Decompression II

I am a poet, not a philosopher
(At least: one more than the other)
(And now I cannot add,
To my self-damnation,
As the qualifier bleakly observes.)
Words being the medium of both,
I thought there might be some blood-shared kinship
Lying between them like an abstract object.
But in fact,
What one makes love to,
The other tortures.
The same object under different tools, different hands, different eyes,
Here permitted to preen, flourish, shine;
There, subjected to mutilations that would make the torture report look tame.
Chesterton's madman was logical,
And his poets sane.
I think I should like that brand of sanity
Which contemplates the earth
And expresses it into that which it is not,
Celebrates it in symbols and daydreams.
Better to be crazed for a bird on the wing
Than agonized over the existence of universals.
My soul sings no nominal melody:
It does not care.



Eyes wide open, I have looked in one direction, vision fixed by weariness and the deadened determination of nothing for it but to git er done. It's a special form of self-induced paralysis, this ability to see nothing peripheral (except in the dim hours of the night, when nothing that must be done can be done and there are a few still minutes of peace). Now, with one more lap to go, feet slow, breathing moves uncertain and uneven against a pace it can no longer count on for company. Arms fall heavy by heaving sides, and fingers trail behind, brushing against, catching hold of the soft, eager breezes of memories out of warmer times and sunnier days. Not sunny in fact: only in thought. The rain falls on the good and the grief alike, as the sun shines on both, and the difference is not the weather but the way the feelings go inside. We look out through windowpanes that are mirrors on a world populated by cardboard cutouts and the illusion of depth perception. Where are the souls behind the everyday interactions? For a moment, I believed the story; there is more to you and I than flesh and blood. But it becomes harder, when hard words come easy and soft words never come at all. Fierce and small, a hedgehog's spikes without a hedgehog's vulnerability. It doesn't matter as much when we cease to be human beings and become the props for life lived with head down, shoulders hunched, feet fast moving toward whatever end was deemed enough. When the shadows fled the spaces under your eyes, you looked like the innocence of heaven folded up with grasshopper legs and a five o'clock shadow. And then there were only words and words and words, without a feather or a clear stream to their name, names, unreferring, coreferring, nonactual existent objects in an actual nonexistent world.

These things like to end neatly with sunset, but the day doesn't care about your human events. Shall the sun rise and set, yes, always, on a barren landscape without poetry or plays to call it meaningful. No end.