Cleaving Roberto Bolaño

Volunteer Park

“And the shook maraca—
of the sunlit frond”
—Greg Williamson

my smeared mascara—in the midnight garden
puce moonlight—my chipped fingernail polish
speaking in tongues—saying what i can’t repeat
embellishing my bent knees—with cleaved speech

under the rubber tree—in volunteer park
across the shiny reservoir—how the moonlight
took its time—the young men signing to each other
their passionate necks—curved like cormorants

how could we have known—death was stalking
the very ones who—loved life the most back then
in the art deco shadows—of the elegant art museum
deep in the ferns and fronds—of the conservatory

these things i can’t put into words—it’s impossible
how can one put into words—what only braille can say
whose meanings i could not put—into words even tho
their flying fingers spoke—better than words of night

where breezes in the fir trees—and moody cedars
glided smoothly as seagulls—never heard overhead
the songs of dead birds—silently unsinging as the old
ghosts from the graveyard nearby—greeted us again

the language is delicate—cleaving capitol hill
perhaps as poets—hear waves among tombstones
the grass parting—for the undead to join the dead
their closed eyes—so understanding and calm

the tides of light and shade and stone—are one
they’re all gone now—like invisible ink
walking down broadway—glassy shop windows
reflecting phantom—handwriting on the walls

reading roberto bolaño—tonight
distant star—by night in chile
last evenings on earth—my generation
flowing like sand—thru my fingers…

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