I remember when we lived
with our language suited
to the fatuous and fantastic.
When we never wondered
what our slide rules might not measure,
we saw our ambit through camerae obscurae,
pinpoints of the truth inverted.
When nothing noticed
could be judged too small,
we were circled by minutiae
from the fawning factories,
androids programmed to admire.
When we chanted with believers
and rang the bell three times
Today we all must breathe
the sky, the water birds
that fall and flutter in their death throes
on the earth.
Today I tramp along a linear regression,
a distended trickle
through a chain of muddy ponds
in empty-headed dreaming of a river.
But in my mind a gif, a spinning
waxen cylinder, evokes the age of life,
scratches melodies for an English lunar lover.
I bow and waltz around the puddles
while morphs of insects
bite and tear my flesh;
drips of salted fluid:
my gift to them.
Causes once for action are dormant now;
my small life—an increment to destruction,
and in my death there’ll be
no burning ardor. The dead see all
but discover nothing.
My destination is a meeting
to be held beside the sunset,
a dusty roll call with the ghostlings.
Before the night,
I’ll ring the bell three times
to honor Jakaíra,
vanquished queen of morning mists,
made mortal by our unrequitable
I’m a great fan of Jakaíra, god of mists and fog in the mythology of Brazil’s Tupi-Guarani peoples. Although I don’t have a signed photograph, she makes guest appearances in the wheel of dreams and the laundromat of time.
machinae ex deus (detail above)