Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Joseph Lisowski writes



Rain spits on the cracked land,
enough to tease shallow roots.
It encourages manic thrust.

An hour later, the sun returns
to punish impetuous growth.
Its rays stir ashes,
mixing grass with sooty earth.

The rest of the day is lost to desert,
those winds that the Sahara sends.


Words slam against the roof of my mouth
before my tongue can move.
I try harder but feel nothing
except a steel lid no words can lift.
A desperate moaning below.
I exhaust all my power
by raising the lid a sliver.
Then slide down a ravenous cliff
where there is keening.

I fall in darkness
thick as sludge.
I strain every muscle
to reach the lead seal
that caps my heart.

I put my palm on it
and feel a faint beat
which I now record.


Calendars are slow reminders
of love missed.

Sorrow is a day
that never ends.


Communication always goes beyond words.
Language assumes structure, a temptation
to falsify by a decorum of sense.
Thinking is merely a grasping for patterns.

How can I say the truth,
knowing that language
cannot contain it. Syntax
is always referential.
Semantics a matter of preference.
Or habit.  Or exasperation.

I know imperfectly.  And
am known, not known.


My wife keens again
now in the bedroom as she prays.
I woke this morning at 4:30
and stared into suffocating heat.
Later, I turned on a light
to read Thomas à Kempis,
his Imitation of Christ:
"Words do not feed the soul . . . ."
I thought of what I am called to do.

My wife keens again
now in the early night.
I am in another room.
My words fall on the page
like sweat staining sheets.


Preference matters little.
Service is what counts.
We're given a gold ring
before birth and quickly lose it.
This marriage is broken
before we know the pain.
It's divorce, not annulment.
Our weakness laments the cure.

Even so, the world shines,
leaves twinkle in rain.
Exuberant flowers and
rotting bark alike
proclaim rapture:
life, death, life--
deeply inhaled, exhaled.

I live within the ring,
knowing what I lost.
But sensing only now
it is within my touch.

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