Thursday, October 16, 2014

poem || Lawrence Upton

cruel darkness

While through these terrible caverns
ORFEO will lead his bride, he will use his judgment
If he is not overcome by youthful desire,

Alessandro Striggio & Claudio Monteverdi – Orfeo (1607+)
English Translation by Gilbert Blin 2012

Time does not flow smoothly.
There is a certain lag, in imitation,
exposing a terrifying symbolic representation
determining the codes that are already recognised, always.
But in myth, the morphism of chain flows to partial connections
and vocal flows break composition with nomadic conjunctions
which constitute the static organisation of the crowd.

Even within myth, desire is inseparable
from the territory in which it is discovered;
desire is bound to the eclipse of the analytic field.
Flow has no assignable exterior, no scale.

How can I reply?
How can I desire strength without motion?
On the ocean floor, she codes her surface as rock, opposing flow.

Only the dead speak to one another in the deep water.
The corpses crowd in, twittering, tweeting; without nostrils.
The unknowing mind gives no guidance from the maze of words,
from the corruption of hell,  from dark dreams,
dangerous, precarious, painful, mysterious, fertile.

We cannot stay alert for departures.
As we manage stillness, we remember a rough night's breathing,
the sounds that someone moving through darkness might hear,
and it is as if these cadences are remembered through thick water.

Recall the tones of breath.
Remember walking at night. Manage stillness.
Hear sounds through dense water. The dead flock and flow.
The dead are alert. Sounds are heard as if they were muffled themes.

The first time he wandered into their space he didn't know.
He felt desolate and was shocked
by the suddenness of  strange things that happened.

In a drowned city, he was carried on tidal contacts with the living.
The living let go, yet there are moments of intimacy with them.
Here, in the drowned city, those now lifeless make one feel,
we never hear them singing.

Reach out to touch her.  The dead flock around her;
hands flicker, eyes question. She has concealed hope.
She drifts; sinks.
The dead listen to analysis of betrayal and to confessions.
Tirelessly gazing with eyes that cannot close, flowing without containment, musical, non-syntactical, tinny, repetitious; language leaks.

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