My Monkey Grammarian

This search, this verbal trap of dread
and the ending unknown.

Is this path the poem--the journey
that dissolves into nothingness?

Is there anything after this narrow trail
of howling trees and screaming monkeys?

Is their rhetoric leading us
to nothing but language?

We are both fleeing and falling like footsteps,
devoured and created like fruit,

precarious and perfect like gravity,
like Galta abandoned.

We are driven by our own ceremonies,
by whirling words and dervish skeletons.

Our linguistic corruption stretches out
to the horizon and curves into the atmosphere,

a maze made of metaphors, stuffed in sacks
and piled in rows. Discourse itself, leaps

back and forth, and grammar leans in
to critique the universe

while the shadow of Splendor recites verse
more naked than herself. Her expressions

float into the evening like incense
from an altar in search of the end.


–Originally published by Chameleon Press.  Desde Hong Kong: poets in conversation with Octavio Paz.  October 2014. Hong Kong. Print.


Next poem: Railroad About the Truth

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