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Posts Tagged ‘Prose Poem’

The maze of drunken perceptions had led him to the only place familiar to such a shadowed mind. He recalled little except drowning each word that rose from out his throat with alcohol. No matter, it was not as if they didn’t echoed in his head the same – Elle, why? He had made the error of all mankind, he tried to give beauty a name, confine it to a place, a time, a woman. He should’ve just left, when he felt that tell tale feeling. He knew he was in over his head – but he continued.

Rather than reclining next to Elle on the ancient oak desk he was sprawled as a disorganized mass across large granite steps in the shadow of a church. The familiar gargoyles had heard his woes before, always drunken, never heartfelt. The ritual was almost complete. He had started the chain of events which always led him to his computer to produce another book. The press would undoubtedly call it ‘ingenious’ and ‘inspired’ and with their permission the flock would unleash its gluttony onto every page – melting, swooning, blushing.

He thought of naming the main character Elle. What sickness he must have had in his mind to entertain such a notion. What perversion would he have been unleashing onto reality or onto fiction? The Created Lover would be the title. But such was not his style, he didn’t write tragedies. What he wrote was mockery, attempting honesty and beauty at the same time always falling short of actual experience. He was the tragic writer of the pitiful 20th century, and he had nobody to blame but himself.Greatness, this is what he pursued. What he got was popularity close enough in appearance to greatness to satiate him in his younger years. What other reason was there to do anything, if not out of some perceived greatness? What did throwing a hundred women to the ravages of their own mind mean when compared to greatness? Was it so bad to use other human beings if it meant fueling the pen which would turn the tables of time into the new era? Such was his attitude when he first found himself upon the steps of this very church, a decade ago.

Time had wrought an entirely different complexity onto his face. For as much as his desire for greatness had forgave his ethical dilemmas, nothing felt worse than realizing his perceived greatness was nothing more than illusion. What now could he offer to God as penance? What could be worse than throwing a hundred women into a lost lover’s despair? What was more damnable than using other human beings for fame? How delusional was he to assume to think that his works of straw would hold against the fires of time? He was a fraud.

Despite all this, he continued, for it was the only thing he knew. Was he free at all in the face of such fear? He knew no God, nor any comfort or love, but yet he returned to this place. A place familiar to him since childhood. Here is where people were forgiven, whether by God or by man or by self. He only needed to here three words. Once hearing those magic three, he would be free to write his magnum opus – whether for greatness or for self.

With this hope he rose. He was stripped of flesh, muscle, and bone; all lost in the labor of retreat. He was nothing, a ghost caught in the wind. Amidst himself he carried the book he had stolen after his encounter with Elle. It was heavier than his entire being, and pulled him low to the ground. Looming before him were the massive doors of St. Augustine’s Cathedral.

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He had lost her again. Not that he had ever had her, or known her, beyond some name – which was probably little more than syllables used to disguise. Elle, what sort of name was that? Clearly a fake name, a pseudonym, to hide some life she tried to escape from; little more than a desire for fantasy, no more or less than a child’s desire to escape into a world of pretend. Yet, she had escaped to him. In her fevered mind he had become a hero, a knight, or an entire kingdom for her to exist within, in the most purest of ways, devoid of any possible lie.

And he had lost her. Not her, in her body, as herself. But her in the fact that she was every girl he had ever met, or known, or not known, or even loved. He had made hasty retreat in the face of something unexplainable, something frightening, as such was a woman’s eye. He had not left without anything; however, from that dusty old study long entombed by an abandoned building.

He barely noticed that it was raining. Under his arms, half his loot was now getting damp. It was an old copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy, complete with Gustav Dore’s illustrations, and a preface written by Aldous Huxley. His other loot could not get wet for it was well enclosed within a solid bone bell jar. Within the fertile soil of his mind a seed had been planted, a seed which would grow into a kudzu of words, growing and devouring the nutrients of the field until all but it had died. Then he would arrive to harvest his bounty, but for now he just let it grow.

