James Scully  

 

SCLERODERMA

 

Water you crave water
membranes thicken
the ravening mouth

you're coming down
with something
can a face hurt?
your face hurts
and teeth,
teeth hurt
but never like this

tongue's bunched,
shoulders ratchet
pain
there's no turning back

the more stone-like
this body that is not you
the greater the agony

you would resolve this
paradox but not now

now is no time for musing

the joints
with instinctive wisdom
contract,
set for impact

skin thickens, has to,
itself is all the armor it has

liver hardens, lungs
crumple, papery

who puts a hand
on your bared chest
feels the death
crinkling under it

what's left of heart
arcane machinery, pumps
incomprehensible fluid
to no end

primeval organs
are last to go,
the digestive tract
intestines
genitalia

the moistness of future
turned off
like a faucet

now you are petrified,
you have survived

it is your destiny
to be shut up alive

you are your own
headstone: struck dumb
in this headstone dump
of leanings and crumblings
coming to nothing

you can still hear them, the silences
stone histories
stone schools
stone freedoms
stone laws
stone soldiers
stone news
stone this
stone that

everywhere

the silences
of stones that die
hurtling through space

 

from Angel in Flames, 1975

 


Angel in Flames Selected Poems & Translations 1967-2011.jpg

Angel in Flames Selected Poems &
Translations 1967-2011

Smokestack Books 2011