Thursday, June 26, 2014

Steve Belasco:

Five Odd Reflections on Memory
On time
And Death

At the end of them
Thirty years compact
In that black hole
Where gravity depraved
Their time
When time is all they are.
Nothing escapes
Black hole time -
It has its own; and
Lusts to own it all.
It will,
And at the end of them
Thirty years will
Be timeless
Be nothing
Be only
The memory you make of them
In that black hole
Where you would
Pick up pieces of them
If there were some.

Years get counted
At the end:
The incomplete
Get no credit.
Obituaries never
Note the months, the days:
Don’t number the last hours.
The time you last
Will be an integer.
Halfway, most,
Notions for poems
Do not count.

In the insignificance
Of months,
Of days, of hours, minutes
Of efforts and attempts
Of all the almost done
We find uncounted
Coins too few
To matter much
Like small remainders
In results of long division:
Unsatisfactory but there.

I store moments
In a glass jar
Like collected coins
And have them
Where I can see them
Even reach in
And feel how many there are
And how surprisingly
Similar they feel
Their faces
The inscriptions
The raised edges
Wearing away
With each touch
Like water
Lapping gravel
The moments
Smoothed past recognition
And past

Intermittently at night
The dead email
Me brief
About mistakes
They made attaching
Of stuff that never happened.
Muscleless they can’t
Shampoo the mud
They tracked on carpet
That I’ve since replaced;
They write instead
With typos and want
Understanding or
To blame the pet.
Face down flat
Blindly they reach back
As best the dirt load
Lets them
And even after they’ve been eaten
Past the fingers
Their message lingers.
I won’t reply.
I won’t disturb
The misery that binds us.
No forgiveness
Better than forgetting. 
And soon enough
They will stop writing.

May is a good month for lawns
On my block.  They’re spread
Out like dry goods at market
And tempt you to lift the edge
And feel them between your fingers.

They are made right here,
The techniques passed down,
Though these days there’s power
Instead of push
And few are handmade.

Old timers will tell you on weekends
You could hear blades shuttle
Rising and falling
All over the neighborhood
Like orchestrated looms

And sniff the leakage from slit grass
Its heavy tang where fumes
Now rise off the motor boat beat
Of one-pistoned four wheelers
Wrangled by masked Mexicanos.

These days the edges
Trim quick and rectilinear
Where once it took
Hand clippers and snips
To correct grass that went too far.

And it’s every day of the week
Now neighborhood samurai
No longer reach into the folds of garages
And Saturdays unleash curved blades
On lawns and by noon

Have left only traces
Of green stain and severed
Fingers of motionless grass
Littered about for honor,
The dignity of order
And the neighborhood.

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