To begin ...

As the twentieth century fades out
the nineteenth begins
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

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Poem Newly Set in Memoriam: for Scalapino. Voznesensky, Orlovsky


From friend to friend
the voice comes,
& the answer
that a stranger overhears
robs him of speech.
The guest is half
Nowhere he turns
or runs, caught
in a web
or caught between
two open doors,
is right for him.
The way out west
leads back to Asia,
Asia leads him
into wilderness,
a bitter landscape
where no friend
no gaze or touch
so tender.
Those who fight
for love,
once living,
know it as a taste,
sweet in the mouth
though distant.
At length, at last,
the friend is double
in your sight,
but turns from you.
The time to come
draws nigh.
And does the poem exist
when there is no one there
to hear it?

[Written early in 2010 this poem with the dedication “... for those who went before” is the opening page in the newly published Concealments & Caprichos (Black Widow Press, 2010). The death within days of each other of these three poets is a reminder once again of our common lives & destinies.]

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