Thursday, February 28, 2013

28 feb 2013

anyone — a convicted sex offender — can get a gun
kill a mother, birth motherless sons

absence of reason, dumb despair, bitter smell of death
a residential street, a sunny day

Susan Howe [pic by Lawrence Schwartzwald

from Susan Howe’s Frame Structure, 1996:


The audience applauded
I was welcomed as one returned from the grave.
My imposter stood up
Her speech was — forests, chasms, cataracts —
I replied — Yes, I had been there —
slept with the children every night —
wherever I went — I went when I was sleeping —
All eyes turned on me.
“Liar — Have you seen the Lake of the North?”
she said.
“Have you seen the wreck of a ship?
— and your scalp?
— How did you cross the Great Camped Present?”
My assurance failed
Welcomed to the rock of my banishment
I couldn’t utter a word.
Silence resumed its wild entanglement
Thought resumed its rigid courtesy.


. . .

On Monday, massacre, burning, and pillage
On Tuesday, gifts and visits among friends

Warriors wait
hidden in the fierce hearts of children.


. . .

Haunted by the thought, the thread we hang on will save us
I bit off and burned my fingers to keep from freezing.

. . .

I the Fly

come from Brighten

hook storm
seawave and salmon

Glass house
Captain Barefoot

gullet of hook

all sky

. . .

Nelson wore a wig
and after battle handed it to his valet
to have the bullets combed out.


Then did you build this gallows,
calling it a natural cause,
consenting to abandon breath,
belief, and memory on it? Was
I one night, with cognac,
under the scaffold,
washing the feet. Because
there is no grace except
of the thinnest
duration, I, too, was
hanged, but at a distant station,
and grace has a half-life; grace
is a state one stage
decayed from perfection.


And yet, a weathervane vine might have grown
from the mud of your chests on a road away
from asylum to tell you a wind full of
I could have protected you,
but there is only blew the clothing off
your children, blew into their brains
a knowledge: not because
an icon is a closed gate to its promise,
but because it is an open gate to Silence,
this is why they ran
after their flying shirts and hair
toward a smoking Baal,
trampling lightning-forked flowers,
terrified of nothing.


If I stood for you, you stopped
alone on a road by an ocean
with bone ash blown back
on your face — I’d thrown
an urn. Anemones
pulsated: atrium, carnation,
ventricle, anus of icon
of Kali — I’d thought
I was on your knees in the tide
that will cover the road, I down
without devotion, having thrown
what you’ve come to throw and now
with some time to study the end
of my time in you.

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