"here was history," "the graveyard" and "empty is"

here was history

here was history gray & ancient,
somnolent sickness we wore like clothes
treasured memory;

i listen to the impatient dead
who never existed, however much
i wish they had lived their absence

on ancient roads once. the air itself
heavy on their hopeless shoulders,
stones & crows

& nothing is called atonement.
they hoped for barbarian hordes
& possible glory, i hope little

but living less, no memory to be



the graveyard

between the mountains forests & a graveyard

there are stones & arrogant oblivion -
they are torturing darkness

implacable. there are people too
but they do not matter



empty is

empty is as empty does
& Bodhidharma would not have approved
all this useless,

so here is the cemetery insensate.
he was the blue-eyed barbarian & stubborn,
staring at the wall glorious

like a junkie observes the history of ceiling
everything irrelevant being invisible to him
as it should be

& there are often dead men entering poems
so there are corpses to defile, not
​Bodhidharma, he was to cool for suicide

or life: he was made of time
& there was no Buddha, no dharma,
no karma: everything was murder

& perfectly fine



David McLean is from Wales but has lived in Sweden since 1987. In addition to various chapbooks, McLean is the author of eight full-length poetry collections. Four of there are from Oneiros Books: Nobody Wants to Go to Heaven But Everybody Wants to Die (June, 2013), Things the Dead Say (Feb, 2014), Of Desire and the Lesion that Is the Ego (May, 2014) and Zara and the Ghost of Gertrude (Oct, 2014). Oneiros also published his novels, Henrietta Remembers (2015) and Flesh & Resurrection (2015). His latest full-length, Of Desire & the Desert, is at Black Editions Press, along with his two latest chapbooks, Passion Is Dead Flesh and Too Much Human. More information about McLean can be found at his blogs mourningabortion.blogspot.com & davidcmclean.wordpress.com.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Monday, November 14, 2016 - 20:38