The flesh of blood and memory populates the world of BE, a collection of poems that stubbornly seek human identity in an increasingly inhumane world. In micropoetic narratives, the collective I says, “I am here,” and proceeds to explore the insular and peculiar ways language, emotion, and truth-telling scour the painful moments of vision that lurk beneath calm and unknown depths.
There are things one cannot ever hope to understand. Does existence precede essence even if essence was available? In a collage of disparate images, the BE poems spin together individual and collective states of feelings to examine the fragments of the human condition in little existences. Picture the man and woman wandering forlornly through an abandoned universe or what happens to some of the people in the villages, in the feudal backwaters where inhabitants become stupefied, brutalized and spiritually impoverished yet to the outside world appear to suffer a quiet, gentle contentment and peace. Or how we all live by pushing rocks up slopes, or as in some of the poet’s characters, by bottling the ashes of a once-dormant-now-live volcano for hawking to tourists as souvenirs.
Brooding. Teasing. Questioning. Doubting. Discovering. The quest could be tragic or comic, but the endeavour could stretch the most ordinary things into new shapes and meanings. As an assemblage, BE proves that it is possible to recover a semblance of reality, if not truth itself, through inferences that quite closely resemble it.
A way before
She loved to sleep
and wake up when she’d slept
around the corner, too.
Near the cop station
on Saturday as usual.
have had three winks
and might have been
dozing when she dreamt
all the way, trying to sleep
on Friday and wake up
on Sunday morning but didn’t.
She was still beautiful
while she slept scraping
the wall behind the bed
with her knuckles—
not actually remembering that—
the only place she could go
for as long as she wanted. It
might have been the same
night she stretched
and yawned and pulled
down the blinds and woke up
on a Monday twenty-six
Maybe because the mass of old trees
was not visible from the house
The only signs of life
flourished in the modest flower
of my imagination
The old house run-down and peeling
stirred uncomfortably like a restless bird
in the heat-exhausted sky
The minutes shut in their concentration
the table returning
to tree with my profuse admiration
Most of the melody would go
in the height of that stumbled-across summer
All the wrong shoes and sandals
the accepted offer of a ride
the abandoned furniture
Not even a fan or photographs
on the table to overcome my embarrassment
The hurts came
at night one after the other
not just along with the crazy mail
which did no harm
when the season changed
And we drank the evening lying
in that solitude united
by the full length of our denials
because unlike the tears
when the pilgrims reached their destination
afterwards the house opened inside
Heavy clouds sail low through the raging battle
in that ancient place sighted from the hills.
Time parcelling old fires
carries what remains of the disputed order.
The seasons sit pure in their extremes.
Variations of folded nights,
object and image transporting significance—
nothing will pass through the darkening radiance
Too late to uncrumple the world of silences,
shifts of discord,
the quiet lies waving at a distance.
In the morning burning sands will reveal
the imagined diminishing surface of water.
Watch out for the moon.
Expect bad weather.
Fish scales foretell a bad storm.
Moods— like pressure-system winds—
may last for days.
An old backing wind
shapes earth and expected news
as buoyant water hangs unsteady in midair.
Most wisdom never navigates backwards
but moves clockwise on the odd day.
Rivers run regnant with shiver,
skim through squall and inconstant billows,
stay inside the solace of a sudden stir,
seek harbour from the gathering runt.
Every salt-laden tree
can sting cheeks,
like the subtle teasing stress
of touching grasses or green surf.
History is a witch that turned—
stopped and hastened,
Later, it said, not then, not now,
turning the moment over and over.
Here, it offers blare and spill,
a flood of canvas.
The willing that looks like belonging.
The story of someone—
climbing out of a pit,
bare arms and feet clawing into effaced rock,
sliding over probability.