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No One Watches the Train Fall From the Broken Bridge (a reading)

His problem has nothing to do with the train which travels steadily through the night. Everyone is content, if not happy, on the train, reading opinions they already agree with, drinking champagne, eating delicacies imported from foreign countries. They pretend they do not like the food, but wish they could eat as well at home.  All of the people on the train are facing the same direction, which gives them all a strange comfort.  A few of them look out the windows, but it is too dark to see the trees in the forest. It all follows along so logically, like a math problem in high school where rats scuttle east over well-polished wing-tips at a variable rate of three feet per second. They stop randomly to nibble on discarded bread crumbs dropped with nonchalance by the passengers on the train. Meanwhile the train travels south at a consistent seventy-three miles per hour directly toward the crumbled bridge which once traversed a chasm one thousand feet deep and a mile wide. There is no question at the end that one must answer. However, there is an answer; there is always an answer. No one watches the train fall from the broken bridge. No one hears the explosions as it crashes into the rocks below, or the last cries for help of those who are momentarily still alive.  

On a trail nearby the train tracks, a monk moves through the dark as if he has been here before, thinking vaguely of other things. He pauses, peers into the dark, then wanders off along his way. The monk’s tangentially wandering mind is not enough to mark the train’s passing beyond the silence which lingers in the mountains for several hours after the sun has risen again.

(July 6, 2018)

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Structures and Forms

I started a serial poem back at the beginning of January. The plan was to write 140 poems, each poem’s length pre-determined by a random number generator, ranging from 3-140 syllables. It was to follow vaguely the rules of a renga, where each poem grew out of the one before it somehow, whether through theme, pun, image, or a reply. The number of poems was determined by the number of syllables in a sonnet. 

I have reached 80 poems in this series. I hit 40 back at the end of March. I have 60 more to go. I would like to finish this by the end of December, which means I should speed up a bit. LOL.  I have never really written under a deadline except for required essays in grad school. However, 80 poems in 7 months is a fairly phenomenal pace for me.

I will now begin to move forward with the third ‘stanza’ while collecting and tightening sections 1 and 2, in hopes that as I reread and work over the first two sections, the third stanza will continue the conversations, if you will, that began in the first two “stanzas,” and the themes and images will continue to echo and grow organically in section three. 

A little obsessive, but then what about life is not.

(July 27, 2020)

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Fear Lies

“Why aren’t you bold and free of all your fear?”

-Dante Alighieri, Inferno, Canto III

as smoke 

infuses itself

throughout the house

long after the fire’s extinguished

so fear 

circulates in silent eddies

flowing like ravenous minnows

nibbling sharply at our toes

.

my fear lies

within doubt

it breeds

in the crevices

in the misunderstood word

in the scene not played out

it’s brood hatches

hungry needing to feed

skittering along memory

like spiders alive to every

web strand’s tingle

it descends to attend

to the fly’s quick dispatch

(July 21, 2020)

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even now I hear them (a reading)

even now I hear them

from a work in progress: process, not a journey (72)

“Sea, I am like you, filled with broken voices”

—Guillaume Apollinaire

insistent demanding attention

soft whispers curl at my feet

like cats they claw at me

with their sharp reminders

lightly pulling at my skin

until the ground is awash

in the blood of memory

and then slightly below the surface

small phrases embedded in dead

conversations rise like tattered faces

from the sea to mouth their silent

vowels like fish dying in the sand

until the raw scraps of language

in which I am tangled 

are cast out in a storm surge

far out among the dark waves

and I drown choking 

with nothing to say

(July 6, 2020)

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even now I hear them

from a work in progress: process, not a journey (72)

“Sea, I am like you, filled with broken voices”

—Guillaume Apollinaire

insistent demanding attention

soft whispers curl at my feet

like cats they claw at me

with their sharp reminders

lightly pulling at my skin

until the ground is awash

in the blood of memory

and then slightly below the surface

small phrases embedded in dead

conversations rise like tattered faces

from the sea to mouth their silent

vowels like fish dying in the sand

until the raw scraps of language

in which I am tangled 

are cast out in a storm surge

far out among the dark waves

and I drown choking 

with nothing to say

(July 6, 2020)