Epochal / Failure / Rope – by LAWRENCE WILLIAM BERGGOETZ

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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

with hell

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

within you.


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

still possess.



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.


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