Friday, June 24, 2016

You Have Not Always Known What You Are


Whoever you are, the pulse of your being is within you
Unknown to you, I recognize you from afar
The talkers have defined you—not I, I leave you undefined
Seeing past all that, beyond their fetishes, beyond your accidents

I do not limit you to any country, creed, culture, or language
You come like everyone from anywhere and nowhere at all
Nation, people, family, race—abstractions for the weak of mind
I look past the segments, surfaces, and appurtenances of you

You have not always known what you are
The bigoted of heart have choked your soul with smoke
And hateful violent men with chains and whips and guns
Have sunk a wound in you that festers in the dark

The wound goes where you go breathing with your lungs
Hearing with your ears the suffering it wants to hear
And with your eyes seeing the world in sepia tones of hurt
What else had kept you ignorant of yourself?

Were you born into this?
Have you never known anything but this?
I reckon you the first verse of a new chapter from the hymn of you
Today you will father and mother a transparent nation of joy

No injustice within yourself will bring about justice
No violence within yourself will end violence
No bitterness within yourself will make life sweet
No wound within yourself will heal the wounded

All things deep down remain untouched by human hate
Do you see the sun, the clouds, the sky, the stars?
No man or woman who cursed them ever soiled them
How much more untainted the phenomena of you

It comes not like a change in the weather
You, I, we have had to build a monument of forgetting
Brick by brick until a tower of useless love lifted into the sky
Dipping back into history to free us from ourselves

Are there no mysterious constellations in your soul?
Blue summer nights keep eternal appointments for you
Ignore the trippers and the tongue-tiers
And discover the unknown cosmos of yourself

Every account of you has been too logical
They only talk of forgetting you who never knew you
I will not name you so the others may come to know you
And though you stand apart from these my vain perceptions of you

It pleases me to mark the silence of your eyes
And guess in them a ghostly property
A soul like a gazelle spacious with energy, alive, and beautiful
You having arrived, moving on like atoms in the wind


Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Sentimental Ego


To whom these scattered particles of speech?
Though I, perhaps, is one way
It has been done since the early days,
The speaking self is just one of the parts.
The envelope of mystery that I address
In dialogue with absences
To the blameless night may never reach
Its destination.  But I is undeterred.

Syphilitic schizophrenics walking in the park
Stave off the bad words emanating from
The unintentional topiary shrubs.
The purpose of these judgments will be
Revealed.  Not to me.  Who the hell are you?
A turd dissolves in the grass just as the self
Against the bushes.  To the far-flung deserts of the soul,
To the evaporated cities of the mind,

Jagged transition declares the inexorable
Tipping of epochs, like the temporal subduction
Under the house where the wrapping paper
Of children sloughs off year after year
Till the big one jolts everyone involved
To a new consciousness—of life, yes,
Life conscious of itself as for the first time
In the midst of this long series of aftershocks.

The present is maddening, in a way, despite
Its salutary effects.  Everything, all at once,
With you and ignoring you, a glimpse
Into totality, an infinitesimal part
Of the perception of God, for a fraction
Of a part of a second, must be indulged
As an intense pleasure, half pain,
In roughly regular intervals, like a season.

All things end where they begin,
In the middle of other things.
The backside of the hour does not go down
So smooth.  The hovering between chains of sense
Opens into long vacancies, or vacations,
For the hard-working angels of the tribe,
Whose ephemeral half-lives, thoroughly known,
Have been going on beautifully without you.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Hornswoggled



As I walk home (a multi-brown hulk
Plopped next to the hushed flows of traffic,
A minor fifth achieved by angry honks
Before the coming LIRR obliterates

All sense) censoring a burst of expletives,
Everything continues as before, unchanged.
That is, in constant flux, paying no mind
To the white distances I trek in thought.

A seagull, come inland today, roosts
On the neighbor’s balcony across the way;
His presence turns the snow to sea foam
While the bird itself morphs into a white crow.

I loaf in the cold of imperfection
And let the afternoon wash away my pride.
No doubt the demagogues on CNN tonight
Will issue dire prognostications to a world

That does not conform to the ego.
The black holes of identity spin around themselves,
Churning out the rhetoric of apocalypse
In xenophobic songs and kill crusades.

The Pharaohs of capital continue to erect
Slave-pyramids whose gravitational waves
Disturb the depths of the most placid soul
As no-go zones proliferate across the earth.

