Thursday, December 16, 2010

Paradise

I.
On one side of the island
The people always borrow books and leave them in the rain after reading
them.
There is always a shortage of cigarettes, wine and heroin.
Everyone goes unattended, like unwanted prostitutes,
Their canvasses continually erased and redone,
Reams of writing blotted by furious ink,
Discordant sounds annulled by clashing tones,
Clay obsessively reformed...
Every resident looks with all of his hope at each passerby
As an angel who will finally retrieve him,
Then looks a moment later with all his hatred
At a world full of cruel neglect.
Meanwhile, the resident looked upon goes through the same paroxysms
of reaction
As the miracle becomes a curse again and again and again...
Yet, each may see in the gleam on the tar the luminescence of his own
unique dream,
Jottings on discarded paper may end up the words to a forgotten song
That may entrance a dancer whose angular moves may become a
preliminary sketch
For a cartoon burned for warmth.
Their impoverished cries and wails of rapture fade into the sky
And, although they pray to it, they know the statue on the mountaintop,
Its back turned to them, is not their God
And will never decide among them.

II.
On the other side of the island
Strange lustrous fruits are never picked,
Sapphirine lagoons are never found,
And blinds keep away the glare of great red skies.
Everyone strives in vain to have the same plain face,
The clothes range in color from pumice to slate,
And even the poems seem exactly the same
(Although each volume is wrapped lovingly in gold-leaf binding).
Everything spoken is understood, as if borne from heaven,
But stray thoughts are considered an indulgence and immediately
forgotten
And they go back to building their tabulations and collections
And boiling down fat ideas into delineations as fine as the sand.
They are sublimely successful, yet unhappy,
Feathery beings weighed down by obligations,
The never-ending sum of parents, peers, children, the harsh, invisible
God,
Not to be swift or be strong, but be friendly and patient,
And this is never rewarded, never successful, never enough;
But as long as they sit at the table and smile
They are always welcome to eat
The tasteless food served on small beige plates.
Even if they were not told not to look at the face on the mountain
They would not want to.

1 comment:

Lyn said...

Waiting to be saved, on the one hand/ maybe not knowing one must be saved, on the other...
Could be neutral colors are the way to go...
complex but simply terrific poem!!