Death, Is All
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.
Copyright © 2010 by Ana Božičević. Used by permission of the author. Quote from Diane di Prima's Mysteries of Vision: Some Notes on H.D. (Lost&Found, 2011).
Ana Božičević is the author of Rise in the Fall (Birds, LLC, 2013) and Stars of the Night Commute (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2009).
Date Published: 2010-10-12
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/death-all