The Fitness of the Human Heart & 'The wall is replacing the wall'
by MTC Cronin
[ poetry - may 04 ]
The Fitness of the Human Heart
Our hearts are shrinking to fit our chests. From our hands grow the shadows of wolves but the little dog of our face is cowardice. We wanted the war. When the first death passed like a small cloud we did not seek its reflection in the stream but drank there with our sons and daughters. Across our breasts we held our shadows. We all put different things in front of our hearts. We rolled a stone. Do you see what we see? The idea of the cave that would not be left.
'The wall is replacing the wall'
The wall is replacing the wall
The city waits on the corner for the considered demolition
Why doesn't everyone who can burn down houses?
I am amazed we live so soundly
Today, pain's through me and still hoeing its dreams
in pieces torn off
The children's books beg to still be the language
changing words with the help of any one mouth
Living is so clandestine
Death tossing open the contents, not the boxes
Open the name you know me by!
Open the brick!
Open the lambda! (Yes even things that straight
in the world and curled on the tongue!)
Open five ten and fifteen!
Open the hyphen and find the independence of the room!
Leave your room with the hours
before and behind you like gathering iotas
like jowls which come to find your face
and buy it from the old beauty
Open! because death is all you have in life
Drop your arm down, the rainbows are collapsing
Pick your foot up, the tide continues with its desire
to embrace the tide
Someone will remember the harps
and ruin all their fingers with that same desire
Cut your calluses because the old place, our home
wants us to keep working
What a little fright we get when we join the office blocks
to celebrate the breaking of the earth
the bitumen in its impressive grave
Bring your wallet. It is freed
The definite is established
Rudeness has its own fidelity
Looting is considerable
Sing the last note, what you think it will be
Courage does not wait
Its dark fabulous, moving the grass, cutting the labels
Everyone is out measuring the trees
to see if they will fit in our stone lives
No, not stone, the disappearance
when no disappearance is possible!
Towels fold as if wet feet finally avoiding sand
might no longer touch the earth
Lift your feet, I said, make the journey last and last
I have wanted through many things I have said
to return to a particular tone
but certain registers pass with every century
Listen to this!
Listen to this!
Listen to this!
And it had better be your children
Or the sound of yourself when it's real
The floors have fallen through to reveal the lake
of our old people's sorrow
We have renovators working on this
behind the peanuts, behind the apologies and maps
We build where the waters once flowed and there so
are our ruins (the only drunk part of the body is the gut)
And it is the water we have always feared - full of script
that flows and also horrific
The little ones desperate to understand death without causing it
What we can
I want to do something very nice with a plastic bag
Working with what I have
Reaction to freezing, to this fire on offer
through firewire, post boxes, envelopes and air
All lines have left chaos in their wake
Every story has its own straight-ahead
The horses have gone to the dogs
My stupid ear still listens for the envoi as if what is last
is left from a longer title
People think really quickly in real life
Too many carefully chosen words, too much beauty
and we will lose each other
It is art that does not speak
What is it the blood learns from the craft of the craftsmen?
What does it not tell to the mouth
to the mind that serves the mouth?
Rough and smooth are looking for a way to catch us
by the throat again
They are flipping their coins to see if juxtaposition
can be reborn
Open the heavy shutter wide so you can get a good view
What is the view of?
Mountains, right at the back, and purple
as mountains always are in these views
and in the foreground is a high wall built of stone
and darkness - it looks no different by day
The wall is between you
and is as wide as it is high
It extends all the way to the view and back
But you are in a block of cheese that has been vacuum-sealed
And you can dream
From your vantage point you can mimic the actions
of small figures in the courtyard below
You can eavesdrop the instant, evaluate secrets
and supplement the night sky
You are a prize
A battle will meet in a field or a hard street
and rip up the ground with blind eyes
while you stand on your balcony and sing
Buy Bavaria and win
Win your buttocks
Win it off your chest
Your song takes the place of the moon
high and round and light
while the armies eat helmets and numbers and grace
They wriggle noisily in a layer of silence
as you create the symphony in which they can ignore
They do not know what you say with your song
They do not know that you would wish to say anything
They do not ask or think to ask because they would give you
Even the moon!
