Wednesday, July 20, 2011

An Artist of the Floating Word

Once I waded into myself so deep and found someone
devoid of empathy and humor
Just as once I strayed too deeply
into the Congressional echo chamber
- hear me out -
until the words jumped around the soggy
palimpsest and formed a pool of rhyme:

They were self-referential till their comfort became preferential to the meaning
And the language’s host deferential only to its intent
Because America is not America without freedom
And freedom is not free

Of taxes, jobs, guns and stewardship and education and health care
The partiality of their arrangement
Mocks the reality of their symphony
For the words, the words do not sing solo, only harmonize
Only prioritize the spectral location of the engagement
Hone upon political leanings
Of the speaker and the gleanings of his life’s storied culmination

Because there is no higher rumination
Than the selfless aspiration to own the words
To incarcerate the dialogue, to perforate the anachronistic trope
With modern day sensibilities and the responsibility
of Hope, the insinuation of Change

But can Change be wrought of words?
The campaign of poetry gave way to a government of prose and I lamented
Not the death of the revolution
but the weary repose and devolution of the language
I blinked and it was gone, tearfully winked
at the recycled copy and re-masticated pleas
for compromise, for placated dreams, the cauterized phrases.

Turn the words inside out, you say! Mull the sentence over,
Churn it into a curd, let it ferment
into the culled canon of Congressional herebys and therebys and soforths and henceforths
Strike the articles and Repeat, always Repeat!
they tell the novices of rhyme, the apprentices of English poetic time

As well the speechwriters of desolation row, looking fitfully for some variation in their copy
Until they realize that the domination of legislation
Follows only the fortification of the words
That is to say, construction of the legislative function
Comes only at the price of aesthetic destruction
For he who most debases the bottom line
and chooses the lowest common denominator over a nuanced sublime
Builds also a guarded fort of power’s vaunted shrine.

So finally, dripping with self-indulgence,
I emerged, no longer feeling cornered by words but smiling with affection for them
For this is not where they go to die but only
to fake their own drowning, pulled to air sputtering and laughing at your concern.