And, for all that, I and this mystery
Are never spent making a housecleaning
Of belief before the chrysalis of sleep.
Dream and building are one impermanence

To someone or something in danger
Of winking out of existence unnoticed
In the darkness beyond names and forms.
My opinions don't matter now.

A menacing snow-black seagull
Tells me there is still time to go back inside.
I will loaf in the cold of imperfection
And let the afternoon wash away my pride.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Cake


Pythagorean hymns out-crazy my old god,
The one I think about beyond all thought.
Her filthy feet have plod, have plod, have plod
Through bowls of cinnamon and angel snot.

I raise this monument against authority.
A piece of pilfered placenta in my jeans
To aliment the wrath of my minority
Until the trumpets wake the zombie teens.

I know the promises I break for you,
What chaos and resentment will ensue:
My angry opposite, your swollen eyes.

The mirror stills with breathing like a lake
Although the desert will not fill with sighs.
I built this mystery when I baked your cake.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Prelude to Consciousness


I am myself a fragment sifting dust
The end of nothing come to this
Eternal standing wave of purity,
A consciousness of vowels and sibilants.
It will soon be time to forget me
Although some early ideas stay aloft.
The special identity no longer applies
Beyond the expressway, where the houses
Return to the state of cabbages
And disappear, bathing, in ozone fields,
Your address when you are not here.

The bitter sunshine promises to cool
When oligarchs pack up their toys
And head for the exit.  In the interval
Small packages of joy await your mouth
If only you would call to say hello.
Is there no one to care about the thing
Whether it needed strength or alchemy
To breathe itself into a form of life?
The tribe today is a silent mass of tweets.
Give me your talking blue-green surfaces
Beveled by wind.  Am I still here?

Looking outside the boxes of the mind
Pure indifference returns
Pincered by the hands of the clock.
The sterility of night touches my mind.
I want only a fragment of your love
That I might live inside you (where else?)
Like a raindrop.  But my designs on you
Only postpone the time of our embrace,
In satin indolence, a paradise
On the embellished margins of your soul
If I can squeeze my spirit in this fruit.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Blocks



1
If I could write the radiance of birds
Or name the births of all the continents,
Would I be closer to your secret mind?
Others have touched the penetralia

Of your obscure recess, so why can’t I?
When will the azure of your voice proclaim
The feasts of patience come?  Never?
So I lose you among the guests and ghosts.

2
Let’s dip into the monologue of someone else.
Wow.  It is noisy in here.  Like windows
Thrown open on the loudest city ever built.
Things are always different from what they might be.

Time is moving away from itself
Like a train whose cars are getting farther apart.
Some things will never grow old.
Mysterious things we have no use for.

3
The languages of flowers will revolt the mind
Seeing into the long dark passages that never add
Up into constructions, like the gusts of horses
That galloped away before these hills rode in.

The obstacles are supposed to have some use,
Like an opportunity.  Optimism fizzles like a drink
While unknowable rendezvous arrange
The flowing substances, the dark necessities.

4
Walking around naked on the moon,
I stop only to consider the coffee stain
In the glass of the soul.
The house is defenestrated with griffin claws

And a leopard is laughing at emptiness.
Some people are never
Satisfied they didn’t discover the Pacific.
Not even I can wish you away.

5
I suppose I ought to love the sea.
But I hate it.  That’s why
I don’t return to America.  I love the land.
The great thing is to love something.

If you wait for things to change, you’ll never do anything.
I don’t know whether you know.
The masses are seething beyond the portico.
If only we would bother to perceive them.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The River of Silver


The turning seasons add, almost imperceptibly,
Another layer of grime and mold
To the houses of the aristocratic necropole
Where the patriarchs fume as they decay.

The houses of the populace, less grand,
Caked with plants, wires, the slogans of yesterday,
Streaked as with mascara by the rain,
Accumulate like cereal-box facades.

The bel apartments are layer cakes
Or ocean-liners basking in the sun.
A toothless horse pulls a wooden cart
Loaded with scrap collected by a boy.

A foreigner looks up from his guidebook.
An idled crane drifts like a huge weathervane
As the clouds take the shape of animals:
Tiger, dragon, seahorse, rhinoceros.

While the more dangerous passions are alive
In the faces of the loved and the spurned
That one encounters on the shady streets;
Like destinies, they must remain unknown.