Stress and Resolution

They emerge in groups from out of alleyways
where the light above is cheaper and noticeably
more downcast than in the commercial streets
where trash heaps abide like opiated princes
in den's of night-long false illumination, tuned
to such a pitch as to keep his chronic nightmare
hidden in the shadows where the sharp instants
of their bites won't sting. The prince communicates
to his retinue with severe stares and uninterrupted
presence that what is here is all there is, and they
don't contradict because firstly they know nothing
else and secondly they don't care. This idle life,
they muse, is better than one wherewith tasks
are required. Habitualized to following impulse
without wondering what the stasis of completion
would mean, they have no faith in manifestation
especially as distractions start to smoke, fumes
waft out invisibly ahead through the forward way
and buzzes louden that have no meaning but should
in the revolving glut, tempting the gawker's patience
and repeatedly dissatisfying his jaded sense of
forgetfulness. They are all the readier to near god's life's
work, the abyss, by virtue of a magnetic pull to nothing,
are better able to appreciate the artfulness of creation,
displayed than those who cling like spiders to their own.
The only aspect that they recognize is wanting
to be seen and shown, and they accept it humbly.
The ragged blue degenerates have tied all the things
they need to red, yellow strings that dangle from
a black belt fastened inches below the waist line.
Their teeth are wide awake and ready to chatter
misogynistic diatribes about how cold-hearted god
punishes the guilty, purges iniquity from the world
he wards over like a jealous and abusive husband.
A rapinous vigilante wanders about in search
for beings who deserve the wrath of divine ire,
gauging victims' vulnerability by the clock hand of fate
which thoughtlessly has crossed their paths together
as if they were lines in X's drawn to mark the center
of what is gone and done, forbidden from being
returned to from out of the surge of progress,
named arbitrarily, that prods onward in increments
to hazardous topographies where risk is cosmically
justified by the precipitant newness that no one
is accustomed to and that oscillates pulsations of
fear through the temples that govern the jerks in eyes.
Belief was the vice that doomed him: an unshakable
arrangement of all the transitory buildings,
concrete streets and lips who proudly asserted
they wouldn't move one inch from where they were.
The girls who entertained him blinked and looked
away more often and quickly the more the way
he might have been if judged from something
he had said at first became the way he clearly was
the more he kept repeating the violence of two
inimical animals encaged in a cube of wire
large enough to contain only the energy of one.
The secrets shadowed behind every corner
his manic mind would turn darted fitfully from
point to point and pivoted with more poise than
any downward running stream could in its
amorphous consciousness imagine. They come
up with excuses for leaving, which become transparent
and seen for the devices they were only in the
sharply lucid glass shard light of most recent past;
and again the resolution to have hurt them while
they were there and not to care that they existed
in forms as salient as pain in the throat at the onset
of serious fever makes him shake his head, squint his
eyelids and set off in dual directions, randomly
fallen into as if they were one of three hundred sixty
degrees in a perfect circle, each a distinct option.
Something along this unknown way, a treetrunk's shape
or the peculiar glint of a traffic light which no
cars obey will dictate where he sleeps tonight.
For now, though, he's sneering, leering and hope-
lessly awake; the core of every happening permeated
with a supernatural glow: god's way of communicating
it was designed to be experienced from this perspective,
where all angles are geared for the gravity of time
to slide what happens down felicitously and within
an equilibrium that makes it cinematically compelling
and light as air to walk away from. But its reasons
are wholly other than those we take to catalyze
the signs we hear, see, feel and process;
its intentions not rooted in the kinds of ends we strive for:
those nebulous flashes of how things could be,
ultimately defined by broad ranges of power
that slight the near-sighted pointile painter with
an element of pity that still he should wonder why?
and go on mixing oils like an alchemist who turns
temporarily from his obsession to nourish himself;
and the dead who adamantly refuse to build
anything, insisting upon having as little contact
with solidity as the virgin earth, covered as she is
by rooms, can confer in the land of her bizarre dream
wherein she is a masochist whose body can
never be wounded and she experiments with leaps
out of moving cars as their speed increases steadily
and lets her feet be swept up by forward momentum
and roll along the rutty pavement which makes
no distinction between parts that are hard and better
equipped to come up against the intractable stillness
and those that are soft and susceptible to being torn
apart like a thin paper veil that in a broad sheet has fallen
to hide from sight who dawdled indecisively on
either side of the boundary, occupied completing
all there is to be done before thinking of going elsewhere.
