This moment is a persistent beetle, struggling to enter beneath the bone white wood of a screen door. Swept again, foraging and seeking another home, always returning. A day, a week, a year, and again the barely perceptible tap tap scrabble of claw and abdomen. It is black pointed pines, dusk blue pierced, and every word silenced by the artificial sun.
Outside the Window Today
It is cold.
Dubious rain of gold casting its fall
Over eyes that first fall to stone and shade
Until no more
Light is seen.
Against its fur’s dull sheen the very earth
Shimmers, each claw on earth carefully laid
While black eyes keen
Search for prey.
Beneath crag hard and grey in fear I hide
That night would cover hide and scent to fade,
And in this way
Hope for morn.
Hold!—with fury silence torn—a mournful voice
A most terrible voice of terror bayed;
All hope shorn
I must run.
All attempt at escape is shunned with hunger bred
Across nights of want, bred in sleepful days:
My will is done
Of a Girl in Mizque
Pushed resistant from her nest—
Better broken neck been gifted than land
on this supay’s ledge.
Doors open behind which horrors worst imagined
He steps out to hush and gasp and her barely
Mature wings and tips shrouding still
In death’s black eye
Mother and daughter become one as
Passersby silent collaborate through
Shrieks muffled by silence stained
Intended to shade from hanan pacha’s crest,
In this battered bird a takallouf veil
Woven sinews of cloud
Doused and grounded.
Her tender grey will never darken,
Determined flight in stripes lie low.
Under the street lamps of my park.
It must be liberating to be up at this hour, running about in rags through the park, kicking at phantoms and flies, stretching under the watchful gaze of the few still functioning street lamps. I look down from behind glass and over the wall and long to steal a bit of his freedom. What would happen, I wonder, if I crept past my sleeping wife, sleeping dogs, sleeping gate, and hid behind one of the grand molle trees to watch closer?
There are dogs passing by, though not often, casting shadows across walls. He doesn’t notice them, or me, as we shadow our way in a weave, careful to respect one another’s breathing. If I was to step out from this spot, and let my shadow fall upon him, would he let me in on his secret? Most likely, he would stop his pre-dawn calisthenics and speak to me. But then I would lose interest, because he would have lost his freedom.
Crawling back into the wrap of bed is best, or an invisible nod.
We are made up of our experiences, what happens to us, what we happen. That is why memory is a door. We enter, we exit. The murderer, who can forget his acts of violence, is no longer a murderer.
When I see her standing there weeping, painting her young face caged, I walk over and stand to her left. ‘Hi.’ ‘Hi.’ ‘What do you want?’ ‘Nothing.’ ‘Okay.’ ‘So, you’re crying.’ ‘Yeah. He did it again. I want out of here.’ ‘Okay, let’s do it.’ ‘Okay.’
Any number of possible endings, but an experience that ended in one. She died. We didn’t do it. I remember because it is part of who I should be.
Then there are those other things. Of shame. Kept alive, we are those people, though we should never have been them. Forgotten, there is hope. That we are not those people, but different.
Only a small world can be described, only a small person knows another.
There is a fault line running between my shoulders and the base of my skull. This would not be a problem, it is not active; except for the many people living alongs its invisible divide, setting up homes, planting trees, playing cooperative games; except for those times I stomp from this place to another, hand shaking, dancing, falling down thump thump in the street; except for when it rains. You might think, then, it is safer to sit still on a park bench and watch others pass by, or stand before a window wondering at the weeds. But what if that person wanted to speak with me, or if the window broke? Because then I would have to make room for something new, and one side or the other is bound to slip eventually under the stress of one more crack or stomp. No, instead I will put on this sleep mask, plug these ears, close this mouth, and lie still under this down comforter. That way, certainly, we will all be safe.
Incomplete…March 9 2011
A staircase always goes down, never up.
Winged bats and books snatching up dreams as they pass by
And you would think it was a hunt
But it’s not.
Accidental destruction, we have to make up stories
To tell us otherwise.
Stories, fiction, blurry tapestry on blank walls all around.
I hear the huat huat of tiled feet always forward going
Or stop or go, nothing else,
Why is there nothing else?