Poetry

Issue

April 20, 2014
In the 12th century, 100 Cathar prisoners had their noses cropped, their lips cut off, their eyes gauged outthen to be led by the one man left with one eye, home to Lastours, a file of the blind, “a visible demonstration of the ineffable mercy of God’s Christian Army.” 
quotation from Cathar Castles of the Languedoc
 
The redoubts the Cathars built issued from rock
as if they were offspring of rock, or an idea
 
rock had, and built.
They dragged everything they needed
 
up that rock including the rock
to build with; everything had to
 
be hauled up.
If an enemy came close
 
they poured hot oil down.
Oil they had hauled up.
 
Wood they had hauled up to heat the oil.
It worked, awhile. I would like to mention how
 
I hear my mother’s voice rise up when she is not here.
I would like to know how
 
it is I hear it
but from the next room.
 
The real next room.
Off to one side lies my mother’s death
 
but it is not far off,
over my shoulder, casting
 
a beady eye on my business. You are losing
your mind I think, leaving unhappily.
 
 
 
--------
 
We have arrived at what we dread: the
diminution of loved ones,  livid
 
and unmistakable lapses, quick
angers that lap at, lick at
 
dread: dread
 
that is the one certain shore.
 
 
 
--------
 
I didn’t share my margins with her so she died. I didn’t share my mangoes with her.
 
I purchased eight green mangoes to give her five and I didn’t
 
see her before every one had ripened
 
so I ate them so she
 
died, not right then, later.
 
That’s how it ends.
 
Without sweet fruit. 
 
 
 
--------
 
What happens is you fall out of sense out of order out of time.
 
 
It’s a parade.
 
 
 
--------
 
Took trudging.
Took one eye opened
among the 200, one hand cupped over
a rounded shoulder, one after
another, all the way down.
 
Looked back
at the pus-eyed, the hollow-nosed.
What did you see, lucky man
who got to guide
all of them home with the one
 
good eye?  Like
gargoyles lined up behind him.
(Took their senses.) Saw them
home (alive! alive!)
omen to their loved ones.
   
 
 
--------
 
If it’s a parade be everyone, any one, and you are
 
 
from the next room
 
 
I hear you are not
 
 
interested in me you say you are
 
 
not as interested in me as that other
 
 
institution.

 

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