and leave a man undone

tears of judith

And many desired her, but none knew her all the days of her life […]
The King James Bible

the odds were against them
his beheaded body marked her
with lonely repetition of depictions

mr nothing looked at that of michele
the tenebrist knew the maid’s eyes
riveted upon the act would miss her tears

and the drapery in reds used to be
the adornment of the lovers’ line
not of the slaughterhouse backdrop

when leaving the palazzo barberini
mr nothing just glanced at la fornarina
a sword in her hand would go unnoticed

 

the hours of morning’s late

if lack of physical appearance
means becoming that replaces being
born out of a casual remark
is the poet’s mourning in words
mr nothing has never cried out for
an act of sincerity and grief

they haven’t spoken to one another
since the days they dwelt on past pilcrows
pointing some obsolete gestures
so mr nothing returned to old habits
only occasionally longing for rubrico
in the hours of morning’s late

 

mr nothing expressed his dislike

[…] those grand old men of yesteryear, they were your father.
David Rabe, The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel

there was no a garment
in mr nothing’s wardrobe
that one couldn’t fit in
but rusty hangers up the hill

and there were choices to make
like snooping neighbours
or hiding brandy behind books
along with lack of modesty

all wrapped in dust jackets
reduced to a meagre abstract
where every word is an act
of judgement self-evidence

inherently contradictory
it might be that what he meant
was that the poet’s betrayal
cannot be translated into it

 

appearances

And we all go with them, into the silent funeral,
Nobody’s funeral, for there is no one to bury.
T.S. Eliot, East Coker

mr nothing took off his glasses
he liked it that way a bit blurry
when trying to make sense of
the pictures he reached
for de nuptiis the intended
simplicity of thought
bric-a-brac perhaps

he never was a good storyteller

his father mingled clay and drank
his mother bred hydrangeas
and laughed at the butcher
sometimes she just couldn’t cry
like her mother when talked
late at night so no one could hear
it was german after all in such a place

along the way mr nothing grew up

born in despair in the cruellest month
he was supposed to be a figure
of speech a semantic game borrowed
from another language so the other one
the poet could pretend that he no longer
was looking for an embalmer a grammarian
among the tombstones the last to bury

 

mr nothing began to doubt

distrustful of personal pronouns while speaking
of himself in the third-person singular mr nothing
wondered if he should use he or it if anything

he knew that it was easier to take something amiss
than realize himself as a person or to feign motion
instead of becoming fond of oddities of being alive

but not so much a disbeliever as simply uninterested
in an unnamed passer-by who exist only conventionally
mr nothing began to doubt that he is actually present

as the spirit that cannot be stillborn when mingled
with the crowd disappears and the only question is
whether it was innocent at the time when it happened

 

mr nothing’s disenchantment

somewhat embarrassing ordeal
life isn’t it no higher authority though
just abandoned abstractions an afterthought
among creatures of flesh and blood

mr nothing stopped halfway engrossed
in words of the itinerant a rag-and-bone man
collecting unwanted on a street corner
the suffering that cannot demand

but handcarts rumbling against cobblestones
drowned him out and there was nobody
so having adjusted the tilting stack of paper
piled up on his cart he moved on slowly

 

the descending biography

[…] wśród ludzi nie ma, nie może być większego
przeciwieństwa jak biografia wstępująca i zstępująca […]
Witold Gombrowicz, Dziennik

mr nothing bought a fountain pen
as every humanly elaborated life
requires noble writing implements

he knew the descriptive essentials
those fathomless constructs though
wasn’t sure born or imposed on him

all those notes on the back of receipts
questions such as who is allowed
to cast aspersion on one’s own truths

or biscuit crumbs and empty teacup
a shabby photo more often watched
in the candlelight that smells of lilies

 

mr nothing believes in his author

¿Pero es la extensión, la materia, la que piensa o se espiritualiza,
o es el pensamiento el que se extiende y materializa?
Miguel de Unamuno, Del sentimiento trágico de la vida

mr nothing believed in his author
a poet whom he created once
he himself had been written aloft

he called him the poor lovelorn
in search of one’s own tangibility
as quickly noticed that strangely

his creation demands clearness
and is quite impatient with mystery
something rather unusual for a poet

what linked them was the silence
under the midnight lamp search
for a man of judicious observations

and the ethics of mutual imposition
to be nothing less than a name
as there is nothing but names

