I cannot tell what time my life clock
Chimes, and how to wrest the hour hand
From its history of defeat. I look out
From the rear of a rented house, in the pendular round
Of my mortality, in a departure from the path
That’s anything but direct. Letters I write
Are a circuit of misspent mail, sent as an endless
Readdress. I set a written tempo
As I listen for the tide, as the keystroke of its ebb.
There is a rise and fall of song the ghosts around me
Snatch at, and resume. It retreats on a shoreline
Breeze, and carries to the grave the cadence
Of my only clock. Shall there be renewal?
Or recovery of my rhymes, in a metrics
Not calling on another’s fading out?
The softened language I have used
As furnishings is drawn from a catalogue
Of chattels, last worldly goods of a widower living
In a painted clapboard house, and now deceased.
Objects, followed by their nominalising words,
Then words we treat objectively,
Are what I make my meanings from.
Acquired, in the particular order
Of my whims—
A battered cardboard chequerboard,
Its greyed and frayed and yellowed squares,
In semblance regimented,
Bound to rules no more than a repertoire of cliché,
Its founding an ideology, its demagogues
Megaphonic with its ground plan –
Or so the politics of the diminished.
The chair I got at auction
Has an upholstery of fake leopard skin,
And is angled at the window,
My frame on a world of churches, dogs
And chickens, and the tinkle of wind chimes.
Rougher music is a country crossed with words,
A hubbub on a stave,
For how I squirm when solutions down
Negate the clues across.
I grope for facts and cannot see
Beyond a mass of clouds, and an unsealed road
In a zigzag into the clumps of indigo pine,
And up to the mountain’s ridge. I ask myself
What time, what era I have entered.