That, after all, was why he did this. Why he held such treasures only to discard them. Why he insisted on knowing only a first name. He couldn’t trust himself to not know them deeply. Even now his skin stripped of his flesh in the face of an insurmountable wet wind. It dissolved like sugar in the rain, running in the streams along the side of the road back toward her. She was still there; he could make it back before morning. But then he would forsake the kudzu for a flower, for the two cannot share the same soil. To write, or to love. His mind was burning with toil.

To make things worse the nausea had returned. The nausea he had felt only once before, in the presence of one girl, before writing books was even an option for him. Back when his fallow fields had not known a seed, before he knew what a harvest he could yield. It was two years before the shared the same bed. It wouldn’t be an entire year before the harrowing. Madness returned to his mind, blinding his eye, and making all houses look the same – he walked past his house.

He could smell her still on him. Some mix of exotic flower essence and distilled spirits. He needed to get her off him. Her weight had stripped skin from his bone. The hollow banging sound of his legs brushing together accompanied the wind howling through his open ribs. Beneath the once opaque calm sea was a violent muscle floor showing its labored work. Such footsteps that he made were the heaviest to make and were the footsteps of giants.

His transparent body made people passing by fear what thoughts raced through his mind. His eyes darted around, looking for something to explain or to understand, but found only blind colors. Answers were hidden to his eyes like the fish of the sea, like the leviathans in her eyes, like the words in her mouth. Strangers understood his confusion, and knew it well, as the mark of a madman who wanders around the streets looking for prey.

By the time he reached the bar all vital organs, all muscles, veins, and tissues had left a trail through the raining streets. He was an empty, hollow skeleton save for two objects: a brain, and a barely beating heart. He put the book on the table and motioned for a beer – since all words had left him.

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The unfurling sky known only as ‘Elle’ hung over the world of things briefly as her once vertical body had become a horizontal mirror to their reality. The hanging white sky had patch work clouds made of shadows mocking the objects around the room on her back. The distant and unknown mockeries of real things grew bigger and in so doing, marked the acceleration of a woman caught in gravity plummeting onto the world of things.

The desk was alive with passion and heat. What objects were lucky enough to roll of the edge could only imagine the reality of those left under the soft flesh of the fallen sky. The lamp tipped, landing on its switch, and turning on with a flash of brilliance. Meanwhile, the only thing standing on the desk was the globe who supported an upside down atlas on its brass top. The pages marked where some forgotten traveler once peered allowing the waters of the Mediterranean to become alive to his eyes, before turning them over and making them the sky atop the globe, whose base now found itself intimately close with the nape of the young woman’s neck.

Beneath a rolling white sky the spines of several books cracked. Sweat caused thin pages to stick to flesh – Shakespeare’s Tempest clinging to the posterior of the whispered ‘Elle’. Her head gently forced up by a thick anthology of Plato’s complete works. Her back arching over volumes of assorted poetry. The rest of her bed was too dense to be described here. The still erect bronze sun stood over her, reaching his fingers down to pluck a single page from a book, pinned while escaping, just out of reach of her left bosom.

He read aloud: “I have awakened from the death of absence, my Elle! my spirit arises, strengthened, as from sleep”. His other hand ran over soft stomach and rested on her hip. It was now, as she hanged limply over the antique desk like Dido, that she gained the strength of Antaeus. The leviathan’s again awoke and met the man’s eyes.

She whispered: “A sin so sweet, I think I shall indulge twice”. The two lay together. A day had passed, and now a night. The room had only one inhabitant again. On the second day the morning appeared in the window of the old study and the woman was alone. As if it had all been a dream, but it had not. She turned the paper in her hand over, and read aloud: “‘Silly! what is parting?’ she whispered mysteriously, with the smile of an immortal”. She allowed the paper to float to the ground. “Parting is such sweet sorrow.”

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Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. In…

From underneath the horizon a hand latches onto the nape of her neck. Her breathing is cut short by the emergence of another body. The life giving in and out, the gentle airy wind, now filters through another mouth. Again silence lays heavily on the world of things below the spectacle. What splendor, what sorcery. From one body arises another as if called from within her.

