We Found the Center at the Edge


Threatened with it, to live only in others’
breath, to die as a language does, forgotten
if never again uttered by another’s lips, shameful
as nameless kings subsisting on the misquotation of
our inscriptions lifted from the debris of
temple floors before archæology replaced looting, reinventing destruction
as a science, choosing to be chosen to
be flown across the crumbling countries of a
fractured world to die a second death on
the bed of some cabinet’s curious spread of
hackneyed atrocities, we, the best of all possible
cracked antiquities, found the center at the edge,
darkening as we left to experts the difficult
business of fixing this mess, an impossible task,
we stepped off the doorstep of the Universe
onto the Tarmac and fled toward its end,
two kids taught not to take it personally


or fight the confusing truism that god creates
using light, lit up from within like a
jar of alabaster, truant students arriving at its
conclusion by night, all we could recall of
our catechism at the sight of the cataclysm’s
cultivated chaos was the maxim, ‘Abandon him and
follow Rome into darkness,’ armchair scholars appalled at
their flight from reason, a race of brazen
people we lost our respect for from seeing
them hastening the changing of seasons from cold
war to nuclear winter, bringing about the end
of the world now so that Christ can
come back faster, shaken and shattered at meeting
the shadow versions of our Selves in the
black mirror of their engineered disasters, a planet
of fools occluded by its tools’ occult compulsion
to consume without cause, nourished by that which


destroys it, stripped naked in front of the
infinite, ‘Denude your Selves of the illusion of
progress!’ we called after the vastness, hollering across
the expanse of stars distancing those scars of
theirs from what were once ours, expensive rewards
and just deserts, networks failing, webs vibrating, strings
of constellations breaking from playing off hits taken
for granted by stoned-deaf advocates of an apocalypse
shouting for more applause from the audience, to
be embittered or empowered by gain they cannot
sustain, greed buying into lies outlined by this
abyssal epistle listing his regrets with rhetorical questions
we ventriloquized for earth’s lovelorn inhabitants, fugitive troubadours
mouthing the miserable damned and the incorrigible doomed
a dissonant kiss sealing up again the scroll
of the final prophecy, as if all was
well, conscious of its consolation’s limited effect on


circumventing the consequences of their silence in a
time of such distress, reminding them that they
asked for this, cognizant that a bomb’s fallout
dilates its cloud of cacophonous dust and ashen
sound the way a galaxy does as it
expands its time-sensitive conquest into inevitable nothingness, one
loud as one’s mother-in-law turning up unexpected, the
other mute as a black swan drowning into
a background of velvet dusk, damaged below and
damasked above, almost Hermetic in its justice, going
out like a poet instead of a streetlight,
writing off an account of the last judgment
in rhyme, propheting by cryptic phrases hiding in
plain sight something significant between the toes of
those letters’ negative spaces, encoding new life in
helical lines as if burning out were not
the way to go, but fading as ink


does, back into the bowl of æther separating
heaven from so polluted an atmosphere, evaporating fear
into thin air thickening from its tension, waiting
to exhale, instead of a question asking how
did we get here, rephrasing it as an
answer, making it a statement, that, instead of lingering,
without hesitating, we found the center at the
edge, knowing full well that a “there” always
becomes a “here”, because what we hold a
grudge against we carry with us, that baggage
begging us to accept that time is not
linear but cyclical, every visual of the spiritual
is peripheral, every experience of what is real
is only ever limited and liminal, letting go
of what you hold lets you heal, extremes
and opposites meet in the same way at
the same place, throw your shape then disappear.