Friday, February 09, 2007

A Reading of "Dire Wolf"

Dire Wolf

I have been clattering through my world of late, and also through the archives, thinking there must have been something I missed while ducking my cheek into my collar to hold up against the wind. Sorrows, like a gathering of dire wolves, come in packs. It's a question of loss, how it blinds, how the absence of someone can seem to extinguish the history of their presence. To you I am not speaking anymore. I return to journals and find… nothing. Who was the person that wrote that? How did I feel that way? And now, whom should I address.

Take, for example, my friend who reversed the intended direction of a shotgun (now that you have gotten these things off your barrel chest) – afterwards I felt weirdly unaffected Sorry to fill my prose with so many words of others, but here's Rilke on the subject, "I've had my dead and let them go, and been astounded to find them so peaceful, so at home in their deaths, so different from their reputation." There is of course a "but' coming –

"Except for you. You turn back. You hit against me." It is time for you to merge into the sobbing rain. When grief hits, it's shocking to me how I feel at once totally lost and totally self-indulgent. I am not me and yet I am alone and only me, it's all like a one room scene in Appalachia, smeared (like graffiti, like some damn vandal has snuck into my house and smashed my plates and my tables and painted obscenities on all the walls) by fog.

There are some people I turned to as naturally as I walk in space, as if I went to them for a cup of water I adored you as much as an aluminum bucket of storm after a great unlovely silver thirst. I carried them within me like language, like words that I don't think about until they appear on my computer screen how nice for me. One or two are still with me. Others have become scar tissue somewhere in my liver.

To be clear: I most emphatically do not know how you feel. To gain even an inkling I have to crack open my Homer, or venture into deserts like the English Patient ("We die in a forest of lovers and tribes") with his Herodotus, or seek some appropriate epic of loss . In the Pleistocene, the wild wolves roamed in scattered sorrows over everywhere, prodigious in appetite, howling at the hollow of everything empty yes everything, and their packs devoured all sorrows and made them a throat covered with a bolt of red.

Again, this is a pain I do not know; I own my pain ("appropriation"), I hold it and make it me, and write in first person -- that’s what makes it self indulgent. Even when I lose it I keep a record, something to point to and say – "here once was me." And in this way perhaps I can see (but not know or feel) that there are things which can dismantle entirely
A spirit, such as the pathetic maledictive fear of loss

You've asked us to pray, and that seems right – that words should be found and given to you. (Of loss:you get to speak of it, once you are its intimate…) I can offer you only the hope of blessings, the bare outline of speech (...and not before). But I hope my words can find you, and you can make something of them, and while I continue to clatter through my own whatever-it-is, you can find something in the snow of your computer screen, and that a blessing for you can be that

in the great white rendezvous, where

I was brooding
Just a while, you get to speak of dire love.

For Isonomist.


Keifus said...

Dammit august, I'm glad someone had the words. I don't, can't bring myself there, not even to describe the distance. Can't put my daughter's face within a mile of that.

And probably couldn't even if I could.

Beautiful? No, but well said. Appropriate, maybe. I think so. At any here.


topazz said...

I think Iso's tragedy affected all of us this week, how could it not? I wrote about it too, it weighs so heavily on the mind. I put myself in her shoes and think about losing either one of my sons...

I think about how surprisingly eloquent schad framed it, in a comment to someone on wikifray...

And I think about how there, but for the grace of your sweet safe mostly comfortable life can change in the snap of a finger and never be the same again.

twiffer said...

i think your reading is better than the actual poem.

Isonomist said...

Thanks, august. I don't really have words right now.

august said...


Me neither. Not having much else to offer, I just wanted to send goodwill your way -- a prayer for grace or something like it. Peace.

Anonymous said...