The fear is not that all endeavor threatens to come
crashing down in disaster like one too many juggling pins
but that the effects, even if successful will be ineffaceable
as arbitrary laws in societies where citizens abide by
rules scrupulously, and that the myth of the judge up
on the podium, pouring over his logbook outside
the one-way gate of heaven, at which an infinite line of
souls queues has a ring of truth to it, and there will be hell
to pay as recompense for guilt of having wrought change
in measures however miniscule on what had before
been perfect. Whence do you derive the right? Mere
existence is no excuse and the sense of predestination
you felt had been your test and your temptation; all the
chances that you witnessed bare swathes of their skins
seductively were to remain eternal virgins who lie in wait,
listless and bored, too perfect to be mothers, too wise
to be old maids and too dead already to suffer
sickness, die and be buried in graves. The road
that lies ahead and stretches into distance whose limit
is the extent of human reach is fraught with
murderous bandits in the shadows hemming it in.
They resemble you in every aspect except that they
have only passed so far and want avariciously
to keep you there with them as proof to themselves and to
their gods of darkness who rule the cycles of nature
in little ditches dug to fit one only, that the
ancient decision to hunker and lurk here had time-
lessly been correct. Though progress is frightening,
behind there come hordes racing to overtake you
and arrive sooner to the collective destination
which you know nothing of, but have deduced
out of the elementary principle, the final conclusion
of human logic, that beyond the throes of motion
there must be ends where relief falls in showers
like seasonal rains whose cadence soothes as it
surrounds everywhere with the promise never to stop.
There is more that you cannot know, but you've
divined the way it might be and taken there to be
universal significance in the sporadic occurrences of
the realization that the first to get there will be given
more of whatever there is to be had; but as for now
your precarious position ahead of others must
be maintained and protected. The will to persist
could be strong in your pursuers, while yours, as is
evident, is tenuous and nakedly prone to halting doubt
which even now seethes up in every step you take
as if you walked barefoot over snowy ice, and through its
presence threatens to emerge out of the next successive
moment with the sudden vehemence of a monster who
exposes its identity by tearing off the smiling friend mask,
to gape at and render you at once transparent and then
collapsible; an agglomeration of disparate sand grains
piled like a straw-stuffed scarecrow, stripped of the rags
that had held it together as one when winds rush
unimpeded over plains to find the tiny openings through.
And so I console myself when the constant drone
the machines hum to bring us to our knees
begins to truly wear on me with the abstract fact
that the cardinal number of occurrences
which I am forced to catalyze will ultimately
culminate in the falling of a leaf that as it
floats to the crowded ground signals to the airs
that buttress it on supple drafts and to the winds
whose gentle beats gradually have attenuated
the clinging in the nature of the stem it has shed
that now they may finally bring forth
the ices of the season when any living being
can do nothing but wrap itself as best it can
in the firs and nettles it's gathered and sleep
to dream of a constant flame that dodges
every attempt to come into contact with it,
even to the point where those maddened
with desire try diving headlong into it and end
up scraping their chins and wrists when
they fall flatly and are sent hurtling over the ground.
None of the stories that taught us our morals
conveyed that the language we speak is gruffer and far
less sonorous than that of those who abided by them.
They treat blithely of happenstance, tragedy, comedy,
mundanity as if the environments they passed through
had no role in shaping whatsoever those which we find our-
selves being brought to by the hands of others,
dumbly and speechlessly listening. Effigies resound in
the echoes the footsteps leave and the impalpable quivers
suppressed by the earth send a wave aflow that will crash
far away in the future and metamorphose into something
that won't be scarred with even a trace of the burden-
some memory of the relations it once had centered.
A head hangs drooling over bilious vomit that covers
a glossy photograph of a pillared temple and the moronic
stare of the educator, pitifully lacking in metaphor and irony, takes
the scene in. The unknowable alternatives, those contained within
our epoch, though outside of our mentations and those oceans
that fill up beyond are what have given form to solid shapes that
flitter abstractly like ghosts the way that physical space allows
what is in it to be and invites freedom of movement within
a strictly delineated range of possibility. This is why
I cover my tracks, deconstruct and incinerate my nightly
shelters, and leap to tear at even my shadow when it's
lines become too clearly defined, like a lion on the alert,
subduing every menace instantaneously, because I'll not
stand guilty at the final judgment with a mound of
evidence against me. I will be the perfect killer,
smirking in the faces of those who vainly struggle to bring
to light what they indubitably know. And I will die,
martyred and executed with the secrets of where I buried
my crimes, my successes fading out in meaningless words.