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Thread: Black Loam

  1. #1
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    Black Loam

    It's been another good year.
    I pitchfork my poems into the air
    over and over until the black grains
    of letters pile up into never before

    thought of things. All winter I'll pound them
    into dust and bake from that the black bread
    of meaning which is leavened by death
    and is its source and devourer.

    After I've winnowed the poems, the wind
    will seem to have blown the seeds
    right out of oblivion. But it is only taking life
    from life, the many from the one, which is how
    I came to be and is what I have done.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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    Re: Black Loam

    Beggar's Cup

    I'm slowing down now,
    imperceptibly, it seems,
    like a river spreading itself out into a delta
    where the minute metallic taste of salt, like paradox
    blooming in the darkness, takes me out.

    I can see down the road that someday soon
    I'll give in to this and with one deep breath
    dissolve as easily as the memory of splashing headfirst
    into this life has drifted invisibly beyond feeling.

    Old age always arrives with his two companions:
    sickness and regret, an old woman says to me.
    Then come the war stories wearying as her pain
    which she feels is front-page news to me
    but is only the door to after she exists.

    Now, before my ego breaks down
    into a pile of pick-up sticks,
    before my final dispersal rolls in on the swell
    of some never-before-felt feeling that releases me,
    I'm wondering where my consciousness will go,

    if after death I'll still be a me, minus the striving
    and million forms of the fear of dying
    that's misshapen whatever is left of me
    because I was so deeply living it.

    Time to sink back into the world again
    which, like a colony of panicky ants, continues
    to dismantle and carry off bit by bit
    the fragile sense of unity I once glimpsed of it.

    Here, I say, with my empty beggar's cup,
    to anyone who will listen, is what I was able to fill up.
    It's the joy of simply being. Which took my whole life to make.
    It contains all that's left behind of me and when I'm gone,
    everything I am. And it'll stand for everything I wasn't.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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    Re: Black Loam

    The Grotto

    Let's make believe we're lying
    together on our backs.
    The lumps in the floor are dirt and grass
    and the blackbirds tickle us with their claws
    until we chirp and laugh.

    This is fearlessness.

    The sky wears no bells, no paper hats
    but shawls crawl up the mountain rocks
    piece by piece, and even under
    night's weight
    we still are not afraid.

    The shawls are dragging themselves across the slate
    that soon will cover our feet.
    Black lace, black wool on the reeks.

    I am now upstairs and you are down
    in a white-washed cottage
    packed in salt and wind.
    The rooster's crow is not against the law.

    Pretend we stamp the sand onto the floor,
    then sweep away the crumbs and ticks.
    Seagulls dock on the windowsills
    and we spread the moon on a tablecloth.

    You sip cold water from a silver glass.
    I climb back upstairs with a hot water bag.
    Tomorrow I get everything we need.
    I mean today. I did.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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    Re: Black Loam

    En Route to Bangladesh, Another Crisis of Faith

    We pass over heavy shadows
    of large clouds pinned to traincars

    lined up like unused blocks
    of colored chalk—red then green,

    blue then orange—until we are
    propelled higher, and the trains

    are swallowed by these jagged
    strictures of land that are no longer

    sand nor rock nor water, but a child's
    drawing instead—until the distant ocean

    is the only fabric that fills this punched-
    out plastic hole of a window—that is

    the blue that falls over everything, that is
    everything—blue on blue on blue—like the one

    strip of light left always on the airplane ceiling
    that the pale, plastic shades cannot shut away—

    until that narrow vein of light is the only
    belief left, a cream-thick ribbon across our eyes—
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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    Re: Black Loam

    Here and Now


    There are words
    I've had to save myself from,
    like My Lord and Blessed Mother,
    words I said and never meant,
    though I admit a part of me misses
    the ornamental stateliness
    of High Mass, that smell

    of incense. Heaven did exist,
    I discovered, but was reciprocal
    and momentary, like lust
    felt at exactly the same time—
    two mortals, say, on a resilient bed,
    making a small case for themselves.

    You and I became the words
    I'd say before I'd lay me down to sleep,
    and again when I'd wake—wishful
    words, no belief in them yet.
    It seemed you'd been put on earth

    to distract me
    from what was doctrinal and dry.
    Electricity may start things,
    but if they're to last
    I've come to understand
    a steady, low-voltage hum

    of affection
    must be arrived at. How else to offset
    the occasional slide
    into neglect and ill temper?
    I learned, in time, to let heaven
    go its mythy way, to never again

    be a supplicant
    of any single idea. For you and me
    it's here and now from here on in.
    Nothing can save us, nor do we wish
    to be saved.

