Saturday, October 27, 2012
Like Mining a Poem
Two crows put on their masks and light their eyes.
They have been here many times before. We know
Them by their voices and the crackle, cackle or their
Arguing... "We are not hungry," they say, and land upon
The heads of the dead, pecking at their eyes. "They
Do not need them now and they are such delicious
Grapes and look—the jack-o-lanterns have no eyes
At all. They are total masks, a smear upon a vegetable
Designed to help us understand the dead in a particular
Way. We will come to your house and beg and you will
Give us sweets."
The trees along the driveway fill with black bodies,
Squawking and shitting on the lawns and concrete.
They use the red to color their eyes and watch us
As we make our way from house to house, dancers
In their fantasy as we think them players in ours.
His family had been red and wore
The clouded suits worn by those
Who could not mark the truth
With words but bore it rather
In the patterns of colors on their horses.
They speak by gathering groups of these
Beautiful horses into certain configurations.
They run them past one another
Changing their order on every run so that
The patterns are read differently
Each time. Some are so skilled
That they can write music with the horses.
When we came to them, the voyages
Had been going on for quite some time.
Things were being traded that would
Not be understood for many, many years.
We asked which way the children
Had gone, what they had carried
With them and their ages.
It took two full days of horse
Display for that information to be conveyed.
We have been on the trails now
For over four months. Everything
Seems just beyond our understanding,
Slightly out of reach. It is very
Much like mining a poem to get
Any information. In the evenings
We sit and watch the light depart.
We listen for hoofbeats through the dark,
The cries of wolf-like creatures,
Flames of red eyes circling our
Campfires, sure that we will fail
To find the children.
We find ourselves forgetting their names,
How we became separated,
Why we speak the way we do today.
I had torn two pictures from
Out of the newspaper. They
Were a man and a woman
From two different stories.
I made them talk to each
Other like paper dolls but
They didn’t get along very well
And their conversation became
Chopped and abrupt.
I saw a picture in the second
Section of the newspaper.
It was a dog standing on his
Hind legs and balancing a ball
On his nose. I love dogs, the
Woman from the newspaper said.
So do I, said the torn-out man.
They talked about dogs for a long
Time while I had a cup of coffee.
I lost track of anything that had
A name. I forgot the bridges,
Couldn’t go very far downtown.
There were too many people and they all
Had something to say to me. Nothing
Difficult to understand. Simple
Things like How are you or are you going
To come over Saturday for dinner.
But somehow I lost track of them and could not
Remember very much about them.
I remember thinking that they looked
Like lanterns. Later on that night.
I went for a walk along the river
And there were a lot of lanterns.
I wondered if I know any of them
I asked myself.
GROUND HAD BEEN BROKEN
But it wasn’t by any of those
Who were held responsible. It looked
Ridiculous as it was decked out, completely hung
Just above the the water like a congress
Unable to change their minds.
Little things has been broken.
A gaze into a room made of stone.
The flow of tears in the middle of the night.
A promise made to a four-year-old child.
A compass filled with smoke
That no longer worked.
A place we could meet and still
Feel safe for awhile.
THE INCIDENT AT THE GATE
It looked like a small pile of
Shells and rock with two light
Blue circles of sea glass next to it.
“That is Merlit’s name,” said Ramon.
“For sure it is his name. But it
Was written a long time ago.
Long before the gates were here.”
The gates looked like they had been
Built by sphinxes, they were
That old. Merlit is said to have come
This way. A tracing of pale light
Descended the gates into the maze.
“This is the way then?” I asked.
“I’d bet a sword on it. One of
Those nice ones Odin uses to light
The Halls of Heaven.”
“I’m bringing the shells,” I said
To no one in particular. “Do
What you will,” said Ramon.
I picked up a handful of the shells.
The light shifted a bit.
“Watch out for darkness. Merlit
Moves the stars.”
The night was filled with new
Constellations. Our entire camp site
Glowed in delicious, soft colors
For hours, well until the moon rose.
THE YELLOW EMPEROR
This night I have heard from the mirror
The slap of a fish tail against the purest water
I am able to imagine.
When I gaze into the mirror a huge
Fish swims by and I spy a
Great and brilliant eye that does
Not close, like those of a fish
And it glows.
The sun will come again soon
And I shall carry the mirror
To the chair of the Yellow Emperor.
He shall gaze upon it for a long
Easy time and finally order the horizon
Back to where it belongs.
Far away from the surface we shall
Gaze again at what looks to be
Ourselves looking back through that
Silvered air, but we will know
Them as other, though they
Look like us.
They are not our brother
But are kept from us by
The glass only.
The Yellow Emperor tells us
Someone will hear the slap
Of a fish tail once again
And the mirror shall fail
And what is the sea will no
Longer gaze back at us, but will
Come with arms outstretched
And we shall not want to be.
There is little colder than these red
Eyes gazing at an electronic brain.
Not even the idea of the wind visits here.
The lines from a lost poem written
During yet another war are sealed
In the heart but none shall ever
Open that vessel to see the exploding
Circles. All communication breaks
Off just beyond the edge of the solar
System but the gold surface
Continues to reflect something, a star
Or an icy tale of some forgotten comet
Come by with information for no one.
—Medusa, with thanks to D.R. Wagner for today's Kool Kulinary Kuisine!