Friday, December 3, 2010

I saw the ruins of a life I could have had long ago
and I held onto them as if there were somthing worth saving.

When I finally let it go, i realized there was so much more to touch
and my hands are too soft be left clutching stones

The Embrace

I listened to the radio this morning. There was a live BBC broadcast from the mine in Chile where those poor men had been trapped for several weeks. It struck me the first time I heard it. I imagined what may have been going through their heads when they were trapped in the mine. They had no idea they would ever escape. They thought they would be trapped. They thought, they would die. The really thought it was the end, that no one would come and try to rescue them. Trapped like bugs in a jar, waiting to gasp their last breath. The rescue was always underway however. That matters. They were going to be rescued. Scientists know how long the human body can live without oxygen. They drank from the stalagtites. The water that dripped down. Economized their breath. Never screamed. Slept a lot. In the pitch black. Before they were brought to the surface, the rescuers dropped down some elvis tapes I guess, since one of the men liked Elvis. They dropped blindfolds as well. they knew the light of the sun would be too intense. The broadcasters talked about how great it would be for them to breathe fresh air for the first time. But I think they should have given them respirators as well as blindfolds. Filled with compressed stagnant smelly air. Such a shock, that mountain air would have been, and cold too no doubt. They should have been given camphor to keep the smell from knocking them out, being accustomed now to the stench of their collective filth. They all came to the surface. They all were saved. The on lookers chanted for them. They cheered them on. They should have been given ear plugs to protect their ears from the screeching. Some kind of micro evolution had kicked in. Humans can evolve to live a life of darkness. To think they could return to the surface unchanged, is naive, almost sinister. It denies their humanity. They couldn't scream, or cry, only sit in stone silence like the stalagmites in a pool of standing water mixed with their excrement. Silently, preserving air, hoping for days that they would be rescued. A tripod with a single white wheel stood at the mouth of a hole drilled into the earth the width of a man's shoulders, and carried them to the surface. Some thing like being born from the earth. Going into world again, forever changed. Blindfolded, groped and touched, slapped on the back, and finally led into warm starched sleeve arms of the president, for the photo opportunity. I thought this would make a brilliant screenplay, a great great film done correctly, but it's already happened. It's all on camera. They were greeted by cheering crowds, brought to their families, and received a warm embrace.


Return to Omalass

I returned to Omalass.

I returned by ship on friendly sea,
greeted by the coast guard,
escorted to warm sandy shores.

I returned to the land,
I returned to the people,
and the people's country.

The years had been kind to me
The years had been cruel to the evil doers.
The old had faded, their names had passed
like wind over reeds, like ice
melts in the winter garden when the sun
shines on the people, in the people's country.

The wind had blown far and wide, and spread
a message of peace to the people in their land,
a message of prosperity to the disenfranchised,
'we are all Citizens now.'

But the seasons change, and guests are not
inhabitants, though they beg you to stay,
guests have a shelf life,
and trees which bear no fruit,
have no bounty to share beyond the colored season
in the lands and in the homes of the people.

Shades of gray fade as darkness falls again on the people
and on the people's land.
Light comes from torches, fire illuminates the skyline
and walls are tended to keep the hidden folk away
from their hearths.

No more guests, this evening.

I returned to Omalass,
but wish to leave my footprints where they fell,
where the expatriate played at being
the prodigal son, but could not tolerate the sins
of the father in the father's house.

Could not stomach the taste of bitter water,
and sour milk,
could not see the poor be cast to the jaws,
to the iron jaws of the dank jails and the cold
well lit streets.

I returned to Omalass expecting ruin,
expecting collapsing new structures
to dot the horizon as they had in the Old World.

I will to leave the land of the people yet again,
and set coarse for a quieter country,
and a quieter land of people,
I yearn to turn my back, and lie in the shadow
of the headless empire in one of the fallen lands.
Where they speak dead languages of dead empires,
where the fruit is as fresh as the air is musty,
and where streets team with human life.

I yearn to find my place among the dispossessed,
again among the farmers
again among the wives,
again among the fallen heroes who's voices
were silenced by the new world's thirsty arms.

And though those arms may come again to embrace this 'other' land,
and find me there among the lesser people
of the earth, let them come.

Let them drag me to Golgotha,
Let them try.

Let them cry 'Take Him to the Cross! Black Trader!
Crucify him and scatter his remains!'
Let them try.

Let them find me, twice removed from the eagle's
hard breast, whose milk, though t'was cold,
did nourish my body.

Let them whisper in my ear, as the hours fall in a white room.

Let them beg for my return.
Let them implore for me to see reason,
and return again as a fool.

Let them try,
Let them cry for me,
Let them yearn to see me fold.
I will be here should they wish to find me.

I will be waiting with the quiet people
in the shadow of Chimera,
waiting to see them rear their heads
against their native son once more
and remind them in a whisper,
who is watching
who is present

Them, and me, my people, our God
and history, watching,
waiting for the hammer to fall,
waiting for history to give us permission
to forget the name and the language of the People,
and the People's Land.

I returned to Omalass a guest,
Let me walk away again forever.
Should I know other joys
better than solitude,
let them be fleeting.

When Silence Was

Silence was not always so golden.

There was a time
when it was banal,
oppressive, deafening,
when men would
break their own bones,
crack their tender noggins
against walls of waddle,
daub, and timber-

to hear, and to feel
at the same time.

Out of desperation,
forests were cut down
in the hope that by
some crude geometric
a perfect pitch could
be hewn-

from the ewe,
the ash,
the elm.

There was a time when
the ear and the nose
had more in common.

Foul odours
and the foul noise
of the illiterate
and vain alike
swam together
in a cess,
polluting the air
with offense
and petty curses,
but that drowned
out the deafening
drone of blood
rushing through
the brain.

From there,
the street,
and then into
the chambers,
the concert halls,
where again,
sounds filled the
thick, hollow din
of a void,
sonus in absentia.

Where the constantly
fluttering hearts,
that lilt, and whirl
as they do today-

the hawks, doves,
grackles, swans,
and loons alike
who were always
migrating from
famine to feast
to day of rest,
would strain to
hear in the darkness
during the one time
when silence was
allowed to fall
and fill space.

It was when the conductor
ascended the podium,
and began the first

Silence was not
always golden.

Angry, cholic men
would write
and take those
fluttering hearts
old and young alike
to the terminus of
their emotional trajectories.

And the crowd could
leave in peace and fly
again into an uncertain,
and terrible future.

It was not until the age
din and whir and hum
that silence,
like freezing cold
and burning heat,
and the sea
and the air
could be tamed
and directed.

It was a force,
like nature and pain,
and though we
still dread its presence
in conversation,
and war,
what a relief that
we have learned to
accept it.