Sunday, January 23, 2011

Farther and Farther from Zero

Winged Figure, Abbott Handerson Thayer

Suddenly, I fall from the pavillion
into a place where I see the ugliness,
hypocrisy, rouge on a sunken face,
a thorn lodged in a kidney, the blind crone
holding a laurel wreath for the winner,
her black ribbons in shreds,
her eyes dark with purple,
a gold anklet on her shriveled leg.

The puppet show looks charming,
but go behind the screen and see who runs it.

Wash your hands and face of this charade.
Anyone who wants these prizes
flares up quickly like a wood chip.

There is one who can help,
who turns the wheel from nonexistence
to a sweet-breathing emptiness.

Words are ways we add up the breath,
counting stress and syllable
with our exacting musical knack
that takes us farther and farther from zero.