Divagations (25) Harbingers of Days To Come

by Jerome Rothenberg

Among forgotten words the passage vanishes,
erased, my head between my legs, my body
severed, cut from trunk to toes.
Suppose the light inside this room were
further darkness, that the shadows on this wall
were harbingers of days to come.
The time is nearly nigh to make a last
farewell, the future clearly now behind me, every
day as dark as every night.
A marker in the mind more real than what
the hand feels or the eye sees, the word imaginary
leaps out from the page, becomes a thing more
than a thought.
The world because it never was will never
be, the signs of which we learn to track, yet fall
behind & waver.
Smoke no more is holy, spuds & buds
won’t feed the soul, the price of pain is more
Canyons overflow, a city once so proud is
subject to the winds of change, the waves that
lick our shores are signals of a strange
Recollection steadies us but falters in its
final stage & casts us out.
In the killer’s mind the sky is overcast, the
stars are darkened, the glory of the King is in
the sky.
Why have you tricked me? someone cries
& falls across the bed.
His mother can’t recall his name, the
shame he brings her, waiting for the year to
end, the voices blending into silence.
The draught of violence that draws
extinction in, repeated twice,* the fire in the
eye, the mind imploding.
No counting of the years can quiet them
or us, the alphabet stands for a foreign tongue,
a speech forgotten, broken.
In the days to come let me step forward
with the rest, here where the shadow of a child
still live in me lets loose a final cry.
I walk along forbidden streets & speak
as who I am, a stranger to myself, surprised to
find me here.
Shallow or deep the words swirl in the
tiny pond, no inch of me concealed.
I am the real, once spoken, drives the
speaker to his death, unheard, unmarked,
unkempt, unsteady, unbelieved, unequal,
unadorned, unsung, unsullied, unalive.
Each one who writes is martyr to the
words he speaks.
Time after time.

A Field on Mars: Divagations & Autovariations

Last updated December 11, 2022