Garden of Curious Fates
Do bones chuckle at their own mortality?
Do they find comedy in the way God calls
them to the dust? Eternity speaks bitter
truths in riddles tucked between lines of, text like:
“The First will be last; the Last will be first”
Age cackles like a grey jackal in the bush
while life is a flame pursued by time’s winds
whose immortal gusts smite it on and on.
In the dying light of cemetery strolls
I hear old bones speak from coffins far below
like stand-up acts, they joke how they had to go:
One slipped on soap; another fell off his chair;
a third failed to see a bus veering his way
Their words make life seem so painfully feeble
like a vase distorted from its first accident
while laughter still dissipates from ash headstones
I walk through this garden of curious fates
indifferent to my own; still listening
to these loud relics as night’s curtain falls again.
There is a light that disturbs the sensitivities;
majesty and grace that breaks open the soul,
leaving it un-mended.
I see this light; feel this majesty and grace
in fleeting episodes of contemplative silence
where temporal noise is cancelled out
in a cross-cycle of energies hovering above
my feeble sense of reality.
There the soul is a vessel to be shattered;
memories rise as ethereal spirits
from a subset structure of pain and longing;
the order of emotions crumble into
smoldering heaps of rage or misery.
From within this chaos, a faint voice appears.
It alights as a dove of peace,
glows with an affectionate fury
deeper than the strongest cosmos.
Whining shrills and drum-beat thuds
shatter the evening’s black-glass calm.
Like Ramadi air raids or sectarian blasts
the air pulsates in shock therapy;
cloudless skies give way to varicolored orbs
discharging their smoky excesses
like sulphuric fumes from the nostrils of Hell.
Those who congregate on the esplanade
watch the spectacle then shuffle home in droves.
And on a Red Line rail car at Charles/MGH,
a dreadlocked guitarist yells at the train man
to stop letting so many folks in.
A rapturous beam
encapsulates her self.
Swollen, free speech
defines her heart.
Her being shields the truth
of a life on the skids,
of a social status
pushed to shelter corners,
and undefined zones
between overpass and parking lot.
Yet still she remains,
her beam and voice
embodying the hidden voices
in the subscripts and footnotes–
the no-names interned in the margins.