From “The Book of Consumption,” Poem #25


I am unhoused: so I end shaded between exile and joy. Each of us unaware that the
sharp, angled projection of sunlight is only the ideolect of a darker, radiant form.
Childhood, yes: the stipulation that the infinite has variation and? Before then after
winter the sunlight flails fair-red across the mountains. Each particle of light becomes
matter, each long day of physical consumption succeeds only in reducing the body to
unsuffering lyricism. You see a rose-bush on fire: you place a weightless crown upon
me. When I am forsaken I’ll slip through the winter mire, climb through the char of
the burnt-out hills. When we come fragrant to memory you’ll bury me wrapped in
a nightgown. The nightfall is Lydian, cold: it is sorrowful like you are. Speak to me
daughter: sing. Open the house doors, drag the contours out into shadow. Through the
winter dusk I hear a chord of dissolution unmystical and uncomplex: an intersection
between waking and dreaming, death and divinity. Sorrowful, wrung free from the
heart… The night mirthless, the sanatorium sapless without blood. I am not wishing that
I am here: I am here. The fire advances along the trees. The last sublime crawls forth from
its image… The process proceeds straight out of life, continuous with the process of life
fundamentally part of the same structure. Everything else, every other action is subverted
by the supercomplex of the infinite. I am not afraid: my language is accurate, it describes
it… You do not end with death you continue through it: you pass through that negation
itself, you are digested by it. Our bodies, the material of ourselves, we pass through the
leaves, the soil, the roots, we pass through that tragedy of the birth of love… And, like a
pearl, a bead drops suddenly from a string: I drop through the plume of silence into what
I was. The pain is not mine; it is the consciousness of grief itself. The grief which is not
me but its own unified poetry.