Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Exercise 4

He took the old pen,
the blue bic with the burst nib
And ran it along his arm,
up the river, not across the street
Again and again.

According to Borges the number of metaphors
That are accurate depictions,
that strike us as true,
are limited,
the rest are merely startling, forgettable.
Time is a river. The stars are eyes. Blood is water.

the tools are small and finite,
the recombinations of these arbitrary symbols,
almost dizzyingly infinite.
In the river that is time that is his blood ,
he saw the small dead men,
miniscule roadwork crews
that paved the roadways of his arteries,
that pumped the leaking bellows of his heart

They are the dead men that run with the hunt in the night
that live in the hollow hills,
that eat the bread and drink from the bowl of milk,
that hate iron and the sound of bells.

Among them is a childhood friend,
a stealer of cars and pocket money,
a hoarder of miniature liquor bottles,
a walker of traintracks now dead and buried young.

He is a Polaroid of his sixteen year old self,
the sweatpants pushed up too high on the leg,
the heavy metal teeshirt.
He is riding a stolen bike along the inside of the vein,
bunnyhopping red blood cells,
chainsmoking Marlboro reds in the man's pink lungs,
spraypainting his name along the bridgework of the bones.

He seems content if lonely
waiting for the rest of his gang
to hop the train that takes them here,
the final arcade that is inside the middle aged man’s body.

He has made himself a kingdom,
he is an empire to himself.

This one lay himself down into a sleep
and never woke,
here another found dead by his wife,
this one by his own hand,
up the river not across the street,

they live in him like worms in cheese,
like birds in air,
like deep sea fish in darkness
inside the hollow man,

that clanking automaton
of levers and pulleys,

the dead say nothing to him,
having said their allotment of words
go back about their work,

the pavers, the bellows, the vandal
that carves his name into the back of an eye,
memento mori.,

Vita brevis breviter in brevi finietur,
Mors venit velociter quae neminem veretur,
Omnia mors perimit et nulli miseretur.
Ad mortem festinamus*

and a pen knib scratches out a portion of stars,
and an eye peers in through the broken firmament
to the man’s small house and street and allotment of breath

Our bones are built of bones
the world and the word is flesh.
The sky is the dome of a skull

* from the Red Book of Montserrat
with thanks to the juicy and delightful Ms Rachel Mckibbens

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