Beyond Nietzsche

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9

… an infant’s littlest, purest love; the kind,
born of the moment, not the mind.

I

Tonic/dominant, tonic/dominant …
One ambulance crushes a thousand ants,
dozing pedestrians pass, or gaping
blunder against each other. A distinguished
father prides himself on self-control, is
irritated, drags his daughter
into a doorway. Tantrum unleashed
he desperately tugs, she lashes out, strikes:
he stuns her with a blow that breaks
his heart for weeks.

Across the road a poet, drunk
in the act of a risky procreation,
pauses. A siren is headed
for a fire, he lifts a shutter
like a half-meant apology, recalls a poem
he never wrote, returns
to his mug of scotch, the corpse
hot to his hand, his aetiology. The Age
of Reason hovers half-open by the bed,
her breath is thick.

A list of ants attack
a jamstain on the sink. I drum
the hollow stainless steel to startle them,
they scatter. Finger lightly licked
I pluck the stragglers, flick them in the grass
out the back door. Later
(three a.m.) my baby son squirms
like an insect at my neck.
How easily your children can expose you,
if you listen.

II

Like the stick sun of a small child
every word announces a spindle
of meanings.

An oboe’s rim is riddled with minutest creatures;
the calligrapher’s sac dispenses
a death-black fluid. Home with child
the heart of Übermensch is bursting
with goodwill: he listens to Requiem K.626
on his gramophone, ponders the meaning
of its dark beauty.
Tonic/dominant …

Like the rippling pebble of a gazing child
each note unlocks a sun system
of meanings …

III

But the ripples will quickly subside,
only the stone will know the weight of the water.
A spiderweb is infinitely trivial:
sitting and patiently waiting,
only the spider …

So every meaning conspires against itself
till the littlest love alone can defy meaning,
and every word that makes the world
is half a moon hiding among absent stars.
Each truth is a half-moon;
the minutest love alone can escape meaning.

IV

And the galaxies — how swiftly they flick past
on the black train
torpedoing unalterably across the night
in the next suburb … It is possible
the shriek that disnitegrates a dream means
merely whistle, and a train,
isn’t it?

I know a world
where every truth shelters a thousand lies,
each noble thought holds off a swarm of savages
again, and every smile disturbs
a labyrinth of doubts … Familiar world.
Sometimes, alone at night
listening for trains, I hear its ghostly dialectic.
Tonic/dominant, tonic/dominant …

And I long for a word free of all its meanings.
The littlest love.

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