 

the art of premeditated and self-controlled eloquence

Le principe de leur religion, c’est l’homme, et le sommet de l’homme,
c’est la pensée. Leur religion est donc la religion de la pensée.
Henri-Frédéric Amiel, Journal Intime

obituaries are as promiscuous as always
though that’s just a fairly good opening line
meaningless until we catch the will-o’-the-wisp
so let’s start an elohim gedanken experiment

there’s a man who wears a wig with impunity
a sybarite on the side and a dreamer in concept
all three as one all three as each one and the one
who created them for no reason per se the naïf

worshipped by st. vitus’ dancers as the fierce
and sanguinary goddess the humanity itself
when struggling to cope with its own divinity
self-proclaimed so far gave him a sanbenito

and accused of usurpation (in the sight of god
there is no silent witness one could even say
tough priesthood as people tempt chastisement
rather than learn wisdom) but when he reached

the gate of an abandoned hope there was no one
there but few sleeping wailers leaning against a
tombstone of lengthy words that tend and water
a grave for those who doubt and suspect nothing

so stepping outside weary of the forsaken myth
he was finally ripe for the terror of happiness
and the thirst of poison quite ready to accept that
the peace of fact is not the peace of principle

 

all good things that would have happened at dawn

imagine all good things that haven’t happened at dawn though they could
if there wasn’t that dawn mr nothing was private [here name] he thought everyone
has some reason to be ashamed of but what if of such reasons there are three hundred and six
which reminded him of the arithmetic of compassion he had heard once about
the other day while reading the newspaper with his good old friend mr cogito
whose entourage had long ago fled into barbed badinage and defiant roars
as hardly anyone was prone to listen to philosophers any more not to mention poets

so then mr nothing was in somewhat of a melancholy mood for quite some time
in fact lasting from the very moment after leaving his hamlet in some godforsaken place
when became convinced that he had exchanged ignorance of the sacristy for the idolatry
of the flesh and of the ‘i’ and when upper-case letters vanished from his life for good
but by no means became less ridiculous than a teenager whom he wasn’t for ages after all
he even returned to the old riddle over which puzzled in his youth where is the deeper truth hidden
in volumes of classics lying on the shelves or in the everyday battle with dust on their edges

but somehow under the guise of a serious conversation about the victims of shell shock
and the military tribunals during the great war could be felt the shadow of oblique thoughts
that he refused to admit even to himself intoxicated while still broad awake and aware
of the order of things thankfully he still could have long discussions on historical topics
or about the meaning of the kumogakure chapter of the classical masterpiece the tale of genji
as in the end the eloquence has always been a fairly good fig leaf even for a literary entity

 

mr nothing in a fever

Schwärmerei ist Krankheit der Seele, eigentliches Seelenfieber;
C. M. Wieland, Schwärmerei und Enthusiasmus

at cockcrow mr nothing passed a man
with a dog as dark as the night though
the beast was enormous and the owner
was lame he went on to a place called
nor there

perhaps the stroller is a soul whereas
the hound is just a brute as mr nothing
badly sought to raise his spirits hence
there’s a why in that disjuncture a call
to be ‘fraid

but then he saw a swarm as such one’s
darkest cloud on the horizon and asked
if there’s the one so he could somehow
grasp that mind the only response was
the buzz

 

mr nothing hidden in the park

is every breath for practical reason
or for its own indiscriminate sake
and what a surprise to find an end
of such phenomenon like certainty

enough to say that a book unwritten
being more than a void is harmless
mostly in its randomness just like
one’s judgement of contemporaries

the soliloquy muttered at the other
end of the bench began to irritate
mr nothing as he tried to memorize
some useful ratios and identities

but hidden in the park he felt alike
an index of first lines when stripped
of content meaningless to the core
so he continued to listen to himself

 

mr nothing reads the verse

mr nothing drank a glass of water
as he couldn’t remember the taste
just like the citizens of kirrha did
so unaware of the nebros’s advice

(by the way the asclepiad gave his scion
a really good reason to establish the oath)

that evening he was going to read
a book of english verse as given
so that he could see the islanders
through their genderless language

but as he began to wonder whether
a watergaw beyond the downpour
is as colourful as the rainbow that
he knew it will remain unanswered

 

mr nothing’s curse

by the second card mr nothing began
to have doubts seeing a red butterfly
he was seeking for patterns with help
of an old trick the rorschach inkblots

while learnt the meaning mr nothing
wondered how he could have missed
the fallacy of the maturity of chances
that misled the sacred and the rogue

but if to forget the moment of the fall
rather foreseeable output of their acts
there is still that hasty generalisation
no matter good or bad we all gamble

 

mr nothing seeds

they used to call him mr nothing
one more eccentric josser but harmless
with his grammatical incongruousness
that has annoyed them sometimes

they used to say spell it out man
and then they laughed at his attempts
to explain all bizarre foreign idioms
spewed out of a park bench

they used to as he has gone once
leaving his tweedy trilby and a tiny plate
on the backrest of his favoured bench
now someone else amuses pigeons