Keep

Keep your white hair, she says. I go around and walk around an artificial lake that has become real. With the snow and the geese, it has become real. There is no place not to be real. That is the unavoidable thing. Keep, she says, in a place where she is disappearing. She wants me to be old with her, to walk on the mountain that is disappearing. The mountain of us. I hear the single word Keep, and all through the night like my reflection in the dark plate glass of the artificial lake. A radio has been left on, somewhere in the night.  Which is no longer a thing. Now it is a piece of paper I could hand to you. The lake, the geese that no one wants, that no one will bury, the ice they walked on, verifying existence. Their nests, your nests. It lives inside a piece of paper. As you will, soon enough.

Advertisements

Let

Let the hospice in,
they all tell  me.
Death is a group activity now,
like volleyball
or a well-attended book club.
The morphine won’t be like chewing gum,
until it is,
and the body
is just a car in neutral, drifting back.
But that body
is where you came into the earth.
It was the first voice
to talk to you in the cold.
It was your voice
giving shape to you,
helping you compose
the wet trap you call your mind.
And now they want you
to be the voice
to subtract that voice,
her body,
your one door in.
It’s clear you are not neutral
and they want neutrality,
someone to let the vehicle just drift
back into an ocean
where all the parts dissolve,
where the notion of a driver
is just superfluous,
as there will be nothing left
but the ocean
in its salty rhythms
through an imagined vehicle.
It is as simple as the fact
of a house sliding
into the sea,
they promise, they say.
It is a house sliding
into the sea, you say.
The eyes, the oriels
of the soul, will be the last thing
you lose, and ever look
down, for, henceforth,
as even the sea
has a hard time
digesting the lucidity
of love. And she will be
in them, the windows
underneath,
looking back,
always. (Note how
prepositions
and adverbs
increase with grief,
a directionless
thing.) The prepositions
and adverbs
try to hold
and orient
each other
as we are
quantum-spun
somewhere
in between
the pocketed
voids
of someone
being
and not
being
there.

 

 

 

Only

I went to a funeral
And a hurly-burly broke out
It was like hockey night in Canada
This strange formula of chairs
Is it the way music is to hold us?

If someone is dead, give them a punch in the arm
If they are in a coffin, they’re in a car
Don’t buttonhole a dead person
Give them a break
Skim the gravy off the top of your grief
They will see you later in your dreams

They will have plenty of time for metamorphosis
That’s pretty much their full-time job now

In fact, you just might be only the Greek Chorus

Almost a Game

The way there is a pile of blocks,
and one is pulled out from underneath,
suddenly, and then everything is more stable.
Sometimes death is like that. We breathe
a shameful sigh of relief. Other times,
it’s the exact opposite. Everything comes down
on everything else. We knew this would happen
eventually, but didn’t expect it nearly yet.
It comes down like an attack. We must rebuild
in a new way. We must rethink our strategy,
the relationship of parts to the whole. We must speak
of the laws of physics and blame no one.
Parts fit back together as if they were meant to be
exactly where they are now. Look at the thing,
and it appears whole again. How does that happen?