Sunday, 30 June 2013

The Penitent, or Cannon Foster’s Dissonance Revolution

Note the reasons that you offer
under our light bulb’s scrutiny,
the excuses that you conjure,
that you’re no murderer of children
or a pouncing, heartless thief.

So you defend yourself
with parables,
make analogies, apologist.

It falls apart in seconds
with your motives and intent,
the clumsiness contrived
like a banana peel of old
or a simple clash of chefs
spilling sushi in desserts,
fish that swam just hours before
fresh-baked in flans
and crumbles.

If I’m around the kitchen door,
sponging hinges with vinaigrette,
know I’ve summoned witches
from their trance,
to fashion peace with warring factions,
keep dissent from mutating,
beating the bird flu at killing us all.

Once, when my wisdom teeth were pulled,
I knew what seeing death was all about.
They counted backward from 10 to 1,
anesthetics kicking in
by the time they got to four.

And I felt nothing, saw nothing,
knew that nothing awaited souls all ripe
and brimming with redemption.

It’s much too late for demons
to regain their cloudy place,
their faces still contorted by the fall.
If they trade-in all their pitchforks,
would their fingers pluck on harps?

The done is done already
and the street too set in rock
to allow for U-turns on the road.
There’s a patrolman who is watching
with his buzzer on the horn,
waiting to silence the changed-of-mind
with a reckless driving ticket.

Remember Eastwood’s comeback
in the raucous Unforgiven.
Who predicted Oscars
for his old-man gait and voice?
Even his nameless, faceless stuntman
is eating donuts by the pool.

They’ll sculpt your many failings
on the sunny estuary,
next to madmen selling tickets to the ball.
If you can, come in costume as Rodin,
say Camille is on her way,
seducing the Sheriff who pulled her over,
driving fifteen over fifty
with curdled cognac in her cup –
her bewitching breasts exposed
to offer payment for the fines.

And at last when no one’s watching,
when they’re bowing their heads in prayer,
smash their graven image
with a hammer from the shed.
Tell them it was an accident,
an earthquake,
an Act of God as clemency;
to reconcile, easier
the second time around,
supplanting substitution
and Words becoming Flesh,
displacing lambs that bleat and bleed
seventy, seventy,
seven times seventy.

Andreas Gripp


  1. the photo is by Bob Willoughby (1951)

  2. Andreas,

    an interesting turn to an exploration of life's troubling "dissonance". None of the fashionable (academic mostly) "dissonance" for "dissonance" sake credo but rather a look at all its troubling/hurtful/humanly tragic manifestations. I like this sort of layered (delightfully complex)poetry...

  3. thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, Conrad.