Wednesday, May 08, 2013


“The said must be torn from the unsaid.”
–Roland Barthes

Because we have so far been
Unable to hold an explanation to ourselves
There are men mounted in the trees outside
Counting our children
As they pass
Explanations slip down drains and wash
Through streams beneath our streets
Whispering from man-holes
Dead children with unused names
The men tire of counting and dig
Their fingers into the bark
The trees dig into sewers taking up the lost names
Humming them to the men hidden in their limbs

There is nothing that can be said
So terrible that it cannot occur

We sit on our porches hiding behind the news
Wondering what any of us could need so badly
That he would tear it apart in some deaf field
Where it would lay for days till rain washed its parts clean
And weeks later the name would be found again
Lodged against the grates nearly home
Bubbling like ripped and free-floating plastic

In one bright corner of the city
Someone we have eaten with
Caresses an idea he cannot speak to us
He counts our children too
They chant in the courtyard
Jumping the length of the line
They use to link themselves together
Counting off the gone
They promise each other
“If you jump high enough
God will pluck you up and
Make you an angel like the others.”

“Why did they all have the same name?”

“All angels have the same name.”

How should we explain ourselves to them
But by teasing free this same truth
They leap higher and higher toward

See in this an assumption of angels
Into heaven
We could not say to them
Our attention wanders as you do
And some more attentive one of us
Takes you to punish us
We could not tell them
There is nothing any of us can think
So dread that we couldn’t find another
To join us in the thinking and doing of it

We pluck up the name from the grates
Call it and all the children
Even the airborne
Turn their heads toward us

Is this how it happens

Carole Denise
Angela Denise
Darlenia Denise
Brenda Denise

Walking to the store
Walking home from The Wall
Walking from The Hill Center
From the Safeway
Under the sleeping men in trees

Nothing so unspeakable we won’t one day see it
And lay it to a phantom
Nothing we can say so terrible
It cannot occur
No explanations to hold against ourselves

An assumption of angels

(from a brand new beggar)

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