The small sweep of lives, the orbitof gravel on string, moons as white
as unused pillows, the infinite
squeezed into tiny and tight,
as tense as a crude catapultin the hands of giddy adolescents.
A supreme nothingness result
from minute spasms of moments.
What else can I have witnessed?Whole galaxies stripped bare,
an entire eternity undressed
a white hot radioactive flare;
and then all has gone ominousthe silence swells with its own ring
that can’t be shared between us
with the same degree of meaning -
like peanuts from a packetwhile watching a furtive movie
scenes and seats heavily padded
with a raucous ambiguity -
and so I’ve have come back to it,back to the small sweep and sphere,
shrunk, flung back into these orbits
of my lives and my gravel here.
No-one ever speaks anythinga languid angst burns up space
and keeps the moon from yellowing
nudges the status quo into place
keeps the gravel turning aroundfingers of centrifugal force
and skims meanings off sounds
and ruffles pages to find their source;
but the meanings can’t be madeby turns of page, by the swivel
of stone and clock, empty decayed
stars in their tracks. The lights shrivel,
while you witness the same eventsand even call them similar names
and yet the meanings fall different,
haphazard, and nothing’s the same.
Beyond the one-dimensionalsilence and its disconnects
there’s no orbit that threads it equal
smoothes the jerking, turns defects
into a light-hearted anecdoteshared on cocktail-cold evenings
“this I’ve written, just a small note
on catapults and sundry things,”
with a deprecatory shrug.The hesitation and the fear;
the difference, much-abused drug,
mutes the impulse, we quietly steer
the moment away and eachsmile a little uncertainly
understanding sways out of reach
neither of us can quite break free
to enable a common templatefor catastrophes we witness.
We spin at our co-ordinates
once or twice we snatch a guess
look through the other’s lensfeel the other’s pebble and string
there is a tiny flash of sense
and then we are back to nothing.
The night trickles a little coldernow the moon’s a wrinkled pillow
hard as rock against shoulders
there’s nothing to be said, we know
the limits to word definitionseach perspective sharp, fine tuned
to what’s been seen, done, and undone
but in the end, mired and marooned
within our own discrete islandsof silent helplessness, tongue-tied;
turn away and understand
perspectives rarely coincide.
And that too is fine, my friendthat we could not articulate
all that we’ve seen, all that’s happened
that we can only stand and wait
watch and serve just one purposewithout any gods to oversee
that we each stood up to witness
the lexicons of plurality.