Online since August 2002

Autumn's Circle

While poetry and writing occupy a large amount of Clint Smith's creative energies, currently his focus is on music — from rock and jazz to world music and Afro-pop, and back again. He performs in and around NYC both solo and with the Non-Aligned Movement, a loose-knit collective of musicians who play music from around the world.

I have lived long enough: my way of life
Is fall'n into the sear, the yellow leaf;
And that which should accompany old age,
As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends,
I must not look to have ...

— Macbeth


Wind's descent, & the length of time unspoken
Since our last betrayals, the lives we undertook
In the spaces obsession left unoccupied

& from far away I watched you, writing letters nervously
At the gatekept wilderness, sparrows circling
Next to your feet, the sussurus of September's migrating wings ...

Embracing ... the crimson velvet of our faces, & leaves
Swelling about, involved with their orange and red, & veins
Decapitated from trees leaning over with thickets of
Unpredictable arms, some alive and some dying,

Radiance recalled for us how much we missed the
Night, & your casual musings on fear & the nature of fear,

sometimes I'd like to just throw it all
Away & then it comes back, it's like something I can't control

& I'd at first casually & then with frustration & alarm watch the
Tension come into your neck, my back rent into scars
From violent love, & moaning utterances that dusted with
Silvery sheen the shadowy corners,

Touching & the cars coming to watch, cyclists pausing for
An intimate glimpse ... drawing an audience to our end, our escape,

when rushing hands blindly push out
the moments we stayed for, & lingered with ...


Without regret, without danger ...
For what peril lives in absence of regret,
The culpable recall ...& dying will quench
The rest of the world of its wrong-right
Much sooner than the death, for death's
Harbinger is absence, & misfortune simply noticing
The change, as a fluctuation of company ...

There's no experimenting with the death of affairs, future & now.

They simply evaporate, as droplets flung into the
Desert dawn.


& my mind draws up sandstorms
of the Christ who is nothingness,
of the oldest song which is silently nothing,

& the mind wills the face to die

& the mind wills the body, & the circulation, to somehow change,
as if it would make the recollection of the heart perilously suiciding
on vanity, on wanderings, on some hidden nemesis,
less painful, should one not recall the face, & the sounds of the disappeared

& my mind draws up sandstorms

red, as a bloody flower worn round the neck
in reminders of grieving,

green, like fertile spring, & the roots that drink from levees &
grow out tenderly, tendril by tendril,

& sometimes white, the chrysalis, & the butterfly pushing out, conception of
a frail wing,

black, when the insomnia comes, & the middle of the night wails,
& flocks scream shrill murder, & metal burns, cheeks pressed up against industrial skin

I start, reaching for myself, has something removed me
From myself, & swallowed the hollow inside ...


Published May 2005


Poetry Home Page | Turbula Home Page