8; My American Nightmare II


On the grass are the headstones, piled in a heap…
the murders are up, and they’re coming in sprees.
The gravedigger, grieved, mutters as he breathes:
‘What is it, to be born into this? What is it to be dead to…?
What is it to be something?
…if we’re looking at each other like we’re already dead…’.


Can we go for a walk? fed up with this Gordian knot
in which my tongue and hands have got entangled.
The “language game’s” been played,
and there never is a “winner”, and right now
I’m some tense amateur,
ruddy at them having given trophies.

How much of life put to the training of strides?
the flexing and stretching of chords?
just to be in surer step with the rest of them.
How much put to the making of a name?
on these open-ended fields.
How much has my heart beat while upon them?
sore, yet still pulsating,
spiriting beyond delay and exhaustion,
and I lost track of which wind I’m on.


That turn-around after which
I gradually began to lose sound of the kid
that used to run beside me.
Looking only forward just to get ahead
to the imaginary mark set there
miles beyond where I then was.
With blurs in the peripherals of my vision,
but the clearest image in the center,
throwing over any who would step into the picture,
or whatever it was which happened in the way.
With some strength I didn’t know before,
propelling me to the place I aimed to go,
that left a heap of broken things,
and a host of others hurt…
who I likely would have otherwise cared about,
had I slowed.


Likely that I have been at times too invested in imaginations,
in envisionings, and descriptions, and distinctions,
and structures and systems and so on…
trying to salvage a relationship
by putting it to the Hegelian dialectic
might have been one of them.

“Bad Air!”,
exclaimed Nietzsche,
“Bad Faith!”,
interjected Sartre…
’bad move’, lipped Wittgenstein,
the morning after a night of alcohol and ice cream,
the gadfly, out of the bottle,
buzzing circles ‘round my head.

And now might be another,
caught up in with the self-deconstruction
of my dodgy soul.
With the usual vertigo
as I approach the threshold of an interesting book,
but always, with each, a leap of its own.
Preparing for the leap of faith I am to make
to be more wholly joined, and
bracing for a fall…
but I leap out to a vacuum,
with little sense of direction at the start,
for any where out here’s as good as any.
Pseudo-swimming with the space dust, floating,
and floating, and poking passing objects
into alternative trajectories.

And since there is no ground out here on which to stand,
I think I’m going to need at least a paper bag
to keep anything together…freaking out by now,
not having braced my agoraphobia for space.
So can I get a bit of gravitation?
or a planet? core? or star?
around which both these fragments and myself
could turn…
preferably before we’ve drifted any further from the earth,
lest we stray too near another vortext.

To be prized into more bits, it’s dangerous out here, I sense:
‘nothing but the text’.
Surrounded by the stars,
pouring lights on through the dark.

Then seek you sun into my night,
never will you span me full!
I am everywhere you’re not.
The darkness of my heart outruns you,
perpetually lagging after
my absence.


Soooo welcome to your brain? am I just here to entertain?
float around and tickle your neurons?
Or tease your strongest (or weakest) associations?
and (re)make a presence? or cause a confusion?

’Seems you like debunking, so this probably isn’t suiting,
ruined, if excitement’s in the sleuthing.
For I am just a bluff, the earthen layers well within my crust
face you exposed,
gnarled ribs like roots over my side.
The wild grasses of my skull
drip with the muses dew through morn’,
before dispersing with the sun.
And so I live for dusk, to drift off with the dark,
leaving some trick-like treats to any
who would chase me into night.


But I have sensed some kind of stirring with you,
jolting as would lightning through the storm,
a flash of the lantern to the sky
before the veil drops again on night.
The heartbeats of the earth,
waking over solitude and silence and security,
lunge at me in the dark…
and I’m shaking with the static sounds of rain
thrashing so relentlessly against the room
that it’s seeping through the crevice and the cracks.
’Held up inside trying to waterproof the window,
but now it’s falling from the ceiling
and it’s filling through the floors…
during the deluges of the winter fallout
that we’ve been in for years.

These broods of my heart are doubling on a daily
and the tissue’s soon to burst apart.
Gatherings go spilling out the fissures
by the sights and sounds
and whatever else strikes my senses.
And I go on clearing out the overflowing aquifers of my soul
for what better can I do when I am brimming?


So long dammed up by now
that the badly poured poor quality concrete
is cracking at the seams.
The gravel was not thick nor strong enough
for this stint of time and weight of water,
and the weatherings of winter
have eroded all the slabs.
Evacuate the towns and farms for comes these waters
flooding down, in blatant sublimations spilling outward from the springs…
flooding down, the spillways to relieve these pressures
weighing on my head…
flooding down “the pent-up aching rivers” of my sacrament.


These ‘I’s flash like lightning, these ‘you’s churn like suns,
whorl like pools and whirl like winds
and sit here like some rocks.
And knowing you in abstract isn’t knowing you enough,
beauty’s too unique,
and truth belongs to all.
‘Think the best good I can do then is leave be and let become,
and you can always reach me
in ‘I’s that I was once. ’Just that…
I thought I knew you times before, but ‘always got it wrong,
so I’m spacing you your breathing room,
and breathing in my own.

