Synchitic Epexegeses

Tony Kushner’s Homebody/Kabul Drawn from a Dada Hat

Moved only as one can be moved
through an encounter with the beautiful
and strange –displacement more than restoration–
the soul and the mind, he says, are not
in opposition with one another
but are conjoined: Les peintres, les compositeurs,
les philosophes, les mathématiciens,
nous savions comment marchait l’univers.
Knowing what was known before the more
that has since become known overwhelms.
The mother tongue has been lost,
dust motes and moonbeams
from her head to her toes.
Aya oh deewan’ast?! Knoh cherah chup nishastee?
The touch which does not understand
is the touch that corrupts. Until we can speak
to one another in a mother tongue,
drawn from our common humanity,
peace will never be attained.
We are so afraid of the attacks
we have forgotten our own names
and can’t even understand what we say.
Thirty-three years, long enough for Christ
to have been born and die, and only terror
can save us from ruin, only never-ending war,
save us from terror and never-ending war.
Only children with rifles, carrying stones,
can save us now. The Book says:
Let people fear the day
when they leave small children
behind them unprovided.

In the garden outside, I have planted all my dead.
Nearly every other one you meet here
is missing pieces. No thing may be made or unmade
unless Allah wills it. He fills our hearts with griefs,
to see if we shall be strong.
A garden shows us what may await us in Paradise.
One sharp goad from a terrible grief,
and the soul is waking up.
Cynics will attribute this transformation
to senescence and nostalgia, but
it’s Wisdom’s hand that switches on
the light within. The disenchanted dull detritus
of it has washed up on our culpable shores:
an extension, an adjunct, a prelude,
moving chaotically and each a language,
adding its heft and frequencies to the Universal Drift.
The present is always an awful place to be:
anything, everything can be lost.
Çu vi parolas Esperanto?
Each region has more in common
with its neighbors over the border
than with each other. The developed
and overdeveloped and over-overdeveloped
paved wasted deliquescent post-First World
postmodern city –not really a state at all,
it’s a populated disaster.
Such is the nature of these expansive times,
the thing which is must suffer to be touched.

These are not for you who neither speak,
nor read Esperanto, and who despise poetry.
This century taught the civilized contempt
for those who merely contemplate,
and it’s the lockup and the lethal injection
for those who Do.
Uncertainty kills. As does certainty.
On no official map is there ever a question mark,
and yet, La tera estis tute kovrita per neĝo.
How may we become travelers across
our boundaries, instead of tourists?
All the camels have fallen here and died
of exhaustion, of shock, of the heartache of refugees.
Invariably we seek out not the source
but all that was dropped by the wayside
on the way to the source. But always she is waiting
in the garden, speaking in a tongue
we were born speaking only to forget.
What else is love but recognition?
Love’s nothing to do with happiness.
Power has to do with happiness.
Love only has to do with home.
She wishes you to know she is not dead.

 

4/30/16

I Walk the Line

I walk on ledges,
roaring traffic on one side,
arms outstretched and wobbling,
the cement curb for my guide.

Should I take the road less travelled?
Is it not favored for a reason?
Trample grass or brave the tar–
my coat’s not suited to the season.

I do not follow road signs
(traffic lights be damned!)
If I can’t commit to wandering,
I can ignore what they have planned.

The path ahead is fogged up;
I don’t see what it’s worth.
But I have a magnet in my nose:
I’ll sniff out which way is north.

I’ll walk my ledges
and get where I am going,
for destination is a thing
we have no way of knowing.

 

10/6/15

#4

I know I’m alive
because my hair keeps growing.
They tell me it’s pretty,
but I don’t know—
it’s really just a pain.

All the icicles that grow in my lungs
when I breathe in the frigid air
(rigid air)
are pulling me down.

I don’t know
if it’s the promise of spring
in my step,
or the bounce in that song
that keeps me going,
but there’s something in not knowing.

I don’t know
if the answer is out there,
or if it’s within
If it’s buried in kindness—
or captured in sin.

I know
that it’s somewhere.
Because they tell me it’s pretty.
And lying about that? Well,
it seems kinda shitty.

 

3/22/14