After the Abdication

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I.

The window opened
permitting the cold in
to permeate those sleeping

Under blankets placed
anonymously during the night.
Ones with plagues unseen;
spread
without symptom

Where were you (when
those breezes carried
down a plastic bag, then up again,
then reminded us with its

absence in crisp ancestral streets,
that it had been forgotten)
to help describe?
The ritual

II.

Against the grain
Between the rows

Subjected to the same winds
Symbol of our times
Zeitgeist in a smoky cinema
Hatching an all-embracing arm

Against the grain
and between the rows
a healthy bloom
hatching an all-embracing arm

for the workers in the field
to shave
against the grain
between the rows

apart
pollinating the winds
with that new style
refined taste

hatching an air guitar
a product line
a symbol of someone’s time;
where was I?

III.

Doubt has yet to perforate the
solace of denial, wound tight on this
drum of cyclical motives that resonates
with monotonous proficiency.

Dancers cast their shadows into the
cavernous well of perilous thought and yet the
edifice of an impeccable dance stays intact.
And when the screen and frequencies
broadcast the solid color in honor of
the monolith, whose boundless
reaches touch not even the pigments which
depict it,

What of the chaos below, the lifting off,
and the reserved life that awaits—
The disillusionment of those too old
for simply dietary comfort, and
too young to have gluttonized their rites
through a crumbled archway in Spring,
In a land of warriors-turned-bronze-in-memoriam?

IV.

I will tell you this once more before I recoil:
how you were born in a bull market
the boy in the housing bubble
and how the best saw it coming and
did nothing but profit.
how we’re alone in a spacial way
on the plains of Texas where
old bovine bone crush particulate dust
sat undisturbed a million fiscal years or more.
how the time you was given was a
slow boat to China with a leaky pontoon
and in this life who could never ask for more.
how some old hangin’ trees got perennial plaques
and some others give daily shade,
which was a harder place for Jonah to sit
than in the belly of the beast, but he did.
how some folk’ll count your words
and some your works but ’til you don’t count
for somethin’ then neither never musta
amounted to nothin’, blight that you are
on your best intentions.

After the abdication, when suffering
relinquishes its authority.
When, apart from suffering, we don’t know
the name to put on the grave.
When we’re rummaging. Rummaging through
copper, wax. Lost John. Lost John.
He outrun a message on the telephone.
Long gone. Long gone. Lost John.

while we’re rummaging through cylinders
in your grandfather’s barn
won’t somebody open a window
to let out this poor wasp?

And as for you, whose attentiveness frightens me:
I’m cultivating flakes of skin on the phonograph
grease stains on the glass
rust on the plowshares
and ashes on the dashboards.
This should tell you something
of my legacy.

Tactile Afterlife

Originally published in Heron Clan VI

I was at the age to guard the way the creek flowed like
it was some penmanship of larger men into the brown Carolina
and since waited on the country road and backwoods bridge

to become the compassionate elder viewing young catastrophes
and stepping panic stricken out into the power line clearing
as into the incisions of the black bear through hickory bark.

Then the dogwood blossoms fell before you knew it,
and with a vomit of flora the pessimism echo was muffled
as only I now recall how one or the other will first die.

Though in that green fury I am elated that it may be me.
The revolutionist’s preference is to explode like spring spores.
To collapse like the winter buck is the blackest rot.

Such interest in the produce of minds, you know, but
Carolina grows and grows again out of the cavities of
unevacuated chests – it may only be so.