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from the February 2007 issue

House of the Edge

Retreat to places that smell of soap

Go to wet balconies

Wrap your hands in cool, damp gauze

Scrub your flesh stark white

Purify your tongue and all you've seen

Gather your illuminated words onto snow white paper

Retreat from the war zone, you can't manage,

The deaths in this zone are contagious

Full of crumpling and scuffling maggots,

I say flesh has gone wormy-

What difference does it make

If it's yours or someone else's!


In midafternoon, wander around rooms, plunge into the sun's dust

Look at people passing by a cat

Listen to voices

Lend an ear to the universe and beyond

The voice is in the spine's hissing, humming flute, blow!

Collect it, collect it within yourself

Let the crowds be distracted

By the war zone's daily news

Record their voices,

This way, one day, someone

Will understand that they, just like you, are existed,

That if one is to stop at the edge of hell

This is the only way to stop


They'll understand

That one mustn't come too close to any hell

Whether it be inside, or outside with the crowds

For, what wholly burns will never burn again

It won't flame up, no light will leave it

A person must always burn as if he'll burn again

The place to stop is neither inside nor outside hell,

But in the place where Inside and Outside resound simultaneously:

At the edge between Inside and Outside.

No voice resounds Inside

The voice that resounds Outside is inaudible


None of the voices in this zone

Will outlast time.

All things fall into the time in which they materialize

And, just as a sand dune swallows a skeleton,

Voices will be swallowed by their own time

All that will remain of you, of your going, of your

coming, of your retreat upon failing, of your indecision,

of your diving into daydreams, of your being cursed

and torn apart, of your returning to reconsolidate, is a

withered story and a wisp of hair.

Think about it,

Your hair will outlive your voice.

When the ink on these pages has decayed,

This crow

Will fly once again from that sea's withered bed


Now, fling your hand into the air-

In the invisible cleft that opens

When the ripples from your hand dwindle and disappear

What will remain of you-maybe-is a plump bug.


If your abridged story is told, a breath will leave

a mouth. That story's breath, too, dwindling,

disappearing, will reach the next planet. Even if this

planet doesn't, the next will inhale what's left of your breath.

One mid-afternoon, one child having cookies and tea

will misread-who knows, maybe-one of your

sentences. Your name will be remembered for that

wrong sentence. Who knows, maybe that sentence will

be more beautiful than yours. A redheaded boy you

can't picture now will understand you.


Meanwhile, that crow

Will leave this sea's withered bed

And, with this present hair of yours attached to her foot,

Fly toward another planet

Without expecting to reach it, but striving nonetheless

Don't forget, what wholly burns will never burn again!

A person must always burn as if they'll blaze again

Now stop, that's enough

Stop at this edge

Who knows, maybe one day you'll embark once more

On a journey you can't yet know

For "Seven Aches," please click here.

Read more from the February 2007 issue
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