Skull

The thrill ride with a skull at the crest
of the mountain is pouring a waterfall
through each eye, a gush too ludicrous
for tears, however desperate to be seen,
to join the sad extravagance of things
that fall. A part of me is always falling.
Ever pouring into the world, as light
that pours into pools. And who can
tear the water from the eye, the sky
from the water, the cry from the boy.
A child in the roller coaster rounds
its precipice, and his heart pounds stop
or go or what the hell. Impossible
to say if fear houses some illusion,
or the illusion a fear, or ecstasy sets
the house on fire, as the railcar plunges
through the spray, and the dream is over.
If I pretend too easily or not enough,
I know I have lost my balance, falling
as one who has a falling out with life
itself, who sleeps too much or not at all.
The water in the eye of the skull mists
the kids in line below, and the screams
of joy obscure the real cry in the crowd.
I saw a Cyclops once that ate a head,
and my father took me from the dark
of the theater to the sunlit lobby
and said, it’s not real, it’s only a movie,
and I wondered if he knew what I knew.
I was so tender and small, I could fit
through the hole in last night’s dream, so
slow to close, and silent as a fontanel.
All my life the brain lay hidden away.
No wonder it’s a stranger, says the brain.
A child leaves home to conceive a home,
a shelter in the horror and the wild,
and know so little about it, as if unknowing
were the alpha and omega of home,
the shadow that seals the marriage kiss,
a farewell so constant it has the stillness
of those in shock, when the car hood steams
and the one you were has yet to arrive.
Skulls are nothing to me. I admit.
I rarely see them in my friends, and if
I do, I am not listening. But a wound,
a wound is a mirror, and you know it
when you see it, when it tremors the part
that cannot explain, or punishes a toy
in silence, or opens a womb to let
the stranger out. What the mirror takes,
it gives back a little older, an exile
of how you knew yourself and the others
and the glass that is so much water over
the mountain, only now prepared to hear
a father, it’s not real, and marvel at how
deep he slept without a dream come dawn.
Only now, you close your eyes, as he
closed his taking with him the real cry
in the rapture. And in the blood that is
yours alone, the suffering that never is.

Bruce Bond

Bruce Bond

Bruce Bond is the author of twenty-three books including, most recently, Immanent Distance: Poetry and the Metaphysics of the Near at Hand (U of MI, 2015), Black Anthem (Tampa Review Prize, U of Tampa, 2016), Gold Bee (Helen C. Smith Award, Crab Orchard Award, Southern Illinois University Press, 2016), Sacrum (Four Way Books, 2017), Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems 1997-2015 (L.E. Phillabaum Award, LSU, 2017), Rise and Fall of the Lesser Sun Gods (Elixir Book Prize, Elixir Press, 2018), Dear Reader (Free Verse Editions, 2018), and Frankenstein’s Children (Lost Horse).Presently he is a Regents Professor of English at University of North Texas.
Bruce Bond

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Author: Bruce Bond

Bruce Bond is the author of twenty-three books including, most recently, Immanent Distance: Poetry and the Metaphysics of the Near at Hand (U of MI, 2015), Black Anthem (Tampa Review Prize, U of Tampa, 2016), Gold Bee (Helen C. Smith Award, Crab Orchard Award, Southern Illinois University Press, 2016), Sacrum (Four Way Books, 2017), Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems 1997-2015 (L.E. Phillabaum Award, LSU, 2017), Rise and Fall of the Lesser Sun Gods (Elixir Book Prize, Elixir Press, 2018), Dear Reader (Free Verse Editions, 2018), and Frankenstein’s Children (Lost Horse). Presently he is a Regents Professor of English at University of North Texas.