by Jeff Celan
And cacophonous long this lasts, Evening
but joyned in discombobulate leaving;
Here in overpowering silences of Ephemeral
Continent should flee to loftier discontents.
This disconsolate night of hearts, of
Paced in chase of coffeelaced days,
And synaptical didactic rage,
Bones huesoed white on washed whaling bays,
Our parting, each part, is a step
Too fast for the music;
Each backward glance a stumble over shuffling
Feet, a nervous apology given to laughtear eyes,
A voice admittant to shared anxieties;
Hopes peak below waters like patient alligators,
With the night turned over in purple grape abash
Like salt-strewn watermelon pinafores tied to
Corded necks of heaven with dendrite rings and roots
Year by year snapping and Saturnìne lipped
Trying to be a bib
tie-laced apron to catch some crumb of a bowling comet.
The night wind has butcher knives that
Pulp out our gourds
Scoop out our seeds,
Plant them in rows
until more squashes orangely grow,
that carve out our faces
and place us
On doorstoops with candlelit
“Loneliness is a periodic element,
Elliptically alkaline atoms unsplittable,
Compounded with nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen
To be breathed in every gulp that our life to
Lungs and tongue must taste and shake of death.
Our lives are trips to general stores
Piggybacked on spines of wanting apes, and
What have we found on these generic shelves
Not bought and consumed by everyone else?
It will never leave us, No not us--
Forever this caged feeling of emptiness.
We will be doomed to stroll in the Deli-Bakery
Amongst sourdough rolls, sandwiches, cakes, and raspberrycheese Danishes.
It will be three in the morning but the superstore will be open
And frequented by insomniacs and zombies like us.
This is where we must depart,
At your house.
Tomorrow you will be gone from under the poplar groves
To flit cordially amongst houses waving sun in a foreign cloudstrung city
And pass through the jungled ghettoes and
That spackle the shores,
boards gessoed, cracking and gritty,
Stirring the inverse and brinespanked wind.”
Must our always coming winter
and vomit our
Leaves into chirruping throats
off the fetalplumed thrush,
Gnarl up our roots
and arthritic limbs while
by the logcrack fire, red
Snow melts from the soles of waterproof boots?
Blue and black rivers of makeup have fertilized your face and
Made my love for you grow into a flowerbed already withered.
“We will speak around the subject
And circumvent all our present night;
Last among the ones we passed from branch to branch
In the uncertain northerly breeze
That pressed our changing leaves.
Be a head,
Of your whiteveiled winter
And snap the icicles dripping off the pocked
Yes wear your coat and wrap your arms,
Clasp your arms in crossed bundles
Around your chest. Protect and keep it warm.
Savor all feelings of bark and sand
And roughness and bumps to rub.”