Sleep and Reason

I.

Offering once again condolences
he jumped off and never was seen or heard from again, so he wished.

II.

A girlfriend asked him over for a look at her dryer, which was running strange:

a rock tied to a chipmunk now too tired to make the full revolution
so it fell from each tippy-top, and kept tumbling—so it sounded—
and he had no say-so to rule it out.

We must not, says the Grand Old Physick, let our guesses ride the backs
of very spectacular beasts
.

So the “drive motor” was out, all alleged “bearings”, ditto any guesses
that supposed a “basket” or “seals”.

Not least because the motor and the bearings, like the chipmunk and himself, were surely
out of step with how it should.

III.

A strange wherefore in the bell of him
he thinks is fair
at least in light of everyone asking him everywhere for help—

his girlfriend touching three points on his back and he reporting two or one,
or imagining a fist.

IV.

Somewhere in the twist of it his lovers caught him up with Heaven; the one who tipped
him off is doing surgery on brains
he last had heard, still writing down her scabied stuff,
elaborately unloved in the City.

Somewhere out of that, he said, cometh sleep and reason.

V.

Any upward pointing thing she’d follow,
including him with church-spires and some tallish statues,
like a bum in a processional, but she believed he’d fit

and so he did until he passed her and the trouble chucked.

She has gone and no more supplicating arms
will any Heaven droop, nor landscapes open out of harm’s eye,
or the Figure offer up her charms.

Some trinkets he remembers for his Art: the tinsel, a very little say-so
which had been more, and voce, and his heavy fingers ugh,

the few meanders taken when the world still thought he’d grow.

VI.

Maybe what they’re asking him is smaller than he goes, and steadier hands must thread it.

Which it seems; he knocks it, he can’t focus.

’The world’s not little, or for me’.

VII.

He peeks and pretends, he reads his best books
and conspires the ends.

VIII.

He woke and got his ledger, spotting when and where the stumbles were and came up
with a number, round, and pinned it to his chest.

But even this he guesses, half-dreamt in a fugue. Still the jury’s out
on whether he got poison or the crown.

IX.

And never more so than when in pangs of stupid longing
upright he’d sleep walleyed, grasping for chinks

in a wall through which beautifully he saw no orchard moon

and not a maid in sight, and whispered to her all his anyway, all his light—

he watched her milky passage through the night but could not reckon it.

X.

Offering once again condolences he hit the high spots

and nae brought down; the world it caught him spinning yarns

and backed him in the gutter, without a’ flourish, or exeunt.

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