New Poem: Contractions

The words emerged, I thought, from a book. But flipping through the pages of every article, anthology, play, or novel I had picked up in the past month only dead-ended me. Maybe I am quoting from my own imagination, or maybe my memory is becoming less reliable. Whatever the case, they’re words I am oscillating on; balance required. I feel the words run contrary to the statement which punctuates my liturgical prayers: “world without end.” But I am indebted to their truthfulness, maybe not entirely, but at least to speak on behalf the experience they embody. This poem is called “Contractions.” Don’t ask me why. As well, I left out any epigraph because I know not the source. If there was an epigraph it would be these words; the impossible to come to terms with, the not so easily carried away by Faith’s imagination, the hard and consequential words which are comforting the same way the desert sky might be: indescribable, isolating, infinite.

“When love has exhausted itself of all it is, it shall no longer be.”

 

Contractions

 

The sky goes on

Turning like a wheel.

The joints of the body lock

One against the other,

Gear their bones like a jaw

Rigged with teeth, grit,

Rush forward into the next

Hollow until the body occupies the frame.

 

The earth goes on

Turning like a spade

Beneath the leopard’s feet.

The entrenching of love

We greive and engrave

In the desert imprints

The family of bones

Buried in the oceans grave;

Whale skull, ship hull

Ornate with algae and seaweed,

Cancered with nacre

From the mollusk’s breathing.

 

The mouth goes on

Shaking like an earthquake

At the presence of beauty.

Tremble with love, sweet forehead,

This aneurism is God’s unburdening;

Giving come to one end,

Given of everything

Pried from the shell

Of the world’s rivered body.

 

The voyage goes on,

Ferried like the ship

At the bottom of the sea;

Stretching like the mouth of the leopard,

Like the earthquake of clouds;

Shaking like the bones and the music

They hold as a holy presence

Against themselves: muscular,

Enfleshed, teeth set with whispering of earth,

The voice of all misgivings.

 

The silence goes on

Like a man beneath the ground,

Skull of the eyes open,

Wheel-shaped, holding nothing,

Leaving behind everything.

 

The end goes on,

Saying amen to the dead,

To the living, to the intention

Of the wheel’s speed

As she is brought to fury

And agony at the unexhaustion

Of love’s slow refusal

To cease to be.

 

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