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laurel hardy


The furnace roar enthralls me, and the silence
that comes before–and follows–also soothes.
By turns, by force, they beg my acquiescence
to all that’s merely “being,” merely “truth.”

But the wailing mob—how ought I feel? The din
of eight billion curses and sighs. The shriek
of the shrinking world, the whisper-whine
of conquered species, conquered earth. They speak

in hurricanes that moan, in floods that spew,
in droughts that sneer at our inanity.
Yet we can’t translate, though they force us to.
(Our purest faith: Divine Cacophony.)

They’re growling to themselves alone, we think—
or speaking, yes, but saying something else
completely else, all forms of else! (We’ll sink
while never knowing that we’ve drowned ourselves.)

It’s not our fault. We’re deaf, or worse. We’re dead
to any but our tribe’s vernacular
(which even God calls gibberish). I said,
“The furnace din enthralls me.” I don’t care

to know its source and cost, it seems. I close
my eyes to trace what paths my dreams may take,
as Silence, like a patient prince who knows
his sovereign destiny, remains awake.