Well I’ve listened now to hella sides
and the filter’s got a clog,
and I can’t afford to fix the door the two of us tore off.
So I’ve been leaving for my joinings and walking off the falls,
forgetting my relations
for to have more dreams than haunts.
And I finally heard the very word I thought I didn’t want:
I listened to the lilies
and they told me to depart.
Now I’m just a parted lyric poet, in the reaches of the love,
and I’m a gardener gone to work
in our garden of regards.

And yeah, I “remember doing the time-warp”,
let’s not do it again,
for I’ve been staying in the margins
but am living on the fringe.
And I go on blending in,
but can’t seem to fit in,
and still my crotch is sore
from so much straddling the fence.
And I’ve tried to set the record straight
but only made it crooked,
and not to step on toes
but these rooms are so damn crowded.
Writing letters to the worlds I once disowned
to make amends,
knowing well the looks I get when I give,
but not when they are read.


“Ah, dear father, graybeard” I say thank you,
for never being one who’d yell the kids off the grass,
because I was that kid once, who asked you about it
with a wisp fetched from your yard.
“What is the grass?”
and you went straight into your head,
walked off without response.
As if going on an outing,
searching for a vista,
sensing where you’d step to find your view.
And so we followed from our distance,
the tracks you left were vivid,
easy to detect along the earth.
We knew you were aware of our snooping, and exhaustion,
as you turned, but didn’t stop,
just hollered “son”, “shoulder your duds”,
‘or come lean on my cuff’.

“Lonely old courage-teacher”,
I’ve held myself up by your hip so many times
that I wonder if you’ve not tired of my leanings.
And wonder, further, if I’ve yet returned the favor,
for abler now to brace you.
A mentor then, a friend since, my springtime visitation,
for what reason I can’t say.

Often stunned when I look again to then,
that I left to catch up…
and wonder what would be had we not been introduced
that day late in May.
I envision being with him, my twin, then, and again,
on reading the letter he left me in your book,
and weep.


Would I ignore him even here in vision? would I
glance there at his weary eyes and walk away again?

Things came at me too fast my twin, I ask:
had they for you?
One instance of becoming after the next, and I, then,
speechless, have been lagging behind since…
running to catch up to everything which seems further along,
or at least elsewhere, out of reach.
Still flailing, in an eerie luminescence, for others,
and for understanding.
Still moved on, now more vigorously onward,
by dint of sensing daily more my death.
Trying to get a word in with life, so busied it is, but,
stopped in my tracks, for sensing too our birth…
your presence from a note, I am solemn, again,
in sensing so our solitudes.
As if regards would make up for anything. I’d hope, for you,
they might.

Unheard from in life, and seen as was seen,
and did enough to make things different?
Just couldn’t say it right in person,
couldn’t show it much in public…
so leave these for your reciprocated invocations
if you should ever choose to call:
The things I wish I could have said, the ways in which I wish
I could have said them.

I just didn’t understand it then, in the moment,
and it’s taken me many moments more of solitude
to make any sense of it…
and many moments more of silence
to be able to say anything well enough about it.


Speaking with ancients and up-dateds alike; carrying on
our conversation…through crowded solitude
and loud silence; through dense shadow of night.
Forsake it though! if I cannot sit in with
this silence any longer;
as if one more turn would settle it…
the thing about peace:
it often isn’t only ruined in the moment.
“The forest primeval”, unyielding, yelling still,
hwooing through the pine trees of my conscience.
Restlessness, rustling through the leaves of lonely oaks;
harrowing my sojourns.

Laying in bed alone at night,
listening to the noises of the other animals outside:
the dog, barking, and a howling,
and the howlings…and its yelping and its crying
through the snarling and the gnashing,
and the silence.
Laying in bed alone in morning:
the they-thens, chirping with the rise,
defrosting my consciousness
with the waves of their wings and chords;
gladdened to remind the me-now of my abandon
to solitude.
While I’m baying to the murmurs, and will not lose the scent!
running off headlong headstrong into the wilds,
running toward my ends.

And yes, though things were never so enlivened, admittedly,
I’m frightened…this breath of death over my shoulder,
heaving more I flee, ceasing when I seek,
cacklings surrounding my callouts
as I wander through the night.
And I whisper, solemn, to myself, while staring into space:
forlorn, forlorn, forlorn, forlorn.


Singing of the self, and its belonging to a kosmos
of industries and passions turning ’round New York.

Silent in soul
as a dusk begins its looming over Denmark.

Shrieking up ‘the scream through smoking skies’,
burdened on the bustling roads of Oslo.

Sighing on the “dry sterile thunder with no rain”
for the scorched earth scarred by trenches across Europe.

Howling with ‘the minds destroyed by madness’
on the rooftops, streets, and parks of San Francisco.


As before, the spring rain is stirring these ribs
protruding from my spine, revealing, briefly,
what has taken place, before urging me on.
Yes, roused now for becoming, but disoriented,
and distressed, and disillusioned,
for what the last however-many years have wrought…
my cosmos in chaos, the sense made, unmade,
the dull roots,
dead or dying.

For every spring keeps bringing out more bodies,
temporarily buried during winter under snow,
frozen, so, preserved
after dropping in the fall to an ontological war…
and I am in with those who here have fallen,
my arm extending upward,
wrist loose, weak from exhaustion…
reaching through my index finger,
at what exactly,
I can’t discern…
and utter: “April is the cruelest month”.