Selections from Arguing with the Dead Poet

William Bronk in “To Praise the Music.”

Music, Gustav Klimt


If you are mirror to emptiness, it fills you.
The emptiness fills you with nothing, but
full-of-nothing translates into fullness.

Original emptiness is blue sky
lost to our gaze in its ubiquity
of emptiness but mirrored by ponds, seas,

rivulets of rain. They mirror the empty
background with fullness of what we don’t see.
Maybe that’s what we are till gazed upon?

Don’t look at me is the child’s rebuke of you.
They know they’re hidden until they’re seen.
Emptiness is so filled with not-seeing

at some point it must empty emptiness.
Emptiness emptied of empty is then life.

Nihilism Obscene

You wish to never be, yet ever stay
you cling to erotic love of idea
idea indivisible with life

to not have been, to not have existed
to be impulse, a monolithic pulse
in another mind who has been, who is

of flesh while you are just of idea
just the invention of another’s mind
not you – to be only others’ neurons

coalesced into the only you there is
which is a not you! not you at all, oh!
nihilism obscene, and yet you long

to stay in it, circling, circling to … what? …
To make me mindless enough to lose you.

Evolution of Absence

I am thinking about what I believe,
how unsurpassable belief is
when it is your own, how absurd it is
to believe in anything beyond your breath.

I try to believe the ephemeral
as venerable others before have.
But I believe early belief was boulders
closing in, keeping out, not adits into.

Now we can believe in infinity
if you would invite it to our subset
instead of settling into history
(which confuses me with what’s then and now).

I believe I’ll live blind to blind belief.
I’ll live in the evolution of absence!

The Nothing to Believe In

I hate your belief, content as you are
in believing there is nothing to believe

It’s an affront to living hearts which know
they are beating so one might take a breath

Your belief of nothing consumes all that
might alert you to your living heart, yet

you insist with the blindness of a god
heightened by his own verbosity that

belief is worth the self- sacrifice of
sight. You become the snake eating its tail

sustaining yourself on flesh of your flesh
so your diminishment proves its meaning:

to retain your belief in the nothing
you become the nothing to believe in.

Big Bang Partite

We must carry some piece of the Big Bang
in us, perhaps the universe’s drive
to particularize itself, but why?
What is the fondness for splintering
only to evolve back to a black hole?

It is as if the universe is human,
just a fallible befuddler writ large,
a breathing thing with massive concerns
(while ours are mere toothpicks that we invent
to pick at our fitful anxieties,
and our more ordered disasters: wars, hate.)

This must be the thread sewn to human life:
all the hungering, the voracious
appetite to change, move, catastrophize.