PDF

Four Songs


by Samuel Derrick Rosen


I
 
A series of steps, penumbras of mortality, semi-living limbs
to which a polar insight clings.
Loud and breathless creatures go out upon their whims,
an enormous pendulum swings.

Nights that lose their gravity, hours that keep their potency,
there is much your soul obscures.
Your fool-proof eyes grasp my negatives, the atoms of my vanity,
I admit they are now yours.
 
You know this place not through anything romantic
but through some matter of fact happening,
the ladies and their delinquents are arguing semantics,
above their heads, an insolent fluttering.
 
Past these structures the air reshapes, a primitiveness now slips,
there is something we must invent.
To electric pities, to uncharged cruelties, to a mysterious ellipse,
predictability random, secrecy misspent.
 
What made you come here?  What possessed you?
Some penetrating dream of absence?
I have seen your yellow, your red and your blue,
in presence and in distance.
 
You see my trauma of repose,
the famine in my flesh, the fever in my bone.
I have nothing to disclose
but what's outside me, neither sphinx nor known.
 
Come quickly through
this cold, cold intelligence, this Siberia of sense.
Time keeps no beauty,
and within you, I, could we make amends?
 
II

All these windows look out upon a summer moon.
There are no clouds, the stars near in retreat.
A false sense of wonder travels through dark trees.
There's a vision of awareness starting to enfold.
 
Last night in my drunkenness I broke a giant mirror,
one that was reflecting a strangeness unreflected,
until bequeathing blackness, one of mind and eyes,
showing time does not reside in moments but itself.
 
All these windows look out upon silhouettes so stale,
figures not engaged in movement, nor in being still,
exquisite contradictions that feed off nothingness,
heavenly paradoxes too understated to astound.
 
I seek the minutes of my love, I seek her seconds too,
I seek her mirror's ways, her raw and naked place,
but it is an unforgiving vanity that now summons me,
ghosts inside the dust, afloat in moist lunescence.
 
All these windows look out upon obsolete dimensions,
extracting themselves from themselves, ad infinitude,
bringing closer cruel disguise, the dead evaporations
from the parts we are assigned to, sad, compulsory.

III

I am going to take a piece of you, you will not know its absence,
how I will use it, I am not quite sure.
It will not exude its brilliance but gently dim into itself,
to concoct an unknown day.
 
The rest of you unchanged like Jesus, like Buddha, like...
some contemporary ghost unperished.
 
Here emotion belittles, sentiment detracts
from the natural orders, the cold equilibriums.
I will not say a word, I will utter an oblivion
that is stable in itself.
 
I am going to take a piece of you, then you can go your way
through noiseless passageways, masquerades a pettiness resumes.
 
The modern women and men revolve
around themselves, like figures
in a phantasmagorical music box.
I am more the ancient kind, to whom time is not matter.
 
Coming to unconsciousness, the true state of things,
I watch the lighting of the lamps, a metronome that swings,
representatives
of an unceasing, tyrannical quietude.
 
I am going to take a piece of you, you will not know its missing.
I will put it in a secret place.  I will not expose its wisdom.

IV


That fairness which we will never understand
is the gravitational pull of planets, birds that drop
from winter trees, beauty that circumvents itself,
beings unprotected within their primitiveness.

That fairness which we will never understand
is god's providence, the wheels that do not turn
embedded in eyes, flames forever still-framed
for an age that always promises and fails to come.
 
That fairness which we will never understand
is the repetitions nothing sees, false curiosities
that pass us by, as our consciousness twitches
into something resembling fluctuations of ice.
 
That fairness which we will never understand
is the night that has no face, the cold openness
of an empire's heart, space that seeds indifference,
the shallowed sky collapsing into memory.

 
Endcap