    Let night come
    with its austere grandeur,
    ancient superstitions and fears.
    It can do us no harm.
    We'll put some music on,
    open the curtains, let things darken
    as they will.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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    Re: Black Loam

    Seneca on the Lesson to be Drawn from the Burning of Lyon

    The world is full of things far darker than my bad ideas.
    And who isn't a sports fan when lives are at stake?
    In my neurodegenerative order, I always cross the street
    without looking. It's only a matter of time before I'm hit
    by a victory parade carrying an automaton plundered from the island
    where every second person is an automaton. In this way, Rhodes
    is not a store of wonders free for the vanquisher, but a nightmare
    you will yourself into in order to sail yourself home.
    When I count the constellations against the gears
    of my Antikythera mechanism, all it augurs me is a career
    playing terrorists in made-for-TV movies. I don't know
    what else I expected, but I never expected to be
    the kind of man who mourns his friends.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

  7. #7
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    Re: Black Loam

    History is a Room


    I cannot enter.

    To enter that room, I would need to be a man who makes History, not a girl to whom History happened.

    Mother to two daughters, I guard their lives with hope, a pinch of salt I throw over my shoulder.

    To enter that room, I would need to wield a gun.

    Here, I brandish weapons that serve an art my mother and grandmother knew: how to make of plantain and eggs a meal.

    To enter that room, I would need to live in the past, to understand how power is amassed, eclipsing the sun.

    Beneath my children's beds, I scatter grains of rice to keep duppy at bay.

    To enter that room, I would need to live in the present: This election. This war.

    Beneath my children's pillows, I place worry dolls to ensure their peaceful sleep.

    To enter that room, I would need to bridge the distance between my door and what lies beyond.

    Standing in my foyer at dusk, I ask the sea to fill the crevices of this house with its breath.

    History is recounted by the dead, returned from their graves to walk in shriveled skins.

    In our yard, I watch my daughters run with arms papering the wind.

    History is recounted by children in nursery rhymes, beauty masking its own violence.

    In my kitchen, I peel an orange, try to forget my thumb must wrest the pulp from its rind.

    History is recounted in The Book of Explanations: AK-47 begat UZI, which begat M-16 ... and all the days of their lives were long.

    Pausing at the sink, I think of how a pepper might be cut, blade handled so the knife becomes the fruit slit open, its seeds laid bare.

    History is recounted in The Book of Beginnings: the storey of a people born of forgetting.

    In our yard, I name the world for my children—praying mantis, robin's egg, maple leaf—words for lives they bring me in their palms.

    To enter that room, I would need to look into the mirror of language, see in collateral damage the faces of the dead.

    In our yard, I sow seeds, planting myself in this soil.

    To enter that room, I would need to uncover the pattern of a life woven onto some master loom.

    Here, I set the table, sweep the floor, make deals with the god of small things.

    To enter that room, I would need to be armed with the right question: is History the start of evening or dawn returning the swallow to the sky?

    Here, I light candles at nightfall, believe the match waits to be struck.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

  8. #8
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    Re: Black Loam

    Prayer

    We bury our dead too quickly
    In graves too new for tombstones,

    Scooping dirt onto them
    With shovels turned upside down

    To show our world turned upside down.
    We hurry them into the earth,

    Keeping the casket closed,
    As if we were too busy praying

    And had no more to say to them.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

  9. #9
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    Re: Black Loam

    O, the Sadness Immaculate

    The women in Rome are so beautiful,
    It's like being beaten to death in slow motion,
    Looking at them—; it's like bleeding.

    So I don't look
    At them. I look at the parrots nesting
    In the olive trees,

    The moon rising behind some ancient
    Something-or-other (a church, probably), the first few stars—. From my study
    window, I can
    See the house where Galileo invented

    The telescope. I wonder what he was
    Thinking about that night—that night
    He first searched

    Heaven; I wonder what it was he was
    Trying not to see.
    .






    In a perfect world, our dreams will be fulfilled. There would be no hard work or planning ahead, because everything you want would be given to you. In the real world, where we all live, rewards must be earned. The problem most people have is in the day-to-day details of accomplishment. Accomplishment takes a lot of time, sacrifice and effort, and that’s the real rub for a lot of people. But, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”

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