Thursday, August 08, 2019


No manifesto but the breath
till even that goes.

I found my orphaned voice one day
it was living in the ruins of a house
collapsed years ago beneath the weight
of what was unspoken.

I sculpted diction like pulp fiction
gifting it the colloquial violence
of a gun.

I lifted glib scriptures from a sweet
preacher's passions to fashion misspelled
gospels from its own fears

whilst the illegible heart left the tracks
of its tears untranslated.

But the word got out.

No manifesto but the breath
till even that goes.

I misread the writing on the walls
that said a death without joy
is a night without stars

and at last when I comprehended
I penned this on remnants of night
between pinpoints of light.

I misunderstood, people are not killed
for what they say, but for its echoes.

The roar of distant suns is unheard
yet years after their deaths are we
aware of their presence,
when it is darkest.

No manifesto but the breath
till even that goes.

We have all misspoken
testimonies consigned to air
are yet tethered to earthly prejudice

word balloons are too leaden to fly
and make cartoons of speech's reverence.

We have all misspoken
and for it our ends will be identical
when the bottom drops out, all swinging
our days away on the rope of this life.

Our inexhaustible diatribes
our inexpressable disbelief choked between
lip and lungs and lost forever.

No manifesto but the breath
till even that goes.

But tongues will cleave to language as fire
to that which fuels it until all meaning is
burned out and nothing more can be said
and history cannot be recited nor repeated
until we are left standing in the ash
of voices fallen from a feverish nation
with its tongue inflamed.

The ash of voices spiraling down in ever
slower revolutions

to a day we have waited in their remains long
enough to recognize the virtuosity of their silence
to a day when every song martyred by mouth
goes unsung once.

The harmonics of sympathetic strings
and crossed wires fading at last to leave
empty the contemplative air and room enough
to simply breathe.

I heard somebody crying.

We don't cry in the streets, do we?

Laugh. Argue.

Hanged conversation is laundry on the line
between points A and B

and even in despair
the boxed silence.

But I heard somebody crying,
the most private, the most vulnerable
of human sounds.

And if we don't actually prey upon
we ignore the injured among us,
stacked tens upon thousands in camps

squats, tenements, trapped housing;
the lights flickering,
our empathy short circuited.

But I heard somebody crying.

And I followed down alleyways
amidst those wanting to disappear,
and others broken,
the crevice open in the back,
the white hot filament in the throat,
the eye sockets stuffed with filth,
the mouth corralled by needles.

I followed
disentangling the sound
from that of bells ringing out
the remaining hours of our divinity,
or at least our memories.

Same thing.

Oh, to see these hierarchies of regard
and worth as broken ladders
not burned bridges
not part of a vexed diagram.

And meanwhile, the monkeys wave at us
from the trees, saying 'come back,
come back, you've gone too far.'

But I heard somebody crying.

And I followed. Past a hundred
evocative and revealing scents
accompanying like ghosts the jubilant
masque which passed before them.

From Ave to Requim, we stink,
or try desperately not to stink.
Never a whiff of the desperation
beating on our skins.

And this place knows.
And this place knows, the rain
can be a shroud for such raw souls.

The still mewling harlequin feotus
interred in the heart of the city.

I followed there.

The rooms parceling the air,
along the widened avenues
the brick door corridors and cutting
edges always laid so close
to the bleeding ones.

I followed there.

Through the babel and squeak,
the profound and profane
tongues tied and loosed as rope
binding bodies to their past,
tethering them to their present,
their 'Who' the last thing they truly own.

That and their gods, their only knowns
when each one a knot in the weave
of this one heaving net.

I heard somebody crying.

A snapped twig, a turn for the worse,
a final straw, a black mark,
a forgotten thing.

I heard somebody crying as I stood
in the centre of these grand schemes
made irrelevant.

Stood to centre in great shame
made naked, lost to all reason,
fallen and unable to locate
or even recognize its resonance
in my own weeping cavity, I followed.

And it has led me here.