Five Poems by Bruce Bond

Issue 84

Found in Willow Springs 84

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If you are searching for a friend online,

an insomniac to break the bread

of misery and silence, look no farther.

Trust me, says anonymous, the voice

in rivers after dark is no illusion.

It is an angel. And who can resist.

If I am broken just enough, I fly.

I suspend my physical heart, alive,

among the saints and champion banners.

I never met an angel, but I saw one

once in a painting, in one hand poppies,

the other a harp, and though it made no music,

it seemed so finely strung in the fire

of a child's hair, it nearly played itself.




It's not all bad. Hell has its comforts,

threnodies, charms in the shapes of cups.

But imagine what it takes to make

a life's work there, with only your powers

of invention to sustain you. Think of

the focus it takes to complete the journey.

I do not envy a creator that devoted,

divided, but here I am, on the edge

of the river. A lighter craft will carry you,

says the boatman, because I am that light.

I take his reasoning on faith. After all,

his Italian is so lovely, and the world so

full of weightless things, here a boat,

there a fly drinking from the open eye.




The creak of boats in swells of the harbor

sounds a warning like hinges of a forest

or failed estate. So difficult to get

news from news, history from history,

by which I mean writing and the written

off. The auguries of smoke and wind

blow dust from the glass of eyes that sting.

Earth keeps spinning the storm surge north,

and mountains sink, and refugees come,

and foreign words for home in the distance.

When a shoreline breaks, it breaks open,

and in flow the pixels too small to see,

stars of neither cruelty nor grace, but

a sorrow so deep its name has not arrived.




When a high wind tears down the power

and it's you and me and the emptiness

that gives us license to move, we do not move.

We gather our cats in the pantry, we listen,

we hear in heaven the enormous sigh

of an iron lung exhaling, the storm eye

passing, the terrible burden coming to rest.

One part of every wind is trembling.

The other the stillness the trembling moves aside.

The future, as we know it, is never true.

Never false. It is here in the quiet turn

of every breath, the little death a singer breathes.

One part of each departure is a mirror,

the other the wall to which a mirror turns.




Panoptes, the god with a hundred eyes,

became a captive of the prison that bore

his name, the circle with guards in the center

and inmates on all sides who saw no one.

All that dark out there, and the hundred

fears to take a hundred points of view.

Why else does a man grow so many.

Misery, we know, is too much company.

Or too little. No one sees you, or no

one appears. When I see a prisoner in hell,

I see those eyes. I see a flock of grackles.

They break into the shrapnel of applause.

And then, nothing. I am alone. Just me

and a hundred sorrows. None of them mine.



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