Last impressions of the night
My mind is aimless like a wandering arrow hurtled from an inexpert bow
Or like an open fuse with no outlet to fulfill it,
Hissing sparks indignantly against whatever stands ahead.
My brain, despair besieging it, writhes in agony,
Moaning through a hundred searing migraines as it seeks the blessed happenstance
Of finding its equal in grandiosity. My mouth cracks open
With the cautious subtlety of a vent, but my voice goes quite unheeded.
Oratory’s trumpet widens further to the breadth of an abyss,
And still the faintest squeak is undetected, as though I were a mouse
Rather wary of attention as it searches for the paltry accidents of bread.
I plead with the familiarity of Basque for one drop of sympathy
Amid the hellish desert of my loneliness.
I pray with the ardor of a blazing ember for the gift of finding some attentive ear.
The whole endeavour proves Herculean, mocking me with its impossibility.
My sentences, when yet unvoiced, seem forged in the smithy of ornateness
And worthy of Vulcan’s enduring pride,
But when expressed they contort with a leper’s ugliness
And emerge mangled, a heap of smouldered waste despised even by the fresh apprentice.
I am a clumsy pariah, my fame extinguished long before the first tongue of its fire
Could cast its orange glow upon the world. My gravest misdemeanour
Was to be an inquisitive spirit sloppy in its zeal.
In my days of tender youth, when the soft caress of snow breathed warmth
And had not yet revealed its cruel chill, the gentle horn of praise
Lulled me into satisfaction that brilliance awaited me. I swallowed every note,
Not once considering the baritone grunts of the obscurer quarters of the orchestra
That sounded with the warning that my “blessing” was a double-edged sword.
But now I see with sober lucidity.
What prize is brilliance when its litter consists of pain and sorrow and wrenching loneliness?
If this is its wage, than I detest to be elevated thus,
Hovering in ascent above the fray of less self-flagellating intellects.
I’d sacrifice this shallow tub of gold for the more inviting diamonds
That companionship alone can bring. I’d cast my vapid knowledge in the sea,
Let the oceanic salts corrode it till it withers to a hated crust
If the harvest of its dissolution would denude the vista of belonging.
But a cat’s fatigue overwhelms me in my sullen misery. I can no longer vent.
My nerves are frayed, an overstretched rope whose work must cease
Lest it perishes in infamy. My last hope is to wait for luck, that opulent maiden,
To bless me with her assenting wink.