On the asphalt, not far
from the orange daylilies
and the garden of bottlebrush
bushes, azalea, and firecracker
fern, the daily lies, wrapped
in neat plastic, but soggy
from a day’s rain seeping
into a torn gap. That’s
okay. The blossoms of
death that litter the front
page need watering too.
It does little good to shake
my head like an old donkey
as I walk back to the house.
The mist of lost lives does
not dissipate like the morning
fog from the garden. The bright
flash of flower coloring
the periphery of my focus
does not pull me from black
ink on stark newsprint. For
this I spend nights weeding
thoughts and images into words.
In a journal, with an anachronistic
pen and more stubbornness than
courage, I nightly pour syllables
into vases, called poems, hard
attempts at sense and significance
from diurnal clashes with all
that is unpoetic: Unordered
corpses, unspoken truths,
unplanted seeds, uneaten meals,
unwanted gestures, unfathomable
strings of empty galaxies.
As the purest music may be
the silence, the purest art that
bit of shadow in a van Eyck,
so the purest poetry may be
beyond sentences that seek
a subject for a verb, a referent
for every reference. In absence
we find something that may pass
for truth in the face of the bluntness
of our angry living against each other.
And yet, here grow more words.
So we aspire to the meaningless
music of the image without label,
the tone without an instrument.
The orange flash without lily.
The rush of a windless air by
an open ear. The brush of lips
against a lover’s face in lieu
of still─ more─ words. All
open us to the great disappearance
that consumes our biography.
So this must end at last in whiteness.