Poem by Lamont Palmer

Suicide In An Old House

Death surrounds us with blatant arms.
A sanitation worker dies and no one
cares, but banshee phones striking at midnight,

summoning the equally unknown people
to altars of rancor and resignation.
What do they do but recognize a human

in the grip of edgy, illegible lives,
the ritualistic mouthing of platitudes,
cold and incurable as dry, winter snow?

Bleak living room. Soon the owner won’t live
in the area for living, the area’s dark aria –
a moment of meth, mirth and minions.

Take that bystreet to oblivion,
to namelessness, to fingers on hardware,
to the antinome of more pure breaths.

By his own hand – a homemade gun, a killing
of the flesh and the direction of the flesh –
alone, in the basement of barren wind

A Future If We Dare

‘All that we are not stares back at what we are.’ – W. H. Auden

A birthplace came back: the homeland image.
I’d left, but escapism is fiction,

when the mind is born to stand on one place
of history. Feet are nomads (independent)

on the bottom of bodies. They grasp their
own agendas, staying fixed upon the lights

of ones viewpoint; the city which resides behind the
eyes: cleftnotes rising from said cities.

There is a future and a sentimental projection,
Each one is the hard side and soft side of life,

The gazebo, flipped over and crushed, or
Full of flowers, inviting in its emptiness.

My hands are the hands of family; my mother’s hands,
my father’s hands, inverted replicas of my own,

matches, as in one flowing species, and
the copies sent out into duplicate worlds.

It is recalling days wrapped in ribbons
or the burgeoning oceans bringing relief

to lives and dusty hearts. To gorge on predictions,
tends to kill, in their deceptive clothing,

or they can uplift one’s consciousness till one can
see the burned tops of mountain ranges, or

know they are there; know that, within human grasps,
are peaks to purify the feuding lungs.

Childhood sank: sun into sea. An inner child breathes,
has his way, and the days roll, moved by direction

Rain, Isolation, Self-Analysis

‘The world is myself; life is myself’. – Wallace Stevens

The gray has delivered a calm emptiness,
over subdued thinkers and lonely movers,
who look through windows and the windowless.
It is like old men relinquishing ornery youth,
relinquishing the spirit of the hipster years,
and within this approaching, full downpour,
nothing is as fresh as hibernation
in the warmth of things or in summer’s arms,
where the heat can be like a bold lover,
till it pulls back and cools again,
vastly different from days of detachment.
The house is the house of meditation, the walls
are bookends of plaster. Enclosed is enclosed;
if not a victim of morose paint,
then one can be victimized by the staid hue itself.

Life’s never so insular as on a day of rain:
wet as leaves, wet as steeples, wet as farms, wet as the earth
that desires dryness; life is never as drenched
as its reception, or its beginning, regardless
of the scattered cities it thrives in.
There is more to privacy than the silent walls.

2.
Sitting alone, is thinking of the meaning of alone
and the meaning of my desire to be where
the world may be; where they may exist, and to
walk along the center of the Socratic road,
where few glances are exchanged on crowded
streets, too few penetrating words to touch
the bushes between seasons of death and life,
raising an ire to match biblical seasons:
toads from the sky onto unfortunate heads.
It is an examination of our lives, finding the sense
of need, the lifelong acceptance of examination,
the couch of the mind where we might lay,
the church of the vital and lasting internals.
I was never quite deterred by rejection,
(rotund child, rotund mind, rotund loneliness)
preferring to charge ahead through the country trees,
in kicked up dust and kicked up passion;
an affable one, of an affable faith,
harboring the bull’s penchant for charging:
such quasi-competition when romance flows.
I had the mind of yearning as a boy,
the eyes of precocious youth, barely controlled,
looking at a seedy world, an all too human glare,
where the glare became the heat of the image,
images that my mother did not want me to know,
images to which my father was indifferent,
yet there he was, a man who knew the source
and vision of men, locked into his stern eyes.
It was a middleclass ease: a teen, on my lecherous own,
creating in laboratory bedrooms,
the secrets of boyish experiments,
the curious guests in the nights, shaking
with groping, trembling with newness,
restless with readings of Miss Hollander;
(Xaviera! You were the angel to rid me of fear)
and magazines and hot whispers,
opening, like plants, my tentative eyes.
Exploration: the pinnacle of summer:
(certainly the summer of 77: D.T., I’ll never tell.)
afternoons and evenings of summer purging;
the Hefner impression lodged in the hopeful boy.
What formula is that? vacillation
between isolation and the urgent yearning?
between the young bedroom of reflection
and the airiness of childlike action?
It is a spirit rending dichotomy!
The days seemed more settled than the nights.

