Last Words

Removed, as they were from the garden…

They thought the names arbitrary things.

He laughs at them

Gently.

He shakes a little,

In his body.

In his voice.

 

“Each new thing.”

He says it again.

“Each New Thing.

It reached… within.”

 

He sees in their eyes that they do not understand.  

He stirs the coals in the fire.

His thoughts are a little disobedient, now.  Sometimes.

He tries to line them up again.  

The others all watch respectfully.  Patiently.

He hates that.  A little bit.

 

“That great naming.

It was an act of listening.

It was an act of listening for a name

Which had already been said.

In the Time Before.”

 

Recognition in those beautiful brown eyes?  

Perhaps it was recognition.

Seth was always the sharpest among them.

 

“We have so many words now.

So many that you might lose one for a moment.

That feeling…  When you have lost a word.  

When you are so close that you can taste a word,

But still not find it’s sound…”

 

“That is what it was like.

To look upon The Creations.

And name them.”

 

It is not only Seth who nods now.

The old man knows what he knows.

He knows that this is not sympathy, here.  Now.

He is thankful for that.

 

It inspires him to continue.

He wishes them to know so much.

His time.  After so long.  Is running short now.

He continues.

 

“There was something within me.”

“A name that wished to burst forth from my lips.”

“I tried it on so many things, in my mind.

But it was never time.  Never time.

Never time to say it out loud.”

 

“And so other names erupted out and around it.

I held that name in my heart unsaid.

Until she came.  Your mother came.

But then came our dying time.  Our casting out.

After our time of mourning was through.

I remembered that name within me.

I said it out loud.

And it was her name.”

 

He is lost for a moment.

They are lost for a moment.

Looking in the flames.

Ignoring the smoke.

He does not care about the tear that slides down his dry cheek.

When did he stop caring about things such as this?

 

“It was good to name her Eve.

I would have thought that was the end.

But it was not.

That garden is gone, now.

That time is is gone, now.

It will never return.”

 

A spit-crackle.

They watch him so closely.

This is the thing he hasn’t wanted to tell them for so long.

He does not know what any of this means.

 

“There is still a name.

A single last name within me.

But the time of the naming is done.

Somewhere.

There is a something,

With out a name.  

And there is me.  

With one word extra.”

 

A time.  A timeless time.

Later.

He died in his sleep with a single last gasp.

 

A tender hand.

Reached within him,

Even as he returned to the dust.

It took that unspoken word out of him.

 

And a time.  A timeless time.

Later.

That word?

That word was made flesh.

Torrent

This torrent comes crashing down,

A wild thing from up so high.

Niagra would look with awe at this fall.

 

Here, below.

Mostly we gather on the shore.

And the holy men in their hip waders bring the little cups.

They grimace as they fill them and bring them back to us.

The spray and the run off have soaked them.

They walk slowly.  Slowly to us.  

Apostles and apprentices towel them off solemnly.

There are so many of us here now.

We wait.  And the water is so much of everything.

But the cup is emptied so soon.

 

I do not listen to them as I step into the water.

I discard my clothes and I do not care that they are watching.
I stand beneath the waterfall with my arms stretched out wide.

They make a wide space for me,

As they continue their conveyance to their followers,

Back and forth, back and forth.

Coming To Terms With Her Wild Geese

You do not have to be good

She told me this.  And

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

 

I did not tell her that I was unsettled by this.

I nodded sagely.  Because that is what I do when I read Mary Oliver.

Even if I am alone in a room.

 

The way that she speaks, as if only to me,

I felt as though I could, in theory, have told her that I was unsettled by this.

But in truth, I nodded sagely, alone in a room.  Unsettled.

 

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

I was not ready to yet begin to chew on these words,

the others were dry in my mouth, still.

 

I do not want to be bad.  Ms. Oliver.  I do not want to be bad.

Do not permit me  amorality.  Because this is what it is.

I have to be good.

 

But!

There was a breath outside the garden.

There was God in me before  exile.

 

What if I didn’t have to be good.

Because I already was.

The soft animal of my body.

Already was.

 

 

 

 

Lost In Translation Version 4: Call it The Director’s Commentary

“The scope of what happened.
With artificial strawberry is salvation.
and antibiotics
And the blood is the aesthetics of luck.”

I do not know what those words mean.
But they come at me with urgency from Google Translate,
As I flipped, back and forth
between English and French, English and Latin, English and Khmer…

The words made sense when it all began.
But they picked up these little errors along the way.
The problem is that we don’t randomly happen toward meaning.
There are so many more ways for a thing to go wrong than right.

Until we are left with artificial strawberry as a kind-of salvation.
Until we are left with antibiotics.
Until our blood itself is the aesthetics of luck.

Whatever that all means.
Until it comes to this.

There is some deja-vu here:
the words, they made sense when it all began…
until it comes to this.

