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The Wild Palms
All I can grasp here is the silence, silence’s all I’m certain of,
The moonlight ripples, swishing through the leaves of the palms,
Scalding down my back, the hours are frozen by the sea-waves,
But I don’t see it, I don’t sense the atmosphere tearing me apart,
I don’t feel the icy dryness and thirst-clutching taste in my throat,
Right now I am beyond myself, pondering into nothingness.
I’ve created this No-self out of me, a soul separate, dependant,
A soul unbound, reflecting quietly on itself and for itself,
A game of mirrors and lights rebounding, exploding like firework
Into an emptiness so present I cannot help to be filled with neglect.
No air lingers here, morningless, you’ll drown in your own blood,
That’s the whole idea of dehumanization, they give you the gun.
Darkness stumbles around me, the hollow bell-play in the distance,
Chiming furiously, spinning bronze drums pounding the eternal.
Silver rays flood my hair, the tresses curtain my eyes closed tight,
They say down on the mile that someone will die tonight.
I hear them whispering, chattering and mumbling in their sleep,
Their brain’s been numbed out, so now slumber is their only joy.
I hear their teeth trembling, their worn bodies rolling heavily
With the metal crackling of the dreamed-out beds.
A vast cathedral of silence builds around me, an immense vault
Where the echoes prevail, stamping upon the walls, never-dyin’.
The ghosts they cannot see me through my moonlit trap,
The seasoned canvas breakers are fleetin’ to wastelands afar.
No one is here, no one is there, no one is to be where I am,
To be in here is to be out there, to be in no places at a time,
Where everything’s estranged, that’s to be where all’s astray,
Where the sad-eyed men live their day to fill an ashtray,
I’d rather the winded thousand hollow vines would crush me,
Hang me upside down, facing the eastern toiling, halt to be.
Fooled by the flowers of the spring, fooled into the illusion of life,
Into the narrow one-way labyrinth, banging my brains to the walls,
I’ve been fooled, I’ve been deceived and murdered beauty ragingly
By the lovers, by gliding sinners burning in a park bench at dusk,
I’ve been haunted by their voices, by their soften thighs, their masks,
I’ve heard their voices whispering to me, singing like some siren-lark.
I wish the bleak seaside tides would sink my body and let it die,
Stamp me with their foamy hoofs, weave for me a blue-eyed shroud,
I wish a howl of terrible insanity to wreck all over my weary body,
I wish a tempest sauntering furiously, breakin’ the levee, shatterin’ all ships,
Splintering with its mighty gale the very bones of the torturous sea,
I wish a green plain dull scattered crystal broken mirror house to die in.
Where a pale svelte black-haired silent heart-stabbing girl would lie,
I wish for the sudden quiet right after the gun-smoke disappears.
But where the prophets are listened to with deaf slow ears,
That’s the tombstone-weeping where the willow doth fears.
In here the clogged walls are grey-swept and tightening,
Roman scratched, skull stoned, swallowed with enlightening.
Tangled and woven in webs of daydreamin’ gather ever-growing,
Outside dawn hits and wobbles, all silence is now being stolen.
Trash-fingerin’ bums say at my window “Why are ye here now kid?”
“Well, sweet vagabond, I was brought in by the idiot wind”
Shadows lengthen west with the sunrise, red-eyed I expect the giant
To bring its callous melody for my gentle feet to be soaked in.
The cafes are getting’ rid of the lingering traces, underground poets
And piano players are having a lethal dose and heading for an open bar,
I feel the engines rumbling, roaring relentless, seething for the highway,
I hear their radios on and playing the jazz bird blown song faraway.
My arms no longer are shivering, I lay away the white-blue blanket
Wrapped around my chest, let the sunlight heat my dripping bones.
Early sunshine slouches out of the wilderness, sheltering me afar,
Tender the warm fingers touched me, I left my body aside,
Got rid of it like a torn austere cloth worn out through the years,
I gazed out of the window, not knowing what to look at or hear,
I just knew I had to be there, staring right there to whatever lied
Beyond the bars, beyond the silken thoughts trapped in my mind.
Ah! The bums are jammin’ with harmonica angel rhymes!
