Do not spurn any chance to mourn. Mourning is a kind of Return. - Norman Nightingale, from Small Favors of Mourning
This blue world. Unattainable - stranger than
dying, by what unmerited grace we were allowed to come see it. - Franz Wright, from Entries of the Cell
I just want to say to you, Franz, "Because the soul
is a stranger in this world,"
such blackness I have traveled through all night, and
you I have made my peace with the Atlantic.
And returned, I sleep, one hip wounded, a new name to be announced at a future date
bearing a significance of which I can only wonder
derived of a bruise that I have often sung, of swift and terrible deity grasped. It grabs back, refuses to relent but is bargained with and for, leaving one bent, limping, a worshiper forever.
I can wait for the meaning if it ever arrives. My legs hurt too, treading air the ocean long, tired from such distances traveled with strangers all around, so many,
so many, I had not known desire had undone so many.
I am still now, cool upon the pallet on the floor in a darkened room, curtains closed.
Upon the ceiling a shard of light scores through mandalas of earth tones,
another Atlantic perhaps, its hidden floor, perhaps its ghost,
these circles overhead asking for my blessing, meaning my honoring, the light now moves to the top shelf touching upon
the volumes in ancient Greek, Biblical,
textbooks for learning that tongue college days - brief spark, then nothing, the voltage gone, dead as Aramaic and Koine,
remembered light only.
Here enter Adagio,
of Barber's taut excruciation of air, here am I, I am here, O Lord, jet engines stretched, screeching,
airstream Pentacost uplifts, keeping metal and breath, mine, aloft, finally awake,
Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?
But, Franz, IT, the felt memory of IT - Presence - in a room full of gathered strings - sound, and here this light - lingers.
wakings that come in between times ajar in spaces cracked, or pulled apart, indiscriminately admitting what may enter, no questions asked,
only reaching for the sky or ceiling and, yes, that
wide good earth so torn between wildness wild and that of the human-unkind
before/above and within such clash, the opposites, an
ultimate lowering of the gaze
that we may arrive knowing our place, our part in the destruction,
and yet, and yet...
It may or may not amount to much but if there is a heap such as you have made and leave for me, space to read four miles high in the air night bound and rebound for and aft a country I'd never been to, have never known but from books,
then let the dead volumes deserve their dust and praise. I'll not shout about such moments here to you, that they are, but just pass news of them on to you who perhaps are saying, have already written,
Yes. Yes. I knew it all along.
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