Poetry – Shahzeb Akhter

Humans in love are terrible

—ekphrasison ‘Proteus’ by Cy Twombly (1984).

Deinos, said Sophochles. Also, says the heart.
Formless, Eros has no structure. No substantial integrity.
Of course, just like that, it holds no standing.
& then comes March,
With its whips &etherealbruises, running like veins, raptured.
& what weight holds the mind, one asks. Noumenal torture,
Or like a picture stuck, cyclically projecting the self-same scene
Of a winter from a would-have-been time
Onto the mind.
One is always bored out of love. The end of it.
The primitive. Is this how you keep yourself alive at all times?
Mercurial god of envy, O! The splatter of watered-down passion across the temporal scene.
But, says one philosopher, it doesn’t change really— the past is the present is the future isone.
This fluttering, flickering flower, about to fizzle down into
The fragmented filaments of wanting
(The mutability is this)
—I do not believe in you.
• Title taken from Anne Carson’s Plainwater: Essays and Poetry.
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