3.
Endings set in. Heads now turned more by fiction than flesh,
though flesh remains a durable, elusive dream,
waking and sleeping, taunting the eyes,

I can look into the gray-stained nucleus of rain,
and notice an isolation,
the introvert’s tent, and cast myself, longingly,

into the arms of precipitation (a precipitous thing?)
of an approaching summer, and its frequent,
sad, rooftop sounds. To withdraw, often, is to emerge.

This is middle-of-the-road Maryland,
the middle of good lawns, good hands and the
strange trek toward an external goodness,

where moody faces and eyes grew in the silence.
This is the conservatism of isolation,
a burgeoning opening hermetically sealed,
as hermits mouths are sealed,

and I rest on my memories, coupled with my good
and sometimes prurient intentions,

waiting on the rain which has yet to come,
but sends its taste ahead of its sensual self.

Rain, Isolation, Self-Analysis

‘The world is myself; life is myself’. – Wallace Stevens

1.

The gray has delivered a calm emptiness,
over subdued thinkers and lonely movers,
who look through windows and the windowless.
It is like old men relinquishing ornery youth,
relinquishing the spirit of the hipster years,
and within this approaching, full downpour,
nothing is as fresh as hibernation
in the warmth of things or in summer’s arms,
where the heat can be like a bold lover,
till it pulls back and cools again,
vastly different from days of detachment.
The house is the house of meditation, the walls
are bookends of plaster. Enclosed is enclosed;
if not a victim of morose paint,
then one can be victimized by the staid hue itself.

Life’s never so insular as on a day of rain:
wet as leaves, wet as steeples, wet as farms, wet as the earth
that desires dryness; life is never as drenched
as its reception, or its beginning, regardless
of the scattered cities it thrives in.
There is more to privacy than the silent walls.

2.
Sitting alone, is thinking of the meaning of alone
and the meaning of my desire to be where
the world may be; where they may exist, and to
walk along the center of the Socratic road,
where few glances are exchanged on crowded
streets, too few penetrating words to touch
the bushes between seasons of death and life,
raising an ire to match biblical seasons:
toads from the sky onto unfortunate heads.
It is an examination of our lives, finding the sense
of need, the lifelong acceptance of examination,
the couch of the mind where we might lay,
the church of the vital and lasting internals.
I was never quite deterred by rejection,
(rotund child, rotund mind, rotund loneliness)
preferring to charge ahead through the country trees,
in kicked up dust and kicked up passion;
an affable one, of an affable faith,
harboring the bull’s penchant for charging:
such quasi-competition when romance flows.
I had the mind of yearning as a boy,
the eyes of precocious youth, barely controlled,
looking at a seedy world, an all too human glare,
where the glare became the heat of the image,
images that my mother did not want me to know,
images to which my father was indifferent,
yet there he was, a man who knew the source
and vision of men, locked into his stern eyes.
It was a middleclass ease: a teen, on my lecherous own,
creating in laboratory bedrooms,
the secrets of boyish experiments,
the curious guests in the nights, shaking
with groping, trembling with newness,
restless with readings of Miss Hollander;
(Xaviera! You were the angel to rid me of fear)
and magazines and hot whispers,
opening, like plants, my tentative eyes.
Exploration: the pinnacle of summer:
(certainly the summer of 77: D.T., I’ll never tell.)
afternoons and evenings of summer purging;
the Hefner impression lodged in the hopeful boy.
What formula is that? vacillation
between isolation and the urgent yearning?
between the young bedroom of reflection
and the airiness of childlike action?
It is a spirit rending dichotomy!
The days seemed more settled than the nights.

3.
Endings set in. Heads now turned more by fiction than flesh,
though flesh remains a durable, elusive dream,
waking and sleeping, taunting the eyes,

I can look into the gray-stained nucleus of rain,
and notice an isolation,
the introvert’s tent, and cast myself, longingly,

into the arms of precipitation (a precipitous thing?)
of an approaching summer, and its frequent,
sad, rooftop sounds. To withdraw, often, is to emerge.

This is middle-of-the-road Maryland,
the middle of good lawns, good hands and the
strange trek toward an external goodness,

where moody faces and eyes grew in the silence.
This is the conservatism of isolation,
a burgeoning opening hermetically sealed,
as hermits mouths are sealed,

and I rest on my memories, coupled with my good
and sometimes prurient intentions,

waiting on the rain which has yet to come,
but sends its taste ahead of its sensual self.

 

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