July 4, 2004 (Sunday Afternoon): December poetry

Brando is dead–
the eulogies are out today,
the shadows and the light.
And I’m out here mowing the lawn in the summer heat,
the reel of the blades like a horse’s neigh,
cicadas’ rattle,
thinking of Hannibal Lecter and that dream I had
where he took me back through time.

Was reading Stephen King today – his Danse Macabre
took out Skal’s The Monster Show as well,
a more-familiar read.
The lawns of suburban Illinois, La Grange;
the breeze in the leaves; the young boys biking by –
so it is and so it shall be:
so hath Ray Bradbury spun,
and the Good and Evil in our horror is an Old Testament God
with ways exceeding reason, a deity run amok
yet rational as Hell. One must be pure in heart
(but not too pure)
to be a hero here.

Mythology is life, in suspension of disbelief
(it was Coleridge coined the term) –
all the levels of seeing
through and against and far beyond
the painted canvas and the scenery.
The flags blow in the sunlight 
up and down the block — who wants to celebrate
with prayer and fasting, as Lawrence likely would..?
High summer is the time for dreaming hard,
the quick-breathing tide of action,
hyperventilating deeply, deeply
on the ancestral air of dusty attics,
the library’s pillaged shelves. Time of adventure
and tales that never die. Endless potential –
the courage and the darkness lie
within us all. As we’ve been told before,
but truth is not in telling —

And Hannibal came in dreams to be my tour-guide,
a teacher here — one must be pure, but not too pure,
to walk with man’s own devil and survive.
As in the Russian fairytales, to seek
wisdom from Baba Yaga in the forest’s heart.

Dance with the dark and learn
all that it has to give, as you play out your part –
out to the last breath, last words,
last meanings of all to be found…
as the elements manifest once more and finally,
as the Bounty burns in the night
at the edge of Romance’s own sea.


Kagen Aurencz Zethmayr