Rack & Ruin (Gone Fission)

Long years have passed
like water under the bridges
since I traveled up my final river
woven between those green reaching arms
and bulging white cliffs every turn of the way
leading deeper into the somnolent embrace
of the thrumming cicadas among swaying trees
and the steady throb of a four-stroke scream.

In that heat-sink sun-baked basin the water curled
like a blue green vein running right through
recalling the place where the sun lays down to rest
beyond the red sand expanse
a hidden furnace
that burns those lands to cracked and shattered clay
sandstone and fossil bones hidden underneath
a layer of dead white leaves and carbon ash
a compost heap midden steaming in the Summer heat
spontaneous ignition and vague recognition
speaking for itself and yet forever mute
those broken lands
with mountains like scabs and valleys like scars
so dry and yet the river runs so deep
brimming with serpents
deceptive currents
and submerged tunnels.

I suppressed all impulse and surrendered
to the rhythmic waves
slapping the sides of our boat
metallic footsteps vibrating
through the rusted hull like tap dancing
to the circling bull sharks
pulling on lines of invisible string
hooks and blades awaiting either way
whether fallen overboard
or netted and dragged to the surface
struggling like a baby
emerging into the sunlight for the first time,
white grey with stained scales
and mouth caught in a voiceless wail.

And then I fell.

I descended into a trench filled with the living dead
meaningless and mindless
no place nor purpose
no structure nor statement
no sense and low rent
swaying with play of the delta tide
where snow-melt dissolves in sea salt
wearing a crown of waving weeds
the coming going ebbing flowing
a vow of silence in the wake of violence
I was crucified but I have forgotten why.

I became the submerged man
the sinking feeling in the pit of your being
that lurching sensation when your line snags
and your hook bends
and you wonder what lay hidden
by layers of sandy sediment and sand
where I have rested, festered, and suggested
many thoughts to the fishes and hawks
scrambled with the brown swimming crabs
and got wrapped up in the details
with lampreys and eels
and those monstrous fantastical forms
without name or shape or thought,
or slumbering in numbered boxes
arranged in a row on a metal shelf.

I yearn one day to return
to the river’s familiar embrace
to supplicate myself
and prostrate myself
and expel my last breath
and even then I shall continue to exist
as a conduit, a broken circuit, a closed loop
or a torn up book, my words remaining
by the order that compelled them
but the structure that animated
the context that gave meaning
are lost in those obscure depths
and without I am bereft.

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