Mark Strand – The Remains


Mark Strand
The Remains

I empty myself of the names of others. I empty my pockets.
I empty my shoes and leave them beside the road.
At night I turn back the clocks;
I open the family album and look at myself as a boy.

What good does it do? The hours have done their job.
I say my own name. I say goodbye.
The words follow each other downwind.
I love my wife but send her away.

My parents rise out of their thrones
into the milky rooms of clouds. How can I sing?
Time tells me what I am. I change and I am the same.
I empty myself of my life and my life remains.


June 8th, 2017

– Former director of FBI testified in front of the US Senate Intelligence Committee.
– Many questions were not answered publicly.

– There were a lot of men.

– A Tibetan Monk walked across the street, I saw the monk from my office window.

– Somewhere in cape town someone is playing the guitar now.
– I am listening Bob Dylan.
– Sun is shinning and I had an espresso that was drawn a few seconds too long.
– I am ok with the slightly less perfect espresso today, and most days. but not all the days.
– Danny, a man I met in the bar last night told me that he has two motorcycles and I need to buy a decommissioned naval ship, gut it, and leave in it. This was after I told him that I’d like to live in a boat house.
– Alex, another man I met in the bar told me his cousin committed suicide recently, and he sad for his family. This was after I asked him how is he doing, and how’s his health and family. I am glad I asked.
– I recited a William’s line when I was talking to someone on how we never how aches where and when – “We don’t know what wars are going on when the soul meets the bone”.

– Evan, had a birthday and we had shots.
– A lot happens in bars at nights pass midnight.

– A lot happens in life between midnight and sunrise. For example, time does not work the same way it does in day time. This is true.

Two nights ago I was thinking about how I like that I can put you to sleep with my poetry, and my inexhaustible energy. I start reading, you situate yourself on my chest, then there’s the sweet purring few lines in. Even though you fall asleep before I can tell you of the virtues of the moth, I keep on going. I tell you (while you are asleep) about moth’s love story with the flame, the devil’s daughter, and how eternal their love story is. This is the story we learn in Iran from Rumi and other Sufi’s writings. Then we grow up, and learn the real reason why moth are drawn to the flame and light, then we get wiser and go back to Rumi again. I remember the zen saying, which goes like this:

“When I was young, mountains were mountains, and rivers were rivers. Then as I grew old and start studying zen, mountains were no longer mountains, and rivers were no longer rivers. and then when I became a zen master mountains were mountains, and rivers were rivers once again”.

I take my time with my story telling, you are sleeping, and time is moving slower anyway. I tell you how the moth travels all through the night,  to reach to the flame; residing a top of a candle on rumi’s writing desk, somewhere in the old world.

You are fast asleep, curled up in my sheets, like a flower just before budding. I look at you and smile, I imagine you are skipping among the green fields of wheat, or tasting the most delicious fruits in a farm in Mexico. I tell you why the moth don’t paint their wings, and it is not because they don’t like the colors, but because they need to move through the dark night without being interrupted, to deliver their first and last kiss to the flame, they ought to be in disguise, which is to wear darker colors. I know dramatic. But the night is dark and dramatic.

And then I snap out of it. I realize it’s 2AM, and I’ve already spoken too much, and you are far in that filed of dreams. So yes, I like putting you to sleep with my poetry. because your fire reminds me of a true-self: A moss in disguise as a poet.

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