Washing a Manuscript

Salvatore Ala

Water penetrates pigment.
The music washes away.
Words sink to the lakebed.
Trees are growing in silt.
Faces appear and change.
Someone dead in a book
Reappears in the rain.
We tremble at a touch.
Leaves tremble at a touch.
Hate doesn’t die; people die.
Flood and fire/ fire and flood.
Our Saviour on a cypress.
Branches shake without wind.
Bird reflections surface.
Sentences spill into water.
The watering can is filled.
Drops engrave stone.
The shipwreck is home.
Fish arrange themselves.
The membrane swims.
Love and suffering are one.
A book opens to ice fields.
A poem is under glass.
Mirrors read their erosion
But dream like the sea.
Without the sun I am silent.
Without the moon I am still.
The manuscript is washed.
The actors are ready.
An audience assembles.
The first lines are silent.
The last are written first.

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Washing a Manuscript

Water penetrates pigment.
The music washes away.
Words sink to the lakebed.
Trees are growing in silt.
Faces appear and change.
Someone dead in a book
Reappears in the rain.
We tremble at a touch.
Leaves tremble at a touch.
Hate doesn’t die; people die.
Flood and fire/ fire and flood.
Our Saviour on a cypress.
Branches shake without wind.
Bird reflections surface.
Sentences spill into water.
The watering can is filled.
Drops engrave stone.
The shipwreck is home.
Fish arrange themselves.
The membrane swims.
Love and suffering are one.
A book opens to ice fields.
A poem is under glass.
Mirrors read their erosion
But dream like the sea.
Without the sun I am silent.
Without the moon I am still.
The manuscript is washed.
The actors are ready.
An audience assembles.
The first lines are silent.
The last are written first.

Hiroshima 2018

Places of great horror have the same silence.
It gets fused into the air
Like transparencies of sound, like empty speeches,
Or the half-life of Ground Zero.
It is like a fire that pierces the eyes that see it.
It fills you to the bone. It fills every stone.
It doesn’t matter how long ago,
It’s still happening in Hiroshima.
Enola Gays are flying above the city,
Pilots sighting T-shaped bridges,
The first nuclear bomb dropping…
Compound firestorms incinerating the city,
Becoming ash and cloud and gale-force wind
Like giant angelic beings with blazing wings,
Setting the fires on fire as they pass.
People walking under black rain
Wear the rags of their own melting flesh.
Others have no skin
But seem anatomies spilling tears.
Others, blind, wander nightmare ruins–
And you are one of them,
Drinking in the radiation,
Soaked in their suffering,
Brother and sister to them all,
You are innocent, free to leave,
Though collapsing winds
Draw you back to a burning center.
That’s where we all are.

The Waterwheel

For long spells the flour mill closed
And the waterwheel would be overrun
By morning glories,
Even anchored by the vines,
Like a wreath for the funeral of the sun.

Other times I thought the wheel
Turned imperceptibly
Like a seasonal clock
Endazzled by its own reflection
In the sunken mirrors of the earth.

For all we know another wheel
Turns the wheel;
Another sun inside the sun
Outlasts the waterwheel
And the bread of dumb flesh,
Producing the flour of morning glories
Spread beyond its grindstone,
Beautiful as a second coming
That never arrives.

 

Head Rip

Hatred

Hacks heads
Holds hostages
Helps hypocrites
Hangs hope
Hawks headlines
Hurls hurt
Harbors the hell-born

Experience

Eats earth essence
Educates entirely
Estimates existence
Eradicates excuses
Enduring evenly
Eager for ease
Even ebbing erudition

Autocracy

Apes accordingly
Accepts affluence
Avoids apology
Attracts analphabets
Attacking all accusers
Amassing assets
Arming for Armageddon

Death

Delivers definitiveness
Destroys damnation
Deceives desire
Distancing dreams
Dissolving days
Deactivating disease
Discharging denial

Rapture

Reeks of revulsion
Requires roiling
Raising redeemers
Raving redundantly
Revisiting revelations
Racing to rendezvous
Rupturing reality

Ignorance

Idolizes itself
Ignites indignation
Interpreting incorrectly
Insulting institution
Impeding immunity
Insisting in innocence
Impregnating iredom

Power

Pollutes the public
Panders pathetically
Poses presumptuously
Paltering politically
Perfecting pretence
Pimping profits
Planning piracy

Ink Wash

fogdom isn’t the absence of clarity
it is a walking suspension of disbelief
blankness in every direction
snow melting into cloud
granular fog setting like hushed static
a few mental brushstrokes
and I brush in what’s erased
deer crossing highways
old apple trees from childhood
first love vanishing in the void
the incompleteness of everything
blending with the saturation
adds such sadness to this picture