Drowning under a sea of Absence

By Tara Birch

Imagination is inadequate as a bridge

to understanding

to what comes racing down the street,

falling from the eaves

and gutters

onto the walkway.

The sight of a slow sunlit day

evaporates into fog

and then reconstructs itself

before darkness subsumes the trees,

the empty fields of white snow,

the sound of restless car engines

and the people encased within their cocoons.

Walter White is more real

to the thousands of viewers on Netflix

than a baby crying in her crib

abandoned by her caretakers one floor below

absorbed in their mass intoxication

with images on a television screen

or handheld device

where monsters roam unbridled

and patterns rule the day,

not the random savagery or blessedness

of a life lived outside the borders

of our time.

I am nothing – a verse from Pessoa

who imagined a million different people

as himself, writing not his poems, but theirs

– and now we share that abyss

with him.  Oh, sensei, how far ahead

of the world you were, how wise

to see the coming of the artlessness

of this future we created

or at least did nothing to stop.

Our wave of participation

in the cruel beauty of everyone’s thoughts

spoken and heard, saying the same things

and saying nothing of consequence.

So many sounds I hear that I did not hear before,

which I wish I could ignore; the echoes

of angry words, of droning monotonous gibberish

of fools standing atop

ten thousand, thousand mountain summits

casting their stones

and always hitting a target, always

diminishing the simple gesture.

of kindness, of the four letter word no one

dares utter

except as a farce on the appointed

and agreed upon consumer holidays.

Were the chocolates delicious?  You did not receive them?

No worry.  They are half priced at the local supermarket just as the roses
no one thought to purchase, or the children

no one thought to teach.

Tara Birch is the pseudonym for a 58 year old poet who suffers from an autoimmune disorder known as Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor Cell Associated Periodic Syndrome.  Her poems have been published in a variety of online literary journals, and in one chapbook entitled Carrots And Blue Cheese Dip, Published by Didi Menendez in 2004. She is also the recipient

of the Muse Endowment Award in 2002, by Tryst Journal.

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