The Longest Day
The First Last Time
Terzanelle for Daddy-O
Selbstmord (revisited)
Newton's First Law
Double Dactyl (The Ninth Doctor)
Terzanelle for April
Ave Maria, second chorus
Maundy Thursday

The Longest Day

Here is the breaking point, the tipping place
where any more would pitch worlds off their poles,
send us, unbalanced, forward into space,
free-falling, planetary barrel rolls

into oblivion; thus this far it goes
and goes no further -- earth lacks what it takes
to follow through, so inclination slows
to change course and bend back before it breaks.

Your father's dying, and the cancers pull
your brother inside-out, you write, and I
feel gravity retrieve me in its arc,
wrenching me backward; unsustainable
trajectories now contradicted lie
to guide me as I fall back into dark.

The First Last Time

No matter how you try, there's people you
just can't explain your choices to, the what
that makes you leave your home and venture out
to parts unchartered, miles from shore. Oh, they'll
pretend to understand, nodding heads with
expressions fixed and blank; they always do,

ask why you do the things you do
as though the choice weren't up to you
but subject to committees with
their very clear ideas of what
isn't and is appropriate; they'll
shake their heads when you want out

(and trust me, you want out)
the way trapped sparrows do,
contemplating skies they'll
never see open; you
straddle the edge of what
they've always carried with

their lives lived with
hearts inside-out
and bars on what
they want to do.
They can't hear you;
their ears shut, they'll

beg, they'll
plead with
(for) you,
cry out,
make do,
ask what,


You shouldn't feel responsible -- it's what they do;
they'll find anger easier than grief to deal with when
what they have has left them. You just get out.

Terzanelle for Daddy-O

He shut his eyes when nothing else was sure,
not mind, or time, or memory; he died
before he forgot who his children were,

before the ravages of age denied
him all control of self and senses, left
not mind, or time, or memory; he died

sustained by wires, ever aware that theft
of parts intangibile within that gave
him all control of self and senses left

him asking where am I? He steadied, brave
before the dreaded who are you? slipped free
of parts intangibile within that gave

him meaning; he surrendered gracefully
and swore that he would forget how to breathe
before the dreaded who are you? slipped free;

he made his own decision: time to leave.
He shut his eyes when nothing else was sure,
and swore that he would forget how to breathe
before he forgot who his children were.

Selbstmord (revisited)

Because of you I know this word:
thick, harsh, full of consonants
iron-wrought, cut thick from behind my teeth
in the language you taught me;
because of you I have spoken to a friend
whose voice I did not recognise, having not heard it
since before last I saw you,
and even that has been two years

and will never again be any sooner.

Denn alles Fleisch es ist wie Gras
und alle Herrlichkeit des Menschen
wie des Grases Blumen.

Somewhere something broke down: Was?
Kennst du mich? Was sagst du?
A gap
in communication across the miles I've flown
to escape the cage that was your world;
or perhaps a mistranslation somewhere,
someone substituting 'sie' for 'Sie' (an easy mistake,
a clerical error, could happen to anyone)
and suddenly it is no longer about you

but about someone else.

Das Gras ist verdorret
und die Blume abgefallen

Ich weiß nicht, was du sagst --
I never knew, could not decode what it was I knew
from what it was I was supposed to know;
because you could not fly, you took to wing another way,
and for those hasty sins will never escape my memory,
trapped inside a linoleum-white classroom
behind a desk littered mit Büchern auf Deutsch,
mit Papieren auf Deutsch, mit einem Leben

so inarticulate and lonely that you, you who taught language,
never had the words to express it. You

might appreciate the irony, if you were still here.

Herr, lehre doch mich,
daß ein Ende mit mir haben muß,
und mein Leben ein Ziel hat
und ich davon muß.

It is because of you I know this word
and a hundred others, but not among them the one to save you.
You taught us how to save ourselves instead,
one gentle conversation at a time. Now you are gone,
who will be left to teach the children their verbs
and nouns that describe a world
beyond the edges of what their eyes can see?
Your desk is empty now in my mind, a blank spot before
a sliver of a window set in a white brick wall,
beyond which there is a football field, a parking lot,
a street, a town, a state, another world,

Nun, Herr, wes soll ich mich trösten?

and the promise of blue sky.

Newton's First Law

When Newton scrawled down the universe, this began his list: an object in motion
will stay in motion; an object at rest cannot resist an object in motion.

Though friction's draw and drag bears down, it is not, can never be enough
to overcome inertia's imperative force, to assist an object in motion

with any designs to pause, to be at peace with itself, so long as its center is still spinning
faster, its insides warring within, trying to twist an object in motion

further, farther on. It will not slow for you or anyone, so keep your eyes fixed steady;
many who have merely blinked have missed an object in motion

as it careened by, unstoppable, implausible beauty captured in fleeting seconds,
heedless, hapless, giving ear to none that might insist an object in motion

might find a new delight in steadiness, new purpose in permanance -- it knows
there's no such state which has not already dismissed an object in motion

So hold me while I hover, that when I am gone and your arms again still, you can say
you caught me briefly in my freefall, you kissed an object in motion.

