The Doldrums

The Doldrums long poem

A war has begun, not one of bullet
nor bomb, precariously parsed over a landscape of a people, weaker
than another, to whom the bomb
might be enchanted cries of heavenly lord – gift from God!
Level my home.
A battle that has been fought and from which man
or men, both
arrive back bloody, bruised, battered, broken
but still live and can hope for salvation

I am torn between two capitulating capitals, streets lined with concrete,
buildings made of concrete, heart of concrete
but glass too, shattered and formed over again
no spotless repair; seams are left
as the funicular of duty rises up once more
and thus desire falls to the bottom floor.

I was born hopeful and reduced to Atlas
the weight of the world is not love, but is love compounded over twice
is your back broken, they called,
and a single brain was added to the weight to bear too
the pain which no etherization could remove
and yet, the doctors of fate have supplanted me
and with sweet nectar of kinship I live.

One a madman hopeful, supposed self-lording man of science
for whom life’s secret is held in the atom and its split
Another the seamstress of joy, fascination began with the fall of cloth upon skin
but continued on as paths converged through study
of Odes, classics, Kurtz, and suffering together
Another lover of all and keeper of all a man’s joy, with a tongue so
elegantly coiled for striking at heart and neck
Another still my sister but not of blood,
with whom I have swallowed the world over
arts and life both have fallen under our gaze
and many more, I owe you all identity that I am and will be, and so,
this Doldrum is for you.

I had hoped, perhaps, that the strumming and shouting of the four boys from the capitals
capitulating still
could bring you and I closer together.
We visited the tombs with the madman one day.
there, you shouted, because the glass ceiling and the glass bottom
they were both muddy and dirty,
but we swore we could see movement through mud and I hoped that the light
would strike you, having first, of course, passed through the corridors packed with words,
sent from the frozen-over windows that would allow the beams to pass
like an arrow, the light would strike you, and you’d find
arms open and mind willing to accept you
but no hand reached out at open hand.
that day, I wrote nothing and I drew even less
we sat at the table and I prayed the time could
stop!
until you and I made the connection I wished.
Hyacinths had failed me,
and now, books too had failed me.

I may be torn, yes, and in a few months, ripped apart entirely, like the atom of the madman’s dreams
can a man both plant himself and reap the reward?
or does the lilac bed of thorns grow only when all of a man has been buried?
Who will be there to harvest me when I am gone
I hope it is you, curs’d gatekeeper
who, with shouting, kissing, embraces too long,
through transmissions of love and affection by invisible waves
through the causing of capitulation of cities
has given me this Doldrum to bear.

but if a single flower sprouts from the end
if it be neither gnarled or sour
give it to her to have.
I cannot tell her who I am in flesh
perhaps she’ll see it in flora.

I have lost most hope
and as forest grows on face, I have lost
outline of self.
tomorrow I shall bear myself but I wish
it wasn’t damn hard.
I am tired of being a man.

The winter has been too long.
ancestors
mock me from the grave
mountain men
who relished winter, hunting
my line has survived one blood feud, two world wars, three revolutions
how can I live as they did,
hunters!
bear-hunters, nazi-hunters, communist-hunters
a line of generals, engineers, theatre directors, professors
can they all be felled by
crise cardiaque of the youngest?
I fear death by snow and light.
I fear that I am prufrock eternal.

the gatekeeper inquired
about my going after she became
balanced
again.
I lied to her.
how can a single man
hold the scales
if the arm is ready to fall?

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Jon Babi

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Just a man, loving life. I play music. I swim.
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