She closes her eyes, and the world-gorgers disappear as if turned inward. They hide under the surface of eyelids and lashes. Who knows what other worlds they feast on. The hand around her neck slips off, allowing her to emerge over the leveled desk. Her once large proportions suddenly becoming titanic. Rising like a mighty tree whose canopy cannot be seen. Her once intimate details are no longer visible as endless curves flow toward the heavens.

The ivory landscape is uninterruptedly smooth save for a small divot whereupon hung a metal loop still within reach of the desktop world. The gemmed whole hung like the moon, a dark hole in a white sky which appeared to suck in the viewer as if by gravity or some other natural force. Yet its contents where obscure, forcing the untrained eye to dart about the fleshy horizon out of shame.

Her sunrise fingertips run along the desk, writing history in the dust. A single wave ending at a small ornate bookmark that bisects the plot of a hefty Russian novel, one typical to the snowy tundra – a handful of lovers, tormented by their own minds, and subject to a fate written out as history by the narrator. The bookmark would never know the end, probably for the better, it had been abandoned by the reader who got bored of reading about a hero confined to his couch.

Her right hand was not so worried about the world of things, it grasped for a companion still hidden from sight. She motioned, and a new horizon emerged. The landscape was rocky and tough. Compared to her, its ground seemed muddy, red, and infertile; but strong. He too had eyes – dark endless eyes that cast shadows over the world. They were deep like calculation. They moved back and forth with purpose and determination, leaving footprints wherever they trod. They were the eyes of naming.

He was a striding colossus beset on the world. He towered even over her as the night sky towers over the setting sun. His worked soil stretched a hand and covered the jeweled moon.  The other works with the strands of hair that taunt the mighty leviathans by hanging out of reach. She turns to embrace him, separating the sky into two halves, as if a painter had created dusk by separating the best of night and day then resetting them next to each other.

He whispers “Elle” and for the first time, brings name into the world of things.

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Skies over Babylon

Even during dawn the sky was not light enough to see clearly. Instead it merely altered its countenance into that of a blood-covered slab of iron. The entire sky was the mouth to a mighty blast furnace that forged and smelted the ore of human flesh. The only haven against the fire-tongued slab was the massive jagged scars rent in the veil that floated like gray wisps. The wounds, though seething from whatever assault had birthed them, did not weep nor wail, but merely rendered the hollow dome bloodstained. In such a sky no birds flew nor no sun visible nor no rainbow after a storm.

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Enigma of the Art

 

I begrudgingly accept the importance of the backspace button. Every word erased is a truth silenced. I am guilty. A holocaust of the free flowing ideas that spring anew from my splitting skull. A part of me wonders whether my mind will be able to pull all of these memories from there prison buried deep in the cave of the mind. So frantically, before the muse becomes confused, I set my fingers to work.

            Authors once wrote with pens and paper. I write with electrons and silicon. The gap between us might be more than I am willing to accept, more than I am willing to follow, more than I am willing to take up in the name of poetry. Without this machine I am useless. I am connected to it. I am it.

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In the Night

 

One instant, one action, with an echo of divine anaphora. One word to fill her ear: “God… God… God”. She was in the silence between them. He was a simple sentence. One line, one image, one word. She understood him. The backyard garden was a women’s silken dress that clumped in the center at the base of a massive tree. The moon blushed from behind thick clouds. The fruitless tree swayed in a naked winter wind.
            Reality had been stripped of convention and became pure metaphor. A woman’s beauty, a man’s love, and limbs that constricted like snakes. The distance between the metaphor and the sheets was infinite in size. Somewhere between them were two people trying to know exactly how to fill such a void. A little life, a little death, and just enough love to get through the night.
            He was painting a fresco and she was erecting a statue. His fingers ran across barren marble like an opalescent squid. Her nails clawed hunks off his virulent mass to revealing a graceful form. At the climax of their discourse, during the revelation of skin and soul, when all words became one, the vacuum created by their passion made whispers of love sound like bones in a grave. They wanted to echo eternity.

             Outside their window, me, you, and the moon look on. The fruitless tree. The naked questions. The word. Two newspapers rolling in the wind dragging headlines on the sidewalk declaring immortality. Two unfinished masterpieces. Two ends.

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