Ceremonial robes

In the cold dead heart of the land
I saw their eyes. Everyone
was there, with their own stance and voice.
We know each other best when we make love:
together, our hearts decay.

Our bodies, growing heavy, wake us in the night.
Houses with courtyards are like graves.
Childhood is a slumber. It lasts a long
time. And the desire to touch
hauls us towards death.

I tried myself in every
body. Lost myself in every city,
took each country's sky to heart –
and when I saw the emptiness of my heart –
that's enough, I said.


Inside decaying ceremonial robes,
roots swaying on the hanger.
Even if we douse it in the sea.
this fire will burn forever.
It beats out light in the darkness.
It burns on.

Perhaps history is a mistake, the poet says.
Humankind is a mistake, says god.

The future is corrupt
as the heart of the land.
Humans are a mistake, says god.
I have come to put things right
too late.


Red tide of the dead –
the road taken at night.
And the poor earth where pilgrims scatter.
Wan shrouds sweeping – ceremonial robes.

To flee, we need
the horse's mane.

This is the truth:
left here, we rot.

May god not read my words.
He keeps saying humankind
was a mistake
. And correcting himself
brings sorrow, nothing
but sorrow.


February 1997, Berlin

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