Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Robin Dunn- Three Poems
I have arrived at Albemuth.
The sun is blue, and dreamy.
A man greets me:
“Hello,” I say.
“What freedom did you want?”
“I don’t know,” I say.
“Did you want freedom?”
“Yes, of course.”
“Well, what kind?”
He shows me some of the offers at hand.
There is the hermitage,
And there the madhouse.
Between them are the oligarch,
And the poet.
“This wasn’t what I was looking for,” I say.
“It’s all we’ve got this century,” he says.
“Can I see the transmitter?” I ask.
“Sure, over here.”
It’s beautiful, old fashioned, looks like it’s made of wood.
“Wow,” I say.
“Don’t get too close.”
It feels so dark, suddenly, freedom.
And I huddle by the post, and watch its messages travel into distant darks,
Tempting men and aliens like me to break with their traditions,
And journey towards this strange center.
Why is it so dark?
Why so lonely?
“You should go,” the man tells me.
“You come on back now, you here?” he calls after me.
Albemuth, O Albemuth. Your ichor burns.
I know the locks; I know the girders of your histories.
I have a map some man worked out about your face,
And its aegises wrought cold and solemn,
Shields designed to suffer aeons of bad luck,
The pain of human generations,
Cross statistical patterns of the movements of your upper lip.
I wield my key, my key of freedom,
Knowing it is horrifying and must remain unseen,
Must remain unwritten,
Must remain a sign you hear between stations,
A word you understand before it’s swallowed by static.
And now I find a man, a young man,
And whisper in his ear.
And the city is no longer asleep.
He hears the city think.
He watches it move,
And knows like I do that it watches him and worries him across its thighs,
Willing him to semi-blindness, an accommodating smile.
I have planted a seed.
Love at Albemuth
The final sleep, the tied knot,
And the untied chromosomes,
Its freedom of the promise of death following love,
Its knowledge of this strange waystation on the Mississippi or the Nile,
And its fear of the river,
For what lover wants to move too fast or too slow?
We must unhinge and flow,
If we’d embrace the slavery of a woman’s smile,
And all that follows.
We cannot claim uniqueness or surprise,
Not in this,
But we can define.
I can buy a gun,
And paint on placards,
Wave you nude across the street,
And photograph the crowds,
Tell a neighbor that the government is lying,
And count the pentameter of my hymnal march,
Where will I go, Albemuth?
I’ll always need a woman.
I’ll always know I failed to free myself from flesh,
Whatever dreamers may say.
What were your intentions? How delimited and how surmised?
Was it only a half-joke, a warning shot, a simple coup d’etat?
What biology sunders your dreams?
Are you commingling even now in your last awareness of your battery’s power,
Fencing off your doubts and swallowing ‘em,
Knowing that your purpose can never be explained?
Perhaps it is a new flesh you dream of,
Some dystopia held beneath the table like a gun.
Perhaps it’s life itself you hate, the chains of flesh.
Liberation, conflagration, expiation, Albemuth,
Your sins are my sins.
Tell me, and we go blind to Betelgeuse or Arcturus,
To burn the lie out of the hand,
And break the bone that feels the glory of a long career,
The bone that keeps the student in their seats,
To while away their heresies.
We’ll break it to half-burn,
And take the charred remnant and attach it to your pole,
Whatever your ultimate designs.
I can feel your heart twitching.
Robin Wyatt Dunn lives in The Town of the Queen of the Angels, El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles, in Echo Park. He is 33 years old.