Saturday, July 17, 2010

vagabond's tale

Oh...perish the thought!
I'm just a mad wanderer,
like a poor trainless hobo
stomping around here
in southern Arkansas
to places real, unreal,
and a few in-between.

That guy who does poems
is taking a day or two off,
and he asked me to sit in
here under this shade tree
and do some daydreaming.

This old willow is sighing,
so it'll work fine and dandy
as a place for languishing.

I'll tell you a quaint little story,
worked up as sort of a parable
or maybe it's like a worn map
plotting out no destination. goes nothing...

Somehow, the young man
found himself in a backwash
of the slow Ouachita River.
Down past Moro Bay ferry,
floating into a dismal slough.
His dinghy made no noise...
as he drifted into the strange.
His thoughts calmed down...
as he drifted into the strange.

And the world soon spoke.
He thought it was a dream.
And the world said “I'm here.”
He thought it was a dream.

“I am here under these forms,
but I am not of these forms.
I am the blind musician who
sometimes grieves in music,
in the songs from Mississippi,
in the voices of black singers.
But I am boundless and live
even now on Jericho's plain,
being strode by stern Hebrews...
in the flint and sand they tread
up to the wall of broken bones.

“I am old and filled with fullness.
Starlight glances off my absence.
Great thunder unheard beneath
vast seas translates me roughly.

“Can't you see me without eyes?
Can't you hear me without ears?
Young man...I grant you vision
this dead-water day of ravens
bouncing in the snaky limbs.

“I give you my haunting void,
and I seek nothing in return.
Know that I hold all the gods
and all the forms and all souls
in the teeth of sharp memory.
All these plasma days of suns
and all the nights lovers kiss
across divides of mighty seas
are never lost in time's illusion.

“I hold all things inside the riddle
of my clear abyss. My stark tone
vibrates into every grain and star.

"I am as hard as granite. I am
as soft as sighs. And all the gods
were given their shapes by me.
I visit Bacchanalias of wild ones
who have no temples, only fire.
I am the life of life, so I am also
the death of death. If you fall
into a well of melancholy know
you have fallen into my heart.

“You have seen me so naked now!
Young man, you have felt the tone
of silence that is my great octave.
Only speak of me when you find
words that can be a suggestion.

"It is time now for me to be absent.
I will return as the æther in objects."

* * *

Well...did you like my story?
It's more or less a true one.
I think it's about time to go.
I think the poet is returning.
I believe I'll drink this wine
down to the bottle's bottom
and then head to Louisiana.

But before I go ambling off,
let me toss you a nice adage:

if you see a raven bouncing
with two eyes like diamonds,
stare straight at that sucker.
You might notice "something"
very odd staring back at you.

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