swept in from hinterlands
just when we had remarked upon
the sameness of it all.
How soon the must-not-be-named
Weren’t we standing there,
thinking how wise it was
to not raise a ruckus
about minor disturbances,
how preferable to simply
turn our backs to the foul wind?
What good will be our platitudes
Between the sacred and the profane
there is not a sliver of difference.
We are luminous, we are crude,
we are crudely luminous, we
spill our lives into the sharp
vessel of time without a stray
moment left behind, without
an inch of depth undisturbed,
unperturbed, benighted as a breeze
in Hell, which, if we only knew it,
is Heaven held upside down to
let us trickle into new carnation.
Bah! I’m tired of this twaddle
of infinite souls to the manor
of eternity borne. The least is the best
of us, and the grandest star in the cosmos
destroys itself for our amusement.
The joke is that we are made of it.
There, in a glass case
in the Cairo Museum
lay Rameses II, who imagined
that all who looked upon
his works would despair.
Desiccated, a shrunken pith
of a man, he reminded me
of nothing else but
the last slab of salted cod
at the closing of the market,
Despair, indeed, my king,
but not the way you imagined.
Tonight, we say goodbye
to the past, which long ago
left us without a word
Like me, the day resembles an empty vessel,
empty of all that radiates outward,
all that intends malice or desire,
that winks a hundred wishes onward,
holding only God accountable,
leaving any sense behind,
out where there is no boundary,
where edge melts into center,
where all becomes nothing,
where stellar wind washes light
from the first Nothing screamed aloud,
down to the yearning of stars to be born,
to the thin layer of life
astride the cosmos.