Punctum

How easy to forget
that imperturbability
is a luxury too dear
for those who live in constant fear,
and buckle underneath the weight
of a punishing futility.

Not a streak of guilt,
but opprobrium, smeared and caked on,
besmirches upturned faces, with aspects Abrahamic,
consigned to play the part of pawns
in this Vesuvian gambit.

Heart in my mouth, stomach in knots,
with bated breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

There is no experience of the peripeteia.
Balancing on a knife’s edge,
all time is either imminence or aftermath.
One cannot inhabit the instant of condemnation;
it has no thickness and no duration.
But still, there is no shelter from the fall;
we live in its penumbral embrace,
Cascadian anxiety radiating through us all.

Stomach in knots, heart in my mouth,
on pins and needles, betting against the house.

Every day and every night,
enacting a cruel ephemera,
straining, toiling bodies as precarious mandala.
Fungible, expungible
itinerants in time,
scouring the residue of a long-forgotten crime.

Four until L8

Who is it,
that in expectancy binds
brittle matchsticks?

It might be
the last man
to leave the celebration.

Who is it,
that in expectancy binds
brittle matchsticks?

It could be
the last man.

I regard this clock,
its face red,
its hands without cufflinks.

Its face is red.
This perforated night
is clumsy and red-faced.

What furtive absences
will supersede this thick,
thick, thick moment?

Absences in wood,
in metal,
and in flesh.

I regard this clock,
its face red,
its hours without possession.
Its face is red.

Who is it,
that in expectancy binds
brittle matchsticks?

I thought I heard you say
that silence cannot be equivocal,
but it was just silence
after all.

Pietà

Not a solitary word do I speak
and my eyelids frame a blank and vacant stare.
No muscular commotion dare disturb this quiet ocean;
Democracy, it seems, was more than I could bare.

I remember when I put my faith in platitudes
and my teeth were cut on noble folderol.
Without fear or trepidation, we petitioned for salvation,
a galaxy of supplicants standing at the wall.

I once believed this promised land
would always lend a helping hand,
but foolishness cannot endure the test of time.
Instead of earnest indignation,
I have tendered resignation;
torpitude is now my paradigm.

Now I linger in a liminal oblivion
and my body is festooned with open sores.
As my consciousness retreats and my resolve grows ever weak,
I can’t maintain cohesion anymore.

My body is become water.

As I lay here in my dreamless slumber,
knowing we’re outmatched, outnumbered,
this sickness is too deep to just excise.
Oh, I don’t claim to be a martyr;
I’ve just traded pique and ardor
for this apathy that’s settled on my eyes.

(text by Chris Fisher-Lochhead)