Wednesday, December 16, 2015

IN BELATED COMMEMORATION OF "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" PASSING INTO THE PUBLIC DOMAIN

Tending as always
toward tomorrow
and tomorrow—toward gravity 
and its hugest superlatives 
but also the infinitesimal point of a place, marked with a bold 
x, where the world ends, or so
we've been told;

we sometimes find instead where we tread—a slight 
translucent muse
whose

simple song
at first
is not but disappointing levity—a nursery rhyme! we cry,

a sort of cheap birthday 
party tune—

meant to accompany that space of time, we think 
in our ponderous graceless mood,
between the bored now and
the dark time when all shall become as smoke 
under our very noses, after 
our fervid but still
uncompleted visions have been subsumed
and what's left of them now enveloped 
in gummy sugar and sticky laughter.

Nonetheless,
the music plays on, and gradually 
we realize—
we know the words already, having
learned them all
by heart when we were small.

And what then—
of gravity 
after all? 

Surely a few distractions—a white confection and a few
friends and close relations
are not the heaviest burdens to assume. And as
the lingering smoke in our nostrils 
continues to curl, it compels us 

to recall
and to compare—another simple song,

we dimly seem to have heard
or read about somewhere—

something—regarding ashes and dust 
and so-on, until suddenly

that is to say,
eventually—we hear each song conclude, only 
to rewind and start over,

as tomorrow becomes 
today, re-steeped once again 
in the burnt and dead
leaves which we just 
very nearly discarded,

and we remember that here
on a perfect sphere,
every point 
is both—the end of all things 
and absolutely nowhere. 

And it is then at last
that we find ourselves
free to give up 
and simply let loose our own music
without that unwieldy burden—of ownership,

and the song we make then
is a slender
little cellophane thing, but it nonetheless runs
wild in our minds, chiming
out more and more strongly 
with each new
repetition of its chorus—

Be not a prophet.
And leave off desire
And dignity and class.
What does your day
to day life require?
Tell us—only of that.

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