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

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Uncollected Poems (6): "Hero"

Uncollected Poems (6): “Hero”

1.

He is dreadful.
He is alive.
He is walking in the sun.
The sun is in the small box he carries in his hand.
How tall a hero looks.
His legs go.
Up & down.
They name him for an animal.
His name is Otter.
People tell stories about his silly death.
Otter Otter.

2.

At midnight.
Otter Otter standing in the lamplight.
Eating flies.
Many flies drop dead before his open mouth & eyes.
The more he eats flies.
The more the night is growing dark.
Goodbye.
Don’t cry.
Be a hero.
Be a man.

3.

Stop at three.
Be Otter Otter in the dark cage of animal delights in which he bathes.
A lamp in Otter Otter.
A walk with Otter Otter in the clearing after light.
It falls.
A lamp is in the way the way.
He walks around it
& steps back.
A night in Otter Otter.
Half a moon.
A star inside a moon in Otter Otter.
He makes a cosmical projection.
What arms.
What furry balls.
What messengers.

4.

I can be a man & a hero.
Very wise
to be standing here & now
here & now.
I am slow to learn
eager to repent
fast to add up numbers.
I was waiting the return
of certain acquaintances.
My career is clearly before me.
When can we start?

5.

At the end of a line
he draws a line.
Then draws another down from it
& down
& down
& down
& down.
Stands on the borders of a second world.
He sees
a second hero at his window.
A second pair of shoes.
Tracks in the dust
behind the door.
The hero is no longer held by time.
He takes a flashlight.
He is building worlds.

6.

A stone.
tap.
A lullaby.
tap tap.
A shadow in his hand.
tap.
A discharge.
tap.
The third door from the left.
tap tap.
A pressure at his heart.
tap.
The ease of being beneath himself.
tap tap.
Half a bar of soap.
tap.
He is awake in the space between two rooms.
tap.
The light against his eyes.
tap.
Against his eyes.
tap.
His eyes.
tap tap.
(I think this is the song he sings
in making it.)

1971

[This poem was recovered, along with numerous others, for a volume of Uncollected Poems to be published by Mark Weiss and Junction Press.]