Thursday, July 18, 2013

"Black Water" by Joe Bolton

It happens like this
   Over and over:
A light breaks on the shore
   Of a black water
Hemmed in by cliffs of red
   Stone with faces
Carved into the faces, and you
   See another face
–The face of the remembered–
   Rising from the water,
Descending from the sourceless light,
   And cannot call it out,
Because now you are the light breaking
   Over the black water,
And you are the black water, and you
   Are the face they make.

And then you wake up, and light
   A cigarette,
And you are in time again, the world
   Of time and outside
It is Tuesday, and early June,
   And 1985.
And it would be your wedding day,
   Were it three years ago;
And it would be your anniversary
   Had she not left you . . .
But it is simply a Tuesday, in June,
   In 1985,
And you have woken up alone to the life
   You live alone,
And the workmen down the block are hammering
   The last of the dream from you.

And what work will there be
   For you today,
Dreamer whose dream the world
   Of time has torn away?
—What task to occupy your hands
   That tremble?
Only this resurrection of the grief
   That sweats the drink
Out of you and makes you thirst
   For more—
Makes you dress up to go out and drink,
   Then undress to lie down.
And you will lie down, and you will be
   The light breaking
Over the black water, and you will be

   The black water.