[another secret poem]: A Chapbook by Ivan Arguelles



Some sections from this poem appeared previously in 9th Street Laboratories

[another secret poem]


a riff on drum skin
borders what cannot hear
the dim a din in pale
beyond the suchness, if
what means can ever sound
the realm of untouched 
or white the every falling
from man’s mind unslept
what keen bears a blade
into horizon’s water
until a last is shining
less than remembered
when, or close each door
the night and scanned
small light that enters
the dreaming eye can spell
how much recall tastes
the green leaf detached
the root gone bloodless
at the smell like a grave
bereft of bone or hide
swollen in the parade 
that banners red the sky
around and down, hush 
shadows the raving mouth
in darkness cannot speak
is hell the first orient
where walking into dust
thought craves a drink
then other things intrude
the exit of a night
or the poem’s labyrinth
of madness ever circling
to mean but fails at,
words do not nor apocryphal
air as sunsets approach
waves inky depth beyond
no more return 
cannot the
lingering for a while
I thought you looked
different a kind of
mythical your hair maybe 
because each rotation
takes longer the farther
out, for a while silence
then resume their roar
the machines behind the wall
distinctions and categories
illusions and sand-hills
watching from afar small
eclipses like sails
sinking into clouds
darker than before, don’t
you think or the way
trees organize their sound
green infinitely 
like pink shells held to
a child doesn’t really
know how
fire above the house
fire below the house
fire above fire
fire below fire 
out of which life trembling
do we dare
the raiment goes up in flames
the shoe burns at the sole
what fixes the eye
what scorches the mouth
if to go anywhere
is smoke and smoking
if to pass from one 
to the other of existences
is the primary element burning
but do we know then
who will be touched
and who will touch
can we say 
that there was a mansion here
that a river ran between
these two dust heaps
that in sleep a coolness
do you remember?
for at least a single summer
love’s eternal flame
it seemed less than a day
and you said it was
a full three months
above the clouds’ incandescence
partook of that light
just before evening
and the dark rain fell
it is hell to open the door
it is hell to shut the door
the mind is on fire
the house is out of hand
here wandering between names
here lost in a maze
one wall follows another
something can be heard
under the grass
under the last step
what ear can hear it
in what sky does it echo
I was never sure 
if you meant to stay
the translation is unclear
when it hasn’t been obvious
the trellis and the vine 
out there in the light, no one
around to notice the passage
the intricate pattern of
grass at sunset the contained
section of sky behind glass
otherwise it was virtually
dark the inconstant, for
the color red to manifest
at once you were talking at 
odds with the mirror and
its shadows lengthening like
clouds in a skirmish with
flame (ancient philosophy)
who was stepping out of one
context and who was descending
like an unsuspecting angel
into sleep, holding up a hand
to signal at something invisible
to understand if that is
the way home through the maze
discolored remnants of 
shattered like chords of music
if it is possible to sound
                    inkling of doubt, whispered
to realize what is a lack
looking into someone’s eyes
while a traffic surges
the sky’s neon bric-a-brac
illusory        fragments
to pretend there are stars
one can name in association
with a dubious emotional history
at nightfall ,
only as far as the horizon
where each house remains
sealed       a myth
or a god 
as if to remember a function
like breath in the vivid
a total sense of
exactly what is nothing
a suggestion, you receive
falling out of
or is it what we asked, what
when the dark in its unfurled
corners in which sinister lie
ghosts waiting where no light
suffered a penultimate the 
tragedy, for a while undone
beneath the hood our bodies
is it a grace to condone
after worlds should not be
in our section where lying
flat toward the west cities
inhabited by angels mostly
asleep or dreaming they are
masks of persons, we are supposed
to be them, they cannot wake
unless a suggestion of grass
thin almost invisible like a
philosophy inexplicable red
ornaments the other side where
in the evening the flares go
up and all around shadows shiver
waiting of course, it is what
a definition of breath living
cordoned off by women who have
been denied who turn in the orange
while trains go by shuttling
the remains, is it a day 
grief fills the portals why
you couldn’t arrive on time
the engagement was broken off
in the grass who was sobbing
the silent portions of sky 
each going its way, down 
the road the distance of dust
what cannot be perceived clouds
apparently racing the other side
thunderous,           “don’t
expect it to be as light as
this life was”
or whose it was indistinguishable
from the others in the remaining
darkness has its way, a surprise
in the shrubbery where a dull
as if someone falling without care
hit the dream, such a detail
elusive and enigmatic usually
as if nothing in history mattered
although raising a hand, she
becomes difficult, to discern 
contours that are shadows cropping
up behind the bed, to sleep again
with the notion of life, an ideal
much as lamps in the fog barely,
the whispering, her mouth which
amazing and red in the full 
suspected of entering through 
a lateral connection, breath
quickens the illusion, fire
somewhere underneath and illegal
as syntax may be, supposing a
phrase can be completed to offer
this, why it is “falling apart”
even as the page assumes context
being turned in a blur, a brow
scrutinizes its own late hour
an expectation that the colors
will not “take”, hesitations
cannot hear the steps, doubts
as if a mirror could listen,
in response to a poem dust 
followed by a cloud sequence
a literal sky, were you over
there trying to make out 
patterns            discern
it is in the end a mask 
irremovable        unless
as it plays, a situation 
like the time at the window
waiting for the mail until
hopelessly put to bed grieving
to never be, a hunger to know
but after so many years a fade
the “nothing makes sense” pool
editing the same poem, over
and over until unrecognizable
but for the reference to Inferno
especially during the darkest hours
who cannot sleep for more, still
a likeness to the mask a shape
illusion’s lost shadow a vast 
hovers wingless in the air angel
whose symmetry is gone whose
speech in the ear a whisper
flickers the random, a verb
meaning to “hope” you would say
unless out goes the one you wanted
to stay, hers the wild hair flung
in stanzas across the room, hers
a lessened pale no matter what,
the audience of miscomprehension
as if in a photoplay disregard
looked the “other” way, bucolics
in ruins, can it be translated?
no answer why the decision to 
remain in bed as days and months
measured for the extent of red
it gives to breathe a final day
when, the least reason empty
of content gazing into the path
of the milky way night’s uncharted
flight, syllables of a forgotten,
is it a wonder remembrance strays
in mulch and dust to find a mask
that fits? heaven in as much 
dwindles an alphabet erased letter
by letter until the fade, sure
of nothing the heart’s losses
the innumerable in blank, grass
somewhere on the other slope
bathed in an excrescent dew-shine
also, as if white an arm reaching
a god’s tread in the sleeper’s
ear innermost, to wake shaking
off the invisible color, corrosion
rust whirl despond what else
silk, like the insides of a 
thought inexpressible, so look
over here softening by twilight
random, what sound that was knocking
where there is no door
peering into the immense and starry
to listen again, will it come
back? will it learn to speak
as before     a hush
whispering      leaves
as if inches from the strangler
in search of 
the mountain’s immense ghost
shudders, a thought 
no less than the paradigm
of light       , if only