Wednesday, February 12, 2014

verses from the bluffs

[I have written many lines of poetry, prose, and song lyrics informed indirectly by the "The Event", but the following are directly inspired. I offer them below as an appendix to "The Bluffs."]

A Man Drowns

When the struggle ends
And the urge to reach the lighter blue—
Above, below, beside—
Is gulp-bellied and quiet,
He is utterly sure,
Positive for the first time in his life,
That he will survive
With that comes the calm.
Fish swim in gelatin, in wiggling arms
Of refracted light.  The water
Is air, is life liquefied, is cleaner
than the breath of mountains,
is filling his lungs.
A bubble floats from the darker blue
Encompassing a world.
Strange continents
Like an amniotic fetus
Globulate within.
Guts and muscles relax.  He quits,
Simply stops, and surrenders,
Suspended between gravity and buoyancy.
He sees the candles lit for him,
The wreaths, and hears
The hoarse roar of the furnace,
Feels it.  He swallows
Then is swallowed by
The gathered spectrum--gone from here
In search of his survival.


To Get the Sense of Drowning


Some Spring mornings feel like Autumn, some

Autumn ones like Spring, and for a moment

I get dizzy—

Days spent confusing them with others. 

And once, in a vortex,  I felt myself slipping into


A preposterous mathematics. Once revived, still barely alive

I mistook myself

For everyone.  Now huddled over my direful chest—all lungs

And barely life—now praying to God, now god Himself,

Now the pretty paramedic.


June always sneaks impertinently in when I’m not quite

Done with May.  December too with its ticking bomb

Of shopping days and ball-drops, my own pallid birthday

Compared to Christ’s impending one. 

And middle-Alabama knows its shocks of heat and rain on any

Random square of the calendar.


Of the jillion cigarettes I’ve smoked, I remember

Two in particular.  One—I snuck past the nurses and into

My convalescent lungs.

Two—mother caught me with my head out the window, her

Disappointment matching mine at all possible

Points in time. Singularly.




Disabused in Ambulance 

An angel hovers above you
Backlit by glory.
Supplying air, fastening her gaze,
Her silver eyes, your failing ones.
Breathe.  Not a command,
A suggestion.  If you want to live.
Only if you want to.
You do.  If only for her. 
You breathe. Her wings
Detach. The siren moans,
You recollect your death,
Assume your revival.
Your resuscitation.  Breathe.
You lie, half-naked,
On  shale.  Her open mouth,
Sour breath, your pummeled chest.
Breathe!  A command.
You obey.  For her.
The siren moans.  You moan.


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