Monday, May 25, 2015


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Douroucoulis are nocturnal monkeys that live in South and Central America. They have large, owl-like eyes, and they watch people from the trees. The image of the iron pear, rammed down the narrator’s throat, which then swells and cracks his skull: A symbol for the grief rammed down his throat as a youngster. These Dream Songs often arrange thematically in groups of three. We’re in the middle of the suicide/grief triplet that ends Book V of The Dream Songs. I’ll engage with that further tomorrow. For today, a poem, about eyes and light, and pressures that crack our skulls and spontaneously combust.


Once around a campfire, red
Coals shone from the woods
Embers boring into embers
Drilling holes in our repose,
A welder’s sparks through tissue.
That they resolved into the eyes
Of hungry bears was less
Disturbing than the specters
We felt leaping there at first,
Though a bear, in a forest,
Who has designs on your dinner,
Is strong medicine enough: Dank
Stink and musk, ursine slobber
And the ceaseless pressure:
Pressure to take and eat, pressure
To gulp organic creation
Down and through its rumbling
Guts and glorify it all to shit.
Bears who famished stare at us
Stare as brothers. Then the moths
Arrived. Sparks of the fiery
Forest in familial red eyes
Pressured by that strange
Mothly drive to eat light
Which they did eat of freely,
And ate, until their wings
Burst into flames
And they smoked and crashed
Like vanquished fighter planes
Brothers too, the night
Shining in the sated red
Lights of their burning eyes.


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