Sunday, October 10, 2004

The Sunday Archive

The absence

The fire. We are here,
& are now uncertain
why we came. Have driven
far / over rough roads / propelled
by — what? Promises? or the
escape promised
by the black back-country night?

Either way, we came un-
questioning, unerringly, like
migratory birds. Did not
deliberate, but came
straight up out of the city,
in the manner of our information,
a smooth measure of words
pinpointing the exact
location of the barbecue.

What we passed through / we did not
see. Our eyes clenched tight
as diamonds. Night-
piercers: but nothing
entered them until the fire's
reflection, the vajrachchedika.
Nothing transcendental: the bare
image — sparks coming off
to form a crackly calligraphy
in the night. & our
friends gathered round, mournful,
like lost Indians.

                     Yet there were
others here, a group
of musclemen,
                     & they
were full of noise. They sang & danced,
their chattering setting up
a vibration, a personal applause
as they flexed their muscles
in gaudy competition amongst themselves.
They were separate from us, & wanted
no part of the fire
we had come so far to find.

                     What was it
the man inside the house
had said? "The musclemen are less
than stone monkeys."
                     This much was true:
but here they were something
more than we were. We had arrived
at somewhere
they had always been. Had come
           to be shown we should have
remained where we were ...
                                 & move
from there.


No comments: