Friday, January 20, 2006

Ex Cathedra VI -not really.

Note: these poems are written without much premeditation. I have had these dark religious symbols of death and birth congregating solemnly withing my heart for years now. Obviously I am relying heavily on Dante's Divine Comedy imagery.

I am not attempting to write good poetry, but rather to write poetry on a regular basis, online, with that strangely warming and inspiring knowledge that there is the possibility that others are watching.

I am looking for life. I am looking, in my poetry, to find humility and repentance. Poetry is always in the pursuit of knowledge.

I will, of course, try to say this in a poem.
Right now. Here we go.


Bly, you are my brother.
And Stafford, we share blood.

And therefore I must straighten your collars
as I pat your backs. Because I see
that your poems are fields of velvet-furred
lemmings, marching, upward.
You care for each lemming
as I care for my birds - you carress
as you let go of each. Saying
"Go, and do the magic dance once more"

which they cheerfully do, shaking hind legs
in rhythm to their boisterous barking.
You see, they are always going somewhere.
You cannot release a creature of the wild
and think he will not go somewhere.
It is only the disease of man to sit.

Up the gleaming hillsides they stream
in rivers of bright eyes and oily almond hair -
almost romantically fair, except for the fact
that they are rodents - there is humor in that.

You wait, I wait, for that moment beyond the humor.
When they come to the hill-top, beneath the very sun itself,
and come to the end of themselves, the end of the thought,
where our genius careens downward suddenly.
But the words, our dear Lemmings, dont know any better.
They keep marching. We wait to see what will happen,
you and I, and I know, my brothers, this is the moment
that poetry is brightest - when they have suddenly pause in air
before the wide-eyed tumble down to the sea of our unknowing.

They are most beautiful in that moment.
I know. I have held them in my arms in that moment.

But, Bly, Stafford - they fall.
They do not redeem us at all.

I know you have considered this -
I know I'm not the first.

But it is my holy curse
to make a creature
who bends his little leg - who stops before reaching
the beauty of the death of a mind
trying to see the sun itself -
a field of awkward little rodents, shining,
kneeling. Waiting on the world's edge.


TheRPH said...

I love that creature imagery. I want to hear their rodent noises

s.t.liaw said...

I haven't read much of your recent ones, Justin, but Sarah Williams and I just read one of your old ones about waiting and being weary of waiting for death.

We loved it.

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