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How We Got Here
by Jim Murdoch
Everything is a response (it’s important
to appreciate this before we continue);
mysteries, secrets and puzzles all need answers.
Nothing is truly original but all things
originate even if their origins are
far from obvious.
Becoming is not straightforward. Most things evolve,
are invented, sculpted, spawned or stumbled upon.
In a dream last night my subconscious said to me,
“Everything is a response.” When I awoke
I jotted the words on the pad next to my bed
and now here we are.
We attach meanings to things
with nails and staples, stitches and knots,
with memories, dreams and crude imaginings,
with loves and hates, wants and needs,
with words, with looks and empty gestures.
Nails rust, memories fade, love loses its way.
Unbound the things move on
to our children and their children,
to strangers, to posterity,
to dust and then oblivion.
Only nothing lasts forever.
Observer Effect II
He has not written. Again.
Again he has not written.
He has not written again.
No matter how I phrase it
this makes no sense to me.
Not the not writing, what it amounts to.
How do you measure the notness of things?
Writing is more than accounting—
we both know this—just as love
has little to do with its expression
still we fixate on its trite gestures,
furtive glances and light brush pasts,
and shrug off the silences (or do I mean the emptinesses?)
that say it all really.
I ordered the dead man’s book today.
I expect it will be full of dead words.
What other kinds of words are there?
I never knew him. I like to think
I know what became of him but the man
who wrote these words was a strange one.
A dead man writes to a dying man
about things that could only subsist in
the closed system that was his mind.
Now he’s gone and all that remains are
dry bones for me to gnaw on or bury.
Imaginary bones at that.
Jim Murdoch has been writing poetry for fifty years and has graced the pages of many now-defunct magazines and a few, like Ink, Sweat and Tears, The Lake and Eclectica, that are still hanging on in there. For ten years he ran the literary blog The Truth About Lies but now lives quietly in Scotland with his wife and (increasingly) next door’s cat. He has published two books of poetry, a short story collection and four novels.