July 25, 2016

VIII: For Poetry


Poetry has failed because this is not its battle.
It was dragged into this like a mortified soldier
who yearns for absolute silence—
a silence that is only possible in the absence of
            Still, poetry continues to appear
on the front line—shivering, starving, tirelessly
resisting death.
            It is the only way to keep on living,
the only way to go back to the ones who count on its
survival more than they count on its victory
so that the real fight can begin
            on better terms.


The long-awaited fight has yet to start.
None dare to cross the line
for fear of repeating the same mistake,
for fear of hitting the enemy in the same spot,
right in its steel numbness.
Redundancy is more frightening than death
because being redundant is being needlessly repetitive
and needless repetition is admitting defeat and
death is always preferable to an undignified loss.
            To use a metaphor as if it were a toothbrush or a pair
of old combat boots is to use a weapon on oneself.
The fight is over for lack of fighters,
leaving poetry in a pool of blood,
leaving the wind
no choice but to carry the news of poetry’s premature end,
                        and the whole world will know that it
                        did not survive the war.


Wars kill as often as they pull darkness out of humanity’s womb—
            which is a metaphor—
and if it is true that metaphors kill as often as they
bring the unnamable to life in Language
            how should we continue to test the resilience of poetry
            in the midst of societal disintegration, economic chaos
            and political surprises?


I dreamed of a verse that contained all the answers,
though only doubt followed me out of bed the next morning.
I spent the whole day trying to remember it but
I ended up writing a completely different poem
that only revealed my obsession with hyphens.
My desperation was greeted by a cold silence
and in that silence
                                    I fell asleep.


It appears that sleep does not solve much—
neither does staying up all night trying to figure out
which of the following banish poetry to obscurity:
            symbols, unexpected verbs, foreign words, adjectives,
            character, feeling, lies, near-truths, assumptions,
            indefinite conclusions, the absence of punctuation,
            too much punctuation…


Is the success of poetry just a dream?
Does it exist to toy with our discontent and aspirations until
the end of time? Repeat
repeat   repeat   repeat  
repeat   repeat   repeat
it all until the words merge into a giant cloud of
incomprehensibility—to the point that whatever
is left of meaning gets rained on, totally drenched in
            madness and despair: the ultimate nightmare.


But nightmares are dreams too,
            ones that urge us to consider the best alternatives
            for ourselves.