Rick Barot

(1969 / Philippines)

Psalm with a Phrase from Beckett


The boulder that is bigger than a house,
perched on the edge of another boulder, painted gold
and prayed to by monks in saffron robes.
This is you being somewhere for once.
The circle of men in the flea-market parking lot
pounding on paint buckets, conga drums, the noise bulky
and hot as a furnace. Tell them
they are heard.
If you are every morning
the world has ever had, the rose is the pharmacy
and brothel, visited and visited.
If I try to sing, it is like standing too long by the magazine
rack, a crime beheld by the clerk's warring eye.
That is your gazing too.
In one narrative of desire, the young poet can't see a field
for the field of broken stars
that has landed there among his own
and a lover's body.
Let the dark be longer for this.
Certain papers are made of rice hulls, lambs-wool, hemp
and bark, all the good bodies of things.
If there is everything to be done
let it be in this way of careful ingenuity.
Walking home, I clink my knuckle against fences
and trunks, the moon coming up
behind the hills like a thought.
By these means at hand you can only be proven.
Let the river clear of filth.
Let him write his twenty-one
poems, one for every year of his age.
In still one more narrative about desire, a man makes
bracelets of the little bones of his neighbors
and sells them at the church fair.
Let this be time for you to drink
the blue sludge of airplanes. At dusk, the fog is happy
to take the place of the leaves on the branches,
fallen shiny as shoes on the ground.
Tell me you are here.
Certain towns
in the Midwest have radio towers tall as lighthouses,
belated of a first ocean, red eyes on their bodies like gods.
Let the dark be longer for this.
Let him stop hearing the knives
of his parents, the knives in their fair use. Let him turn
from the words exploding
too small even for the dog to hear: quaquaquaqua.
Because that is your singing too.

Submitted: Saturday, June 28, 2014

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