The probability of our existence, of this green planet, of my lover—the odds against these are astronomical, cosmic. And there is so much to fear, so many possible and probable destructions, erasures, injuries, pains, slights. Yet, somehow, we speak to each other against all odds. And sometimes we understand. And, sometimes, we don’t need to understand, just to hear.


Michael Dickel


Not the odds, probability or possibility,
walking along a stream, waterfalls ahead;
nor sitting in mountain wind as the airport
slips away under the noise of clocks
forgetting the ticks that flock memory;
not geese in Oneonta’s skies—beneath duck’s
distressed, convening cackles; nor a wood
stove dancing passion as gasses
stream carbonaceous oblivion along
meridians calculated to deceive
a sense of order, a few imaginary
boundaries of time. So simpler to
receive the deception of hours while
sensing movement toward a finality
that constantly slips into tomorrow
until tonight comes—in the deep
slumbering giant silhouette-shaped
mountain range: a pass, a saddle,
a horse racing toward immortality,
limitless dreams fleeing past oaks
blown down in the windshear
storm of oblivion, dust, smoke.

Flying bound—aluminum, magnesium,
sodium chlorides, ferrous sulphates,
collide tidally among waves below—
the sea we cross from continent to
embattled continental plate, cracked
and distorted, a rift in sensibility—
sensuous signal of hot sulphur—springs
to life, dehydrates into burning
logos that desires mountains.
Trees, cracked and crackling, cry
out with screams, delight sparks
through the flue, invisible against
night skies. Jet aircraft roars over
soft piano jazz tango of the tangled
words: expressionless, blank, white
fonts floating in milk, reflected clouds
giving the illusion of a full moon,
the circle at the well’s top, the dark
clear water blued into green, self-portrait
shadow leaning over the stone-lined hole.

Reading Mexican poetry translated,
hearing untranslated Hebrew voices,
piano chords surrealistic eros, evolution
swims from the portals of splashing
planes in the curved sea ragged with waves:

Not the possibility or probability,
not the odds walking past
(the lottery ticket window)—
just bumpy air and rough decks
predicting nothing as the Tarot
reader considers by chance
a favor she once held in the palm
of her hand. The sun rose from
the middle of the body’s night,
drawing a margin of dawn
slated for sleep. A dripping distant
pendulum swings over a trussed
buxom heroine who laughs that yet
again the siren-wail saxophone-
imagined piano pauses, punctuating
sentences judged too heavy or light
among falling currencies, unslung
from tired shoulders. Still, we trudge
along hoping for the rising night
to rescue our exhausted ardor—
breathless, fatigued, silent.

Silence at the very center of
rushing-engine screams
lays hands on us and prays
for listeners, discovering the
lack of oxygen in the air of
history, the thin cold atmosphere
compressed beneath wings.
Theory holds us up,
a thin blanket over our legs,
a neck pillow resisting stiffly
any hint of rest. Like geese,
I migrate, metallically tapping
a tin-drum heart in a blank man’s
chest, smaller than the eye
of the sparrow flitting beneath
our table at the cafe that last
day at the beach when the
pigeons stole the French fries
and threw away the foam box.

The wind came up.
The sand blew away.

Yet, against
all odds, we speak,
and, sometimes,
we understand—
or almost.
Even odder,
sometimes
we don’t need to.

@2013 Michael Dickel


Originally published  in The Art of Being Human, Vol. I (2013).

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