The Agonist Journal


The world is a wall
                           on which we have painted
                                                      the horizon, our dreams
of where the sun sets
                           drawing out of us
                                                      aspiration and desire
in an infinite movement
                           toward a speck of dust
                                                      which recedes like a summit
behind the sea.
                           What storm of suspicion
                                                      would rescind the dazzled eye
and raise a hand
                           frustrated, divine
                                                      to scrape the paint off the distance.
To fathom at once
                           the hoax of arrows
                                                      soaring out of view
before cursing their targets
                           on the ramparts of fortresses
                                                      still bounded within
the foresight of our yearning.
                           The mote in the gravel
                                                      glows in the scale of our sight,
but ceases to beguile,
                           obeying disenchantment
                                                      it crushes the invertebrate hope
that the curtain
                           is lovelier than
                                                      what hides behind it.


Secret Sunshine

Do not look into the face of evil,
for you will see no evil there—
there will be neither seething rage
nor vindictive fury that will suddenly
twist the face which has waited
for another glance at the grief
that never ceases to lacerate you.
The murderer’s eyes
will be clear, not bloodshot,
and he will have the look
of one well-rested,
from having spent many nights
in tranquil slumber
in the haven of his cell.

He will not summon sad memories
to mask his serenity,
or extort tears from the occasions
he was prevented from seizing his prey.
He will not extend to you
the labors of a courteous deception.

Instead, you will see reflected
in his pupils nothing more than the hesitation
that your hatred awakens in you.
Your sorrow will grow pale and bright,
and dissolve in the light
as though it were a dream
you were just beginning to doubt.