To begin ...

As the twentieth century fades out
the nineteenth begins
.......................................again
it is as if nothing happened
though those who lived it thought
that everything was happening
enough to name a world for & a time
to hold it in your hand
unlimited.......the last delusion
like the perfect mask of death

Thursday, September 11, 2008

From A Book of Concealments: Romantic Dadas, & Others


Romantic Dadas
for Jeffrey Robinson

A late night party
where Romantic Dadas
cut a rug too iridescent
to resist
our smug caresses.
How will we begin
addressing them,
by name or by a face
that turns away from you
unseen, leaves scarce
a trace behind.
Mister Novalis,
or if that isn’t
your real name,
drop it right now
& try another.
He is too determined,
too far below
his average height
for anyone to count.
Aside from which
there are the odors
of the women
who surround him,
so many that the walls begin
to press his skull.
He has to break away
to make an outcry
in the name of Dada.
I and I and I are left
without a place
ulterior to place,
to run or hide.


The Persistence of the Lyric Voice
for Scott McLean

He will keep writing,
will he not,
as you will.
A pressure like a finger
builds inside
his chest
& travels upward,
somewhere between
the trachea
& glottis,
pushes the fold aside
& breaks.
Imagined speech.
It is the same for everything
we say we think we know
the speaker but the speaker
escapes our observation.
It is this concealment
that reveals
the truth of poetry
no less authoratative
than the other
in full gusto.
From the direction of his voice,
an absence & a grief,
his profile is a kind of blue.
The footfall of a wanderer
crosses the open field
in daylight.
Let the spirit rise
until it’s mind,
the untranslated,
untranslatable,
in which the lyric voice
resides mind’s matter
& its coming forth
by day.


A Deep Romantic Chasm
for Michael McClure

A deep romantic chasm
beckons him it leaves no time
to hide from light
in spite of circumstances,
& the way the street
flows like a stream
from no source,
nowhere. This season
with its birds
newly arrived,
the first one on a fence,
mortal as you,
a harbinger of days to come.
Another word,
a false return,
the spoken still unspoken
carries us off.
The cavern of the universe
widens each morning.
My head fills up with dew,
the father writes,
having no home but where
his shadow leads him.
In greasy shirtsleeves, heavy
lids, blotched faces
,
the men pursue
a trail of tears,
unbuttoned captive
to a dream,
a starless galaxy,
the deeper sky
a field of images
measureless & mindless,
absent their god.


Concealed Assassins

Those who are masters
needn’t talk,
but signal with a secret
nod or wink,
concealed assassins
brought into the mix.
Involuntary tears,
a dream of executions,
(C. Baudelaire)
smoke
rises between our teeth.
The ones who loved us
die not one by one
but now en masse,
the presence of the dead
in every corner
.
The wretch who testifies
may also sing,
capturing the ebb & flow
of tides, the pressure
blood breeds
where it stokes the body.
Once to stand there,
hapless,
to sense the joy
in failure
only the wise
can know.
Someone will lift
a burden
from our eyes
& we will witness
worlds unseen

[Earlier parts of this series were published as A Book of Concealments by Chax Press in Tucson (2004) & as A Second Book of Concealments by VEER Books in London (2007). The final section, A Third Book of Concealments, is now ready for publication.]