His well-groomed neighbor
is Mr. Nice Guy
who while on board
his Toyota SUV
warmly waves
as he cruises by.
His home is serviced
by the route paper boy
who delivers his ration
that won’t ruin his day –
cleared of tabloid scandals,
plundering pols,
showbiz sex videos.
O Into a troubled sleep
he wouldn’t dare drift?
The world outside
with chaos
like wine:
Why dump the universal turmoil
on the breakfast table?
Only a winning ticket &
consolation prize
is worth his interest
& puts a beautiful smile
on his face
as if the heavens
where duty bound to reward
bible-reading guys
with mysterious love
& serendipitous fortune!

So she sees her again
as the flower of his youth
when the sun
strikes brightly his arms
that measure the sea…
O She’s like wine
that convulses in his veins
in a heart that beats
so furiously!
But that was eons ago!
Could the best time
ever recur?
Children play
boisterously basketball
on the shore
& he almost could feel
the glisten of sweat
on this body
while time moves on inexorably
in his fistful reverie.
O to get lost in old wisdom!
But for what is philosophy
but a constant visitation
of death & disaster?
Time doesn’t repeat itself –
O how he finds himself
embracing the ghosts
that hover like idiots
over his sullen solitude.
O How he embraces
his phantom intimacy!

The troubadour sighs to himself –
His love songs
only put lovers to sleep.
His guitar that “gently weeps”
will never raise the dead
from the grave!
O Where are they now –
the guzzlers barely rise
from their seats,
virtually drifting in the river
of forgetfulness…
Must he turn off the microphone?
Never sing again?
It’s a job –
he never made it the list
who shared the well-lighted
where stars congregate.
He is on perpetual edge
to play for his supper
& strum away his grief…
Is he the vanishing guy
in the cusp
of memory’s death?
Is he destined
toward a whimpering speech?

O it is not the pitter-patter
of little children on
the tin roof
that he hears
when rain gently falls
but the rush of flood waters
from the mountain slopes
that drowns the innocent
who flout like swollen corpses
in the entangled woods.
The thunderstorm
that booms in the dark sky
is the terrifying noise
of abandoned dogs
& rheumy tykes…
How monstrous is the rain
that traps children
& doddering old fools
who luxuriate in the soft
murmur of the morn!
How terrible is the young beauty
that seduces
but suddenly morphs into
a crone
baring her fangs
to devour flesh & bones?
The silence shuts down
his ears!
O Who hears the corpses
who stink
when the blue sky opens:
Don’t they know
God is on the warpath
of destruction?

How could he have
turned off,
he asks himself,
those guys who strayed
into the café a late, late
& guzzled beer
to fall asleep only
while being cradled
by his sad, sad songs?
Did he ease the pain
of the living?
Was it soporific salve
for their souls?
He is not sure –
if he were to quit altogether
& flee into the back room…
But he’s got a contract
to comfort sentimental souls?
Make same
beautiful noise…
Did he succeed?
Should he therefore quit?
There is fear
in the rupture that unfolds.
What is there to do?
The hour is very late,
is he babbling like an idiot?
He can feel the restless
crowd who wouldn’t boo
or stir –
O If only he were Robin Williams
who in his fashion
finally made his
gutsy exit.

Will she disappear
like the wind forever?
Will the train return?
But who shall step out
of the couch
but the empty air?
O How he feels the creeping cold
which lies in his bed
as silence embraces him
like a ghost swaddling
a frightened child…
O Is he alone?
So does anyone on the
surface of the globe?
& if memory speaks,
what will it tell?
A blank tape
that unreels all over again –
& no one cares anyway…
If in the chaotic world
he bumps into her,
what cosmic play is this?
O God now & then must
play tricks on fools
who pitifully gasp for air.
“You are courting disaster,”
the bartender quips
as he looks into his eyes.
“You can’t live
like a doomed emperor in
a castle.
The crowd is not maddening.”
He wipes the cocktail glasses
& smiles.
“It is so anti-philosophical.
Hermitage is a retreat
from human wisdom.
An adolescent
fantasy is man alone!”
“We are in the autumn of
our lives,”
he adds.
Socrates had to roam
the streets of Athens
to find his truth
among the youth.
“Your text,” he pauses,
“would be anaesthetized.
If you talk to your heart,
what will it say?
It will be a ball
bouncing off the wall?”
He gulps down his margarita
& makes for the door.
He cannot stand his strong
but friendly stare.
“Your poetry is a sailboat
deserted by the wind –
dead in the water,
drifting away from the harbor.”

The celebrated guy
dialogues with bystanders
as if he were in Sunday tiffs.
O He loves to score,
make mincemeat of neophytes.
Is this a way to forge
the truth in the smithy
of collective soul?
O He wants to win,
plain & simple.
He shrugs he won’t waste
time on his inferiors
& entertain naïve contradictions –
He is above all
polemics, money & all!
The way of Habermas & Marx
is full of trapdoors –
He has spoken,
he airily intones
as if God has willed it so.
So saying,
the bearer
of barbershop palaver
retreats to his room,
away from the human congregation
of civilized souls.
Logic is a frail tool
of the mind.
Can the architecture of the cosmos
be diagrammed?
Can we divine how
the world operates
like a mechanical Swiss clock?
Just leap into the dark,
Soren Kierkegaard propounds –
but he who has lost faith
in faith
cannot accept his advice.
Poetry vainly approximates
the image of truth,
words barely
articulate the handiwork
of the blackhole…
Everything has only scratched
the surface of
the universe,
language would only hymn the
visage of ghosts!
Nothing, nothing, nothing
tells him
is never the truth itself –
An impasse for
the mind to persevere,
move on,
but what is it
or whatever it is
is always late to be known.

The crowd terrifies him.
How he wished
he were invisible like air.
But he’s not Houdini
who makes good his escape,
even David Blaine
who could stay underwater for minutes.
No, not even Jesus Christ
who is the “unseen guest
in any conversation.”
O If he could be other than
Is he asking for the moon?
Yet he persists to write down
“poem after poem after poem”
as if he were eavesdropping
in a boudoir for libidinal jokes.
Why should he melt into air
when the world spins alive
& pulsating
with fear, terror, love & inconsolable
Yes, he could only wish
for something less dreadful
to behold.
He could only mourn the passing
of time
& Christian beatitudes.

Do you hear the mantra
from the minarets
praying for
the Islamic caliphate?
Whizz of drones
& thud of boots on the ground?
There is a curtain of blood
blocking the air
& chopped heads rolling
like river in the sand.
O Do not waste your mortal time
contemplating the Hegelian Being,
or rue young hearts
interminable despair.
Voices have morphed
into shrieks & cries
of the lost & the damned
spilling over from
villages & camps.
As if awakened from the silent tumult,
he packs up
& walks into the labyrinth
of a crimson horizon…
It’s been 42 long years
since the people tried
to reclaim the Palace
& drive the dictator away,
like a dog with its looping tail!
O how this generation
of texts & internet
has erased the memory
of a once-heroic deed?
But the executioner’s family
is back in the saddle &
the children
are basking
in the glory
of the legislative government!
O America,
who gave shelter
to both warring families,
what crimes have you committed?
To stop the intramural
among the mafia gadflies?
The traitors are back
in church,
given the sacrament
as if they were repentant, innocent.
Do the people deserve their fate?
Amnesia is the scourge
of history?
Guerillas still linger
at the gates,
hunted by dogs of the state:
O the law proclaims
the rule of fair play,
they have rights & privileges!
O shit!
This is the country
that never learns its lessons!
Alas, behind the curtain
another apostate!

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