Friday, November 15, 2013

The Comfort of Fading

Athens, Georgia
November 15, 2013

There were years of prime
when I looked upon a living bay
pulsing with life, pulled
by celestial bodies, and saw

numerical mesh
stretching through
the sterile ether.
Such a stately parade

of symbols set in spare beauty  
partial c’s sliding slopes
of Q and E, of x and t,
but no longer.

The crystalline equations fade;
their symbols spill
off dog-eared pages
graced with arcs of coffee stain

in manuals with my name inside
and broken backs, now boxed
and stored in cardboard tombs
of moth and mildew, must and tears.

I find my life now softly fallen
in the gentle in-between

while plowing through uncharted now
as Voyager past the heliopause

no longer here
but not yet there.

So I shut my eyes in warm sun
and drift down whole days.

The world is my back yard,
the afterlife unfenced.

I wander a peaceable kingdom
where voices chant in strange tongues

from the distance of dreams,
and though I cannot catch their meaning

sure as Voyager shoots beyond,
I shall sing their soul, unknowing.

Lessons for the Fallen

Athens, Georgia
November 15, 2013

When you find your life, fallen;
when you inhabit the gap,
the no longer but not yet,
the neither-nor:

Then linger, friend;
let the soft day suffice;
do not rush the soon to be,
do not claw back the packaged past.

When you find yourself caught
in-between, your stance astride
both deck and dinghy, rope
untethered, weather rising:

Do not stand tall and grasp the wind;
forego, my friend, the stately pose
but sink your soul below the storm
and praise the passing of the waves.

When you find your soul, riven;
when truths refuse to reconcile;
when torn between two warring armies
dug in trenches, steel points gleaming:

Then light your last candle;
make your way to no-man’s land
beyond the barbed wire and bayonet,
and sing your hymn on holy ground.