I did not speak to you in a language we will remember;
you listened, so I waited until a vision pierced
through me with a story that would
imprint images upon your mind like a dream
you recall years later compelling you to create
your own dialogue to make sense of the dramatic,
unfolding scenes, one after another,
each episode exploding out of
the dissonance of the last,
almost like a cascading of archetypes
telling a surreal drama around which
you must build an iconic lyric,
and you open your voice into the mantra of a tribal song,
your tongue the instrument through which a new epic
tale uncoils as you birth the poem a sacred people will
transcribe onto stone tablets so that
one day everyone can trace their lineage back to us
and call what you and I do today
A rope is unwound, falling to the floor like leaves
faded and unbound by the autumn from their trees.
The hand opens to hold a book the eyes will not read.
An archeologist uncovers a city submerged in sand,
yet no bones are found. The dinner plates
discovered are square and depict animals we can
only claim are mythic.
Religion explains what we do not know. When the
self learns how to plumb its dark waters, god is no
longer needed. In darkness, a deity is not enough,
and loses his power to control.
A twilight arrives when the bird does not return
to its nest. The tree feels alone and sways awkwardly
in the night’s wind. At daybreak, the sounds of the forest
call unbidden in songs the deserted can hear, but no
answer returns and the sun travels alone
through the azure desert.
In a dream, there is a text I cannot understand
but I keep reading it aloud until its message becomes melodic
and its music sinks into me like a memory
that I suddenly remember and only now understand
the lesson of its drama, and the warning of its violence.
I call this
The smoke from an ancient, molded root burning
into ash enters my mouth and changes everything
I once said…My name disappears and my family now
claims that I died as an infant
–Abruptly, I am pulled out of death to moor heaven
like two ropes twined into a cord that won’t break.
There is less to me than what you seek.
Often, I languish in wonder and accomplish little.
I awaken past midnight and stare
at a star as if I, alone, can deliver
it as our next sun.
I walk in circles each morning, talk to
the dead, and imagine a divine world.
As a child, I would communicate with
clouds and engage in whistling
dialogue with the afternoon birds.
I still do not know if love
is found in one who exhibits traits
you cherish within yourself,
or in someone who tenderly provides a
gift of something sacred missing
I admired a couple I knew who
only sang around their small child,
hoping that she would learn music
before language and would intuit
how to experience the poetry of
life, even within its pain.
Although I have never been to
Norway, I dreamed last night of walking
through Oslo, speaking about Bob Dylan
to strangers. I awoke in struggle to
interpret this dream. Making sense
of the unseen is the only ambition I
Lawrence William Berggoetz composes poetry and essays from his adopted outpost of Dallas, Texas, a place which still feels foreign to him. He has been published this year in numerous literary journals, among them are The Bitter Oleander, Poetry Quarterly, Poetry Pacific, JONAH, The Oddville Press, and Pour Vida. He is a graduate of Purdue University and has written the book Under One Sun.