A Book of Shadows, for Tita Reut

Posted by Lidya Endzo Kun iLLa On 7:07 AM












History is over.
In another world
you find another
young as you,
your shadow
over his, the two
together, sharing
hidden sorrows,
thoughts of
expiation. The world
does not forgive.

*

Allotments.
Shut.
The neighbors cross the boulevard
in pairs.
The door adjacent to
our thoughts shut also.
Therefore they shift
their legs between
short bursts,
the cadence of a march,
old world, old
fashioned melodies
unheard. A single hand
can sweep the board.
A single eye can glimpse
a shadow of the cosmos
through a pin hole.

*

She is a princess,
fresh as soap
she meets you at the gare,
French dolls like ghosts
step forth at midday.
Everyone is sportif
geared for speed
never to turn a shoulder,
to name a game for love.
Their aim is circular,
it follows where you lead them,
down a secret path,
into a basement
shadowed by
your childhood dream,
a lurking hole,
then up the backstairs
lost to sleep,
concealments of a borrowed life
outside the circle.

*

The cavern of the universe
widens each morning.
My head fills up with dew,
the father writes,
having no home but where
his shadow leads him.
In greasy shirtsleeves, heavy
lids, blotched faces,
the men pursue
a trail of tears,
unbuttoned captive
to a dream,
a starless galaxy,
the deeper sky
a field of images
measureless & mindless,
absent their god.

*

It was always dark.
The red hole’s
wetness threatened
the lost sheep.
Sharp exchanges
were not clearly heard.
Rivers did
not flow.
You did not defend
your brother.
We ascend
toward progress.
I scratch fire &
remove it from your throat.
I run out of
distant shadows
now that no one
tries to stop
the passage from a city
that is drowning.

*

I look for lights
under my fingers.
I will take them & will make
foolish minds wise.
Then when I flick my half closed eyes
your mouth will open wide
& I will sail by with my flags.
You will applaud me
when I scratch for cash
under your shadows.
I who am geared to tear down
what you build
your houses like your ashes
swept away.

*

Poetry is made in bed
for some for me
the call of life is stronger.
I walk & see my shadow
hanging upside down
with yours. The way
your mouth says I
is just like mine.
I multiply
the little portion
that your fingers
spill.
I cannot comprehend
the way men kill
or laugh. I will not
vouch for them.
There is a space to burrow in
under the covers.
The way he wants to kiss
while vomiting
is part of life. The way
he calls on death
trumpets his own.

*

I is an other gaunt
& somewhat turned
into the light.
I threatens to return,
is hungry now
for power
as for love.
He is my own, becomes
my shadow
dog.
I reach a hand to him
& freeze.
I cannot speak
without him
though we try.

*

I run from shadows
to avoid old people
maddened by God.
I follow animals
whose eyes at night
mirror my face.
Seeing myself asleep
I touch my arm.
I celebrate
new forms of sex.
I am frantic
knowing that nobody
has a way out
or a face
more marked than
mine.
I was not
born live
.

*

It is a shame to watch
my face to see it
running through your hands
like jelly.
I am my own
dark friend
a shadow set against
a darker shadow.
I hear a sound
like pianos
buried in the earth.
The pressure of my feet
against the pedals
opens a flood.
A carrousel is bobbing
up & down.
The happy singer
enters paradise
with seven others.

*

There are some who shadow us
for what we love.
Nightly the passengers
still blind me
while I bind their wounds.
I feel their final jabs
between the covers & the sea
no time for preening.
I watch my feet move
among the stars.
Everything we offer
to the world
is what the world gives back
without a thought
or breath.

*

Coda to A Book of Shadows

What is remembered
of the dead is how
they tottered, little more
to write, & less
to pass a test
at understanding.
How discreet
to dance here in a hall
of shadows,
or to sit this moment,
dozing in the fast train,
while the clouds
take shape, even
as they leave
their shadows, like the dead
across the fields.
I am more alive
for thinking of them,
knowing that the time
draws nigh,
the outline disappears,
& dark as Monday
I am marching
with the fathers, ready
to mark my presence
in their ranks.

11.iv.08
Paris

[The preceding poems were commissioned as a suite & are scheduled for publication, with photos by the author, in a series of artists’ books published by Tita Reut under the imprint of Les Editions de l’Ariane. The poems themselves, all but the closing coda, are fragments from the author’s A Book of Witness (Un livre de temoignage), a part of which was translated into French by Tita Reut & Joseph Guglielmi & published with illustrations by Arman in 2002.]

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