—after Stan Brackhage
Dazzled drunks are bent over with laughter,
as truth on some little path,
everything stands for everything,
night is short.
Life and its explosive brother death,
what are we supposed to do
is a question the wind asks,
its fire balloons
rise and waft in loosening company
whether or not we see them fall apart
way up there
where nobody gets hurt.
Sulfurous nitrate storm,
sanskrit of lightning and thunderous wheels.
I never thought to listen,
or I listened,
or I couldn’t listen while I was busy being
your worst day.
To say a little in both of our defense,
Armageddon is ridiculous. It’s just the lake
that crawls back into its blackest self
and closes our eyes
on that big harmless picnic eating up the stars.
Where light ends
our very eyes see
far before we are,
far into our mothers and fathers,
those first blood-drunk realists.
William Olsen‘s most recent collection of poetry is Sand Theory (Northwestern). He teaches in the MFA and Ph.D. creative writing programs at Western Michigan University, where he edits New Issues Poetry and Prose. He lives in Kalamazoo.