I have grown tired of standing. The last man standing. Standing for nothing more than the sake of standing. I long to sit, or more longingly, long to lie in the long cool grass, head nestled in the ceaseless caress of cold stone asking nothing more than calm port in an unending storm, unremorseful, unrelenting in its intensity, the underlying current, the cruel undertow of missed winds and winnowing opportunities, aging in an age of immediacy.
Who wrote The Art of Dying?
Night evolves under no known sun.
We claim that pain began that day, in the city of public squares where I swore, my spirit trapped, snared by those who whisper of youth, no more would I seek support as recourse. Of course I tried to tell them, occasionally stepping down from this barren rock where no poems grow. The sounds in my ears were clouds low overhead. Emptiness - this is the courage, a feeling like being choked, to be locked into this, this scene above which I hold no other. Speak of it and about that which they have no knowledge around the fire, while the train keeps bearing down on us, weighing down what might be left to surprise us in our nightmares. You knew, and I know, but without caring, we will walk all night, treading water in the dim light, through what is falling through us. And now, each night, in sleep the bliss lays heavy, yet fades in the dawn light. And though thought never comes, behind our eyes we subscribe to the symphony of the dancing gray and white lights. That’s what you taught me: tears.
Over the hill, the dull cage draws fire, catches flame from the cruel beyond; Tell me child, father to the man, earnest, of this sweet landscape, sing to me. The hard wood dappled with honor dark, hark fair fallen oak, the mind’s mirror, how lovely we see?
After years of strain and sickness, I didn’t find what I looked for, not knowing what it was, yet knowing I would lose it if I learn what I knew. But for now, here, in this city of delicate surfaces and decedent facades, aware, this once, as I will always be, among the dead packed immaculately away, there’s no despair that could quiet you. Through innumerable choruses soaring higher than we could ever climb, the thought of pleasure pleasing opens with a yawn, and the world goes on the way I always felt it would. Again, waking at dawn, the sweep of it, taking courage from its silence, your silence accusing, enough to make even the strongest weep. Little did I imagine then these images would remain throughout the slow dissolution of days. Dawn breaks. It is only the sun but it invokes the weight of transplanted trees diseased along the streets and boulevards, the cries of spires sacrificing the sanctity of silent cities, the resurrection of rejection the night had mercifully muted in the fulsome dark. Here sadness takes on abstract shapes, light scrabbles at the open door. I breathe. I am not asleep. Daylight screams into tightly held secrets of those dark spirits who lie still, still dreaming.
I tire of wandering lost in remembrances, waking exhausted, sweat-soaked and delirious, clearly at a loss for guidance or deliverance: dreams; the last bastion against the encroaching loneliness, incessant, distant lights from an indistinct shore.
On good days we would have scaled the highest heights, soared free, unfettered, tether less. Our hearts bursting forth atop Frost Hill amid the jumble of colors nestled in the Old Grove. In my dreams we still kiss like we mean it, softly, sensuously, serious in our intensity. Inside you emotions still explode like ice cracked by the impact of heat, shattering the calm, composed surface.
On bad days I would slowly invoke a sadness which would make the weary weep heavy, heaving sobs of strangulated sorrow.
In midsummer morning, this house where fall of darkness looks up to grieving sky, this mortal airy cage, this humble flight, holds only close this mournful lie, this calcified heart’s eye, too old to end, beholden to forked lightning, a flickering candle, the unfeeling, barbarous wind. I come from this darksome art no high-hung bells can answer. Light grows less bright to hymns gilded to hang between mortal beauty, hovering and haunting, and these shy wings which long for rest from those who bow, who bless.
All that remained were broken remnants, a few trinkets recovered from the sludge, the encasing mud which covered the coursing flood. We were dead from then on. I carried on, ladened with the odd few items I could carry, the last look of a man who was no longer there.
They kissed once more, he turned on his heel and walked back into darkness.
Summer receded further with each falling leaf, each withering frost desiccating the vines; a lifeline of roots tapping deep in to the aquifer, inexorably angling toward the timeworn shore. A ring of empty promise and a salt breeze from across the seas sang senseless songs of loss found only amidst the living.
I compose suicide notes in my head every day. Most are poignant, some defiant, hardly exposing a reason, yet revealing a truth most will never know. A way forward for those left to find, drawing conclusions of their own, guarding their hand-hewn foundation stones with the fervor of fever, firm in belief, firmer in handshake, atoning the tolling, an air unheard in timbre or tone. From furthest things commingle hunger, hatred, the unbearable resilience of being. Breaking like pheasants by beaters flushed, or a stray ricochet cock full of vengeance or self, a long slow bullet and the will to pull it, would my desires be any different?
He was no longer standing where he had been standing when I last turned to see him there looking, turning to look off into the distance at the flocks slowly wheeling returning to a distant instinctual nurturing. I hadn’t seen him in ages, aging in the process, no longer focused, the curse of conviction, just trying to hold on, desperately holding together the disparate pieces, unable to see beyond the visual axis while the fabric unwound, regardless whose hands, the thread unraveling, the tapestry fraying and fading.
In the motionless air, chaos. With no chosen embrasure in this fixation of light, I wish arcane signs to splay across the violent sky, play airs below of no known hymn. In a lifetime spent in study in a language unread by many, rags of incomplete phrases knot unwieldy imagery as wholes, create vacuum in motion.
Sullen, resolute, pedaling a broken, limbless doll about the cobblestones your essence, your ghost becomes you. One among the perishing, the perished. Once lit, what weight in cisterns ash? The loss of past oracles a poetic rendering of ambitious lives, an ambiguous translation of texts lost beneath shallow, bated breaths. Pain’s only limit greater pain.
Long afterward the news came back
All the donkeys were dead.