everything in between

Tears of Ink - August Brill - 6893084612_bcd12a913a_z

Yesterday the world
was made of grief
same way the sea
is made of tears.

I knew it wasn’t
the same stuff
just couldn’t tell
one from the other.

Today as usual
the world is made of
everything in between
heaven and hell

the way it’s
supposed to be but
I still can’t tell
one from the other.

 

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I heard of a girl who told

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I heard of a girl who told that she was haunted by her father
even when he was still alive
she was a Lesbian and lived in Berlin
back when you’d still capitalize Lesbian
like there was a homeland you’d visit some day
she’d let you know her father had more than one quirk

That man’s name goes in a drawer, was a thing he’d say

I heard she told that her father was unforgiving
unforgiving like God, that kind of unforgiving
I heard she was the kind who stayed careful always
not to allow love to overcome
respect for distance
and recognized that after all people, they are dangerous
even if they never act, even if they smile
and that you’ll never know everything wrong with the world

That man’s name goes in a drawer, her father would say

not to beat around the bush
I heard after her father pulled the trigger
they opened the drawer, sure enough it was full of names
I heard that was always the end of her story
but I believe it must have left her to wonder
what else that her father had said was going to come true

That man’s name goes in a drawer, that’s what he used to say

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You were a work of fiction

don't let life pass you by aka do as i say and not as i do - 32326765120_4792093069_z

you were a work of fiction
you were a solo cloud
baiting the Lord
with your sourest word
sure that His sword
was as light as a feather

you were clever and light
you had spent time underground
wasting your breath
in singing, your health
in fucking, your death
in not caring to go on forever

you were still somebody’s baby
you were a commonplace book
you rode the rails
you might have gone through hell
in the end you sat down on a tumbledown wall
we sat there together

you were as sure as a bird
you kept your friends to themselves
you had that place near Paris
you had a brother who called us
your cousin bent God’s ear
but we brought you a plastic tiara

* * *

you were a fiction
light as a feather
you were a sword
baiting the Lord
let’s sit here forever
singing your health

 

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Ariel

Seedling - Ray S - 8197868606_161834d373_z

Later some said
You’d all along been practicing for dead
But I believe it wasn’t in you
To practice what you thought you knew;
You thought yourself wise and were
Already plotting your rise.

 

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When you’d died

Clutter - Jonas Ahrentorp - 753826914_9fa84941c4_z

When you’d died
and they’d taken you away
and burnt you next day
all we were left with
was your whole life

packed in between the walls
nothing thrown away
nothing recycled
everything jumbled
interconnected
inextricable

a path through it
doors that opened or shut
boxes drawers cupboards
dressers trunks folders
presses shelves
garages attics

I’d think I knew you

revolvers
cast-iron pans
bank statements
photos in cigar boxes
notebook lists of anecdotes
from the presidents’ lives

then find another thing

jar full of beard trimmings
secret mailorder magazines
bag of your own teeth

ticked list with the dates
of every half- or quarter-cigarette
you’d smoked recently
which were smoked with Larry

boxes of paperbags
medals bills
diagnoses
draft wills

that letter that ashtray
that hint of a romance
or was it nothing at all

in the end
all that was possible
was to just invent you
and say I’d known
that man

 

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Used to be

Write Me - Menno Abbink - 6988754098_28b4826255_z

then as maybe now
every day came
with a purpose
you just had to wait
with an open pocket
it’d slip something in—

a book of poems
a tails-up coin
a bottlecap
printed inside
with a riddle
something;

one day followed
the one before
they were
all in a row
but each one
unexpected

like dominoes set
just so
far apart
if one fell
it was the only
casualty;

all together
small multiples of life
each ending
with a death
each beginning with
a birth.

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That morning you had reassured me

(after Yosa Buson)

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That morning you had reassured me
before we said goodbye.
At evening my heart was in a thousand pieces
and the pieces scattered.

Thinking of you, I wandered.
The world had been so full of you
it didn’t occur to me to wonder
that the hills themselves were in mourning:

Pathfinder in shade, prairie stars white in sun –
and no one to look at them.
I heard a pheasant calling and calling
fervently.

Crossing the river, I thought:
once you lived on the other side.

You left in the evening,
at morning my heart was still,
my heart that you had steadied,
in a thousand pieces.

Ghostly smoke rises a little before
the north wind that blows it away
across the deadgrass fields,
through the winter-stripped coppices.

Once you lived across the river;
You were everywhere, like smoke,
like memory, so when you are gone,
who can I be, stripped of a past?

I stripped dead leaves from branches
wove a hut to sit in
sat there alone all day
and long into the invaluable evening.

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At least you died beloved

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At least you died beloved
Though surrounded by snow
And after the slow twilight
Had gathered and then gone.

Not how you thought to go,
Maybe, when you were young
And winter a long way off,
Before anything was known.

Couldn’t the end have come
One day in summer?
One perfect day
That would be like living always?

A field of flowers, warm sun,
Your loved ones gathered round
And after one bird’s wistful song
No pain, and no good-byes unsaid?

I harbor no regrets for you.
You were our perfect day,
He your warm sun, and we
Your field of flowers.

 

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For Ambrose Bierce on his birthday

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The only death I want is one
that maybe never really happens
like yours Mr. Bierce
the one you maybe had
after you disappeared
into the Mexican desert
or that you maybe didn’t have
because nobody ever saw you die
so maybe.

You know what I mean?

The death I want is that kind
a little bit like hope
and a little bit like a shrug
and which never provably happened
so there’s always that chance.

You know what I mean.

Which is just to say
happy hundred-and-seventy-fourth
if you’re still out there
you crabby old bastard.

 

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You will never be able to

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“The dancers themselves are careful not to disturb the trance subjects while their souls are in the spirit world.”

James Mooney, The Ghost Dance Religion and Wounded Knee (Characteristics of the Dance)

You will never be able to strip away the spirits of the dead from the living.

As well try to use a net to carry smoke
As well try to remove the destination from the road
As well try to pull a single strand from a spider’s web

You will never be able to strip away the spirits of the dead from the living.

See where bright motes are dancing in the spring air
And you have parked your car on the sand near the ocean
The ocean rises and eats the land
The land rises up out of the ocean again

You will never be able to strip away the spirits of the dead from the living.

Somewhere a single flower has sprung up suddenly in a meadow already full of flowers
Somewhere a star is burning the universe
Somewhere the body of a red-winged blackbird is being disassembled by ants
Somewhere a girl plucks a single flower and discards it

You will never be able to strip away the spirits of the dead from the living.

You have tried to make your song without any singing
You have tried to make your dance without any dancers
But now Spider Woman is making her web again

You will never be able to strip away the spirits of the dead from the living.
You will never be able to strip away the spirits of the dead from the living.
You will never be able to strip away the spirits of the dead from the living.

 

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