Double Dactyl (The Ninth Doctor)

Gallifrey ballifrey,
Christopher Eccleston
put on the Doctor's cap
shiny and new.

audiences slept through the
credits and now are left
wanting more Who?

Terzanelle for April

Late winter's frost begs to remain,
the water chill and weather raw,
and here we are again in rain.

The coming heat bids snowstorms thaw,
but western storms conspire to turn
the water chill and weather raw.

The year hopes summer's quick return
will chase the winter straight away
but western storms conspire to turn

upon the unsuspecting day
to flood the heart 'til nothing there
will chase the winter straight away.

You drown within the walls you wear
to keep me out, to guard you in,
to flood the heart 'til nothing's there.

Inside you, deep beneath your skin
late winter's frost begs to remain
to keep me out, to guard you in,
and here we are again in rain.

Ave Maria, second chorus

Children of America:
it isn't worth it.

I know what they've told you,
how you'll understand things when you're older,
how you'll get to drive and vote
and drink their alcohol, if you so choose,
and watch their R-rated movies
with enough sex and violence
to make the trade seem worth your while.

Oh, children of America,
I'm here today to tell you
that this is madness, pure and simple.
I've come to warn you that
the freedom to eat ice cream for dinner
is not worth the knowledge
of how bad it is for you
to eat ice cream for dinner

and the ability to stay up as late as you like
is not worth the necessity
of going about the next day
half-mad, exhausted
with nary a napping mat in sight

and the second you stop being young
you start becoming old.

Better to stay trapped in your childhood
looking out the windows
over to the shiny green pasture
with the neatly printed sign that says adulthood.
Live in that desire,
and never find out the truth

of how much they want your brains and bodies
in their desks and on their payrolls.
Embrace how nothing you do or say
will end up on your permanent record
no matter how many times the principal
threatens you using those exact words.

Cherish your homework and bedtimes
and snow days and chicken pox
for what they're worth -- which is to say,
problems someone else manages on your behalf,
concerns best left in the hands
of calming, capable managers
whom you don't even have to pay.

Children, stay young,
and be sure to love your mothers
for one day they will be fifty-three
and you will be twenty-seven
at which point they will sigh quietly at you
when you only ever call
for tax advice.


He wears an off-white linen suit with black
shirt underneath; she has an oversized
knit yellow top and sports his dun-green hat
on her own head; they pose together, side
by side, all Easter smiles for camera and
photographer (her mother); mesquites line
the background, strong South Texas weeds of trees
that once they're rooted are impossible
to kill, their branches sparse and lined with thorns,
their beans a sticky sweet rotting against
March sidewalks baked already by the sun;
his arm around her shoulders, heads inclined
toward one another fondly, frozen there
until the shutter's snap, which catches them
in that bright sunlight, roots already dug
deep in, rough bark grown tough, lawns strewn with thorns
like traps to pierce the unsuspecting foot
of memory's gardener, whose only crime
was thinking that the front lawn might look nice
without those ugly things taking up space.

Maundy Thursday

Problem being this mundane Thursday has been
just that -- unremarkable, ordinary,
bypassed by the secular world in which I've
entered my exile.

First to work, then home again, routines followed,
automatic processes. No one stops me
asking me to turn my eyes, no one whispers,
paying attention?

And why should they? History may still haunt me,
but does so invisibly, like a good ghost
dilligently pushing me toward tomorrow
where the world drops off.

This is how time passes in isolation,
far from home and family, God's gold trappings,
mercy, hymns, salvation, and all my childhood's
regular icons.

This is where the world drops off -- not in chunks but
pieces, moments, holidays unobserved, cold
tables empty, wine unpoured, bread uneaten,
my place still empty.


The lessons to be learned are these:
don't run from that to which you're bound,
the ones God hurts the more God loves,
blind arrogance brings good men down,
and prophets can escape if they
let everyone around them drown.

Dreams of Crashing Cars

She dreams of crashing cars
in Spring; when peaks of buds burst forth
from wooden limbs, of crumpled glass
and metal; when rain comes warm
to chase away the snowfall vestiges,
of fluids spilt and frames split down the spine;
when days wax long and sunlight creeps
further and further with each passing hour
into evening, of engines crushed, of tires
rent empty open, of force-twisted steel,
of bones fractured and limbs mangled
beyond repair; when everything is change,
of one thing at least that might
stand still.

spam 'found' poetry by neille guillaume <germanacarmelle@cybercognoscenti.com>

Oh you builders,
Stars, the last day, endless and centerless,
Oh you builders,
And so I gaze avidly
XV. The International Circumpolar Stations: The Greely Expedition
Seized from creation by nonentity,
—The place the road ends, that patch of white paint
XV. The International Circumpolar Stations: The Greely Expedition
"Now it's my turn to sing!"
Is it almost honey, is it snow?
And then I go on until I am beneath an archway,
X. The British Attack on the Arctic
As if your human shape were what the storm
Where lamps are lit: these, too,
They tear apart the mist, it is as though,
That neither the motionless farm couple trudging
Seen. What you know is only manifest
Cascading snowflakes settle in the pines,
End of the comedy.

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