Monday, June 15, 2015

Funeral

It can’t be there’s anything new 
here—the green field is a meadow, but only 
if you squint, and if the gravestones
are missing, it is because they’ve been
replaced by plaques. You can stroll down 
the gravel, you can picture a lake, you can squat 
under the oak and hum . . .  
the birds are senseless, and even 
the berries are minding their tongue.
The grounds lacks definition because 
you are used to congestion, and if there is room 
to breathe, it is because you have stayed put. 
The grass is unnatural, and if you stumble 
over a name or your foot is suddenly countersunk
on a bronze, you are startled but not mystified.
The canopies that are rolled over 
the entombments are like yurts on a Mongolian 
grassland, as is the one you are under—a green 
canvas on a movable scaffold that could be either 
a proscenium or a cage, depending on your 
ability to adjust. The light drizzle is without content, 
as are the ritual prayers, which are neither song 
nor desire—not even language—but 
artifacts no one has seen fit to discard.
Depersonalized, with a pickup cleric 
who has taken cursory notes, 
the obsequies are to the point 
and predictable. They lack physical 
substance because they rely upon usage. 
Neither poetic nor soaring, 
neither substantive nor specific, 
they conclude what has already been concluded.
The vague inclinations you might normally 
follow to their summations seem here 
not thought nor feeling but distant 
disturbances, like meteors 
or the stars out of whack. You finger 
them, but they are without dimension. 
They stay and they go—make no demands.
The four edges of the grounds have shrunk—
they lean indulgently toward you, as if to test 
your expansiveness. It is dangerous here 
because there is no glory or defiance, only 
an innocence that is partially mitigating 
and partially incomprehensible. It is not 
an end, it is not a beginning, and it is 
nowhere in the middle—an abstraction, perhaps, 
but there are real people involved.
The highway, which was a path before, 
is now an intruder, and what was formidable 
upon entering is now lacking in endurance.
You have learned nothing, you have 
experienced nothing, but you were not 
meant to. Its purpose fulfilled, you are 
released. You have held back your emotions 
because they seemed temperate or out of place, 
but now, on the bus, you notice in the pale 
anatomy of the half-strange relation talking 
beside you traces of another, and for 
an instant you are overwhelmed. But 
the moment passes, and the discontinuity
of apparently connected events is like a drawn
out drama in which the episodes are years apart 
and it is for you to fill up the gaps.



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