January 11, 2013

Brown Lands

I have seen the brown lands laid out beneath the sky
Like a dead man’s skin, that should have been
Extinguished in a crematorium, days ago
Or at least scooped into the ground,
If you prefer to be unsanitary.

I have seen this shrunken dust pan
Littered with drunken telephone poles
And squalid paper houses and overgrown
Railroad tracks rusting under stalled coal carts,
Ground furrowed with filthy bales
Rolled out of prehistoric weeds
In need of a cemetery.

But there is no grave big enough to bury this rotting carcass.
It would need a collapsed neutron star. Short of that,
The snow might do it. But it is the 22nd, and still bare.
Wishes don’t work here, and dead men don’t dream
Of white Christmases.

I have seen myself walk stumbling through the wastedness,
Wondering if the sky is real and feeling the distance.
There comes a point when you stop counting steps,
When steps become like memories of stars long since gone out.
But everything looks the same, so there is no way of knowing
Whether you are simply inscribing invisible circles
Of thrice stamped dirt.

I have seen this and I know I have seen it before
A reflection of myself, out of an imaginary window
This is the skin of my mind, turned inside out and hung to dry
On display with the fashion jewelry.

From here you can see everything and nowhere is there anything to see
This is my dead body. This is the empty hauntedness,
This choking closeness to the dirt, these frustrated feet
Still walking. These eyes grown angry out of loneliness
Afraid of forgetting even how to hate, afraid of getting dull.

Eyes that would burn the sick grass from the ground, the hair
From my skin, could they convert welling disappointment
Into radiation. But they can’t. They can only wander tired wilderness,
Embarrassed at their failure, acutely aware of separation.
For You are far away, and the very wind is brown. How long
Shall I try to fly with my feet on the ground?

What are you looking for, picking your way through dead country
Burnt alive in summer and then left to freeze, like a refugee?
Let the emptiness stifle you. Your mind is a wheel returning.
Your body is a space-time continuum with no edges, and the horizon
Never comes any nearer. You will always feel the distance.


  1. This quite beautiful and powerful my friend.

  2. "Ride through the silent earthquake lands,
    Wide as a waste is wide,
    Across these days like deserts, when
    Pride and a little scratching pen
    Have dried and split the hearts of men,
    Heart of the heroes, ride." GKC