Declension

1.
He hears
about Jorge Luis Borges,
the fabled Argentinian,
who met a woman
of “concrete indifference.”
O How unhappy he was:
so he wrote it out
of his system –
that’s what allegedly
writers do
to survive, anyway.
But our guy is just a bum:
myopic, lovesick.
O how his imagined
blood
drips from his wrists.
Even if it the cut heals
he’ll open it again
razor-quick
like a faulty leaking faucet.
It never stops –
does he love the melodrama
of Werther’s pain?
He’s no genius.
He won’t find a way out
even with his so-called art.

2.
He utters something;
she says nothing.
He keeps on again & again…
O the distance of the sea
in her silence.
Suddenly, as if roused
from deep slumber
she says startled:
Sorry, I’m a million
miles away –
he’s stuck on planet earth;
she’s somewhere
conversing with someone
in Alpha Centauri.

3.
O How long has it been?
She mopes
like a female Achilles
inside the tent of a room.
Looking at the sea,
behind the windows,
from where she originates?
Travel has been difficult,
tumult of the waves
hard to bear.
O how she wished
she could be the same again:
but always the wind
beckoned
& she fell for his
tales of strange lands
& ways…
She didn’t want to let go
of imagined breaks,
of being on her own.
Now, she fears stepping out
of the perimeter of herself
in the dark
where the waterline
ruffled by air still whispers,
O come, come, come…

4.
Hello! How are you?
That was months ago –
he only opened the email recently.
Is he exultant
she finally breaks her silence?
Does his heart beat
faster than it should?
Her averts his eyes
from the bright screen:
as if the passion
had spent itself
in febrile remembering
what is eternally absent.

5.
But what if
the imagined
like a miracle
happens.
Will he survive
the seizure of surprise?
That something divine
has been granted
by the stars –
& he,
speck of dust in the cosmos,
will be gifted
by chance
to realize
what he has long desired?
O He can’t believe
much luck,
He can’t read.
heavenly signs.
He can’t risk
misinterpretation.
He decides to stay put
in the old, old zone:
O someone
is cashing in
on his misfortune?

6.
Physics is under siege
& uneasy sits Einstein
at the ledge:
young Turks have reported
in the lab
neutrino, a sub-atomic
particle,
moves faster than the speed of light…
His head is suddenly
turned upside down:
his beliefs that guided
his everyday conduct
were all shot:
his logic
no longer holds.
Something malevolent lies
in the old, old truth.
O what then of love, passion,
libidinal drive,
its definition
but sheer misfortune?
It is none of the above
as he goes about
his blind, blind ways
while looking at her sitting
across the table.
What meaning
waits in the wings?
How can he move out
of the old framing?
What words
will pin down the moment’s
inexactitude,
misalignment?

7.
What of December then?
The fable of Jesus
sustains our earthly
trajectory of life.
The delusion occurs
every minute of the day –
like the cat that waits
behind the door,
then forgotten
if it crawls out of sight.
Too brutish to imagine
but the 25th
happens like clockwork
at the turn
of the page.
O How we expect
things may be better,
so we cross our fingers
as we move along
the wire.
What wish shall be granted?
Set aside?
No one calls the shot,
& the heavens don’t answer.
Always, December
is the pie in the sky.

8.
No longer is she
able to seduce him –
he, the lover,
has completely turned
visible.
No longer is there a dark
enigma to unravel:
The name of the game
is shadow’s puzzle.
If there is nothing
to explore
why linger?
No more seduction
is possible…
She finally closes the door
of his mind
& shuts it tight
to vanish in the blink
of an eye.

9.
Old songs on the radio
no longer make him sad.
No longer tears secretly flow,
no longer the melody
tugs at his heart.
O How he longs for the days
when his brain melts
as if lasered
whenever she drifts by.
Suddenly,
it’s May in December
& his heart turns desert-dry.
Is this how sadness
is exorcised?
He’s at loss for logic & craft,
pointing to a miracle
that is empty & beautiful.

10.
La’s special day
but she is slow to rise
from bed
as if the planet
were stuck on its pivot point.
She’s been beamed up
in New York
where the world
spins faster than a top,
& artists manque
are all juiced up
to finish their canvases
with rainbow colors
of their infinite blood.
In a crowded square
she can be all alone
with an indifferent crowd.
O She used to scream
silently, Stop the world…
Now no one hears
anomie’s gaffe!
Today, on the third floor
she wishes she’s a wolf
invisibly baying at the moon.

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