Monday, August 1, 2011

Samples from "A Space"



“Summer Monological”


The intricacies of a hummingbird’s wings are
extraordinarily clear if you close your eyes
and let the folds of existence pack themselves
together and condense into something crystalline,
like a pure thought we can use to pare away the dark
that grows like an onionskin around the light
or truth, so that we can
live without these incredible efforts to
control unpredictability as if life were really just a matter of arranging
everything we see despite the fact that there is wind
and stillness which cannot be captured by the eye
except as they brighten through the leaves of creation,
which is proof that maybe love is always enjoining itself with the
invisible tangles of stars which we can only find
in our night-wanderings, amazed,
by the music of inward space
and the absence of light in ourselves which we
can’t reconcile with the incredible kindlings of Greek beauty
that happen when we aren’t so concerned with how the patterns
of our best ideas arrange themselves
but rather
forget that we ever had any ideas at all,
as if life was just a stream of sensations, kissing
in the grass in the summer, deep and truthful,
and the taste of homemade bread and barefoot walks around
the block in the middle of the night with our hands
pressed together and sweat on our upper lips,
and all the other balancings at our center, lovely and right, like a
brilliant resistance to time
and reality, sewing with dark thread the shadows of existence
together in exquisite assertions of new
delicate life or what is really just called happiness,
in a language that can’t really get at the richness
of the milk of time swirling in a bowl,
and the memory of the dead, bound
so tenderly in sheaves of flowers...

But clarity leaves us and we are left without
any ideas on how to live, or
how to even wake up the right way, braiding our
dreams into the day so that our mornings
and afternoons spark with the tenderness of the
thought-creating fires, or a poetry
which is the access to the mind’s plain truth
or what Blake called the combination of love and harmony
when we send down roots from our souls into the ground of being
which is not in any particular place but rests
underneath everything,
so that it does not matter where we grew up because
worlds will always open up to our touch like
soft flowerheads at the first touch of sunlight
shedding fragrant dreams which if we
were older we could recognize as the ideas behind dreams
and not the dreams themselves which is
why we are always finding ourselves lost
because we have no first principals to guide us,
only this intrinsic attachment to certain moments which
we can never link up to the fact that all
good things at one time or another occurred in the present
and that we can never realize at the time it’s
happening that this is something we are going to remember
as if life were lived constantly in the past
and the present existed only so that it could break off from the
growing block of time into the silver pool of regret which is just another
word for what we previously called happiness,
this stunning sadness and longing for more life which spins
like a whirlpool to
draw creation in
and which we cannot navigate around,
because it is
better to be jumbled up then flattened out
and perfected because perfection can never really be achieved
except on the smallest scale, so that perfection demands a million
concessions at the quantum level and leaves us alone with just this:
which is a comfort without love.

There is no organizing principal... just
a series of possibilities and counter-possibilities,
intuitions maybe, that life is full of a magic and charm
which is our only source of real vitality and which,
if shut off
in the name of becoming more “realisitic”
we die,
forever and break off like a shard of bone into the circulation of
time that will eventually reach the center and puncture the heart.

It is through our imaginative power that we unweave the dreams
of birth
and death into a blossom of laughter or the first
touch before a kiss, on the arm or neck or cheek,
full of a gentleness which fractures our
undetermined hearts so that the deepest
illuminations shine through the breaks
at the center of our self
and reveals the immaculate imagery
in the ideas we grew up with,
love of family
and the basic integrity of the language with
which we describe the world,
as if language were a reverberation of
the
shimmering wholeness of flowers, trees, and
freshly cut grass:
or the arc of the summer under the
dogwood tree, and bike rides to the dairy store
to get ice-cream at the point of the sun’s acutest vanishing,
beyond the violet song of space:




“Summer Monological II”

We must hear the radical light or else we fail to
see radical music which clusters
and breaks out of our mind and connects our loose dreams of eachother
in a continuum
of beautiful phenemena
like the fluttering of gold-winged birds
accelerating out of the morning darkness
which is when you most feel the force of love, as
if your irises had fingertips and could
feel the sudden breakthroughs of form into
the heart:
which is all poetry is, this
isolation of a feeling concealed in the fragility of memories and places, like a
sacred fountain in a Greek myth, full of the essential purity and
integrity of faith
or the perception of a pattern in time
through which we can stare right through as if time were the space
between the hummingbird’s wings
always obscured by the after-image where the wings
once were and must come back together again
so that we see something that both is and is not,
which explains why the dead are never really dead
in memory but exist as impressions of themselves in us
like fragments of left-over light
which are not really fragments, but
points of clarity like spyglasses through which
we watch each other’s summer-dreams
strung together in a spider’s-silkline
of melancholy magic: enchantments of
the rain and humid thunder,
movies late at night with cheap wine and tea,
when happiness comes suddenly
and all the discrete moments of our lives
assemble into a stream and
flow into the present to form a
density of feeling, an awareness of the heaviness of our
bodies, sunburned and warm
to the touch as if we had passed
beyond suffering into a space
uncircumscribed by anything, by a self-consciousness
which is boundless and ever augmenting,
evading a central fixity which would mean admitting that life
is simple and that all delight and sweetness vanishes beyond
the point at which we try to understand it,
as if understanding just meant
closing our eyes
and falling asleep in the wet grass
while we listen to the chirp, chirp
of the mystical cicadas in the trees.




