The Mark

Eric Helms

All dreams lie awake beneath a sleeping god, in another world—
possibly far away, possibly close enough to where a clock ticks
impossibly backwards on Kafka’s chest of drawers, ripe to alarm.

In 1981, I died.  Seven years later, my letters would begin to travel.
The contents are the cerebrations & cogitations of a hallucinated man.
I composed, painfully, futile proclamations, two edicts, five decrees:
(“Das ist mir Wurst,” [This is sausage to me]
“Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof,” [To only understand train station] 
“Ich glaub mein Schwein pfeift,” [I think my pig whistles]
Ich glaub’ ich spinne,” [I believe I spider]
“Bock haben,” [To have a goat]) which merely summarizes their veracity
When weighed against the animus of a refrigerator,
The few revelations kept within one tin box, two glass jars.

The moral force before my letters–like the horse that yokes her cart–
Is clearly a burden.  As well a strength which exhausts, feeds on,
Drags upon, gobbles up, devours to leave recipients with only receipts,
Vouchers, recipes for a terror that is never to have lived; it leaves one
With ‘a buried poise,’ which–most notably–underlie and beleaguer
The poet of veils, scarabs, scars.  I could go on—but only to stab
At [my] memory.  Its contents are literal wounds, blisters—
Those more opaque, fuliginous marks of resounding hurt
That faithfully reproduce not triumph over death but, Im Tode, over life.
Ten years later.  It proves difficult.  I cannot recall (für das Leben von mir)

The finer point of these letters.  What can be roused will prove incredulous 
If not incomprehensible.  But nevertheless this attempt must suffice.
The most admissible will render astern, abaft, backward to most.
Any (deshalb) reality, predictably, will, quite pathetically, only duplicate
Echo so that one cannot determine, let alone establish, any gift of sound-
ness, which might then aide–as with Ariadne who gifts Theseus a red ball
Of floss to steer from the error and judgement such labyrinths.
I do recall how the first sentence reads like the murmur of one Tongue
As it gallops over the Tryst of her very own mythologies, in a language
Future to ours.  Only the person I was at that time knows of her sense

If not common lucidity for now I take it all for sheer madness,
Pure stupidity.  To unravel and gravel more about this path
All rationality stumbles.
The blind man who plays the blue guitar will not stop.