Wednesday, April 17, 2013


"Pliny the Elder imagined that fossil shark teeth had fallen from the sky or the moon, and named them 'glossoptera' (tongue stone)."

"To tabulate the time intervals between the successive entries in . . . these Lamentations is to tell the story."

Because change is all we have
To keep our names and settings
Separate, and change erases

Every name, every sorrow
Comes confused with others.
Lamentations for the masses lost

Among ruined palaces of memories
Blur dirges for citadels lost and buried
When formal invasions with burnings

And defacings of local inscriptions
And their brick-built temples were weapons new
As were temples and chiseled inscriptions.

This is not, never was, nor will be
News, but we can still forget it,
Still mistake our children for our ancestors.

Dementia, the shiveriest night terror
In all of giftedom, scales the coiling
Pagan dragon of introspection

And punctures him in the mouth
Of his fire with a long, sharp sinking mystery.
Tainted gorge regurgitates

In the dragon's throat, a broken moon
Floating up from the boiling moat
Where he fell among the short-term

Armies of creaking mnemonic siege engines,
Inquisitorially demonic cortical devices,
A heap of hissing, smoking wishbones of retention

To tug and pull apart until the necromancing
Meaning snaps, and there, sir, goes
Your prophecy. Pal, you had it good

Once upon a time, but the sooner
You prate about it, the scarier.
Around the table, loud crusading

Pirates, back from the holy
Land of what was once known
In person, proudly dump loot

From the makings of other times
In other minds, piles of rubble
Prized as complicated puzzles.

Once that's done, it's for everyone
Disguised and almost done to grab a bit,
A leftover, glossoptera, a holy relic.

Strepitus, tenebrae, it's a big noise
To make in your shadows, concluding
By slamming your book shut, banging

Your head on the pew. Still. This isn't the end.
For you, but not for the you you knew,
Rerouted crowds of sin-apt congregants

Have to finish the thing, to find
Their own suffering and, with shuffling
Respect to your dissolving rest,

For your silence, one by one, to leave
The cloistered chapel, querulous, unbelieving.
Later still, the hidden musicians lug

Assorted reeds and strings off stage behind the nave
Into the wings, pinching smoky wicks
Snuffed shut behind them, whispering,

As they step, bone by bone, around the abyss
That surrounds your wide-eyed sarcophagal swoon,
Too quietly to hear their own failing farewell in the dark.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.