Thursday, January 26, 2006

Funeral Caravans unto Oblivion

--For all of you who wanted a happy one!

1.
The dead have risen up from
the earth and walked, heads
bowed, in the direction of the
setting sun, never stopping
to gaze upon us with their
empty eyes, never turning
their hands in a farewell wave
as they go, leaving us to
the ruins of Eden and our
artifice.

2.
The vagaries of time impress
themselves upon our flesh,
ever deeper in the waning
light of foundries run thin
on fuel and put aside for
the lesser wants of the plastic
age, and we who yet live are
the vengeful ones, angry
at the gods we imagine—
any true deity remains safe
enough as we can only see
the end of our noses if we
squint with terrible intensity,
as we can only grasp the presence
and worth of others in those
few moments of clarity between
decades-long stupors.

3.
Clawing our way toward a
stationary state in the dimness,
it comes to us that it is, perhaps,
too late for anything to be done
about all the messes we’ve left
aside for a better day and stronger
arms to clean up, and yes, there are
better days, and stronger arms
somewhere out there in the great,
wide land of possible futures, but
we will not see them, not any of us
who have seen the exodus of the
dead, and the banishment of the
idea of our own mortality, for we,
blind, can roll over only so often
in our beds and consider the ceiling,
both deathless and soulless, both
sheltered and jaded, so that everything
means nothing and nothing means
everything.

4.
Moribund ages devoid of vitality
or a good solution to the question
of universal purpose exhale all around
us, thin and useless winds like exhaust
from a big machine on the verge of
collapse, and we have breathed this
air for a long time, becoming inured
to it, stupid with it, our own tissue
decorating ill winds as we gradually
decerebrate and decay into those
same bones we long been shut of,
as we walk those same trudging steps
into the setting sun, without a
sideways glance, without an farewell
wave.

8 comments:

drthunder said...

-----And such a happy on it is, too. Oy vey!

MB said...

Well, I never thought I'd laugh while reading a poem like this, but I did, all because of your little dedication at the top! Of course, I wasn't at all laughing at the poem or the writing, but at us for having reacted the way we did last time, and at your joke at the top, and at how UNhappy this poem turns out to be. So I have a strange sense of humor?

This one packs a punch. As many of yours do. This sense of the dead walking, and in the end that we are dead walking, is grim indeed but effectively communicated.

(Is there a word left out of the line "same bones we long been shut of"?)

Thanks for your previous comment. I'm glad you "get" what I'm trying to do at my blog. It's a strange thing to choose, perhaps, but what I need at the moment. Of course, it sacrifices much to post unpolished pieces and, as you may remember, there are times it's been all I can do to not go back in and make changes -- but a policy is a policy for a reason! It's teaching me the value of imperfection, of spontaneity, of being able to laugh at myself. And I try not to envy those like you who post such lovingly crafted work. :-)

Mushster said...

Giggling@you - oh happy days ;)

Bill said...

Firehawk -

"both deathless and soulless, both
sheltered and jaded, so that everything
means nothing and nothing means
everything"


Damn son.. where do you come up this stuff? As always, moving, yet I find myself nodding yes as I read... Great stuff! Thank you for it.

Jackal said...

Thought provoking piece.

Swiftboat said...

Hi Firehawk,

Well I also laughed. The image of zombies failing to turn and wave just strikes me silly. Monty Python could use this material. The over-the-topness of this one caused me to respond as though this was a sort of parody - perhaps on yourself? Anyway, thanks for the fun and I hope I've not responded inapropriately.

Firehawk said...

Doc,

Only the happiest!

MB,

It's okay to laugh, or to take this one seriously, or both. I think anything that's so far out on the "grimness" scale has to have some wrap-around effect and be, consequently, a little funny. We laugh at things, often, that make us nervous, after all.

I think that poetry should be reflective of a moment in time, and over-working the phrases can end up working against that. I think what you're doing is important both for yourself and the readers. Poems are never so vital as when they are presented "warts and all".

Mush,

If you're giggling at me, then my work was worthwhile.

Bill,

Where do I get it? Don't know. The collective unconscious, I suppose, or the mother ship. Maybe one brain cell burns very brightly before it burns out its dendritic connection and goes dark. Glad you liked it.

Swiftboat,

There are no improper responses. If you took it to be humerous overstatement, that's valid, and I take no offense. If you'd taken it seriously, I would have liked that fine, as well. My feeling is this: it's only "mine" until I show it to the world. After that, it's theirs, to interpret as they choose. I have no business trying to steer the thinking after the writing is done. If I meant it to be recieved one way, and it wasn't, that can be no one's fault but my own. I generally don't plan that far ahead. I just write 'em down.

Thanks, everyone, for coming by and reading.

Firehawk said...

Jackal,

Thanks for coming back over, btw.