Works and Days (load 7 and 8)

By Paul Raboff with illustration by Joakim Lloyd Raboff


Not all continents
Are visible:
This poem.

You received
A promise.
You received
A potential.

You won’t receive
This friend
Any other way
Than in his body
And his blood.

This continent:
Always shifting
Beneath you.

Life is not yours
To control
Its movements.

The language
Of this continent
Is prayer.

If this dishrag
Had a mouth
You would know
What it’s like
To be wrung out.

This is going
To come
From the substratum,
Neither depth nor width,
Up nor down.

Come with me
He says.
But you can’t
With your me.

Any real help…
It’s total.

You’re traveling?
No you aren’t.
The continent
Is shifting.

All the writhing
Is against
Some wood,

To accept
Original sin
As your fate
Is a worse sin.

That which
I haven’t accepted
Is my freedom.

Are you still
Your brother

“The letter kills.
The spirit,
Makes alive.”
Let it kill then,
All it wants.

Coming out
Of Egypt through
The bloody door
You became a son.

You were given
A treasure.
Spend your life
Counting it.

Coming in,
Hate doesn’t drain.
It finds its pocket
To whirl about
And ferment.


The human soul
Is the spouse
Of truth.
It’s made for it.

If I wasn’t
So resistant
I would have
Received his
Impression in me.

When can you
Approach anything
With courage,
No flinching
Before the fear
Of pain?

With a good conscience
Approach it all.
The best protection
Against the seizures
Of fear.

What is better?
Higher on the endless
Ladder upward.

Seeing immeasurable
In the endless

Finally laid flat
You might be
Lifted, shaped.

That Chet Baker tune
Mostly minor chords,
Slow, subdued pace,
French modernism.
He thought
She would like it,
Also being French.
He wanted it so much,
Her to like
What he liked,
To absorb her
In his auric magnate
As he lived.
That way he
Would be relegated,
Muffled, unchallenging
Like he had not
Always been for her.
He would try
To remain quietly
Within his core,
Not impose himself
On the surroundings.
Maybe she would
Feel comfortable
As if she didn’t
Quite know him.
As if it had
Never happened.

This poem
A billboard
For the substratum.

Let them all
Have a voice
In me.

But let me
Bitch first.

We can change
That condemnation
To delirious praise
Just by giving it
Its chance to be heard.

Use your Hammer-
Of-Thor counterpoint
On the crazy drone
Of the world.

Central Jewish ritual,
Pole the world
Turns on.

With open beak…
Feed me truth.

Hokusai’s old age:
The contrary
Of diminishment.

He was never
By himself,
A clean conduit.

The blasting
The cleaving
The carving
The polishing

Nothing wrong
Doing nothing
As long as you are
Bothered by something.

All its protective-
Attracting petals
Drop away
Before the priority
Of the seeds.

If it has words
Then you’ve
Come to it.

Is the words
You are not

Lower yourself
To the substratum.
All production
No ambition.

From there
The shaft
Is known
As impaling,
As empowering.

The aesthete
Remains the aesthete
Even in critique,
Maddeningly sterile.

And even more
Than essential,
Leaving you

Categories: Fiction/Poetry

Tagged as: ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *