Dream of a Language that Speaks

Hello Gozo, here we are,
    the spinning world, has
it come this far?
    Hammering things, speeching them,
nailing the anthrax
    to its copper plate,
matching the object to its name,
    the star to its chart.
(The sirens, the howling machines,
    are part of the music it seems
just now, and helices of smoke
    engulf the astonished eye;
and then our keening selves, Gozo,
    whirled between voice and echo.)
So few and so many,
    have we come this far?
Sluicing ink onto snow?
    I’m tired, Gozo,
tired of the us/not us,
    of the factories of blood,
tired of the multiplying suns
    and tired of colliding with
the words as they appear
    without so much as a “by your leave,”
without so much as a greeting.
    The more suns the more dark—
is it not always so—
    and in the gathering dark
Ghostly Tall and Ghostly Small
    making their small talk
as they pause and they walk
    on a path of stones,
as they walk and walk,
    skeining their tales,
testing the dust,
    higher up they walk—
there’s a city below,
    pinpoints of light—
high up they walk,
    flicking dianthus, mountain berries,
turk’s-caps with their sticks.
    Can you hear me? asks Tall.
Do you hear me? asks Small.
    Question pursuing question.
And they set out their lamp
    amid the stones.
for Yoshimasu Gozo
Other works by Michael Palmer ...