“Language”

Locked out of the house of being:
which is the language we use to breakthrough all the disorders of feeling
or whatever it is that
scribbles the irrational over the mind
like a child with crayons or watercolors on a bedroom
wall, which is all the mind really is, this loose
collection of the junk of childhood, baseball cards,
photographs, books, and old report cards, which interweave
themselves into a personality, or our
address in the neighborhood of being,
which has always been called Huntington St. for me,
and meant certain things always held true, like Eleanor’s yelling
at her dog across the alley or that a shot through the lilac counted
as a homerun in wiffleball, when the spin of the ball suddenly
changed in the discharge from the fungo-bat and leaped over an
invisible plane in space and disappeared in the lilac bush until we could
dig it out and continue the game, this
game of wiffle with being which evades our mighty
fungo-bats perpetually, like the shadow which tracks every
glance of our inward eye, the feeling in pursuit of language,
or the language in pursuit of feeling,
philosophy or poetry, the house builders
we hired without taking any bids who erect
these hodgepodges of symmetries for ideas to live in,
a series of Gothic arches and Doric columns abutting themselves
in every direction in the air:
like a Magpie’s monastery, the unattainable reality of memory
without fracture or pain, just
the wholeness of love, which is the secret room in the house
we always hoped was under the bed or behind a shelf,
and would reveal an enchanted world,
but which we eventually learned through language
was an impossibility which meant
growing older but was really a
misapplication of the rules of words, using them
to increase our loneliness that way:
stripping all of the imagination out of the world, so
that we have to rebuild it, tenuously, with artistry,
which is a half-hearted attempt to give
back what we already had, and can only really be
called good
when it levels the old architecture we’ve built up
so that all we’re left with is ground and sky
and if we’re lucky a little rain, until
language rebuilds it’s dwelling place again and
we’ve got to start the whole process over again, searching
for art in life or life in art, and
all the other subtle reversals of words,
which constitute poetry which in it’s oldest sense just
meant creation and which tells us who poets really are: creators
whether with words or colors or notes, creating ground where there is
structure and solitude where there this
infernal busyness, the inevitable dovetailing
of material concerns after adulthood
when dream, reality, and appearance flow
away together and we’re left with a few
miserable greyish injunctions to go forth and multiply,
which don’t acknowledge the fact that we have this
boisterous, over-flowering light in us, which rests
underneath the ground like
a reservoir of faith that nature is basically good
and which we can dig down into like striking oil
at the core of the self: or
the self-deep pool of longings unassimilable with
the surface level being, the apparent
self which asks and responds to all those
small-talky questions exchanged between strangers as if a person could be pegged down
by a few wheres and whats and which wear
us down until we accede to the expectation and
lock ourselves on the top floor of the house, and have
groceries delivered to us, while
stalks of time shoot up and cover over the windows
and the roof begins to leak, and the house decays
but will not fall,
because we quietly prop up the foundations with a few
words we have convinced ourselves are true,
but don’t really have any meaning, but to kill
the termites eating away at the wooden beams,
“I” and “responsibility”-
around which the rest of the house is constructed,
forgetting that all we need is a spicket running into
the deepest soul so that we
have space and air and water
to live which are really the
only material we need to build the
real house of being:
which has no walls.

“Answer to Job”

It’s the theory of your skin, fragrant
with sweat, fragile as you are,
so close to me on these rainy days,
that we dreamed of, like poetry,
or an ├ętude that flutters through the emotional core:
strings of summer thunder and the
rich, deep smell of the soil, the delicate wonder
at the chords which blush in the
softest silence, as we hear ourselves changing...

Later we sit around the table suspended in the twilight air,
and eat our bread with the honey which drips
through the trees.

“Turning 40”

We wake up in the room with the big windows,
bright with the pastel-yellow, impressionistic sunlight which
doesn’t really matter, so dream-like this all is:
the flits of childhood and firstlove
through the transparent fictive of the feeling, which is
tangled up with the mesh of time, as if
time were built out of a white paper into an
origami flower, which can’t be flattened out again
or scribbled over.

Or maybe it’s that the plumes of shower-smoke
make a humid day even more humid, or that
you can never really tell what I’m thinking, that
I might love you, or maybe I don’t.

But somehow, everything in the way we touch
seems transfigured now,
as if we could shed all these extraneous perceptions,
which have grown up around us like dandelions.




“Front Porch Metaphysics”

The head and heart
are resigned to each other now, like an old married
couple, without any real compromises except to not
kill each other... or maybe it’s that I’ve grown tired of the head,
but can’t seem to live from the heart out, as
if the heart were spongy and porous, which it is,
so that I can’t ground myself on it, like
I can the head and the flat, concrete
of our various decision rules, and the absolutes we
accept with a wink and a nod
knowing all the time that the atomic center of any truth is a
bundle of relative perceptions, as if we
take the truth to be the steam and not the
roiling inside the kettle.

