by Daniel Senser 

Watching My Roommate Sleep

For Tom

The old man snores like the wind
And the rumbling of rock-fall.
What dream seduced him
Into the deep chamber
Where the dark rose of oblivion
Grows? All his life, he has sought
The key to the great legend
Of his fate. Now, like Don Quixote,
He does battle with the windmill
Of his secret fears. He is winning.
His deep, gravelly breaths
Carry him beyond the reach
Of the outstretched hand of Death.
Inhale the dark rose’s fragrance, my friend.
The wine of yesteryear’s feast
Still runs through your veins.
This poem awaits you when you wake,
And so will I, the interlocutor of your sleep
Who congratulates your every breath,
Translating your stillness, reconciling
My own dreams with the truth
Of these words which I write as I watch you
From my bed.

What Will Be

Nothing is more patient than silence.
Even the greatest masters were born screaming.
A perfect silence and a perfect darkness—
That is where the truth comes from.
No one can fathom it.
We spend our money on the thrill of oblivion.
We dance to the music that our minds
Become silent. We drift through the world
Like mist through the hills on a shadowy night.
We tame our hearts to be silent when it wants
To shout. How foolish to challenge the silence!
The echo of my desire will fade.
The sweet perfume of the world will fade.
The solidity of the rocks, the flow of the sea—
All will fade. Only silence will remain.
A perfect silence and a perfect darkness.
And perhaps, a mass of what could one day be.

In Time

Our lives amount to a single breath;
Born to seek, and sometimes to find
And, indubitably, in death;
To answer the call with emboldened steps;
To learn, to grow, and forget;
The chew the prickly fruit and taste its flesh;
To bleed, as one does, in the thorn bush
That forestalls our quest;
To cry out for God, and receive the breast;
To know the truth of pain
And the balm of caress.
The answers will come—hush—in time.
The shadows of our fate will dissipate
When the stars achieve their timely design.

Silence and Darkness

One can hear the laughter of the dead
In Time’s vacant breath
And feel the pull of one’s soul
Towards the inevitable end.
Our shadow cannot follow us into the grave.
There, there lies a graver shadow still—
One that does not move or reflect any form,
A perfect enveloping darkness,
A womb from which nothing is born.
We must live as if torn
From this certainty, know without knowing,
Run from safety and choose to bleed,
Channel the fire into our every breath.
The grave has no room for passion or desire,
So live, cherish the ache,
Till silence and darkness is all that is left.

The Fool

Legend has it that an old fool lives in that cave there.
He likes to watch the sand of his hourglass trickle down
Like all the hopes and dreams of his enemies
Out here in the real world.
Some nights he plays his harmonica—
A single note to match the crickets’ song.
His pet goldfish, Tuxedo, is constantly lost
In thought—he thinks for the both of them, you see.
In the firelight, the fool contemplates his shadow
Thinking that his soul has left his body
And demands it to come back.
He gets drunk on moonshine in the moonlight
And jumps naked into the river at dawn.
Spellbound by his wanderings, he composes verses for the trees.
In the wind, he thinks them cheering
And because of this he is always pleased.
He smokes his hashish in a wooden pipe,
And says his wife is a naiad more beautiful than Eve.
They make love a thousand times a night, he says.
And we are all his children.
Methinks, in truth, he is a lonely man,
Though he would never admit it.
On full moon nights, one can hear him
From far across these rolling hills,
Weeping away the silence, or laughing at his ills.

About the Author:

Daniel Senser: I am thirty four years old and have been writing since I was eighteen. Works of mine have been published in Blue Nib, Jewish Currents, Penwood Review, and Adelaide, among other journals. My new book, “Another Missed Connection” is due for release in 2020 and is being published by Adelaide Books. I received my BA in English from University of Cincinnati, and currently live in Cambridge, Massachusetts.