A Poem by Sam Rasnake

A Tuesday Afternoon, “The Architects of Fear” on Mute

There is nothing wrong with your television set.
Do not attempt to adjust the picture.

On the edge of limits of all shapes and
sizes and time, the empty dark — or so
we’ve come to trust, as in counting
all our chickens before they hatch
and so forth – squeezes
tighter and tighter. 

                                              Thin platitudes of grace
will their whispers as far as they’ll go,
stretching one good deed to the next,
until the world makes perfect sense —
at least for the moment.

                                                      And sometimes,
that will do. That’s all you need.

Like one cup of strong coffee, a wash
of morning at the window, the dull embers
from night’s deep burn still throbbing.

Regret is the sweetest ache to let go —

A constant summer wind in black pines,
then I turn around and it’s winter above
the creek, ice over stone, my breath
a dust of words, and I’ve no idea how
I got here — wherever that is.

Getting old is the easiest thing
you’ll ever do. You won’t even
notice. The lines you cross will
always be with you.

                                              I don’t count
the days anymore. That’s the math
of grief. I’ll take the given
and forget the rest.

                                             I don’t question
what I’ve seen. I’ve come to believe
my tongue knows the truth when it says it,
that what’s here is gone already, that dusk
sways the web just to tell the spider a story
of the world – as if she didn’t know already
the difference between history and the last
quiver of panic, as if the telling were reason.

No need to drag Heraclitus or Plato into this —
or their wild notions of cosmos and reason.
Let them be dust. Something to look
forward to, I’d say —

                                                 So, let my silence then
be my silence now. Things end the same way
they start: nothing, then something,
then nothing again.

Sam Rasnake’s works have appeared in OCHO, Big Muddy, Spillway, The New Mississippi Review, Wigleaf, Poets/Artists, The Southern Poetry Anthology, MiPOesias Companion 2012Best of the Web 2009, LUMMOX 2012BOXCAR Poetry Review Anthology 2, and Dogzplot Flash Fiction 2011. His most recent collection is Cinéma Vérité (A-Minor Press). He has served as a judge for the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize, University of California, Berkeley.