A sampling from THE WORLD AS IS

A sampling from THE WORLD AS IS

TOUCH

“… as though all life were death.”

—Ferdowsi

I

“If all you have is a hammer, everything
looks like a nail.” Say it: Implements speak.
Thus guns whisper to ruptured psyches: Touch
me all over. Feel how I quiver with the fire
damped in us both. Hold me, breathes the gun.
Trigger our one desire—and I will raise you up.

II

A street punk fucked my friend’s son up
for his wallet and a thrill. Pop-pop. Everything
bled out: past, future, Furies, gods. The gun
barked, and the stars forgot how to speak,
and silence poured down on my friend like fire
as he reached out for what he could not touch.

III

Have bloody entertainments murdered touch?
Facebook bullying? Torture by proxy? Look up:
the sky that seems so empty is, in fact, on fire
with being. We imagine emptiness in everything
to break the shackles of desire, the longing to speak,
to be. Emptiness absolves as it thunders from the gun.

IV

Mailman, mailman, where’s my gun? My gun,
my flex-tip ammo, my 30-round mags. (A touch
of manic cunning’s trained him not to speak
such litanies out loud.) Who can say what’s up?
Even the scheming shooter can’t grasp everything
he aims to do; but he’ll at last feel real when he fires.

V

As a kid I watched Davy Crockett by the campfire:
coonskin cap, possum stew, his muzzle-load long gun
propped against a Hollywood pine. How everything
glowed! How fondly the frontier king would touch
Old Betsy, slowly swab her barrel, then snatch her up
to kill some red marauder with nary a line to speak.

VI

They bleed in theaters, temples, schools; they speak
no more, love and dream no more. The same fire
kills them in cubicles, parking lots, alleys, up
in the boardroom, down in the lobby. Only the gun
doesn’t bleed, exists to penetrate what it won’t touch,
what the shooter won’t touch—which is everything.

VII

Touch matters. Say it! Tears well up in everything.
Touch them. Stroke skin, not steel. In the mirror, touch
the Other’s face—a fire that will never speak from a gun.

*

ODE TO SOMETHING

“Zero does not exist.”

—Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Why is there something
rather than nothing?
Because nothing
never was, was ever
just a trick of math
that turned
a placeholder
into lack,
into absence—
and zero
like a ball-peen
hailstone
struck
a crack across
the smooth windshield
of speeding
reason, making
the mind’s eye see
nothing
everywhere.

But nothing is nothing
like something,
something
with its amber
honeys, cabernets
and cheeses,
blood,
blindworms,
blossoms,
lips, hips, hands,
pain and rage,
heartbreak, night-sweats,
ten thousand joys
intense
and transient.
No wonder
so many dread
the sheer abundance
of something,
its “flow of
unforeseeable
novelty,” endless
irruption of
forms and essences.
How can reason hope
to hang its dream
of knowing all
on such a flood?
How feed
its fantasy of mapping
every last height,
every depth, making
both beginning and end
knuckle under
to understanding?
Therefore:
nothing. Nothing
that gives something
direction, an arc
of action,
a story,
a meaning,
the way deities
used to do.

Truth is, though, we
swim in mystery
reason can’t (can
never) plumb:
no beyond, only
being and somethingness:
our lives like sparks
in a vast
becoming,
bright flecks
of foam
on a breakneck river,
swirling in the world as is.

 

 

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