The Meat of the Matter

The chief use of the “meaning” of a poem, in the ordinary sense, may be … to satisfy one habit of the reader, to keep his mind diverted and quiet, while the poem does its work upon him: much as the imaginary burglar is always provided with a bit of nice meat for the house-dog.
                        __T.S.Eliot
here’s a bit of marrow
dripping from this broken bone
suck from it what life you can:
(for those
who listen
such exegesis
turns stale;
fresh meat
has no time
to grow old:
eat well
eat well)
the story as always
compressed to lines
like fingerprints upon
a dagger’s hard shaft:
enough traces of some explanation
hang upon each of our lips as we speak
each word trails the blood of its past
just as each person we causally meet
as we walk down our tangled streets
drags her chains into a present grace
so much arrives foreshadowed
as if we perpetually stroll
along the curve of our world
moments before an eternal sunrise
our shapes await us
fully formed and clothed
then wait until a final tale
clicks shut our coffin’s lid
we pack our selves
tightly into our molds
each fragment of a story
folded neatly within another:

to fit curved spaces
large swathes of meaning’s
clipped off

the hearer’s assumed
to know those parts
best left alone on the floor
best left alone in the dark
to listen for taps on the wall
for those whispered codes
which echo without a key

(June 22, 2013)

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