R. T. Castleberry
WHY I AM NO LONGER LISTENING
speak to this confusion,
to intimacy as desire, as retreat.
My answers would be propaganda,
numbered clauses of social contracts:
1)flattery, 2) betrayal, 3) gossip.
I cannot face the fact of another person-
the weight of hope or disappointment.
I'm mesmerized at images of water's ripple in a mirror,
locked in gestures of the affable, the indifferent-
as if injury could be lessened
by civility or sleight of hand.
I know the lie in this.
It's a study in phantom pain,
a second version of the facts.
There is ruin where I stand, when I depart.
And I have no apology but good-bye.
THE PHANTOMS COME TO GREET HIM
Whether three hours sleep or ten
I cannot crack the selective code of my dreams.
Insomnia's ride of red, hallucinatory wind
scatters a squall of speed, heat
and elaborate plans for yesterday.
I have heard the shifty drawl of my voice
mock and flirt
and smoothly provide a positive reply.
Beyond cynicism, hype,
vigorous spin of artful, selective message
I have modified my position.
I live within the rattle of talking points
and Robert's Rules of Order.
The intimacy of information-
seamy or suspect,
has overwhelmed me.
I have witnessed
the nervous end of rumour, of compromise.
I have learned that pragmatism serves,
consequence serves as well.