Don’t push too hard for fidelity
because looking at a photograph
you really have no idea
what it felt like to be standing
just this side of that sky,
feet in the mud, those foot-sized
bricks framing your heart.
Avoid the light in polar places
and try to catch the drip, drip, drip
of reality disappearing just off-camera,
those eyes aged into history
while no one was looking.
When you dip roses, even roses
into the frail cold of liquid nitrogen,
“J’accuse!” they shout.
“M’amuse!” we shout back,
sometimes in anguish, sometimes despair,
as they lie shattered around us.
Here come the clouds
Like ragged clockwork
Busting with trouble
To let February rain
Wash away the cold
When the sun goes down
And you and I have long since left
The path will still be there
Is it possible to add anything
to a life, to ensure no alley
is left unexplored, no mystery
unexplained, no new device,
no diversion, no distraction
to hurry us along toward
the end of it all, the last
deceit, the final jest?
Shall we die wishing for one more
object, a last lunch, an unread memo?
Shall we panic at the end, unready,
as if no one had told us about this?