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     The Literary Review


Page 58

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Saved by Debauchery

Tonight is a night for drinking,
not for thinking the tired screes of capitalism.
It is a time for the liver to deal with eternity
and recognize that living is a dual meaning and
what lives is dependent on the poison of life,
and that time is poison when a woman waits
and is growing anxious in the maelstrom,
and all your words and academic thoughts
are but metal placed against the flesh.

Perhaps you’d like to nibble this bit here
inside the upper thigh, or higher, here.
Tonight the arch stretches above us, and
belittles the grinding mediocracy of thought.
The muscles of academia and sainthood spasm.

  Jared Smith __


__________________________

The River Flows Unfrozen

The river is a curtain of time and space,
filling all flesh and each growing thing
flowing upward, becoming the clouds
scraping the walls of office buildings
washing the grime from darkened windows,
and Simon is a simple man and goes along
as do we all, thinking he controls a destiny
beyond the stars, and perhaps he looks down
from a crater on the dark side of the moon
where the river pauses in its frozen time,
and he sees a small blue globe where waters flowed.

  Jared Smith__


Dawning

            © Belinda Subraman: Dawning


Toward the End of Everything

I buried your father today
while I was earning my living
I almost say as the young girl embraces me
while I am walking my dog this evening
thanking me for the home-cooked dinner I
drove to her mother’s house this evening
and I loved him and will do anything to help you
I murmur in my deep soul-searching voice
because I loved him and we drank together
often and fought against the tyranny of hate
and didn’t trust the media but trusted love,
and still I know I buried him too soon
about the time he buried me too beneath it all
while he was still breathing and the media
talked of the economy and baseball and
how many celebrities died or were in scandals
and tried to sell us medicines for forever
under that bombardment of 24-hour news
we talked to the end of secrets we would share
and you were at the heart of his, child,
and I feel your breasts against me briefly
sun setting beyond the mountains before us,
knowing that other things always got in the way
and we trusted each other as the best of friends
while we hid our fear of death from each other
and drank to the many little battles lost or won.
There was too little time. I wrote poems for him
toward the end of everything.

When you have lived as long as we once did
you know the lies about never being able to return home
have a meaning beyond the lies and mistakes we all make,
that the small clearing with the woodland cabin
now half overgrown with weeds and rotted windows
is lost spinning in the time continuum behind us,
that the path may be the same, the initials carved on trees,
but the universe itself has moved on, the space is time
and time itself is lost in the icy darkness of the soul.

And yet we do read the papers. We did too long.
We believed the iron irony of political patriotism
and the virtue of earning a living on the souls of others
while giving out a little to see them through.
And so we died a bit each day. It catches up at least.
I want to tell you this, but an evening walk is too short
and so the words come out on paper wherever paper leads.

When Kim died in Viet Nam the stone behind him
was red for twenty days before the rains washed it away.
For twenty years we had shared our dreams and were blind
The Earth was as hungry as the monsters of textbooks.
I tried to visit him at home last Sunday but in the cold
that hung from those rafters was now the Internet
and a GSP that was based in time outside our time.
The family living there now was scared. No dreams.

This was before you were born, but the schools,
the universities you studied in, the corporations
your father and I stood against outside the news
all took their form in that distant universe.
Your eyes and yes your breasts are born of this
and the children that will come will be weaned
on the fights we fought and on the dreams
that even we are indifferent to now
and your children on a distant star will know
it was a long time ago in a space right here.

  Jared Smith__




A Fine Place to Hunker Down

This is the dragon’s day.
We have waited in long lines a long time
to see beyond the smoke and mirrors.

Now we have drawn a map for you to follow
as you move from one neighborhood to another
or take a stroll around the park at lunchtime.
It’s just a little thing to help you out, they say,
and we’ll be able to keep the dragons away,
keep the unlicensed thieves from your wallet,
watch over whom you spend your time with.
It doesn’t cost much, might save your life
if we can get you to cooperate just a bit,
get you settled in front of your tv at night
where we can call you in your cell on your cell
in case there are warnings even the media misses
that should be whispered before the lights go out.

It is for your own good and you’re one of us, not
of the dragons and shamans and woodland elves,
but of a more responsible sort of soul, aren’t you?
I mean, you do want to be paid so you can eat
and we’ve given a lot of thought to that and
here on the map is a fine place to hunker down.

  Jared Smith__