Monday, January 28, 2013

Inside Tribulation

Memory could be        thirty blotches on
a wall, could be        the significance of
        impulses, cataracts,        the coupling
of caterpillars on a tree branch.

       I’m unable to write a love verse,
serve faithfully or        with distinction,
speak starling to a starling,
        or think in soliloquies.

       The hot weather        withers my hope.
The cold freezes it.        But I can recall
a time when        I spoke plainly, could
                be understood.

       I’ve come over a hill, no, gone through
a tunnel.        Neither, actually, merely
a haze        with ill-defined objects . . .
        at the five corners of my room.
        There are five, aren’t there?

       I want you to know me,
but not from my words.        I’m inconsistent,
what I mouth east I can mouth west.

I understand much but can use little:
objects in my mind have been misplaced.
         I sleep poorly or not at all.

       Which is what I’m conveying.
Symbols and nonsymbols—they mesh.
One selects. I select.        No, I don’t.
       Selection is made for me.
I accept, or reject.        But neither fully.

I’m not free. Although I can speak
what I want. And what I speak is
not foreign to me.
        But it may not be me. It may be
my memory,
        my sickness. I’m not alone.

I can be elegant,        or boring.
You can’t understand this, can you,
so don’t.        Let it roll over you.
        Read it, listen.
Think about it . . . if you feel like . . . .

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