Thursday, December 23, 2010


Opening your prophet's lips to speak truth to silence,
to power, to whomever seems unjust in their judgments,
it's not exactly a popularity contest. It brings on the bricks.
Although the bricks they throw at you are enough to build on,
make a temple's foundation, make a platform to stand on.
A flashbulb makes red spots persist in your vision.
I can't find myself in these pictures. I always seem to be missing.
Mom told me years ago to take a few pictures of myself when I was
out West, visiting those mountains and canyons, to prove
I'd been there. I had to be in the picture to be believed.
There's a saying about prophets never being heard in their
hometowns. I guess the photographic record makes it more real.
They push you to the margins, whenever they can. it's a way
of ignoring what you have to say, of making it smaller so it can
be discarded rather than stumbled over. The prophet's job
is to throw bricks in the machinery of complacent self-congratulation.
I guess the bricks are more or less real. Certainly they litter the road.
I've tried everything else. The best bricks seem to be made of
music, some photos, a few drawings scattered here and there.
The prophetic words are the most easily dismissed. Still, they linger
around the margins of the garden, bad unwelcome guests waiting for the gates
to open, so they can trudge in and track mud on manicured carpets.
Badly behaved, every one. Somewhere along the roadside there's a poet
who can't or won't shut up. He keeps spilling prophecies from his trenchcoat
pockets to molder in the gutter with the cigarette butts and stale banana peels.
Nobody loves a poet. Might as well find that rope, fling yourself
over the parapet into the village square far below. Why do suicidal poets
always seem to find their exits in the city? Probably bucolic vistas
make them forget their purpose, give them pause, or a little too much balm.
Far easier to be wraith-driven, angst ridden, in the capitols of narcissus.
Only the most self-regarding candidate for the rope could be unmoved by
these snow-bent woods, perfect aliens in the ice fog. First it snows, then everything
goes out of resolution and pixelates to grey, grey, grey. Something like a halo.
Nothing I say can ever get through. It won't be heard. You end up talking
mostly to yourself. A geometric divider laid across a keyboard. A compass
sitting on the piano, where the music draws circles of Lux aeterna
and other celestial roads. Something like a word rising from the wounds,
but not a word. Nothing so ignorable. Nothing quite as vapid.
What wanders across the still burden of the figured bass
is a coelocanth skimming an icy ocean trench. SIlent intruder from deep dark down.
Cling to your lover, even your temporary lovers in this passion play, desperately
cling and be marginalized. Nothing lasts, not even the electric bodies.
Find something like a choice, lying like a brick in the road,
to be picked up, turned over and over, and tossed in the nearest window.
Reflections of the grey-blue sky shatter as your words spit through.
Tablets of stone names under heaven. The cold fish-eyed regarding gaze.
Intimate words in a mountainside cemetery, late at night, as chill fog rolls in.
Fish swim red in grey waters under reflections of bare black treebranches.
Passing trucks spit steam and rain spray high, not far above the sea storm boom.
I already told you it would end this way.

Rain, Taos Plateau, NM, 2004

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