untitled haibun # 9

O is a cage. Overgrown O disappears from form, photographs a cage buried in the spring, finds its way to seed. Vines grow over O, force white pages to the earth and with, its open mouth. I have heard it form the gesture of a scream without sound. Unobtrusive, a blank yawn is all they claim to have heard. And O remains, the bird ormulu pressed, sticky, considers briefly his options for song pitches, signs it all away. It’s the time that O gives the bird to think. It’s too long. The edges fall, find nicks and scratches and scars, the ear off a statue, tip of the nose, obtruncate the scalp until all that is left of the cage is the head that lines its eyes with geometric shapes, straight edges, the illusion of a square. And in this feeling that there might have been something else, there might have been a thought, a song, a sigh, a picture, outside of prescribed shape. The O mocks the square tirelessly until O! Foolish it drops and the corners are rounded and shaped into the shape of a mouth wide open, the shape of a cave taking light, keening notes of the dead. “The truth of the line” he says, “the truth” as though speaking to all writers, as though this story-thief could tell the difference between the truth of her skin, the truth of a blond hair fallen onto his shirt, the truth of fur wrapped in a clothespin when expecting feathers, the truth of love. “The truth of the line outweighs all other considerations (1) ” but when it falls it hits the ground hard and its edges roll to the side, roll to the sea until infinite rolling spits back a polished stone, a rock the shape of her mouth circling round and round and round a conversation about anything but the truth. And standing on the inside, corners an obtunded scream matters from nothing. Hearing all this, the poet drops her jaw. Inside its edges: say what the mouth refuses.

I have seen how the desperate cheat, steal the sacred/lie Leonard Cohen and O


(1) Leonard Cohen, Book of Longing (McClelland & Stewart, 2006).