188

a new european dark age |

she wrote: I don’t think it’s the trip that’s making me low, I was just low before I came.

some months later, someone you don’t know wrote: I’ve been feeling really low the last couple of months and I’m not sure going away by myself was the best decision. Out there it was just an extension of how I felt already and without my buffers I felt it more acutely.

and now me, I felt the same way too when I went away in June. Listless. Unanchored. Lo(w).

impending dark ages, a call awaited.

187 (a)

from Derek Walcott’s Forest of Europe

Who is that dark child on the parapets
of Europe, watching the evening river mint
its sovereigns stamped with power, not with poets,
the Thames and the Neva rustling like banknotes,
then, black on gold, the Hudson’s silhouettes?

From frozen Neva to the Hudson pours,
under the airport domes, the echoing stations,
the tributary of emigrants whom exile
has made as classless as the common cold,
citizens of a language that is now yours

the personal museum (1)

A propos of yesterday. There are always too many words, or not enough. This time last year I felt different about this image, about you. Images were sufficient because the grief was a found-photo: there was longing, gradually fading at the edges, but comfortingly constant. Now, they’re inadequate. Relationships are in continual flux, even after they end; yet the images of you remain frozen, rejecting dialogue. And they hold up the image as evidence of your immutable divinity.

The image is not enough, but it’s all I have, so for that reason I’m writing to you now. To explain that I need to escape your image, your fixed gaze that still refuses to see me after all this time. I’ll carry it with me—how can I not when our faces are so similar—but I must frame it differently. I hope you’ll understand that at times I’ll have to look away, even as, you’re looking at me.

179 (c)

CELLS

Thought benign
whitened father’s eyes
and body within;
sells your you before you’re you
a mutated cell.

after 2001, charged, you changed
now what do you call them?
ah, dark men from cages once cells.

There was a cliché about oysters
to which he replied, ‘They’re just cells. You can’t get out!’
She rolled her eyes, folded her arms, and told him he was being melodramatic.
He smiled and tucked his hair behind his ear because he damn well knew it.

And then she dug her right thumbnail deep into his left wrist until they could see inside.