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The border

The border between life and death,
awakening and sleep—the set—
we can’t read this script, not yet
The monotony of poverty,
the burdens he carried and
the troubles he set down—
are so much lighter now

Normally stiff and reserved
unless his infamous temper got
the better of him and then
aberrant disgraceful behavior,
robotic inhumanity followed
by regret—down, dirty, done,
the man demolished in the text

No rationality on Saturday
Instead, a parallel reality,
unquenchable life—like a
specter sped through distance
or some lovely animal surrender
and forgiveness—the hero myth
and death’s tough, stolid knight

All the girls were so sweet and decent
“Paint in the daylight, don’t waste it”
He loved her dearly but at
a distance in the daylight, so what’s
it all been for? It began in chaos so
he covered himself in fantasy where
everything is clear—to pierce

the center of emotional precision,
doing his utmost with harried
ideals and exertion, with reciprocity
and empathy, with complexity so
rare and fragile in a palace
of murky disorder until they say
“Here’s the way sir, are you lost?”

We can survive long enough
to be of interest before it
all breaks down as it must
What you confidently deny
about your life in the present
shuts out your terror and
is called “repression”

Where’s our strong champion
to redeem us from this arbitrary
life—sensing our needs,
our inabilities in the inability
of terror, as when he looked
at the sun and said to no one
in particular “It doesn’t move”?

Our visceral experience of the world
comes before understanding which
requires both imagination and intellect,
the uniquely specific pent up drives,
the energy streams from beneath, a
sprinkling of this and some part of that
until we know that nothing’s eternal

The darkness there reeked of death
His art dispensed with any semblance
of permanence—“If death’s dark demon
pays me a visit, I want that demon’s buoyancy”
This then keyed his later work— the
emergent core from beneath the border,
so raucous, vehement and alarming  

-June 15, 2019-