I Know the Darkness Well

Posted on | March 5, 2012 | Comments Off on I Know the Darkness Well

I Know the Darkness Well

Out there in the world, the nitty-
gritty, dirt ridden world where
disappointment and misery share
the same addresses, not on a single
street, or block, or quarter but in
all quarters even where the wealthy
build their walls to keep it out they
just keep it in playful gardens and
kitchen nooks like a black stone hearth
god buried in ashes to be resurrected
and polished on irrational holidays,
put into service to be worshiped
with pain and mockery and fear.

They are just people who do not know
the truth any better than I do so they
step over corpses of starved to death
as I did once in a place where starving
was the all-consuming pastime and
disappointment and misery were just the
wealthy currency in the river of despair
where hope might sit cross-legged and
beneficent somewhere near the source but
who has the energy to swim against that
loathsome torrent.

The fear that god is dead or never was
is as common as dirt in the hearts of
atheist and fervent alike as easily
found in temples or the steamy kitchens
in which I worked or on the top of
the monumental towers where I also
labored computing the complexities
by which wealth was disbursed in
orderly, allocated piles so large that
their shadows fell on the frequent
emptiness where most of us dwell.

I’ve reveled in the squalid romance
where poets squealed and bombast artists
descried the sorry state of art in this country,
in smoky bars in minor keys of crying
songs by turn sexy hormone-laced heartbeat
dances and again angry outrage clashing
into dim boozecan ears stashed in
concrete warehouse against the day
they might feel wanted or needed again
while the tired asses of prostitutes rested
on the stoop of my dreams of colors
too vivid to survive the grind of daily
bread.

I’ve been these places and more with
my Diogenes lamp held high, and I admit,
at times extinguished in dark diversions
where my blinded, groping heart embraced
a conflagration of distraction meant
to ward the teeming desperation that
I thought would eat the world of unhappy
people and dogs and trees and unmapped
avenues where baskets full of emptiness
were infinitely divided among all the
leaderless followers.

I know the darkness well and tailored
it to fit my soul where it ignored
my sensitive tears and unwieldy moments
of brightness fueled by the fumes of
an empty tank.

I know the darkness well.

But… there were smiles as well even
in those places where sustenance was
scarce, where no nutrients graced the
boiling froth, and again in places that
know no lack of anything but that smile,
it would still peek out of shy faces and
children’s mouths and I would be held
to a families breast and suckled
on love when they’d nothing else to give.

I walked into a desert of silence sweating out,
cold and hot, the fevered dreams of have not,
want not, know not and in that noiseless void,
bereft of innocence and naivete, the shroud
of fear I’d clung to ripped bleeding from
my tired hands and light poured in through
the tear, the void was full of it to spare
and while I still know nothing it is a nothing
full of light, the darkness abolished simply
because it is no thing but an absence
created by shutting your eyes.

I still weep as sparkling diamond
tears well up onto my squinting eyes
which like too many deaths and births
of cave born fish, had lost their sight
of glittering stalagmites, alone in an
eternal night, as my raw senses burning
bright, inverted, tuned to rising light.

I knew the darkness well.

 

 

I am new to poetry and would very much appreciate any comments/clarity a reader could provide.

 

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