Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tremble (II)

After seeing millions murdered, scholars have asked
"Why did the heavens not tremble?"

But they do,
each time another person dies

Its just that our gaze is horizontal.

On January 15, 2007, at 1700 hours, Western Indonesia Time,
There was a sky quake so enormous
that people in several kampungs looked up

And before the soul completed the laborious process
of exiting its electro-shocked-from-within

the lamentations began

and they have yet to begin stopping.

Can a person cry forever?

There may have been 32 marks
on the body

but it was too embarrassing to count precisely

they were small matters, rarely thought of,

The daily brain attacks were paramount

A hungry person doesn't dwell on past inconveniences.
They see goats walking and, in that, they see food.

When the trembling began,
there was, at last
the prospect of restful sleep

without the fear of waking up
having, frankly,
who one is
or what the world is.

When, by 2200 hours -- muscles straining from above --
the soul was finally extracted

they had to open the heavens archipelago-wide
to accommodate its enormous bulk

Some say that this world is too crowded simply because when people sleep on mats

they are side-by-side,
like canned silverfish in a room
a family tree, horizontal, snoring

or because at breakfast time when passing out food
some fool somewhere made a mistake
and stacked too much in one house
leaving another with stomachs pulsing

But I tell you, if the world was too crowded before
-- and it wasn't
it sure isn't now.

There's vast open human terrain
because it is missing
a soul the size of Indonesia.

Who Was That? (II)

Sg., last night I heard a story
about the stone six orphanage

where on your birthday
and on deathdays
and on red days

you'd bring unhulled rice
and pyramids

of banana leaves
with cooked rice,
sliced cucumber
and a little meat

transported laboriously
over stony roads
on Uncle's wood-platform

J. said the kids were thrilled.
Who wouldn't be?
125 pyramids!

Cooked the night before
by you, and her,
and T. -- praying at her wall shrine

But when the kids asked you
What should we pray for, Older Sister?
For your luck, for your prosperity?

You answered -- shocking my ears, from your grave

Pray for my disease to lift.
It afflicts me.

I never heard you talk like that
to anyone

to any stranger


And when they asked your name
you refused to answer

Leaving the poor clerics
up to their knees
in rice sacks

and confused

On the peddle platform,
bumping home,
you told J.

They'll know my face.

The kids must have thought

who was this mysterious lady
who brings still-warm food
and full canvas sacks?

But does not bring her name,

and talks so clearly about her agony