BELLWETHER

1.

“Let the cab driver

wallow in his mush” –

he used to do that –

he had wished

to turn his radio off

but that would be

scandalous…

It was one early morning,

& he was strangely

irritated by the song

that used to make him

sentimental & mellow.

Now, he’s secretly laughing

at himself

for finding the lyrics

awkward & execrable

about love & loss,

pain & solitude…

The muses had disappeared

from his mind

& their ephemeral beauty

suddenly dry & outdated

in their current FB photos…

O What nonsense

had possessed him

a long time ago?

That he would suffer

the unbearable longing

for something unattainable?

Does he know better now?

Just impulses of the moment

& celebrating them

is to live forever

like an infantile bloke?

The past can no longer

 relive itself.

He can no longer get stuck

in the mud forever

like a zombie-moving bum

disappearing in the fog…

2.

No resolution

for the New Year?

It’s a hagiographic map

of delusions

that life can be reworked

& made to order

without interference from the Cosmos.

But it’s the same old,

the same old

the bell rings in his ears

& no one can rekindle

what has long been proscribed,

gone for good…

Que sera sera

the old Spanish song

reminds all

about tomorrow

that return

from different causes

in different forms.

He is what has long been

gained & lost,

he is what the future

even holds –

the nada of the world

that roosts like

a peacock in his book –

& he cannot even cry.

He is himself

a spoilsport,

gifting the world

with this mean, mean toast…

3.

What year

in the House of the Zodiac

is today?

The Chinese sages

trace their horoscope

according to animal signs

that bespeak their traits

& characteristics:

Should we dare believe

the year itself

follows what nature

in themselves project?

Does the world happen

according to their instincts?

Why slaughter them then?

O What ancient wisdom

rules over modern age?

He who believes

the old Mandarins

is prey to reliving

the ancient cycle

of truth & falsehood,

the happenstance

that recurs every year

like the wall clock

that chimes

the same old hour,

same old minute?

What is now,

what is then

is the circular ruins

that stare all

in the face…

4.

Indeed,

should old acquaintance

be forgotten?

They have their blocks

of amnesia –

but this is not tit for tat.

Things simply happen:

they have drifted out

of our lives,

& we from theirs.

All move on

regardless of the consequence.

This is the rule of time

that keeps on turning:

we are bystanders

at a train station

suddenly pushed

by the crowd

into the open compartments –

& we cannot remonstrate,

as if it were

an inexorable omen.

5.

Yet he continually opens

the cell phone,

vainly searching for the

text messages

to affirm he’s not pathetically alone:

this is most silly

& embarrassing.

No one, he finds out,

like Gabriel Marquez,

“writes to the Colonel anymore.”

So this is how things

will be today & tomorrow”

he is trapped

in a country of forever rain:

if no one remembers,

he also forgets.

He, too, must be punished

for lack of brotherly speech.

Everyone lives for his

own pleasure…

If ever the phone rings,

he intends never to respond?

It maybe corporate agitprop

& he’s not willing to answer

like a consumer accomplice.

But what if it’s

urgently personal?

That someone finally got through?

This is the existential wager:

if he does,

he’ll find out

he’s just a sentimental fool.

6.

Has he lost his cool?

Is he trying to make

people pay

for their alleged neglect

or indifference?

Of course, he’s not without

fault himself.

He barely shares

his affection with

other souls:

his sin lies in the stars?

But he is not inclined

to pay the piper –

not to heed caution

& rock-solid tradition

about humanity’s

common purpose.

Is the world at the

edge of the cliff,

but he reasons out

he has long fallen

down the imaginary precipice.

O Each to each,

Eliot poeticizes

But this is a credo nihilistic.

This misanthrope

who secretly thrusts a hand out

of a sinking ship!

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