Blues scattered like drenched raincoats down the yellowy line,
I can see the remains of the port and the cracked-down coast road,
There are seagulls a-playin’ there making a little too much noise,
Kids drunken stagger with cigarettes dangling from their tattered lips,
Holding their sleepy dreamy gals from their tiny little hips.
Broken people get up in the dawn for to wander in the drizzlin’ rain,
They all miss their only love, but none wants to reveal no tears or pain.
Umbrellas black-crowding the empty piers where the waves do rage,
I reach the top of them, I see the sparkle drops stammer the shade,
They walk stiffly, counting every single step, deep in their thoughts,
They stench of loneliness, they pace the march of wretched souls.
New dawn fades, storm- loaded by the distance, occupied by shades
Of the directionless and hollow steep, waking for something
That’s already been taken, dialing a number that’s never been called,
Fading the voices of those left unspoken, shading the brightness
That darkness left there, waiting for someone who’ll never appear,
Hoping for more out of nothing, hoping for soul out of void.
Down at the gates, around the secret garden, children are playing,
Holding the sodden roses and the scattered communion, running barefoot,
Talking aloud in their inner innocence, blushing with tears
All the clouds in the sky, they roam in their songs of unknown grief,
Seeking for meaning in a meaningless drown, sought for the path
That the woods say is open, divided in two, never to be found.
The salt of the ocean whirls intensely into my nostrils, filling my lungs,
I guess upon the distance a horizon line parted into red-grey tongues
Twisted and tearing apart the frozen starlight still a-glowin’ bright
Within the heads of the slumberin’, those who still wander another side.
Some say that at break of dawn things they become more alive,
When really all it does is makin’ it clearer that everything must die.
There’s no one left in town, I can’t even think of the time that’s passed
Since I last saw my girl under the tilted roof ‘neath the glowerin’ sky,
She had her hands grasped together and a red ribbon on her hair,
Biting her lower lip anxiously, everything shone, every dust of air
Wet roused a sweet taste in my mouth, as I went towards my love,
As I whistled with no care, I was happy to see my pretty white dove.
But now I’m a saddened man, I’ve watched my life go by,
I’ve watched the tears and sorrows in my mother’s young eyes
As I got on the train to New Orleans without sayin’ goodbye,
As I left alone my baby in the rain, without even givin’ a sigh,
As I left my father to die slowly when his blood I denied,
As I left my sisters and brothers abandoned to their helpless cry.
I hear them in distraction stepping foul, lurching through the court,
The guards, laughing without notion of other’s slow despair,
They gravel down the courtyard, I see them get the rope,
I hear them succumb to the game, settling down in the exhibition,
I see them in a fraction whistling with the knots, ready to burst,
The deck it is not moving, they’ll tie me up until the end.
I wish someone to take all of this away, push me to another day,
Clear out all of my memories, wipe off all of my atrocities,
Walk along with me as I sway, bear for me this terrible weight,
Numb this sensations that I’m feeling, take it all away.
But they are calling me, crawling into my walls, deserted voices
Crowned with thorns, writhing for me to kill the pain myself.
Nothing to lose when the battle is aching, for it is nothing to lose
When there’s none to be won, no heart disappears at the turn of the corner,
You walk with your sorrows, you walk all alone, they’ll scream your name
And pray for tomorrow, for an idiot to tell what’s happened today,
They’ll wail and will laugh at the tightening of the furrows,
They’ll chill to their bones as they remember that their dawn’s on the way.
Looked in the mirror and felt how it shattered, stared at the sky
And asked myself why, the lines are all darken, the sulked sun gone,
My ears are deaf, my eyes are white as the blind man who toils
To cross all the roads that he’ll never know; I stepped in the closeness
Of unbidden control, triggered my answers, swallowed my woes,
Burned my revisions and buried existence under the snow.
I hold my sodden eyes as long as I can on my visions of foolish yearning,
I want it to last forever, to let it fill the prowling vacuum urging the soul,
I listen to the morning while it howls thundering from the above,
I listen to the sorrows of a lonesome mother I once tried to shove.
As the ruffled breeze arising rustles my ears, talkin’ its holy psalms,
In the midst of the hurricane all I can hear is the sway of the wild palms.
Westville, New Jersey
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