Lost In Translation Version 2: Monoglot Remix

On that Summer day,
with scabby knees, shirtless and tanned brown.
I pitched the wiffle ball.
Close as I was,
close enough that my not yet ten coordination could find the strike zone,

It bulleted back at me,
wiffling, Jabberwocky-like
through the suburban street
too fast. It dropped me. Like a rock.

Translated into French and back again:
In summer day
with scabby knees, brown and tanned naked torso.
I launched the wiffle ball.
Close as I was,
close enough that my coordination was not yet ten find the strike zone,

He chips to me,
wiffling, Jabberwocky-like
   through the suburban street
too fast. He dropped me. As a rock.

My words:
Some years later.
The camp counselor instigated a game
of telephone.

I think she wanted us to learn about the power of words.
The malicious destruction of gossip.
The way that words come with a radioactivity, a half-life.
They are dying, like us, the moment that they are born.

Transated into French, back to English, then to Latin and back into English again:
After a few years.
Camp counselor incited a game
Phone.

I think we must learn it.
Malicious rumors destruction.
Radioactivity pitches when liberated middle of life.
Die, so that we, in the time they were born.

My words:
Going on grown, now.
It takes me a while.
To get past the idea that the professor
Has the most enormous eyebrows that I have ever seen.

When I get past thinking about Edward Scissorhands.
Weed whackers.
I hear his words.
At least, I think I do.

Socrates, he wasn’t talking about virtues.
Like eating all of your vegetables.
It would have been better.
He says.
If we had translated that word as excellence.

Translated into French, back into English, into Latin, back into English, and then into Greek and back again:
Now grown up and done.
I need some time.
La, a doctor has a reason
A great eyebrows 1’ve ever.

For when you think of the expenses of the one’ve Edward Scissorhands.
Whackers weeds.
1 heard.
At least one can imagine.

But Socrates is not speaking of the virtue.
Like to eat all the vegetables.
How much better it would have been.
Said.
If the word translated as excellence.

My words:
An adult. Now. Or atleast, that’s the rumor.
I keep thinking somebody is going to figure me out.
I stand in front of the photocopy machine.

I am copying a copy of a copy of a copy.
I notice how it picks up these imperfections.
As time goes by. It does not lose them.

I think about how this generation.
It will not know so much about imperfect copies.
I used to make tapes of tapes of audio tapes.
It would pick up these squawk garble hisses
across the generations. Like me.

Translated into French, back into English, into Latin, back into English, into Greek, back into English, into Khmer and back again:
An adult. Now. Or atleast, that’s the rumor.
I keep thinking somebody is going to figure me out.
I stand in front of the photocopy machine.

I am copying a copy of a copy of a copy.
I notice how it picks up these imperfections.
As time goes by. It does not lose them.

I think about how this generation.
It will not know so much about imperfect copies.
I used to make tapes of tapes of audio tapes.
It would pick up these squawk garble hisses
across the generations. Like me.

My words:
enjambment, as it happens.
Is not the state of strawberry slathered toast.
And Sting,
he sang about the aesthetics of chance.

I bring a meaning to these things here.
It is not what I wanted to say.
The final translations:
The scope of what happened.
With artificial strawberry is salvation.
and antibiotics
And the blood is the aesthetics of luck.

This will bring about the location: it is here.
This is not what it means.

Wreckage

“This week survivors of the collapse and family members of those who died were offered the chance to take home some of the bridge wreckage. The last lawsuit claims have been settled, and Minnesota’s Department of Transportation opened its warehouse for victims’ families to come and collect some of the mangled steel. Kim Dahl and her two children were among them.” –From an NPR report, August 30, 2013

Let us enter into the wreckage
Of our own collapsed bridge.
Together.

My fingers itch but I won’t reach out for your hand in the silence.
I won’t.
In this silence.

We stand in this converted hangar.
We stand in the shadows
Of what we had and what might have been

I hesitate and then go left around the pile that’s higher than me
And you go right around it.
Doesn’t that say everything that needs to be said?

Perhaps I will take this.
Mangled and rusting thing.
It is the way that you used to look at me.

Or there is this, smashed almost beyond recognition.
The way you used to know what I was going to say
Before I knew it.

It is quiet here except for the noises I am making.
There is so much wreckage here.
I am determined to dig through it all but I never will.

In truth it is not so much the souvenier I might take with me
As this desperate hope that answers might be lying here, somewhere.
I have begun, slow and methodical.

What are you doing in your own silence?
What are you thinking in your own silence?
I can still sense where you are, and you are not that far from me.

But you are too far from me, now,
All the time.
I settle on this thing.

It is as good as anything else.
Mangled. So irreparably shattered
I couldn’t tell you what it is, anymore.

That’s what I chose, out of all the things I might have.
You are backlit by the setting sun as you stand in the doorway ready to go.
And your hands are empty.