Sunday, September 13, 2020

September 12, 2020

After Auden 

I’m voyeur to the wars
For wholly unconscious people
Who flail behind their curtains
As they can’t bear to see how freely
The world built on illusion falls:
The frequency rises everywhere, like a drill,
As mind and machine mind seek cover equally.
The unreachable fear in others
Has become, somehow, my own.
The unmistakable color of fire
Haunts September’s griefs like ash.

The scholars on one side
Exhume the dust to nothingness,
The onslaught on the other
Dares 9-year-olds to fuck and kill police.
It’s not taken as a given now for some
Who see the hand behind it all
As if it is invisible no longer:
The evil done has become strangely innocent,
As the faces become traumas,
Older than the forces that compel
A mandatory veil.

What could Plato say?
He was occupied in trying to stop
The buggery of boys,
Explaining why the holiest
Are the ones who eat their children,
Kicking poets from the leaders's puppet shows.
What could the rational one now say
When the darkness has been driven away
In spite of so much pain
That needs so much assuaging
And to be turned into suffering again?

Does it matter, with the trees on fire,
That they never learned to see
How the rise to those majestic heights
Was to praise humanity?
Yet they take responsibility, in their way,
And step away to the threshold
And out of the dream:
And they won’t have to know
The cost, after all, of their being
The harm that was done.

They stay in their houses now,
Occasionally appear in slave masks,
Careful to evade any contact
Construable as human companionship.
The reasons why they do this
Are increasingly obscure
The more the voice they can’t bear
Not to listen to blares, lest they would see
They never did think for themselves,
And never really understood, and never really knew
What they wanted, beyond what they could.

The most obvious lies
Can be seamlessly turned into truth
By a heart that needs the disguise
Of a thousand eyes
Turned away from itself
And peering outward
Across the vast divide
What was taken through shame,
Incriminated into pain
And shaped into what one knows
As one’s being.

To be loved and not judged,
They walk into their day
On the eggshells they break
Along the way,
And proceed to pulverize
With self-condemning eyes
Whatever hope remains.
It is they who must wake up,
Whose survival depends on self-hatred,
Who must fall from the heights of no self-esteem
To be free.

There they are on the ledge,
Countering my every appeal,
Still needing to turn love to bile,
On the course the ancient trauma
Still weaves across their souls.
Am I strong enough to deny them
The solace of their pain,
The horror of their ignorance,
The conditionality of their hand?
How could it be that to walk away
Is the only truth to understand?

What could I say to the face
Of the indoctrination
That comes even through your lines
Repeated by schoolchildren
As if you are different, more wise
Than any other?
The jars are all sealed,
We containers of darkness and the universe,
Not knowing love without its lack,
Freedom without choices …
The strength it takes to turn away’s too much.