D. B. DEVILLIERS

Poetry

Tag: death

Points Make Lines Make Words Make Lines Make Points

I do of course invariably hope for your
continued success and good feeling or
your failure and misery or some happy
intermingling of the above mentioned
as you see fit and wish for however you
like it I hope you have it that way
I hope these words find you as well or
as poorly as you would like them to
I hope you’ll be elected president and coronated and
sell yourself still for the light sting of a dirty
needle quickly melted away into the floating
and the forgetting with the loosening belt or rubber tubing and
the mule’s kick to the nose to come back up hello
mr president here stands the state of the union all
good feeling and destruction prompt and utter
nothing much to be done so let’s take a lovely little
promenade take the acrid ashen air this fine afternoon
thunder or gunfire who can tell pray do avoid the
craters it wouldn’t be very much up to your
estimable office having to inaugurate
the replacement of one killed out of clumsiness and pay no
mind that’s merely lightning not the flash of cannon but
do please take care as well not to find yourself struck in any case
unless that’s how you’d like it
then we might have an electric president
and I’ll learn to draw and make a comic book series during
the course which you’ll shoot electricity from your
pens at enemies of the state and when you hand them out to children after
noteworthy signings into law they’ll have to wear heavy
rubber gloves and take care not to drop them while bathing because
they don’t get to get superpowers they just die and you can
call a press conference and I’ll take the podium and concede that
this was all rather a poor idea because we’re not heroes
and there were too many things unanticipated
and this isn’t political
it’s just death
always death.

If I Liked Me Better I Bet I Wouldn’t Write So Much

I want to be loved so bad
and I am
let it be enough
and I want to be liked so bad
and I am
let it be enough
I just don’t know why anyone would
let me be enough
let me really believe it
I don’t know why anyone would
and maybe I can be something more than confused
and maybe then my father won’t have to take some sunny day to
bury me
maybe we’re all gonna go to college and we’re
all gonna be doctors and lawyers and we’re
all gonna die real slow and by the time we
get to the heaven we dreamed about as kids we’re
all too busted up and broken to recognize it
and anyway I guess it isn’t really there so that’s a
silly line of reasoning
if you get to live long enough do you get to reimagine it
I hope I hope I really really hope I
really really hope so
thanks god that’s all I’ve got.

 

Personal note: things are much improving.

 

How To Go To Work/The Security Standards In Heaven Are Pretty Lax

you get drunk pass out you suffer from
menial problems you become
enraged at the broken dryer and
now you don’t have clothes to wear to work
you wear them anyway gotta have a job
your hands and feet tingle from a lack of
circulation this is a new development you
wonder from which poor decision this has most
probably stemmed
you drive in anyway
your shaky fingers stumble to punch in but you do and
you know from which poor decision exactly this
problem has stemmed
condition upgraded to functional
or downgraded as the case may be
you stand there and you have nothing to say
and hello good morning how are you
you say hello and good morning anyway and I am uh
good thanks how about you
it’s one of those days isn’t it
why yes it is except no one says it and you never say it can’t
show weakness now and even though you don’t know why and
even though you always are
and this was gonna be a happy poem but I guess
life isn’t that
but hell I ain’t dead yet
and when I am I’m gonna
stand up tall
take a good pull
draw down on Saint Peter
right there outside of paradise and
kick the fucking door in.

Transit/Stasis

Right time wrong place write it why not
it’s only ink paper and time you’re the
only one who has to know if that’s how you want it
but no that’s not in your nature you crave the
attention much as you hate that
you need it as much as you hate the
very notion of a need for attention in
anyone but write it write it out parse it learn something
about yourself this is how you do it you
introverted exhibitionist you’re a
curious piece of work aren’t you
curious enough you hope but enough for what
for money? recognition? to escape death?
to understand? to understand what
to finally understand what the fuck it is you want?
or rather to finally just hurry up and want anything more than
one more drink to want anything
more than mere escape
because you can’t do that no one can and your efforts
will kill you and that’s not escape
because time time time it passes it
runs out that’s what it does it’s
cirrhosis a bad wreck a short rope the end of time
but wasn’t faulkner a drunk too yeah but wasn’t he also a
miserable son of a bitch and if all you had to do to
create great work was suffer and be miserable
would you do it if you could make that choice
but it doesn’t work that way the work comes second and
you suffer anyway and most of us aren’t lucky enough
good enough whatever to create much of anything
so now you’ve got something written down to
remember it by but it’s transient transitory transit
transition into another sentence what’s the word thought phrase page
word thought thought word salad this long forgetting o fallibility
of memory of all things but maybe if you really write it you’ll
know yourself a little better afterwards but out of ink paper and time you’re
running out of one and you need all three to do the thing
or four if you count actually having something to
say but who has that dostoyevsky? kant? probably they did but
who knows after all what the fuck did socrates know about himself anyway
did alexander know himself well enough to know that the
typhus would kill him does god know he’s a kid holding a
magnifying glass to an anthill on a sunny day do you figure
pol pot knew himself or bin laden or the
buildings or the planes or the murdered
millions and all the time ravels
out and you into it and
it into you and the
page too.

