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Draft 63: Dialogue of self and soul
first appearance: "Draft 63: Dialogue of Self & Soul." The Poker 4 (Summer 2004): 50-54.

I don't know what to do
about this rampant hunger.
I've read Akhmatova
and live as if in vigil,
cold and stark, watching
the ramparts of my country
for some shift inside the walls.

                                      You say "as if" as if you sought a metaphor.
                                      Dark striated shadows flood the mind:
                                      It is All Rift. Crime awakens crime.
                                      Recoveries bargain and lose. The only rule:
                                      Abandoned in and by what Is.
In Swan, Denab pulses, implacable,
immeasurably more luminous than our sun.
Another strand of the unutterable
lump of knot, the shock
of breathless starlit air.
For if we took this fullness in—
something would change?

                                        Nothing would.
                                        Denab is too remote.
                                        And about others,
                                        as for their blood on the fruit,
                                        as for preventable pain,
                                        perversely too close.
                                        We lack imagination
                                        of the unimagined.

Yet "unimaginable" is Secret Twin.
I yearn to see the moon, to have clouds
break apart. Instead they close.
No metaphor. All flatness. No results.
This ran aground, cannot go on.
Is it possible to begin twice?
No, not sing. Just start.
                                          Then how will you select
                                           your emblematical initial
                                           for the First Word
                                           in that newly freshened book?

                                           Will it be poetic O of moon,
                                           the charismatic location
                                           for today,
                                           in suspension inside time,
                                           one letter beyond N
                                           and completing the NO
                                           Or perhaps the P of Paralysis?

Don't mock this; do not mock its desire.
It simply needs to be forgiven.
19 columns of impacted writing
are indexed under 26 letters.
Why zero in on one?
I'd hardly say that letters
do not matter, their brilliant serif-im as fire,
but thinking only of design, of mystical nets,
will not absorb the imprint of our time.
One begins already restless, enmeshed,
trapped, in fact, in endless twists.

                                           It seems to me no gesture does enough.
                                           The palette is plethora;
                                           grief the news and rage.
                                           The poem's magic eye
                                           is startled by the page
                                           where it should lie in peace.
                                           Or so they say.

I never made that claim.                 
Tonight the planet earth, one total thing,
will cast a brownish stain
over our intimate, the big-faced moon.
Clouds are in the way.
And I'm resisting allegory.
Still, this is the moment of penumbra.

                                              Here is the traditional theme
                                              for the scholar-amateur
                                              who contemplates a waterfall,
                                              or anything, really,
                                              that might be seen
                                              as generating signs
                                              for self-same self to read.

                                              Sitting huddled on a city-deck
                                              walking the plank of your life,
                                              cold, even in May,
                                              supposed to see an eclipse,
                                              you barely catch a glimpse.

There is no Ought; just Is.
Trying then to read what Is
upon this murky path
scraped along a brilliant stone
a.k.a. our clay and iron clod,
magnetic mite that moves its milky blue
inside some arc—is fearsome.
Better to say "illiterate in these signs."
My eyes, my heart are stone.
                                                  You say you want to see
                                                  what you do not see. Or
                                                  can't interpret whatever
                                                  you do see. Pathos
                                                  this motif. There is the said, the
                                                  unsaid, the barely said, the next
                                                  within the text, the fear.
                                                  A page turns somewhere else.
                                                  Vision's blocked at every turn.
                                                  Accept it. This failure is the vision.

What's the covenant?
who is propitiated?
who assuaged? who profited?
The judge fell off his perch
and broke his neck.
He heard the news and lost his balance.
That was the end of valid judges.
Now we are led and judged by monsters.
Where is my place?

                                            There's nothing more for you
                                            than where you are.
                                            The saturation of
                                            stupefied unhappiness
                                            inside your stumbling heart.
                                            We're caught inside our time,
                                            a tunnel in a cave.
                                            No litter is neutral; no hope is uncorrupt.

Would cloud-caught moon
just reach that open patch of sky
so I can catch the eclipse?
The here and there do not match up,
the what I want and what I get.
10:28, 15 May 2003.

                                             Such yearning to see
                                             this little slice of time
                                             darken preternaturally.

It looks to be going into deeper umbra
                                             What is darker; what is lighter
Will these clouds move?
                                             Was this the hope, or that

Am I seeing it?
a smudged nuance
risen at the bottom of the moon?
The meniscus bubble of brown light
makes time visible in space
                                             and a thousand miles of darkness
                                             pulls like a dinghy
                                             across the luminous surface.
                                             Such strange stakes within the endless.

                                             August-December 2003

Notes to Draft 63: Dialogue of self and soul.

There are a few citations from W.B. Yeats' "A Dialogue of Self and Soul" and "Ego Dominus Tuus."  The Biblical allusion (one of the patterns of the "line of six") is 1 Samuel 4.