Solo for Melancholia as the Angel of History

First Layer

Just as I
no sooner than 
I had seen you 
for the first time
journeyed back 
with you
from where I came
and the faces I saw
had disappeared
unable to trace
what I had known 
too long
just as you
journeyed back 
with me
no sooner than 
we met
where you fell
for the first time
hardly to face
the facts I saw
what I had known
always disappearing
and the places 
you saw
unable to trace
what’s known 
then gone
just as I 
journeyed back 
with you
no sooner than 
I held you
from where I came
for the last time
never to face
the facts I saw
what I had 
now whispers
just as you
no sooner than 
you touched me 
the first time
journeyed back 
with me
to where 
I am.

Tvòdlÿ-uxìs kanq’ otmì
V’xùq’iÿ-uxìs kanq’otmì
Çàv vu-desìvelotmiutvut
Vuq’çùq’iÿ-vun çisèli

Blame is a child’s game
played by men
in the furor 
of their discontent.

Nuvjis-vun vu-vmimòtmi
Vu jùnië-vu zi-dumfàdvotlit

Beyond the despair
is the listlessness
of not. The shipwreck 
of the arational 
on the shores of 
the promised. This is 
where I 
founder, disappearing
into tears, hidden 
in the masks 
of the victor’s

Vu, ini-tomàmotu
Dev vuq’hàï-vun zo-jetotù
Vuq’ni vjisìgusi vi-hoxiòtmi

Blame a child’s game
Played by men
In the bureaus 
Of their contempt

Vùq’uàv-oq’ ke-oq’-ùâv
‘Qìhojçus-inìn tjìf za-otuòm 
òlië-çumùf hoq’ za-foslòtu

Deep in the heavens, high on the breeze
I told the examiner, found the key
Went to the opening, key didn’t fit
Forged another, it got ripped

First there’s a tumble, then there’s a sash
So irksome you scratch it, scratch till it’s ash
Losing the battles, winning the war
Sinking in quicksand when you can think at all

Sometimes look back, sometimes set fires
Who’s to judge? No one’s above desire.
The monkeys you are, the angels you’ll be
When truth comes to lashes, when language is weed

Tq’esÿ-him vu-çièvotmi 
Xis vu-otlì

I back away 
helpless, my eyes fixed.
This is my task:
to imagine no wholes
from all that has been smashed.

For now time is lost, now time is
cracked, now time is empty, now
time is framed, now time is lived,
now time is hollow, now time
is smoked, now time is stolen.

And the new angels pass away
like sparks on coals

Just as we
no sooner than 
we had seen each other 
for the first time
journeyed back together
from where we came.

For now time is lost
now time is gained
now time is empty
now time is full
now time is lived
now time is hollow
now time is made
now time is stone.


Second Layer

The best picture 
of a picture
is not a picture 
but the negative.
The negative pictures 
the picture
just as I 
picture you 
without ever seeing 
the picture 
you see 
as your reflection.
What can’t be seen 
is still 
even as I lose more 
than I retain 
as I go 
in time toward 
time’s end. 
Keeping still
I misplace 
the picture
of the picture
tossed in tales
of the rune 
of the telling 
the threads 
that hold 
the leaves
the frieze.
The best picture 
of a picture 
is not the picture 
but its reverse
rehearsing tales 
until they 
in the tolling
even as I regret
more than I 
in the tumble 
of my apprehensive
The negative pictures
the picture better
than the picture
just as I 
picture you
ever having seen you 
or touched you 
as now you fall 
from my arms 
into my capacious
insomniac forgetting.