Selected Poems II


Tom Hibbard


in memory of Paris terrorist attacks, November 15, 2015

              "...words and concepts receive meaning 
                                only in sequences of difference."
                                                          -Jacques Derrida

in this hell
both ancient and new
comforted by momentous winds
November storm clouds feast on despair
stoplights are a facade
that monopolize streets    
the real is false
the false is real
spontaneous finitude 
disturbs the fatal exclusion of insurgent tombs  
truth flies at half-mast every day
toward more than enough rotting concrete
the soft negativity of nature   
hidden in destructive hollowness
defers doors with a bitter taste
if I waywardly follow the rights of refugee beauty
if I hear the unexpected crack of gun shots
on Boulevard Voltaire 
or the explosion of Balzacian grenades
in arrondissement ten
a nation will no longer serve a silent god
if I cover-up new wine
in used wine-skins
I annihilate the pure anarchism of militant actors
the headless serpent of student dread
because I feel impatient with life
prisoner again of the tedium  
that worships suicide vests 
the AK-47s of the world
and their menacing totalities 
see how easily
their lies are refuted
with one fallible kiss

I uncork my tears for everyone
my dismay spreads like holiday cheer
shared like Napoleon brandy
nightly my joy turns to sorrow
and peace to a blurred dream
within reach of the capriciousness of death
like pieces of a toxic star
exploding in actual cultures of weekend revelers
like the highest Syrian honor for anonymous perfection  
what is that terrifying object that we see in space 
getting closer and closer
orbiting like the Holy Grail of generations of dead souls
above the restaurants-Petit Cambodge
above the sweet jardins and cathedrals
above the book stalls and bridges
beside the chilly river Seine 
on the day before
on the day before the day before
confusion gave birth to the newest museums and industries
and the outline of the world
leaped on the haunches of a medieval beast
into the forgotten abyss
once and for all
not darkness against light
but form against content
rejection against apathy 
loneliness against the parasitic repetition of bats
for there has grown an army of Parises
Paris-Bagdad, Paris-Helsinki, Paris-Islamabad, Paris-Abuja
Paris-Beirut, Paris-Jerusalem, Paris-Moscow, Paris-Hong Kong
Paris-Buenos Aires, Paris-Baltimore, Paris-Beijing 
with outdoor tables and aperitifs 
autumn legacies of artificial guilt
ecoles of tormenting desire
I-phones and notebooks
entrusted into the powerless hands of lovers
a twisted daytime pornography breaching false morality
that portends the dirtying of tyrants' masquerades 
with the life to come
mouth, lips, shoulders, legs  
don't get discouraged
don't get bogged down
running, running in the wrong direction
free yourselves in the infinite tower of humanism

Mizrah, Maghreb, Kelet,  levante
East, "rising," sunrise, where the sun rises 
in the land of wells and cedars
copper and flint
from the four corners of an extinct nakedness 
the autonomous logos of twelve 
discussing health care 
discussing Radisson hotel rental rates 
trying but not succeeding
weirdly on Friday the Thirteenth
Turkish airliner number one-hundred-thirty
from Timbuktu and west Africa
Brussels, Saint-Denis, California
arriving ten p.m. theater Bataclan 
mulling and aimless
in a twinkling
ten thousand years in one day 
resolutely clothed in goodbyes
goodbye homeland
bonjour paradoxical secular tradition above
scrubbed with the indigenous spacing of cursive blankness
that relentlessly prods parousia
in opacity I see Antichrist
soaring on the night in the desert
like a flying saucer 
immolating the pauses of the Negev 
and a traveling carnival of tinsel and tarps
tents and widow-wagons
as time voraciously rips like rags
into the inept protoplasmic blob
known as the self 
linear bereavement
scourging the rustic heavens
in periodic pools of regret
that cannot colonize the crystalline spinning 
that cannot deny its misperceived alienation 
the relative geometry that rules
hesitant systems of incalculable adoration
the transformation of emptiness
complimenting the scope of regularities
the exact night of suspicious robes 
that separates humanity from itself
with absolute words
and a surplus of crumpled duffle bags
drowned fleeing headlights  
an inedible green pyrotechnics  
that goes on and on
at the sleepless edge of glistening hearts
much wider than a promise

                          -Armenian Landscape
the sun sparkles on a new day
the corn stubble
the fields of turquoise 
the sovereign bells  
beneath snow-capped mountains
from this ambivalent moment 
flocks of irrelevant sheep 
excite everywhere the cobalt sky  
a monastery beside a river
must indeed take place
anxiety detects traits
in the cold sagging millennia
for essence is disturbing
rather than disturbed 
holocausts of impoverishment
contorting small towns
dominating apprehension  
that brings out train trestles 
universal and bizarre 
the barred harmonies
of the daily road
the fluorescent grasses  
the frightened smoke
barn lights of farms
as the adamant economies of nepotism     
prolong injustice 
erasing the long-suffering climate  
the teetering houses     
with intact elements 
the tractors in shadows  
the orange forest flooded 
before you acted  
all golden "isms" 
of banished temperatures
propelling a thinly fog-shrouded whole:
the global landscape
that was long ago
that I tried to persuade
that no one wants

           "I relied on Paris, on the night and
                           on the wind."
                                      -Philippe Soupault