Monday, June 27, 2022

The wrought urn


27 June 2022

She drank her tears. Mine sit on the edge of the cliff, feet dangling, breath in the throat, but they won't fall. I can only dream my thirst.

She drank her tears, feared a final break, her frail spine turned toward gravity, face set hard. I left mine at an Ash Wednesday service in Charlottesville. A friend left hers at a cafe after a movie. He left his in our kitchen. My son left his with one cat. To cry is to take leave. To fail to cry is to stay home; home is an elastic that sobs around you. It tries to breathe for you, like ribs apart from lungs.

I am suffocated by the news. We are. It’s not news, but reversion to a mean world.

Never have sentences seemed so literal. Sentence as chain, as length of punishment. Ancient Greek accents are like “goats chained to a post,” my teacher said. Sentences tug toward, are thrown back on this rotten field.

A shopping mall was bombed in the Ukraine. A shopping mall was the site of a mass shooting in the USA. Violence rhymes, though we think of rhyme as ease, not peril. We are rhyming us to death.

Dickinson’s failure to rhyme is like an IED. The track of her poem breaks like Highway 11 during the eruption. She hadn’t seen volcanoes, but I have, and heard them rumble and crack. A parking lot fell in the pit, almost flat enough for pickle ball, but the air is poison.

Her daily photo from the Ukraine remains the same: tall apartment blocks taken from one similar. She writes that she hasn’t slept much. Explosions in the distance. But she’ll be all right. She needs some likes. Give her one.

What poetic form works in a formless time? Or one now broken to pieces. An abandoned house that looks like a home but isn’t. A rusted car body, still as an urn. The ill wrought urn is it. Its ashes mildew and trash, an old blender in the driver’s seat. A photograph makes it mean something, though perhaps only its own failure.

If a word means, it consoles. That’s what I used to think. Kipukas live on lava fields; they’re framed. Life like a surprise. When I watched McCartney (in bits) at Glastonbury, I remembered what joy resembles. Assembled like legos, logos.

Take a soft shield to battle. Let it give, in and back. Don't get angry; respond only with love.

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