Daily Archives: February 3, 2010

The Moment Of The Poem

It’s one of the fragile
hours.  If I look
at the clock, I’ll see it
shiver and splinter.  Any chance
of going to bed early will be
gone, and I’ll know that
at once and begin to pine
for the lost opportunity.

I’ll avoid that and keep the evening
intact.  No use destroying
a sacred object with attention
to the restraints we keep on it.
I will stay here, in the envelope
of the moment, here in the poem.

You will say I should not speak
of the poem, that to write of it
is to cheapen the art.  You may as well
ask the priest to never speak
of his office, how the presence of his God
is entirely revealed
in his movements
and in the words she speaks.

We do this for a purpose:
the writing, the chanting
are a shield against the shattering force
of the quotidian wave.  Shall I never
be allowed to say that this is how I stop
the day, that this is how
transient things are made permanent?
It’s a blasphemy I won’t abide: I proclaim
that I live to stay here in the poem and deny the clock
that crushes the moment beyond remembering,
and that the bed that called me earlier tonight
is still there, still calling, will be heeded
at some point, but first
the rituals that make the present safe
must be observed.

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See that house
with the long driveway
two doors down?
They’ve got something like
a bear
in there.

His captors, about whom
we know little, seem
not to listen to him
and want to keep him hidden.
I’ve never seen him myself,
but it’s obvious that he’s there:
you can hear
the bear soliloquy
at all hours, a Hamlet
bear mourning and raging
at his current impotence,
demanding answers
from his parentage
regarding his current state.

One of these days
that beast is going to get out
and come looking for
vengeance on everyone
who knew about him
and kept quiet.  All these quiet homes
are going to be destroyed,
I’ve got money on it
and I’ll tell you: we’ll almost
deserve it.  Almost
because who were we
to question what was being done
in the name of our security
and safety?  It would have stirred
too much if we’d challenged
the rationale for keeping such a force
so trapped and caged.

the property values would have gone down.
Who’d want to live in a place
where such angry and deprived souls
could run free and claim what’s theirs,
even if that’s
all they want?
If they could have been that way
from the start, maybe I’d feel different,
but now it almost seems
too late for that.  Best, I guess,
to stay armed and just
listen to them, alert
for the sound
of escape.

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The art
of saying
the right thing:

hanging motionless
in speech-time,
of being
letter perfect.

A still
life of a breath

That’s the wrong word —

should have stopped earlier,

as of course
it is.

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