nthposition online magazine

And the middle is always near, Beau Bunnell & Book of the Dead

by Jesse H McKnight

[ poetry - may 11 ]

And the middle is always near

The brittle present confronts the gnawing
Future like short piecrust nibbled by rats.
To lose one's way in leisurely dissolve
Down the liquidating labyrinths of
The past passing is the free falling urge
Of the lapsing moment - the fruitless search
For the stolen hour spent peering at the
Heavens through a loupe, at life inversely
Through the black and white whirlpool of a bath
Tub drain. Images accreting like scrap
Metal to an industrial magnet
At a junkyard have consolidated
Into a valley of the kings - common
Faces Brobdingnagian now because
They knew me at first blush - as Craggy now
As the pillars of Hubble. Dynamics
Drowned in the river that ran between their
Living and my own, yet their living ran
Its dying course while my own withered like
A carrot planted between apartment
House walls - cut off from the sun of home and
Fated to walk on in the baggy pants
Of what I might have been - a lone muser
In a gallery of fixed verities.
There are two givens: the finished world and
I - the piled drippings of a dead past that
Continues to inflict and the ghost ship
Valhallas of a dead future ever
Beckoning and ever receding. I
Am Crusoe dwelling on a vast island
In the midst of a tiny ocean. I
Take two steps back for every step they
Take toward me to insure the proper
Character of my dear Juan Fernandez.
I have built a philosophy too pat,
Too tight for a past, present or future
In perfecting that which could never be.

 

Beau Bunnell

The babbling dream of a long winter's life
Is scribbled in a second as a three
Word phrase.  The outsized shadows flickering
Furiously on the wall of consciousness
Are small, hard, heavy and pitiable
In the light of the mind's coming to rest
In a soul too old, too vast to dwell in
The present alone; yet the positing
Of mind in soul is witnessed as burning
To a cinder, like meteoric metal
In the atmosphere of the onslaught of
The present.  The moments are lined up as
Before a firing squad, and one by one
Fall before the real bullets of false hopes.
It is the one empty cartridge assigned
To one unknown assassin at random
Which allows the one moment to be lived
Through as what we know as our lives, stacked up
Endlessly down a skein of collected,
Sorted and filed improbabilities.
How dare we happy spermatazoa
Visit the felled corpses of our greater
Selves, long ago shoveled into a pit
Of quicklime to moulder there forever?

 

Book of the Dead

The trepanation begins with
Trepidation. Cut a hole in
My soul the size of a dime for
All to see as me, as if a
Shabti were a pharoah. Behold
The tiny circles and cycles
Flooding my corpus with a dread
For those I am now caught up in
And cannot see. Void and darkness
And starlight are pulsations of
Trauma sweated by the senses
To assuage the fear of a shock
Deeper, older and grander than
The cosmos. In the beginning
Was the wound; all else since has been
A dream. The ka of our coming
And going wails through the moments
We are here. The work of Seth is
Done by those seeking to prevent
Seth from doing his work. Having
Dozed through his hour of glory, the
King strives in vain for strength
When there is nothing left behind.