The Blur Of Objects Resolves Into Water And Flame

by Phil Rockstroh

April 26, 2004   


My shoes became stained by the pulp of rotting fruit, as I slogged
through the abandoned orchards of generational imaginings. Stunned by
the magnitude of what was forsaken, I reeled in the direction of the
familiar road. I glimpsed the extent of what we failed to notice when we
hurried past this place... the vastness of our tiny agendas, the
vitality of our ignorance that propelled us past the details of the
landscape; all of this, overlooked by a generation entranced by its own
hurried footfalls.

We dismissed the blur of objects, mistaking their lack of clarity for
our own indistinct visions of ourselves and of the world. Instead, we
watched a great deal of television. Sure, tantalizing fruit seemed to
bloom in the electronically seeded air. Not only fruit, but facsimiles
of flesh and divine fire. We hungered for it, batted at it like house
cats hunting invisible prey in empty air. Soon enough, we grew weary
from our futile exertions. We collapsed in restless repose. Then, using
the negations of our shallow breath, we exhaled into existence a world
that could contain only the most airless of aspirations. But it seemed
little cause for concern. We had only grown a little fat and forgetful.

As evening arrived, spreading its pools of evening shade, I allowed my
mind to move towards its edge, then I waded in and was submerged by a
drowning tide of experience denied, unknown, and unlived; soon,
swallowed mouthfuls of the ocean water of life-deferred burned my lungs,
its sea salt stung my eyes-- and I cursed us all.

When I emerged: chilled, drenched and dripping from the briny water of
what-might-have-been, my memory, in an attempt to side step the rising
of a cold, accusatory wind, ducked into a vast library of studied
blankness and I buried myself in books that had crumbled to forgetful
dust. No need to panic: our story is safe in oblivion -- I can guarantee
you that. The flat-screen sky of my television mindscape broadcasts only
weather reports for the abandoned cities of dead empires: clear weather
from here on out, I was assured.

Note to self: avoid sudden immersion in oceanic memory. This should not
be all that difficult to accomplish. Do not, repeat, do not: seek out
the damn ocean and then fall in. I think I can steel myself to that

But... still, indistinct intimations flash across the horizon line like
ground lightning. Though I now avert my gaze, I, at times, awaken late
at night knowing that in the once-glimpsed grove
of what-never-was-to-be, immanent understandings glow like lichen.
Stalks of slime mold bloom to flame like struck matchsticks. We may
remove the batteries of our smoke alarms because the wildfires of our
aging bodies have not yet grown to cellular conflagration, but the smell
of acrid smoke lingers in the house. It stinks like singed hair. What
did not come-to-be could undo us yet. That which never existed may yet
cause us to cease to be.

Tomorrow, please remind me to go shopping for a new pair of shoes.

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Poetry on Swans


Phil Rockstroh on Swans (with bio).

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Published April 26, 2004
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