Solid Ground

Analysis I (Self-Portrait). © Chris Bronsk 2014.

the sensible say
you can coexist
with the monster

just try to avoid
violent gestures
violent speech

when threatened
take on the form
of a stone or leaf

obey wise Nature
who urges mimicry

breathe shallowly
play we’re not here

Mr. Cogito however
dislikes living as-if

he’d like to fight
the monster
on solid ground

Zbigniew Herbert, from “Mr. Cogito’s Monster,” The Collected Poems 1956-1998

(from the archives, Seattle, 2014)


Linchpin (I). © Chris Bronsk 2013.

“That’s how I’ve made it this far, triumphant. And with legs light, I tread on round stones edged by discreet grass. Perhaps the sun is too cruel for the dead who rest on the plain. I could abandon the spiral of sweet violence that wafts from these ashen castles. I could pray, make the sign of the cross, follow the Stations of the Cross. Like flowing water, I could fly madly through the cables and tram lines. It would be better, however, if I sat in distinguished chairs, even if there I’d feel the shutter of emptiness. It’s time to produce the linchpin, place it where it belongs. Over and over. If I do this tomorrow I won’t feel like stuffing myself grotesquely with unplucked swallows that I cook whole but can’t enjoy.” —Miquel Bauçà, Carrer Marsala

(from the archives, Seattle, 2013)