The Inexpressible

I hated that goddamned son of a bitch
I thought him the quintessential, ill-tempered old charlatan
until I walked by his grave in the snow white silence
over his battered soul in Cambridge
He was the last survivor of an overwrought family quest
He lived lonely—surrounded, imbued, arrayed among us strangers
His only goal always to express the inexpressible

That brazen southern jackass, he’d show them fucking Japs...
Caught the damn blowhard
assiduously, rhythmically— look how he scrubs and scrapes raw
the bottoms of his soft white feet with sand paper rust—
He thought we’d just send his cowardly ass home
Forget it Jethro (or Billy-Bob or whatever you is)
you’re coming to the party with us

Nothing heavy, nothing steady
It was cyclical and all the cycles are tragic
Once again I hear your watch tick in my ear
We scoffed at the desperate once again
Today there’s anguish in my heart, so fill it with yearning, fill it
Some women can soothe me, smooth it all over
but you, my dear, you just seem to make it worse

She said: “He didn’t ruin my life, dear,
the fat bastard ruined my career
They’re not the same”
In the end for him it was just entertainment, really,
like some fine complex wine that leads him sip to sip
Passive diffusion worked its will with him
“Let’s try to keep these distinctions clear”

We keep telling the same jokes, like our ancestors did,
like our descendents will, around the great fires, all the same jokes...
That war came, went, it left us shattered
He looked forward to getting an MP3 player soon
Prison guards said he could have one in November
All the music he’d choose, all the music he’d hear...
Just his silence now death, just his silence

He decides to punish himself...
By the time she gets to me she’s had a few drinks
We carry our chains with us, right?
It’s not that folks here are inclined to lie (they are)
It’s that nobody tries to be all that different
She said: “I never help”, and, quite mystically, she doesn’t
“You know we got there a little late—so what?”

Our dreams can’t distract us
from this deafening, threatening noise—
They haven’t that power, they’re not made that way
The wide horizons here, no hills, no buildings, I seek, so vast
There’s the woman I dreamed of— you’re always welcome here, she says
Here’s what she means—the fire at the last to fuse the vast,
the unnamable, the inflexible, the crass, the sad, the inexpressible


– October 28, 2012 –