End of chapter! Are they really fighting?
How can you tell the difference between struggle and life?
How could you explain the difference to one who is happy
How is to be imagined the singular Jack, the singular Jill?
(Such a popular name that it blurred from proper to noun)
The Actor, the Architect, the Poet?
I have thought you again and I see you both within
The only true image is the image of another thing
that thinks itself
And so you think me -
Headless and headed and with two reflections of us
we go out begging to be accommodated
At first it appears that chickpeas have heart attacks
that there is an apparent raspberry
that the baby is beautiful with the sky
which we pull down proclaiming 'I know how much blood
there is in this tissue'
Later the one music is beyond our hearing
and our lungs do not know what to do with the smoke
May I meet you? we say to those we meet
but our words run out over the paper dream
It becomes a talking joke
We drop our fardels, ever-emptier but appearing fuller
by the side of the bridge that is being broken
and enter the theatre of the interval
where halfway through something positively believable
diatribe takes its cloak and leaves
For trees, for the cat's language decrying curiosity
Sudden enlightenment bangs the audience
in the conjunctive provision
Our score? Net after a game of clipping
The nipple deficit
What can't fit
The deliberate judge who was trucked in to decide
what is hopelessly unsuitable declares us impolitic
and writes in a report that the backwards material clitoris
is easily solved -
and there is much screaming at the solution
If only the city would go quietly to dirt-time
If only the wall knew how jealous we are of its segmentation
Of its wild honey mixed with ash
Of the way it stings our eyes and is like an exotically
beautiful wife wanting to be a third with us
We are in love with its double life, its greed
It makes us want to climb and perch and fall
There is nothing more!
Our wills are hot and wild and seriously romantic
Our ecstasy's in a ball
What's out there is a fist
We won't take it
We stuff our pillows with yes and yes and yes
and no and no and no
The lines are open and we have our credit cards ready
We are handsfree, we are delivered
We are better and available
We are connected, we are quoted
We are tried and tested at a lower rate
We are dead-wool-gathering for love and hate
And then, in our most vulnerable moment, the place
we are living in forges us
Made not new but over and over
we are forced into the service of plastic, of trachoma
of rust, of burial, sheds, dumps, of abnormal falses
and their twin truths
The coin is so small and thin that it must be rewritten
Here's all you pay
What you decide
The tragedy has miscarried and red-rimmed
the park of paradise
The city has lost its parks and halls to the paracletes
retrained in sudden comfort
Gordon is nude!
Tom is nude!
Courtenay is nude!
Their clothes are one thousand times their clothes!
Value goes with justice to the place where the fountain
once stood in the centre of the metropolis
Dignity has been conferred here as a feign, nonsense, hoax
Where does justice go?
With authenticity to find estrangement and a plumber
Points of stress have been identified and possessed
The individual has been stabilized
I AM BIG HOUSE!
A new press has started in the dry pipes: Iambic House
It will publish what we cannot write and the thick books
will be delivered to the dying city
The cathedral's petals fall on their opened spines
and bells crack the air into a big accident
a gut feeling
EM Forster's words adopt the rules of blood, of the skin game
All over. Wish I had never written. Tell no one.
at the masked ball
Gaunt they come from between the coloned buildings
with vestiges of an even expression
with greetings cut and bled in the old way
with the mountain on their backs
and the same accusation still tugging at the edges
of the dead forest, the foreign animals, the dying sea
The sea dying because the city's dying
The arrow. The judgement
Derivative today, I remove my surgical gloves
and plunge both hands
into the future
What is the shape of the complaint?
I'd complain if I thought I could get away with it
When they ask I will say it hurts
but too many memories - other people's - get in the way
of my pain
Like the time blood flowered though it wasn't watered
and scars pulled themselves up and went thirstily
in search of healed flesh
And what if I put into words the dwelling of me personally?
Will the real question descend from the lips of the skymaster
and slam down on my head like ethics?
Could I ever crawl out of the relationship?
Not to be provocative but
the wall is replacing the wall and the city waits on the corner
for its nidal badge
for the believers
and other sundry artists
whose quandary is no longer a satisfying life
but a satisfying death
Hand out - what you pay, you decide