Ivan Donn Carswell Poems >>
Futurelessness

Why can't I keep out of harm's way?
Am I so preoccupied, simultaneously looking ahead,
concurrently looking behind; concerned to avoid
what I'll fail to heed and blunder on into calamity?
I lurch with no confidence from moment to moment
in a blindness as complete as if we'd never met.
Colliding with figments of your imagination or mine,
recoiling from dead-ends and dangling conversations,
half-truths and dyspeptic distortions.
And when we crash into the inevitable wall
I am gutted by its abruptness.
There is scant time to plan avoidance as each clash is
instant and after our loud but brittle utterances
you leave in mnemonic silence and I burn to ashes.
The fire is ruthless, it devours egregiously, consuming
all reason without respite, and though I cringe
in its aftermath, shocked in a charred hell,
cursing my stupidity bodes no pyrrhic insight.

Time to count the torrid cost of careless words inflicted on
your battered dignity, time to close the ugly face that chanted
out invective foul and shattered amity, time to quell
the fervid rush of feckless wrath which weighs
against the bloodied loss this manic madness brusque
and hot has flung across the face of sanity.

And I think of the words we've used; how we've talked
without touching the matter directly, or walking it to sleep,
not laying a hand on its heart, resolving nothing other
than knowing it hurt too much to say more, or
having said too much afraid we would be buried too deep.
And I fear the litanies, the trifling banter which offended none
until a fatal line was uttered and the battle thus begun.
And now I think a thousand lines and fear to utter one.

Who are these strangers in our house?
Cavalier of feeling, lacking sensitivity,
cartoons of battered self-esteem circling vulturously.
What were their origins and why are they so,
are they one and same we know?
I wish they'd stay their distance but fear
they share a common path - they bear a strange resemblance.

When I equate your sapping pain the sickness
in my stomach quells my need to eat or drink and bile
derides a bitter taste upon my tongue. I tremble in the aftershock,
ravaged numb with boiling shame; my deed it was, I knew it not
for what it was and bear the blame. I wear this millstone
as a symbol of my fate, a fate that weighs alone.
That you should feel the weight belies
your quiet, so deathly hushed it is without you home.

Time to count the torrid cost of careless words inflicted on
your battered dignity, time to close the ugly face that chanted
out invective foul and shattered amity, time to quell
the fervid rush of feckless wrath which weighs
against the bloodied loss this manic madness brusque
and hot has flung across the face of sanity.

Where is the person you once were?
Who is the one you have become? Can I find you in between?
I searched in memories which span the years we knew together
but rummaged in a closet bare. It is as if
you'd left with every vestige of yourself, and though
mementos and odds and ends remain
they are cold and inanimate, giving no clues.
I don't know who the new You is, and I am sorely afraid
it isn't the same You I knew. I don't know the new me either; I can't see,
I am blinded by futureless prospects which appal and terrify me.

I know of your wont for contentment for when you are not
I am despondent and spiritless; yet you need me to be happy
to mollify your joy, which to me is as much affliction as frivolity.
It is difficult to rise above the effect you have and impossible to deflect
this curse of your decent geniality and courteous respect,
you are the civilised soul; I, the angst-ridden ghoul.
Had we common joys to share and shared them not
to keep a pact we never made, preserve a calm of artifice,
I'd be a hand to misery - but share we did and kept a peace
we'd never trade. Low as I am and ready to sleep,
I smile to recall the gentle snores I hear
through the walls that separate us now. They woke me at times,
I could touch to reassure you, if not myself,
that at the heart of the matter, the matter was we were together.
Now I'm not so sure.
Can we be together still but need to be apart?

Time to count the torrid cost of careless words inflicted on
your battered dignity, time to close the ugly face that chanted
out invective foul and shattered amity, time to quell
the fervid rush of feckless wrath which weighs
against the bloodied loss this manic madness brusque
and hot has flung across the face of sanity.
© I.D. Carswell