A Random Image

(it was posted once for me, and now I post it for you, because it is so impossibly beautiful and fitting and because tonight some questions were answered that made everybody squirm as more questions Phoenixed up from the ashes of the previous ones)

The Advent Of Zero.

I know that someday you will tire of everything

as I have already, heavy as the lidless eyes

of God, the father of insomnia, and yes,

I couldn’t sleep again last night, tossing

like a coin upon which some meager fate flips:

what will I eat tonight? Am I hungry?

And which direction will I find kindest

when at last the noise of my leaving blanches

all else out? No sounds, no music like cotton,

no birds in their boughs singing like angels

in January, because this is Alabama,

so warm here that snow is a kind of mad myth.

And I know the world cares not a whit,

if I may invoke the tongue of a corseted age,

for these few words that run out from me

as though I opened a wound on the blind edge

of something in the dark, impossible

to see, sucked up in the night as though

my heart, yes, my heart, were a black hole.

And maybe it is. Draw nearer, O thousand loves,

to see if you escape me, if from my ribs

a contraption worthy of science fiction

ticks like a bomb, if it is not meshed

with barbed wire and bits of glass from bottles

drained of their amber soda.

With the omniscience of the broken heart,

I claim my future successes and disavow

all that I ever touch that crumples

in the gathering dust of closets and corners and heaps.

To anyone who will take it, I divest

myself of the bike hanging from a hook

that I never rode, given to me

so impossibly long ago that it was not me at all.

Not the me that cannot help

but haunt the mailbox giving back

most days more sadness than I sealed therein,

with a wish, a lock of smoke-thin whimsy,

the wet touch of my tongue I know was made to kiss.

And to you, whom these words reach:

know that my apologies were true,

they rang like the bright peal of incredible bells.

Whole days I spent trying on your name

like new clothes—

no, like old, rumpled, patched, familiar, warm—

I was wrong to think of you as new.

I have known you forever, since the advent of zero,

since the rain first struck the earth

like a terror, and really, let us admit

we are being modest before the face of time.

To plumb those depths is loss, loss, loss,

to wait forever and in vain to hear

at the strained horizon of the day

for the splash or muffled clank of the pebble

you dropped to gain some notion

of the fall. Let us admit this and more

in our silken descent from the stars

back to separate pillows, the confusion of covers,

and though I cannot believe it,

I have come again to the bed, my own,

of course, for I cannot speak

your world into mine.

// Paul Guest, &copy 2003

Ohhhh, Paul Guest, I could kiss you on the mouth for channeling my life through your pen. How do you manage such a thing?

5 worked it out »

  1. V. 8.29.2005

    That is lovely.

    I hope your questions were as honest as the answers they required.

    It is best this way: to find the courage to allow one’s heart to seize momentarily with fear at the asking, as opposed to living in quiet dread of the day such questions will arrive.

    Good luck, hon.

     
  2. redclay 9.1.2005

    this scrambles my eggs everytime i read it.

     
  3. Jettomatika 9.1.2005

    You have ovaries?

     
  4. redclay 9.2.2005

    i could have all the eggs i could ever want, delivered.

    we all have a skill.

     
  5. redclay 9.2.2005

    “I have known you forever, since the advent of zero,

    since the rain first struck the earth

    like a terror, and really, let us admit

    we are being modest before the face of time.

    To plumb those depths is loss, loss, loss,

    to wait forever and in vain to hear

    at the strained horizon of the day

    for the splash or muffled clank of the pebble

    you dropped to gain some notion

    of the fall. Let us admit this and more

    in our silken descent from the stars

    back to separate pillows, the confusion of covers,

    and though I cannot believe it,

    I have come again to the bed, my own,

    of course, for I cannot speak

    your world into mine.



    my love is bigger than your love.

     

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