Death of a Poet

Is there actually any man, or anything in a man, that is not bewildered?
Zhuangzi 2:10 (Brooke Ziporyn tr.)

a book lies open on his lap
words curl and rise from the page

a library of blank books
like deconsecrated churches

patrolled by a few diehard flies
from the butchers of his youth

he hears two trains
trading blasts on their horns

hoppers of sand versus tankers of tar
neither one going his way

the light in the corridor delivers a sunset
to the inside of shuttered eyelids

mother and father always said
they’d stolen him back

from the gypsies as
we called them then he thinks

well maybe they lied
maybe i’m still out there wandering

how much less likely
is this burgled language

this lovers’ quarrel
with the angel of death

which side are you on
which cosmic joke punches up

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