Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rimbaud's Mirror

"He is love, the perfect measure reinvented, logic marvelous and unthinkable, an eternity: an instrument loved for its deadly qualities . . . . His body! The redemption dreamed of, the shattering of grace joined with new violence . . . . His day! The abolition of all noisy and restless suffering in music that is more intense."
                         -- Rimbaud,  Illuminations

Some men use their whole life searching
Others spend their days throwing it all away
What is a man on the road but time?
In the glass I see someone not there
As wood might a guitar, or ashes the fire
Does a sound feel for that which made it, and what?
Do I not love my god, and you yours?
Should we, each of us?
I look for another, the other
Whose face is the same as mine
Had it experience beyond the separation, both of them
If love is a joining, and death is (a)part
What then is birth?
A guess, approximation, a song
The best we can do, like god
Do roses miss the earth?
No, because they are still bound
Greater consciousness means lesser beauty
A cheetah slowed is still as swift
Because his speed is grace
A panther is the kill
So the household cats practice
And contemplate alternative notions of progress
In their dreams there are no lions
My litheness is half, my burden double
First the wasting, then the gain
I sold you contradiction, a two-faced god
What I most feared, the coin of the realm
What goes between: To know that you cannot find it
This side of the grave, and that from the other
You cannot speak it
If I should find him what then would you think of me?
When never have I seen the like rings from all your mouths
Yet I know I am two
I took the clocks off the walls and covered the sun
With tinfoil and every kind of glitter
Brought redemption in inarticulate moans of the heart
        and hosannas of the flesh
Though still we wait for miracles
A dead man owes no debts
A living one no favors
And is entitled to your consideration
How should I be lonely among so many ghosts?
What harvest laments its field?
In the western lands the sun never sets
There they never rest, and long for Africa
Where night is more inhabited
I'm afraid I'll go out like a light, just like I came on
Know what I mean, honey?
Each light comes only for extinction
Never bright enough, it gives others that for which it shines in vain
And is first to the darkness which it knows best
Poets end badly because that is how they begin
As do all who go in search of themselves
Or else why go

"He was like a mirror.  Whatever you were
looking for, you were going to find in him.
It was not in him to lie or say anything
malicious. He had all of the intricacy
of the very simple."
     --Marion Keisker (Sam Phillips'
                secretary at Sun Records)


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