Death, Is All

Ana Božičević
I woke up real early to write about death (the lake through the trees) from
the angle of the angel. There's the kind of angel that when I say
Someone please push me out of the way
Of this bad poem like it was a bus.—well, it comes running &
tackles me and oh, it's divine football—Or
in the dream when the transparent buses 
came barreling towards us:—it was there. Half of all Americans say

they believe in angels. And why shouldn't they.
If someone swoops in to tell them how death's a fuzzy star that's
full of bugles, well it's a hell of a lot better
than what they see on TV: the surf much too warm for December, and rollercoasters
full of the wounded and the subconscious
that keep pulling in—Who wants to believe

death's just another life inside a box, tale-pale or more vivid?
Not me. Like in Gladiator, when they showed the cypresses
flanking the end-road—O set 
Your sandal, your tandem bike, into the land of shadows—of course
I cried. Show me a cypress and I'll just go off, but
I don't want that to be it. Or
some kind of poem you can never find your way out of! And sometimes

I think I nod at the true death: when from a moving train
I see a house in the morning sun
and it casts a shadow on the ground, an inquiry
and I think "Crisp inquiry"
& go on to work, perfumed of it—that's the kind of death
I'm talking about.

An angle of light. Believe in it. I believe in the light and disorder of the word
repeated until quote Meaning unquote leeches out of it. And that's
what I wanted to do with dame Death, for you:
repeat it until you're all, What? D-E-A-T-H? 'Cause Amy
that's all it is, a word, material in the way the lake through the trees
is material, that is: insofar, not at all.
Because we haven't yet swam in it. See what I mean?
I see death, I smell death, it moves the hair on my face but

I don't know where it blows from. And in its sources is my power.
I'm incredibly powerful in my ignorance. I'm incredible, like some kind of fuzzy star.
The nonsense of me is the nonsense of death, and
Oh look! Light through the trees on the lake:

the lake has the kind of calmness
my pupils' surface believes...and this is just the thing
that the boxed land of shades at the end of the remote
doesn't program for: the lake is so kind to me, Amy,
and I'll be so kind to you, Amy, and so we'll never die:
there'll be plenty of us around to 
keep casting our inquiry 
against the crisp light. Light is all like,
what's up, I'm here I'm an angel! & we're
all: no you're not, that doesn't exist. We all laugh and laugh...

Or cry and cry. The point is, it's words, and so's
death. Even in that silence
there's bird calls or meteors or something hurtling
through space: there's matter and light. I've seen it
through the theater of the trees and it was beautiful

It cut my eyes and I didn't even care

I already had the seeing taken care of. Even in the months I didn't have
a single poem in me, I had this death and this love, and how's
that not enough? I even have a quote:
Love is the angel

Which leads us into the shadow, di Prima.

More by Ana Božičević

Joyride

Skinny dirt road
In the middle of the ocean.
That led to the house of art.
I took it. The engine nearly
Drowned. I lied that it was fun
That I'd do it again. When I got to
That shore
The house was gone and when
I looked back, so was the path.
Now I'm old. Drown in my bed
A thousand miles inland.
For years I thought
I could
Art my way back. Cats sing
Of rose dawns. This country's a
Mirror image
Of the one I left, except
I've bad dreams. And
You're the only
Person who's not here.
Is it the same
For you.

Migration

I never want to get any
More new things.
I wanna wear out these shoes white
And walk on the rug till it's perfectly
Colorless
To wear the shoes dark
Walking on an abyss that's been worn out
The shoes carry me,
I can’t help it,
I fly above the desert with no name

Related Poems

spring love noise and all [excerpt]

            but i wondered what i would talk about      because
 here in southern california youre never really sure when
spring begins      i mean the experience of spring      the
 vernal equinox is one thing      but spring is something else
      and ive been living out here twenty years and i cant
 always tell when its spring
                                    my guess is it comes on some time
 in late february      and you hardly notice it      a few branch
  ends turn yellow a few wildflowers begin to sprout an 
occasionally different bird appears      and you figure it
 might as well be spring

            now thats a little different from springs i
 remember where i came from      in the east when its spring
      boy are you ready for it      if you lived in new york
 city or upstate new york about 130 miles north of the city
      the way you'd know spring was coming was that around the
end of march you'd hear rolls of thunder or cannonades that
  would mean the ice was breaking on the river you'd say gee
it must be spring the ice is breaking on the river      and it
 was like a series of deep distant drum rolls
  brrrrrrrrrrmbrrrrrrrrrrrm      and you didn't feel much
better about it      because the sky was still gray and cold
 and the trees were still bare

            in fact you felt better in january because the snow
seemed to keep you warm especially when the temperature got
 down around zero and the snow was piled up around the house
and along the roadside      because after every snow the snow
  ploughs would clear out the road and pile up the snow along
 the roadside into a wall from six to ten feet high that
 would shield the houses from the wind and you'd shovel out a 
pathway to the street      but inside it was warm      and pretty
  much everybody in this little town of north branch felt
 insulated and warm and pretty good in january as long as the
  heating fuel held out      and they didn't feel too bad in
february either

            but when the spring came      in march      and you
 heard the dull cannonade on the river      thats when you
started to feel bad      because it had been so cold and bare
 and gray      and you had been holding out so long for the
wild mustard and the goldfinches      and maybe the coming of
 the quince      that the sound coming off the river      that
  seemed to promise an entry into the land of the hearts
 desire      which you knew would take another month at least
      made you feel real bad

            so thats why when the spring came to north branch at
the end of march      it seemed that every year two people would
 hang themselves off their back porch      because they couldn't
  wait anymore

      but there was the other side of spring and you
expected great things of it      because you had read all those
 marvelous sweet and jingling poems by those provençal
bullshitters waiting for spring to come so they could go out
 into the fields and fuck and kill people      brash and noise
poems that went on as i remember something like "oh spring is
 here the birds are singing lets go out and fight some
  battles and make it in the grass" in a cheerful jingling and
 very overrated way
                             that my friend paul blackburn did the best
 he could with      which was to bury the jingle and jazz up the
noise a bit      to make them sound a little bit like ezra
 pound and a little bit like paul doing an east village macho
  number      and a lot better than they sound to my ears in
 provençal      and with poetic generosity he covered up the
banality of their vocabulary and their tedious ideas if you
 could call their attitudes ideas and it all sounded so
cheerful that we thought it must have been a good idea to sit
 in toulouse and welcome the spring

            but dont you believe it      toulouse is a dreadful
place and nobody wants to be there      everyone in toulouse
 would rather be in paris      so if you have a choice about
the spring you dont want to spend it in toulouse
                                                             paul actually 
 lived there for a while      and he was always running off to
paris or mallorca or to spain

            but wherever you are you are likely to have this
idea of what it means for spring to come      and you know how
 it will come and when it will come      because in your
expectations it always comes      in a neat order the way
  seasons do      because there are exactly four of them and
they are very nicely named and there are exactly three months
 in them and they very obediently follow the astronomical year