Thursday, January 12, 2006

Inferno, Canto Five

The page falls open, by habit
to that place where Dido,
in flocked robes
across thumb stained pages,
bereft whatever oily stain was left
on Cathage’s salt sea cliffs

you remember better than I
us, laughing
you called across the old dining hall
and we danced

(you told me this)

vaulted ceilings, empty chairs
whirling wind outside
set the windows rattling

Hell is a hurricane
perpetual motion
the door is open; the wind blows through

we willed the snow might last, I remember that
the outside swirling white
against the windowpane
and my hand curled on the pillow
a small bird

this is the worst lie I have ever told:
I love you, forever.

Cries ring out
empty, cast down on rocks
mocking fire’s memory
as Dido watches

e caddi come corpo morto cade

love, a swoon
in ruins.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Inferno, Canto Three

It's so easy to get caught here.
It's warm enough.
And you could mistake that for comfort,
especially when you think about how cold it might be elsewhere
or what hills might lie beyond whatever plain this is.

I often mistake confusion for clarity,
indiscision for perspacity.
I could in one place forever.
Caught up in the moment, I suppose.
Or whatever moment came before that.
There's no future in forever.

I should be writing this in some wrap-around form.
One that never moves forward,
and ends where it begins.
Maybe that's what 'fugue state' means.
I never thought to wonder.

I'm especially passive
because I see meanings when instead things just are.

But the truth is, I hardly ever even say what I want,
for fear that I can't have it.

My therapist says that 'I can't' means 'I don't want to.'

The warmest place in Hell is that outer circle,
where people who never decided
wait glumly for someone to come by and ask again.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Inferno, Canto Two

Darkness unspools
the tight-wound day
freeing, waking, bringing rest

lashed like a sailor to a becalmed raft,
drowsing at my desk
adrift on a plain of vast dark water
too afraid in the darkness
to swim ashore.

And who might come for me, I wonder.
A poet, a saint?
An old friend or a sailor?
Is it possible I might not even be fetched?
And what then?

Awake, awake!
The stars are outside, unseen!
Awake, asleep!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Inferno, Canto One

In the forest, there are toads, old leaves
and a peculiar smell: dirt and something else.

In the darkness, the fungus glows, an owl screeches
and, and, and,
who knows.

Downhil, downhill
rough and stubborn,
'Oh for God's sake I'm awake already.'
It's so easy to lie when you're sleeping.

Roots and stones and snail trails glistening,
leaf shapes printed on the leaves below.
But what manner of beast might inhabit
the dark and dreadful
just out of sight?

Saint Lucy, preserve us.
Be a flashlight in the darkness.

Send the guide that down this rough path
will, will, will,
who knows.