04 December, 2020

A Poem That Flirts with Meaning


There is much I mean to tell you.
Please take hold of my hand.
Follow as it points to the moon and we'll
share its meaning. Echoes, maybe egrets,
or rickets. Can we even know?

Long shadows cast at four disappear
before dusk. A trail of sundry shed skins
left in the wake – this burdensome embodiment.
Who was me at breakfast? At noon?
He navigated the catastrophe well enough,
and now I'm here. And now.

If anyone were keeping track I could
thank him and the host of others
who helped us through.
I'm just not interested.
With time and great effort, "they"
can become "we." To meld the universe
this way is too much for most,
flailing while snared in the shiny traps,
calming briefly when presented treats.

Bitter, bitter, and sometimes sweet,
the oft-handled mind melts fully away,
exactly like chocolate doesn't.

* * * * *

The last class before my cellmate earns an Associate of Arts degree from Saint Louis University is Philosophy of Art. He has the sometimes exhausting habit of sharing with me, no matter what I happen to be doing at the time, passages from every text he finds interesting. (I find this curriculum more interesting than World History, 1500 to the Present.) We've had a few in-cell philosophical discussions about import and meaning.

From neighborhood bookshop readings to MFA programs, questions about this stuff constantly dog poetry. Conversely, the teachings of Buddhism tell practitioners that this kind of intellectual searching is ultimately unimportant, that meaning exists with or without our cogitations, that mind-made distinctions are the root of our suffering, and that tranquility lies in learning to accept the perfection what is, as it is.

The poem above, entitled "Import," is a response to this, exploring briefly the machinations of the interpretive mind and conventional notions of meaning – not seeking answers, just exploring the question. But you probably figured that out yourself by reading it.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I just wanted to say how much I enjoy your posts...both here and on Twitter. Thanks.


Byron does not have Internet access. Pariahblog.com posts are sent from his cell by way of a secure service especially for prisoners' use. We do read him your comments, however, and he enjoys hearing your thoughts very much.