Terms of Infinitude

1.
They’re not showing their card
but Pakistanis
would have welcomed the burial
of Bin Laden,
their dark prophet of Muhammad,
who was shot by SEAL commanders
in Abbottabad.
O How they marvel at his spunk
to blow down New York’s
Twin Towers –
but they can only secretly gloat,
lest they let on
they’re sold on his Islamic kingdom.
O for a moment
America was on its knees,
like a boxer hit in the groin,
& their Holy Warrior
sowed them his grit & glory.
Could he have hidden
in far Argentina
which rolls out the red carpet
for Nazi generals
like long-lost kin?
But it’s oceans far
from Afghanistan
where his believers hole up
in mountainous terrain,
ready with rifles
& the unchanging Koran.
O they won’t officially admit:
In the name of Scripture,
they won’t confess to murder.

2.
It’s doublespeak
as in Orwell’s narrative:
the militants claim
he’s a prophet of Allah’s sword;
Pentagon charges
he’s a criminal on its hitlist
who piles up victims
as in the gas chambers
of Adolf Hitler.
Will there be an end
to various readings
about justice & crime?
O God has twin faces:
one turned to the East
to light up the faithful;
the other faces the West,
to charge up the beloved.
Never shall the twain meet
as the world spins toward
interminable grief.

3.
If she puts you down,
the best revenge,
says Jorge Luis Borges,
is to forget,
let oblivion drown the sadness.
Yet
is it possible
to start anew on a clean
slate?
Always, there are traces
that lingers behind the shadow
of shadows
at the edges.
& he could only theatrically
clench his fist,
mumbling how he could have been
so vulnerable, moronic.
He has been warned before
by countless sages
but ever he’s seduced
by the flicker of light
at the end of the tunnel:
ever like a fool
unable to divine
the heart inflicts
injustice.

4.
So many have perished
& he cannot stop counting.
The heat turns on
the oven-hot remembering:
a ghost wakes you up
at any unholy moment,
as if refusing to be hustled off
behind the glass curtain.
But signs filter in!
A name the tongue slips in,
a coke can explodes
& soaks a photograph
in brownish liquid;
a leaf falls
on the shoulder
as if to signify something
heavy, imponderable;
a butterfly flutters down
on his head…
How could he have disremembered
who was once familiar & dear?
But it always happens?
Memory breaks in
like a thief
when you move out
toward forgetting.

5.
But who really remembers?
When you bump into them
they’re already strangers –
then you recall
how they’ve always been
what they seemed!
You can only stay put
under the shade of trees
which watch you with stony silence.
Then you grope for words
to keep the conversation going –
until she looks at her watch,
then lifts her eyes
toward yours –
O she has another thing going.
You drink your tea
trying to sneer into its circle of cold water.
Who really remembers?
Time keeps on murderously flowing.
As you step into the margin,
you see leaves fall
into the current.

6.
All his life
he has been waiting –
for what?
That something must turn up well,
luck must breach its zero-limit,
words uttered
in vain & violence
must reenter
the lexicon of peace & grace.
But is it baying at the moon?
She’s nowhere,
fantasies have dried up
& the afternoon tea
has turned stale…
Where lies justice then?
Tell it to the marines,
a cynic answers.
& you grin
like an idiot
with an empty face.
Nothing to sum up your desires?
None, someone quips.
& O how much he wished
to melt into air!

7.
From the standpoint
of infinity,
what is most real?
He asks,
scratching his head.
Everything is a blur
viewed from a distance:
the little explosions of light
are gobbled up
by Blake’s imaginary tiger.
& you, who madly desired her once,
stare with empty eyes.
As if in sitting by God’s side,
nothing,
even remembering itself,
doesn’t even matter.

8.
Summer ends.
It has been such a time ago –
how long has it been? –
when the sun was younger
& so was he.
Now, the season of rain
driven by the wind
lashes him
who scampers for cover,
like a stray cat
burrowing into a corner.
But it’s not so much
the water that chills him
as his dry, heart
that disintegrates like a dry leaf
as he watches
the sudden flood rising
& him drowning
in the overflowing lakes of his tears
while her image
drifts with the current.
Unlike Jesus, he cannot weep.
It’s an old, old story –
despair is not even
it’s name.

9.
The kids voice
their electronic presence,
dispersed like birds
in winter routes.
The little guys, K & B,
are gone for good.
& the house swims
with loving spirits
of their imagination
now slowly being deserted,
like the beach
in a rainy season…
O this shelter
full of dust & memory
they must handle
with arcane prayers
lest they turn monsters
& devour them both.
An empty nest,
they claim,
where wind blows
into huge spaces
& sound struggles out
of throats
to make for conversation?
You only speak
when needed.
Silence, they find out,
is truly precious
in a world
heavy with leaden words.

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