We all have our own acre of pain
The heat, the bilirubin rising.
Tonight, the feverish body is braille
Under the finger tips
And the swelling smooth and
Warm like a polished stone.
The mystics cure hepatitis by tying live pigeons to the stomach,
After they quiver and die under the leather straps.
The world begins again sans jaundiced eye.
The mystics can see to the other end of the world
And everything they see, they know.
While we just diddle around.
The consolation is that we can wait in the ante-
chamber and let Maria Callas pour in from speakers,
and outside the violet sky spreads an ink spill.
In the distance the machines of the world grind glass
and metal conducts particles like musical notes
In some future Opera—of how the world works.
Tonight, nothing extraordinary will happen
not to us at least.
Our lives will be unchanged,
Except the feverish mind can wander
the eyes hot in their sockets see halos around
all the objects in the room, lose their edges and definition and the wall becomes a
Rothko of color.
What if every face you pass on the street
wears the veil of pain, not just a weary countenance,
and every voice hollow at the other
end of the call is asking to be healed?
On their behalf
I could make a tally: the greatest lies ever told?
The check is in the mail
Doing it like this you can’t get pregnant
Arbeit Macht Frei
It’s all conjecture and conjured up
from that remote sad outpost of:
Once there was
like that memory: you were nine and the Goldman’s green Dodge was first base and the sewer grate second and home plate was only imagined
as the older boys that came racing around the slope and the dogs
began that twilight bark at the ends of their chains.
And when you reach that place, a plateau, you will be free in retrospect,
there, where the river moved slowly through town.
As a student you learned under the electric tube of lights that
hummed like bees,
and sounded the same as the
hive that Samson saw in the lion’s rib cage.
He took something brutal from that image
And then later knew to set the foxes’ tails on fire.
And the fields, they burned.
I can put the two-pronged question out
Is a fable pulled taut
A truth or is it just
another stab at it?
The mystics know tightening the straps
That the pigeons’ honeyed voices and crushed wings cure jaundice
something else needs to quiver and die for us to be cured.
What does it matter now?
there are the letters that were never sent
and more that never arrived.
In our dark history guards rolled cigarette from pages of Talmud,
Some of the words could have been worked
into great volumes of the future.
All poems after all are transcribed by
ghost writers and etched into the open palms.
A cataract, a clavicle,
The deep blue endless reality—not giving a shit.
The fabulist realizes: you cannot see what there is not there to see
Like a tattoo on the child’s bones.