David McLean

five poems

the birds do not sing of death

the birds sing to me of the hill sloping down
below the window, and they know cats are waiting
so they are thankful for my gaoler’s perversity;

but they do not sing to me of death,
and do not know where the dead are,
they sing that they do not know what i want

with death and the dead and memory.
they show us that the sun shall shine again;
though it is winter, it shall shine warm

for us again, this the birds said
today. as they call so shall i follow
and sing no more of the dead

but every grave shall shine for me
and i shall need no memory –
that’s what the birds said

their fleeting notes as heavy as lead

our walls, according to Butters Stotch

the walls that hem us in
are words, and stone piled,
fragments of void,
empty we.

once they asked for
gods to besiege us,
called on creators as ancient
enemies, and no crevice

for us to crawl into
as snails or insects,
unhidden and bright in his light
yet, evasion fruitless.

so they burned their youths
as sacrifices torn in their callow
monkish desire, twisted
away from life.

and the true seed, the meat’s
naked faith, is all we believe in
now. passion is our timeless
duty, empty banal replication

casting forms again
we stay in. sinless
oblivion the body is,
fateful mating

predisposed to nothing.
and yet love a minute
is our truth, like Butters
said. then we are empty

husks. dead.

of mankind

man is an empty city
that never existed,
besieged by nothing
and all his absences,
all the gods forgotten
who had forgotten him

the squares and alleys
there are nowhere
though ghosts roam them
they are cold and lonely
and we call them holy

traces of misbegotten reminiscence
as though someone looked at us
once, as were there love,
as were time and the empty
city a memory, and memory
was good, the city full
enough

prayers and lies

every prayer is wasted
and most are lies
for reference to god
is to address a word
in a book or a childhood,
and the monk’s lonely
homelessness in the world
is nostalgia,

not for some home in heaven
but for that which is not
and never was,

pining passion to hold
his own identity
he doesn’t really
need

and god a guarantor
for this greedy being
he almost believes
in

not just the sweet coming nothingness
than can’t even be bothered
to lie to us,

not just empty time –
though every prayer is wasted,
though all of them are lies

you fell

you fell a dream
from a nest of devils.
i saw you in the cold
and was so full

of blood
i could spare some.
like a vampire
when night

was inside us,
time invited
to this nostalgia,
where memories

drop from the oblivion
wherein we forget them
to grow up women
or men,

dead

you fell a dream
from a nest of devils or heaven,
remembered
yet

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