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A Nocturne for Nowhere - Chris DeBarr
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A Nocturne for Nowhere

A Nocturne for Nowhere

there are daze when the hours of mercy evaporate
the slow drip of hope that nourished
the water from the deepest aquifer runs dry
and old vines that know their horizon like
the back of my hand
dig deeper, ignore the burning skies, return
to their wily tricks, summoning intense fruits
wrapped in puckered skin, waiting to be
pressed into the juice that rivals Time.

there are daze when the kindness of strangers
seems rare, or fleeting, or forsaken
once the music wanders away from the hands
the knife that waits in a howling wind where
tumbleweeds gather with the locusts gnawing
upon the yesterday of somebody's dreams

they say so long do these daze
when the blood soaks into the roots
of the tree that no longer desires
revolutions, fires, droughts, plagues of the impatient
ones who stand their ground like ghosts
destroyed by machinery that cashes hatred into
bullets, or worse, or less

for less than these daze have we summoned
the band to play it again, to play it with feeling
on the creaking decks of the tumbling Titanic while
we can yet imagine the quaint idea of icebergs
before the deluge before we knew that
water and history are implacable and never ask
who is to blame just rolling, rolling down
the river where one fine day we assemble
the ghosts who bent their plowshares into
remote control devices that wed the objects
of desire into a smithereens pixels the ghosts
used to haunt themselves until we had less

than a field of sunflowers beside a battleground
than starfish or coral reefs bleached like bones
than a stone hurled at a tank while rockets burst
like futile sexist remarks aimed at the girl
who questions her gaze in the mirror then rather
than to give less she closes the tempest of chattering
cold pixels for a walk beneath the stars expanding
dark matter accelerating the spaces before the fire
winks out in an elaborate ruse of who cares

if the moonlight caresses her skin the same way
the tides are pulled and waves retreat in a pulse
a tango a timeless crescendo that asks only
that we dance shall the heartbeat of salty oceans
dripping from a tear be not torn from Time rather
conjured defiantly by refusal by a feckless disdain
for those who only chase the capture the rapture
the caricature the demand that she spits upon

are you dancing despite what the stars say about
the daze of our demise?

On a lonely hillside buried in Time I hear
the rustling of old vines perched on the edge
of Nowhere, sheer cliffs where the righteous chased
the ancient ones across the wind strewn rocks
only the cypress trees remain as witnesses to
the violence, which back then was intimately laid
in flashing metal across a field of gore that blossomed
from those ancient enough to say yes to secrets
despite that liturgy of certainty held by the wealthy invaders
who hold to be true the most sincere belief
that avenging metal screams louder
than moonbeams, or cow horns, or the vortex
spun from woven Words harvested by hand, or
a fear of Other that led to the killing fields timeless
with self congratulating idiocy masquerading as heroic
repeated like a terrible puppet show that mocks
the silent bestiary of the Unseen, the goddess,
the fertile horn of cornucopia, the true meaning
of bravery in a doomed universe expanding with dark matter

there is a wine from this lonely hillside vineyard
growing upon rocks, silence, and ancient prayers
from a language that blood never silenced, even though
fluency as the currency of conversation has evaporated
beneath the blood soaked cypress, this wine tells secrets
unlike the privilege to rule with remote control
the ancient ones whisper of trances dances romances
bred in the bones if you lose fear of the
immense silence that takes many shapes

this cup I offer you to drink from it
it is the longing to heal from the catharsis
the rupture in Time brought by those in need of Rapture
for their impatient fires for glitter, gold, and glory
left dumb the language of silence, the embrace of the
buried saga of love hewn to each season
yet this humble wine is no trophy, no blessed
commodity sold like a bride in India or Indiana to
the yoke of expectations that demand the dominion
to exploit pleasure as the handmaiden of surrender

never go dancing with dunces who demand such
while giving less than the taste of blood language
singing into a heartbeat universe
who merely give lip service to this wine of stony silence
who cling to the lit window shuddering
in the heaving tilt of a midsummer night
while moths that should
aim for the moon settle for the burning bulb of
this insomniac, this ancient tango, this moonbeam
misbegotten in a Time of melting woe

won't you come dancing beneath the ice cold glare
of the stars no matter what they say
about the daze of our demise?

the daze that we, and these moths, beat our oars
ceaselessly against the dictatorship of Time
permits us the voyage to Nowhere that love
lies abandoned but not forsaken once the old whispers
rustling like contraband through the cypress the gnarled
old vineyards that transmute rocks into the ineffable
laws of vows exchanged between roots and the Host
of the Unseen dancing as bacteria, or magic,
beneath the edicts of Minerva who knows many an alias
but just one essential promise that we use this wisdom
as we feel it upon our skin rustling with secrets
beneath the quavering moon that circles our dreams
like a shepherd of these amniotic fluids of wine, of
ReBirth, of the resilience of blood language that
haltingly we learn to speak in respect of the silence
that inhabits us in many shapes, sibilant as waves
or muttering clouds promising the petrichor of the
scented earth after a cleansing rain that soaks
the skin not the pixels inflamed with glittering glory
damaged by needing to want rather than giving the need
something less than it wants but ever so much more
than the panting parts of what our wanting deserves

the wine pressed to your lips is a secret shared
with places Unseen and heartbeats of those who fought
the cruelties of Time and who won the well worn song
if not the war that counts corpses and dominion though
Nowhere cannot be captured by the greedy anymore
than a field of sunflowers holding the shock of death
than the wind surrenders its songs rustling in old vineyards
than the ocean delivers her waves to the conquistador who
rides in the name of Nonsense puffed up like a flabby muscle
incapable of love but thrusting for dominion so we escape
beneath the moonlight with this elixir, this manifesto
that sings beyond the tomb of tomorrow
that belongs only to the wind
the moonbeams the waves that urge us to mock
the calculating entropy of the rickety heavens
to get down all in it with the blundering moths
and in the uncertain gaze of this moment
to know this is how we say yes to who we are
in this hurtling rocky place named Nowhere
while daring to dance beneath
the icy glare of the naysayer stars

by Chris DeBarr 7.21.14 pdx

This poem is dedicated to the many who might be Unseen
unless I say their names: to Hart Crane,
to Randall Grahm for the wines and for a photo he took
of the cliffs of Minerve yesterday on his trip to France,
to the winemakers of Minervois always it has been my pleasure,
to the Occitan who speak from the land of yes...


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