By Tara Birch
Imagination is inadequate as a bridge
to what comes racing down the street,
falling from the eaves
onto the walkway.
The sight of a slow sunlit day
evaporates into fog
and then reconstructs itself
before darkness subsumes the trees,
the empty fields of white snow,
the sound of restless car engines
and the people encased within their cocoons.
Walter White is more real
to the thousands of viewers on Netflix
than a baby crying in her crib
abandoned by her caretakers one floor below
absorbed in their mass intoxication
with images on a television screen
or handheld device
where monsters roam unbridled
and patterns rule the day,
not the random savagery or blessedness
of a life lived outside the borders
of our time.
I am nothing – a verse from Pessoa
who imagined a million different people
as himself, writing not his poems, but theirs
– and now we share that abyss
with him. Oh, sensei, how far ahead
of the world you were, how wise
to see the coming of the artlessness
of this future we created
or at least did nothing to stop.
Our wave of participation
in the cruel beauty of everyone’s thoughts
spoken and heard, saying the same things
and saying nothing of consequence.
So many sounds I hear that I did not hear before,
which I wish I could ignore; the echoes
of angry words, of droning monotonous gibberish
of fools standing atop
ten thousand, thousand mountain summits
casting their stones
and always hitting a target, always
diminishing the simple gesture.
of kindness, of the four letter word no one
except as a farce on the appointed
and agreed upon consumer holidays.
Were the chocolates delicious? You did not receive them?
No worry. They are half priced at the local supermarket just as the roses
no one thought to purchase, or the children
no one thought to teach.
Tara Birch is the pseudonym for a 58 year old poet who suffers from
an autoimmune disorder known as Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Cell
Associated Periodic Syndrome. Her poems have been published in a variety
of online literary journals, and in one chapbook entitled Carrots And Blue
Cheese Dip, Published by Didi Menendez in 2004. She is also the recipient
of the Muse Endowment Award in 2002, by Tryst Journal.