The Magician

I.

Life can only be understood backwards

In this archipelago nation

Roasting on the embers of its humorous hubris

Whose sky is color of dead schoolchildren’s eyes

Where ordinary people cloistered in technology

Are stuffed like dollar bills into the pockets of invisible men 

Where shrapnel burns in the interstices of each brain

From violent collisions between beliefs and reality

Where minds curl like intestines on bayonets

Where love is infinitely partitioned and only hatred is unified

Where witnesses of supple and dubious testimony

Can always be brought before every blinkered jury

Where cameras dance obscenely for compound-eyed, multi-limbed audiences

And wealthy businessmen walk the streets in inverted nooses

While their women wear their teardrops beneath their nipples

Where the scenery of life’s anasthetization table is so monotonous

One can sometimes only choose between the walls and the windowledge

Where the young are inoculated against the contagion of unendorsed truths

And thoughts of the synaptically incontinent are excised like inflamed appendices

Where the digital solipsism is so synchronized it could be an Olympic sport

Where people wait on train platforms with flowers and chocolate for the arrival of new hysterias

Where the citizenry is reduced to tubes of voracious pulsing flesh

Seeking only to multiply itself into a dark seething infinity

Where each man has his own personal harem of discontents

And each woman a maternity ward of stillborn dreams

In this hospital from which no one ever leaves

Where everyone only dreams of changing beds

II.

She has long been apostatized from the superstition of democracy

Her mascara has been known to catch fire

And anger dances in the darkness behind her eyes

Anger: The only currency of value in the current sea of valetudinarians

Whose mind swirls in a muddy palimpsest of yesterdays that has left no room for the future

She is a sinuously curved woman who speaks in straight lines

And words that jut from your hands like splinters weeks after the conversation has died

She is a misanthropic humanitarian

Her mind a falcon soaring over armies of barefoot soldiers

The resident of a smoother, tighter reality

Where lives are stretched like skin across drums

To beat out the warning tattoo against the enemy on the march

Looking the way she does

Her skin-sheathed shell is well-equipped to move through the membranes

Of our so-called culture and so-culled history

And she gazes out every wind rattled, rainswept window

To see the same nightmares copulating wildly at the treeline

The same insects swarming close

The same carrion birds circling low

III.

The alleys are her allies and the children’s art

She knows they stand outnumbered

But numbers only matter to those who believe in statistics

For the mind all logic is a knife all blade

And a body all mind is a mind that has strayed

And anyway

She knows no pen can write starvation’s truth

No words repair a broken womb

So she can be intense if it pays the rents of the refugee tents

And when she hears tycoons explain how every clock in the world keeps a different time

And no word can ever truly mean the same thing twice

She understands the point of view of those in power

And is more than willing to bury the hatchet

In the head of anyone who would watch infants die

Somewhere in the blood drenched subways of her body

The dark feathery turnings of her soul await the time for flight

I doubt I will ever see her again

Caught in the centrifuge of this whirling world

We spin in opposite directions

But I have faith that the soft words of this hard-headed woman

Will work the miracle of getting people to look up and gaze upon each other’s faces

The magic of getting people to look down and see those beneath their feet

And the hands that brush her long black hair will one day

Bring rag-swathed Lazari from a hundred darkened caves

Into the light so many have forgotten