Futility of Dreams From the Bottom of the Sea
the moments between life and death
Not everyone who dies gets the funeral they deserve.
They fished his body out,
White balloon flesh flaked off on
Grappling hooks, not malevolent
Not kind just flinty black
— All utilitarian, you understand —
He was not frozen not clammy,
Nor cold, as though not even conceived
Nor imagined, roundly denied acknowledgment,
Even that of a squashed frog, and so much
Silent rain running with horizontal
Precision into a liquid continuity,
Like Chinese water torture protracted to
A slug’s lifetime of quickening
Death on slow slime roadways, but
choked on unremarkable
Lives in an enormous court of law.
Hull of a luxury liner was the
Backdrop to a falling body
Stripped in that instant of all morality,
Choices and deities,
Realpolitik and aching
Nuances of love.
Unquestionably, they were free, his
Caterwauling hands shaking off
Coal dust: It was a red-blue-yellow
Sunday picnic of paper lantern kites…
Ripping explosions inside steel plates!
All serrated in silence of gaping entrails,
Teal thunderclaps, scattered blood of
Bat bites on blind nakedness
— Thinking of those things felt like that —
But now he wanted to sleep,
Float amongst old coins and northern
Wildflowers under a cool sun…
But sludge, silt, bundles of madness!
Tailored terror gags and teeth
And nostrils, ears filled with deaf
Sand and starfish tears on
Dead of deadest black, not
Hematite, tar or obsidian but
So black that it breathed,
Rise and fall and breathed again like
Phosphorescence of a jaguar’s
O Danyal, Danyal!
The blind have eyes all over
And the deaf, songs of absence,
A flight of eternity
Caught in muffled amber.
He had nothing!
He had had nothing.
An abacus out of hell.
Flaccid arrows flung at dread serpents.
And in the meantime,
Tick tock tick tock played on.
In the reek of an abattoir
Everywhere he looked, flesh
Streaked with crimson and chalk
Veins swallowed his eyeballs
Up to his clavicles, now sitting on
A brotherhood of sea urchins drenched
In squid ink.
Mountain snow fretwork of
Milky green shadows, or
Japanese tea ceremonies:
Fears remain the same he said,
As he hit the sea.
Not everyone who dies gets a funeral.
In another place a soldier
Leapt up like a black crepe ribbon
Against a red sun, heroism
Hammered deep into his
Sternum and died in a ditch.
And on the breathing that glimmered like
Phosphorescence on a jaguar’s stealth,
Sprang horrified whispers,
there had been wisteria in bloom
Amongst light in unexpected places, and
Recurrent dreams of a lost mother’s
Wheat smell bosom, heavy and warm,
Cataracted rumblings within glacial ice and
Such orange rain on pungent walnut!
…Then shared histories within
Felled mango trees and piles of passion
Wove themselves around a decanter
Brimming with stars, floating votives,
And you breathed jaggery on the refined
Salt of her body as plumed fruits crisped in
Forest fires, then it was a cruel winter and deer
Stripped bark off a birch tree….
By the water’s light, even if
Exhaust fumes were metal casket clouds,
Her eyes were full of fireflies, and
Dreams of undressing amongst
What a yellow
Moon rose that night!
They fished his body out
He was John or David or Lars (so white)
Amer, Peter or Troy but to me he was
Danyal because I have never
Known a Danyal —
But I do not know you,
I do not want to know: One less
Mountain to carry, one more
O Danyal Danyal!
Prisoner of freedom
No one knew you
Your dreams will wait……