Leave me there in the wimblewillow grove
with my eyes torn out by the bald blue birds;
I ate my share of field, of stream,
and all is fair in meal and dream,
so leave me there til’ the meat is gone
and carried on by the thrice-tusked dogs,
until the flesh is thin and the bones shine through,
leave me there in the wimblewillow grove
so I may sleep easy in the bellies of beasts.
You may have heard one silence
but you have not heard them all,
you may have heard the nothing of a peak
or the nothing of a valley,
the failure of a headphone or
the absence of birds,
you may have heard one silence but
you were not really listening,
inward-focused, intent and callous,
on the silence within your heart.
Alone, in the upper air
with crowd below in transfixed stare
a silvered spear of sleeksome power
(so loud when first it shed the tower!)
crept the cumulonimbus highs
and was swallowed by the skies.
Who knows what thoughts were just then thunk
by astronauts, both deaf and drunk
supping, sipping on torment –
the lash and lager of such ascent .
Were they vulgar – were they base –
the first human thoughts in outer space?
Surely no history would repeat
that our first prayer had been “retreat!”,
or merely the moans and muffled mutters
of a heart that weakly sputters
grasping at means to end the climb,
craving a fall,
that’s not a poet it’s
a ’93 Ford with
four-hundred-thou on the O,
whining along the highway with
peeling paint and
that’s not a poem it’s
just screeching and noise,
something moving too fast and
slouching to a rest,
desperate and dying and
choosing the road over the junkyard.
sees the gold in mud,
the health in blood,
the rainbow in oil,
the passion in toil.
did you see them running, running,
did you see? did you see them
black with blood, did you
see anyone stop to help, did you see them
motionless in roadways, screaming on sidewalks,
did you see them, mouths open and teeth chipped to pieces,
did you see those who did this,
did you see their shiny clubs, their
bright and favored flags,
did you see the smirks they let slip,
did you see?
did you see?
Flesh has its rhythm
in constant self-repair;
the rest from labor enables greater labor,
and muscle builds stronger when strained, so
why must we pretend
to be as steel; unwavering, unfeeling,
ignoring the needs of flesh
to slumber –
in favor of steel-bound schedule,
approaching our ultimate tensile point,
waiting to twist, to groan and
cast away the mimicry,
do not conform with an inhumane system –
resume the dance of exhaustion and repair,
do not live as steel.
Lilacs, lilies, roses, still –
marigolds and dandelions and
small seeds, small heads
rising from the fetal position;
pale limbs poking through, hands poised
to claw the surface;
what are these things,
what purpose did they have, what
mastery did we seek over them by
lash and flick of tongue,
what did we drive them towards
when we murmured their names,
their names, lost now in winter –
are they found in these sturdy limbs?
Are there names to view, names to eat?
syllables quivering in the wind, and
names that bring in butterflies?
And so the summer
leaps like a lake bass
over the moon’s reflection,
over the shade of pines,
and hangs from the moment,
and merely glimpsed.
we have bowed our heads beneath
the drop-ceiling skies, fingers pecking
crude metal, without knowing why
our works are useless to all, serving only
Mammon’s musters, our eyes are glazed, our
necks are craned, our
joys have lost their luster,
and all of us, sighing,
awake only for our shift,
and squirm, and scream, and dread to think
that this could go away.