Thursday, October 08, 2009

Poem at Work

Impermanence

for Brian

"I have seen a substance excellently adapted to the purpose of wiping from paper the mark of black lead pencil."

- Joseph Priestley


The man who founded Unitarian Universalism,
a religion based on the art of listening and thought,
also discovered the eraser.

I often wonder
how much a soul weighs
and whether or not rocks
have them. Also, who
discovered invisible ink?

Even the seasons
give us a few months
of rubbed out landscape,
music rests for sustained
moments of contemplation,
poems swim in white space
like misunderstood kids
on the playground.

There is a thrill
in found notes in the margins
of a stranger’s book, some erased,
but the hand so heavy
that the words “allegory
sucks,” have embossed
the page. The writer wished
them to be impermanent.
So much for that.

I have a hard time with allegory too,
ever since a few weeks before my dad died
when he shared the first sentence
of the last book he ever read:
One day you wake up and realize
you know more dead than living.

Then he saw herons
all over his hospital room.

If you press hard enough
with a Pink Pearl you can erase
the ink from a hundred dollar bill
and encourage it to abandon
its life of currency for one
of art.

When I was eight
and philosophical
with a Hello Kitty pencil,
I wrote my name
over and over
just to erase it.
Pages and pages
of little births
and deaths to see
what it felt like
to be real
and then disappear.

I suggest to a friend
who has lost his mother
that he type all his feelings out
and then hit the delete key,
as if it is just that easy.

I still think every heron I see
is my father.

There is no way
to erase thought.

1 comment:

fbhill said...

I can't erase the heron thought either.