The darkness of an autumn morning. Not to slide under the wave, breathing in and remembering the brightness, the garden filled with purple salvias and scented heliotrope, the possibility of rain — did I wake in the night and hear rain splashing onto the heaped dead leaves? — the goodness and courage shown by so many in this season of rioting with schools burned down, the community hall a ruin, opening the newspaper to more misogny. And to fight against the lure of depression, that glittering weighted piece of lead skimming the surface, hooking into me, tugging downward.
And the English writer Christine Brooke-Rose dead, my hopes of yet another playful and enigmatic book dashed. Her afrodizzyacts silenced, no more textasy. Each book a dazzling experiment, the dancer left dangling from an aerial wire, unknowable.
Reading Ansel Elkins, a poem found in Guernica
Blues for the Death of the Sun
The evening sun descended with the decorum of an old man
Who removes his wide brimmed hat as a funeral march passes.
August. The rivers are rising. We saw the sun vanish from our sky.
Like crows, the people of my town walk the streets, faces skyward
Searching for light as for the face of a mother.
From the ground ferns spring, fronds greening with hunger.
The river reeks of gasoline burning in her current.
Somewhere in the blackening hills a peacock hollers his blue yodel.
Your hands aint wings, a passing stranger tells me.
The sky has taken away light.
Is it punishment? the newspaper editorial asked. We thought God was dead.
Forgive us, they said. Whoever you are, forgive us.
The newspaper printed this as if God could read.
I stand here waiting for something to happen. An empty glass soda bottle
Rolls down the road, making a strange new music for this world.
The live oak’s leaves darken with each passing minute.
I watched as the people of my town tore down a man with their bare hands;
They say he stole the light with his curse. But I thought he was only talking to himself.
I, too, ask the sky, How come your hands left us?
How does the ocean feel about no light? How quiet is her bell.
My people, in the streets, the drowned faces.
A people, a piano, can’t live without light.
The newspapers say that even if we walk to the top of the mountain,
Even then we can’t reach the light.
My people gnaw for the light that lies beneath our skin.
We’ve turned to flames
Like a house burning itself from the inside out.
Our sky, bereft. Our heartmuscle, lit into blue flame.