A Hundred Gourds 3:2 March 2014

current issue : haiku : tanka : haiga : haibun : renku : expositions : feature : submissions : editors : search : archives

page 3  

Steven Carter - USA

A Sunny Day at Charlton Cemetery

1) Exile

            Metaphor, too, is a form of exile.

            We go from eyes (the tenor) to limpid pools (the vehicle) because there’s another truth we don’t care to face: namely the possibility that we are metaphors and the images of imagination are real.

In the mirror another mirror

            Let’s take a step back and catch our breath.

            . . . So what’s the tenor to our vehicle?

            —Dreams, naturally! Not day-dreams: “real” dreams, performing a dance macabre for the insomniac moon.

            What if—

            What if the moment of death is a vehicle spawned (a salmon up the river!) by the tenor of birth?

            Or is it the reverse? I forget, not being dead yet.

—the moon a tragic lantern

2) All Language I Should Pass—

            Are there metaphors in Purgatory? In Hell?—

            Without judgment, no forgiveness!

            But, as I’ve written before: in Hell, no judgment therefore no forgiveness.

            Now—just now—I think I have an answer to the above question.

            In Hell everything is a vehicle: eyes, limpid pools, day-dreams and night-dreams.

            And the girl with a lazy eye you meet at the bar; in Sartre’s No Exit, the long blue hill to heaven no one bothers to climb; in Spain, the last #11 bus from Malaga at two a.m.; the owl-clock you buy for no good reason at an antique store—

            (Yes, there are clocks in Hell—prompting (forgive me!) another question:

            Which would you prefer in the Infernal Regions—clocks or clocks without hands?)

            One exception to the rule of metaphor:

            In hell, the words are real: tenors coming back to haunt you.

            I mean loving words you never uttered.

            —Because in Hell, when it comes to words, the territory is not the map.

Ask not to know for whom—

3) In the Vineyard

            A few nights ago I dreamt of quenching candles—as if their flames were dying of thirst.

If reincarnated I want to come back as a moth—a beautiful lace-wing. Oh yes, vanity is alive and well in the next life!

            Don’t let the infinitesimal life-span fool you.

            Moths have no sense of time. They flutter drunkenly in and out of eternal Gardens of sunflowers.

            Sunflowers turning—for consolation?—to the yellow candle in the sky.

A mayfly of course!

previous haibun : haibun contents : next haibun