The heart tends to follow the head, ginning
up the pretense of emotion to get us to
carry out the head’s rational orders but, of
course that’s all backwards, because
the head believes what the heart wants it to believe, and that
all rational systems are just a covering cherub for the
need for a love which annihilates us at the
center and leaves us clean.

At least, that’s the hope-
that it’s possible to wipe this film of reality
from the bedroom windows, and
fuse the relations in the self and
so dissolve them, like
an egg yolk and the white around it,
when we make breakfast on the sidewalk.


“What You Had Hoped For”

The wild evening light swerves after the midday rains
release the heat in a gasp and
spangle the leaves and flowers in a Victorian
beige, so that you realize that the
point of summer days is only to get to summer nights
and the possibility of dreams
like a cluster of church bells
ringing and breaking out of
suddenly self-beautifying objects,
so that the life you’ve so pathetically surrounded
yourself with like a squall of ink
fills in for a moment with magic and music
as you watch the kids chase after fireflies and
you think “maybe this isn’t so bad” the
aching ankles and varicose veins and saying
hello each morning to the neighbors you don’t
give a shit about, maybe, at
least, you’ve passed on the best part of
yourself, the joy that everyone loses
when they grow up and which
you get to see played back at you
now, like a magic lantern slide, full
of these phantoms of innocence.

“Written While Someone Eats Cereal Besides You”


There’s the way a sound changes itself in midair...
a permutation of what we said yesterday,
something about religious love, or
the way space weaves itself into music,
and how we don’t believe in anything anymore.

It’s just our image of each other,
teased out of it’s fragile honeycomb:

There was never any first love, no
gulping down of ecstatic stars, there was just
this phase we went through-
paunchy middle age, a gesture in the direction of life.

But it’s the habitual closeness of you now,
the figurations of a few simple notes, the
intricate mortality we’ve built up for ourselves,
that I can’t shake, or even utter, so deep
and wistful is our silence.

“This Afternoon”

It’s like the truth is the scrap
of paper you tear up and have to rearrange
while the rain clatters against the glass in the sun-room
so that if we wanted to we could close our eyes
and know where everything is,
and you look at me with those unreconstructed
eyes that spiral away from the center
and all the urgent questionings about what we
wanted to do this Saturday no longer
seem so important and we’re left with the almost imperceptible
feeling that maybe we really do love each other after all...

But it’s not enough to even touch and
whisper at each other’s throats,
because the rain is a cloak of silence
under which we can only hear the rattling of ash.



“A Word For Longing”

She said she longed for the precision of snow,
the dash of blackbirds into the periphery
and the brilliant fracturing of the icicles which hang from the garage

But it all amounts to sitting at the kitchen table
wishing you had picked warmer floor tiles
and shuffling over to the stove to make more hot water

Eating a Florida orange or two to
keep away a cold, then maybe flipping through the pages
of a book that used to move you

Knowing that it doesn’t matter now, that the
sharp, silent Eros is dead in you
if it was ever there

Like a dream that wakes you up in a black sweat
but that you can’t remember and won’t let you
fall back to sleep.

“The Breath of Life”


You can tell that abruptly you haven’t changed
that beauty still flicks at the light-sensitive iris
and the smell of the wet oak leaves in
orange-red gutter piles gives you a modest chill
as if the stems of the leaves reach up and hit
the nerves in your feet.

But there’s still the fear of waking up alone
and not being able to listen to the sonata-like silence
without crying and struggling too hard to climb out
of the mud of middle-age.

There was love, always love, or
something enough like it to constantly
astound us as if we were always rediscovering the stars... but now
there’s only this self-abolished fire, something
you made up and then stopped believing in...

A parabola that wraps itself around
the dual-joins of reality that you slide
through in a circuit wondering if you’ll stop
when the lives cross or if they just converge forever but
never touch.

And here’s that aurora-like voice whose timbre
still uncurls your toes, but it’s slipped
into the black ooze of memory and it’s sinking faster
than you can swim down and hug it.

The Not Inconsiderable


You eat peanut butter with a spoon for breakfast
The dreams you had last night were cruel
And the delirium blackens, the ridges of memory
Are like Braille you trace with your fingers, but can’t seem to spell out.
Monks hunched over in the scriptorium in your head,
Scribbling some parcel of praise for the not inconsiderable.

But you’re afraid you’ll think of her continuously
For twenty years now that the dreams have brought
Her back. You can’t fathom the sounding line in the
Liquid obscurity. Other people have such
Interesting things to say, but you don’t care, it
Seems so meaningless unaccompanied by pain.

Absence

You read the same page of a novel
twelve times; his favorite book, you can’t
bear to finish it anymore. The birch
trees line the road, night-blackened
but shining like husks of dying phosphorus
in the headlights. You
talk of giants, oceans, stars, nothing
but our own blood will make the dead speak,
and nothing can violate this sorrow, so
terribly have we been joined.
The wipers flick hail-stones onto the road...
There are unsayable things between us; that
we have been left alone. The smell
of hayfires and the sea. The dark ruin
in our loins. When a child goes
we have only each other.
This is the kind of grief that makes you whole.