Advice, Unsolicited

Whether it gets better or not I won’t speak to yet
but I know for a damned fact it doesn’t get easier
but you do get better at dealing with it
you get a little more used to it
and of course it never really goes away
if they’d told me that at seventeen I guess I’d likely be dead
so if you’re seventeen maybe don’t read this but
I’ve learned a few things since then
even if sometimes I can’t even remember them myself
and one thing I’ve learned is that even if you live
for a hundred years
you’re alive a very short time
and you’re dead a very long time
so better make what you can of being alive
you’ve got to try
every once in a while even
just a little bit even
you’ve got to try
you’ve got to.

I’m of the opinion that those who give advice are usually
telling others to do what they themselves
didn’t do

that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

Youth

It’s amazing how these things could happen so often
that preprinted cards exist expressly for descriptive purposes
issued casually
and it’s proof that there is no god
or if there is a god at least then it’s proof that
he and the devil are one in the same
that caskets can be built
so small.

What Time Cannot Heal

It has been long said
that time heals all things
but in my experience,
that isn’t entirely true—
you see, time does heal most things
but some wounds are stubborn
and it takes a while, but even time
sometimes loses patience
and when that happens, it’s over
for what time cannot heal,
it kills.

With Artful Cruelty

Fyodor Dostoevsky observed in his final work The Brothers Karamazov that, despite our alleged civility, human beings possess a capacity for cruelty far beyond that of any other creature—his specific phrasing was that we humans are “artistically cruel,” if I correctly recall.

When I first read Karamazov, I had been at that time taking an intro-level philosophy course. My professor, a kindly 77-year-old Korean War veteran of significant academic distinction, relayed to the class a story pertaining to Nazi Germany’s conduct in rural Russia, Dostoevsky’s homeland, during the Second World War:

Germany began her colossal conquest of the Soviet Union during the summer of 1941. German forces often came across villages buried deep within the Russian countryside: villages which had maintained so little contact with the outside world, it was as though they had been preserved from progress and the passage of time—a pristine glimpse into the age of Peter the Great, perhaps. So isolated were these tiny towns that their inhabitants had hardly ever before been exposed to the power of music.

German unit commanders became quickly aware of this fact.

With the artful cruelty that so deeply pervaded Nazi hegemony, Wehrmacht armor and infantry would surround one of these anachronistic villages, whose residents had in all probability never seen so much as an automobile before. The tankers, their massive machines running idle in place, would then begin playing a recording of Rossini’s William Tell overture in unison—and at a deafening volume—through loudspeakers mounted to the tanks’ armor plates.

Nearly halfway through the piece, the Panzers would begin to inch toward the village—almost imperceptibly at first, but soon accelerating, gaining speed commensurate with the music’s mounting intensity—tracks turning faster and faster, engines roaring louder and louder—as though Rossini himself had composed a part specifically for those armored machines, penning it into his score nearly a century before the tank was invented.

At this point, the piece’s recording began to approach its final measures. The sound grew maddeningly loud as the orchestra played to a cacophonous crescendo.

Then, at long last, the finale’s first notes rang out. The order was given to take the village.

The 75mm guns fixed to each Panzer’s turret spoke with burning breath—horrific hellfire percussion echoed behind the climactic close of William Tell. Engines of decimation roared with demonic rage; the full fury of modern industrial warfare struck the village like lightning. Within minutes, the life which existed there unmolested for centuries was obliterated.

And the music did onward play, an encore for which no request was made, when the Panzers again happened upon similar places.

Just as Dostoevsky once noted, over half a century before those lands which he has immortalized in literature were ravaged by the Nazi war machine, we humans are indeed imbued with a unique capacity for cruelty—such awful, artful cruelty.

Honestly

You asked for the truth
and I don’t think that’s what
you’re hoping to hear
but I’ll tell it anyway.

It’s true–
living is so profoundly
difficult
and death probably isn’t much easier
but we’re alive, for now
and we’ll die someday
and everyone else will, too
and truthfully I couldn’t tell you whether
I’m in love with you or not
or even what love feels like
but I don’t care.
If this isn’t it, then I’d die happy
having never loved at all
because I don’t ever want to feel anything
except for the way I feel
right now.

If that’s not love
it’s goddamn close enough.