Excerpt from "French Horn"
What in this unpleated world isn't someones seduction?"
Excerpt from "Critique of Pure Reason"
"Perimeter is not meaning, but it changes meaning,
as wit increases distance and compassion erodes it."
"Shadow: An Assay"
Mostly we do not think of, even see you,
for your powers at first seem few.
Why command "Heel", ask "Sit",
when before the thought is conceived,
you are already there?
True that sometimes you run ahead, sometimes behind,
to you, must be words of the deepest poignance:
while inside them, you are larger than you were.
Midday drives you to reticence, sulking,
I've felt many times inside me as well.
You came with me to Krakow, Glasgow, Corfu.
Did you enjoy them?
I never asked.
Though however close my hand came to the table,
you were closer, touching before my tongue
the herring and cheeses, the turpentine-scented retsina.
Many times I have seen you sacrifice yourself
disentangling yourself like Anna Karenina from her purse
before passing under the train wheels of her own thoughts.
Like art, though, you are resilient: you rose again.
Are you then afterlife, clutterless premonition?
You shake your head as soon as I do--
no, we think not.
Whatever earth I will vanish silently into, you also will join.
You carry, I have read,
my rages, fears, and self-regard.
You carry, I have read, my unrevealed longings,
and the monster dreamed as a child, tongueless and armless.
Your ordinary loneliness I recognize too as my own.
When you do not exist,
I have gone with you into darkness,
as the self of a former life
goes into the self that was tortured and beaten
and does not emerge again as it was,
though given a clean shirt to leave in, given pants and new shoes.
For this too is shadow, and mine,
Though you are tongueless, and armless, you harm.
Your inaction my own deepest failure, close by my side.
You who take nothing, give nothing, give nothing, instruct me,
that my fate may weigh more than yours--
The hour is furious, late.
Your reach, horizontal, distant, leans almost forgiving,
almost indistinguishable from what it crosses.
"It is the work of feeling
to undo expectation.
A black-faced sheep
looks back at you as you pass
and your heart is startled
as if by the shadow
of someone once loved.
Neither comforted by this
nor made lonely.
that the self in exile remains the self,
as a bell unstruck for years
is still a bell."
"Excerpt from "The Present"
"I stood on one side of the present you stood on the other."
Excerpt from "Sentencings"
"Think assailable thoughts, or be lonely"
lay in the road
copper side up
and copper side down
I passed it by
I picked it up
my beggar's cup
I left it there
to be refound
I bent down and
I unbent up
copper side down
copper side up
between the air
left there picked up