from The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

“And again he thought the thought we already know: Human life occurs only once, and the reason we cannot determine which of our decisions are good and which bad is that in a given situation we can only make one decision; we are not granted a second, third, or fourth life in which to compare various decisions.
History is similar to individual lives in this respect…..

….History is as light as individual human life, unbearably light, light as a feather, as dust swirling into the air, as whatever will no longer exist tomorrow.”

translated by Michael Henry Heim

The Quarrel by Paul Blackburn

Dried green leaf on the door
Blackened leaf below it

Under that a metal leaf, blackened also
Below that the leafy ace of clubs

Outside the window the tree I thought a friend
has undressed all its branches & is ugly to me

Returning home defenseless
even a stray dog barked at me
I could not even declare my love to him
much less my innocence. Branches
of frozen breath writhed from both our mouths
into the air.

Even the room is cold
& here I sit and stare
& barely move

old wounds: for RK

old wounds resurface
there is no peaceful life
they come in the light
numbers roll off oily tongues
grease marks along the corridors
the same old logic in the air
reduce this
cut back that
be mediocre rather than right
little ordinary men in touring caps
the enemy is not so easily perceived
but the casualities are always visible
when education takes second place
to the bottom line
and those with principles
lose heart