Standing Before the Final Absence
“This poem is written in memory of Jessica Lee Cain”
Cruelty, beast you slyly feign to be
and also are such in actuality,
deeper cutting the veins of hate and envy:
do I touch your hands or bleed the mouth?
There are no words to draw
from this deep tragedy.
Her place, crowned with deep woe
and the treachery of one thought!
Hopeless are the hours I now feel
clasping my brain in thick peril!
Envision the wrath facing her enemy!
Plotting the demise of almost death.
Sweet fingers reach to snap the flower
of beauty from the place of fear.
We held on, dreamed of other sleep,
but you have been with us in the earth.
How do I learn to love now
that I once refused to seek?
The compassion gleamed
in the diamonds of her priceless eyes,
so that Love only pretended surprise.
I reached into the ether for answers
and was knocked back for my attempt.
Does anyone know the clustering of agony
these lost moments bring to me?
She smiled like a mother in tender arms.
I wish the world would be silent,
and hope blossom again into rain.
I cannot blame this world for the flowers
of dream pressed into dry loss.
We do not know how the hell
came forward and died in her.
I think the night is growing in furtive isolation.
Our world looks another way, trying to forget the flames.
I calmed quietly when I saw your face
and I nearly worshipped its innocence.
White lily of our sacred bonds,
our eyes tearing while strengthening
sweet song of this valley of death:
it is not strange that you should be taken from us.
Look, the horizon is fading
and your pleas are useless
except for their vanity.
What is it you expect now?
VOICE I (male)
Bring back the flowers
I once knew!
Don’t tempt me with lies
and signs of strength!
I know I am not perfect.
I am only a quarrelsome mask
of some lost ambivalence.
I cannot be who God wills me.
This admission, final and serious,
should be enough humility
to raise the dead back from slumber.
Each last breath is a sacred flower.
You are reaching to the hour of longing
and the hopeless stage where it acts.
Now that silence is your crown,
I must ask that you leave the fields.
VOICE II (female)
Why won’t you listen to him?
All of us have suffered cruel blows
from the thunder of Fate
and His ancillary troops.
Night pours down on us:
we are no longer shrinking
from the virgin of death,
or hiding from the wind.
I must do as I please,
as it is the will of God.
Cruelty only claws deeper
into the ground,
and your laughter cannot sing,
and your hearts are not proud.
VOICE I (male)
Now. What is the truth?
Are we to sing peril?
How do we know what the light
is worth when it darkens our lips?
I open my mouth to sing of hope
and you slap me, break my teeth,
and step back as if to view my response!
Of course I am angered.
VOICE II (female)
Together, we will fight this insolence!
His armies cannot battle with our hope!
They pull their skeletons from the sand
and aim their daggers at our youth.
Light, light and a dream, does it frighten you,
cruel beast? Are we, too, in love with Possibility?
VOICE I (male)
Listen to the coming storm.
The tempest is all we have ever known
and together we must endure.
Together, our voices must sing the earth
we know, the truth we must learn to see.
Life, o bitterness and complexity!
The night brings archaic stillness!
The old forest where we imagine the names
we were meant to be
now razed to the dirt,
left to the lingering lost sighs.
I, Cruelty, have worn many shrouds.
Like the angels, and as the evil jester laughs:
I, too, have grieved at your sighs and plight.
Though nothing has been true to its purpose
it is not wise that you should face the dark
without a lantern or in the least
a warm heart that never cools.
VOICE I and II
Together we will be raptured
at the gates,
and we will breathe our strongest hope
as if the night never changed,
as if the meager forces of hate and spite
simply could go no farther,
and we were the last symbol.
peacefully we hold hands
and whisper the dancing song
so that we may live everlong
in the happiest palace
of incensed dream.
I fear my defeat is impossible
as my impeccable methods
grant the last moments
to your innocence.
Can you remember the ghosts
from your childhood,
and does the pain make you envious
of their charms?
I made them. I brought them back.
The house of hollowness is the last hearth.
You cannot take her, once more,
into the grave:
she has already kissed you, danced
the moments of time,
and turned her back on the mortal house.
Even my heart pounding in rage
cannot succumb to your temptation,
o Devil, the night is your womb
and mercy is friend to a lover’s touch…
I have wanted, life and lifelong,
to see justice served
like an emblem of trust and the breast of hope.
What he dares say is true of you,
o last of the hopeless,
and I cannot wait for your empty robes
to fall and reveal who you are.
Your heart is the tomb of wickedness
and you will be estranged from those eyes
that were diamonds,
her luster will never fade!
Let us sleep, and the fields,
they are rising,
and we are opening our mouths
to seal the great thing that is mercy!
Teach us the openness, o Lord,
that we may know how to forgive
and the hate threaded into our hearts
loosen, and we finally set ourselves free.
I love that I may know You:
even though disappointment taunts
my wings and weighs them with grief,
I must stay the grain,
I must look to the fields where hope do reign.
Now angel, now bright, look to my eyes:
you will not see the absence of light
but the dead, dead pearls of plight
and the wrought iron of fear and death.
Your song will be made nothing,
empty pain revealing itself slowly.
I can only dig into your veins,
hide without your knowing,
as I kiss the bowels of earth
and as I cut the binding that holds
all faith together…
We fear not the ignorance of sin.
The skeleton of your energy
is wasted, fruitless agony.
My epiphany will bring fruit to the tree
where happiness, pity, and charity
renew their dreams.
And fly, heat of the hells beyond!
Return to your dungeon
and leave us to love the last prayer
we speak in her name!
The night is one where the reluctance
we faced for years
now becomes one,
we are back to our truth.
Her voice is tears,
and I will be the strength
her heart leans upon
because silence in itself is not the answer.
You are puzzled in your battles
and I fear, lost to the rain!
The waters will sweep you away
into the arms of one last kiss
with the insolence of my grin.
No. We are strong. The weeping
has finally ceased.
We are back to our lives
and although we are broken
we are not yet without love.
And never will you make us,
fearsome, hateful, dark Death.