:: :: :: :: terrible dragon: slaying the world one poem at a time :: :: :: ::
Monday, October 29, 2007
Along a thin leading edge
The Ordering Of How We Move In Time And Space
You walk down the street countless times, unaware of the music as you do, the subtle hitches in balance that push and spread measures of incidental rhythmicity, the hasty tumble into the raw future along a thin leading edge we mindlessly set cadence to and call presence.
Some might call this dance, but we will call it simply walking in our skin because this will serve a less formal god where the subordinance of matter pivoting in the sleeve of what motion has assigned to be a heart might congeal more essential, less immersed, in the ascribed posaics of a lesser poet.
So you make the corner and stop. To round it with an arc of impetuous grace or cross it and curry the scent of what chaos might attend your table in an aberrant cycle or a late automobile, a stranger in the middle of the walk whose face is familiar as you both stop against the red that changes nothing but a temporal rite of passage to give the truer nature of intersection its rightful meaning.
Continue now as one or two, it hardly matters, as there are breaking moments to escort quickly into the past where coffee and mornings lost to recollection are subsumed by others in the sudden zuzz of a low-passing plane, or the pas de deux of hunger as a coyote dances in a field for a morsel of mouse to make her milk.
Catch yourself in shop glass and come to. Distortion brings everything inside to order. Listen. Resume. Ask yourself if you heard it, if what you might have seen has reason to bring your stride to pieces to be gathered or left where they lay. This matters and if you think it doesn’t, then walk to Asia or until it does. How we move in time and space is nothing if not everything.
Once again, the sun burns the tears out of me. It invades me like a shadow in the black of night, without definition, devoid of shape, more absence than substance. And this is barely afternoon.
My heart is swollen from the light, from the breaking and leaking of it. Anything might set it off and does: The scene where Amelie spontaneously melts and splashes to the floor in a pillar of puddle, for instance; the wind
that has carried a swarm of sand and soot from a hundred miles away to becloud the horizon, suffocate the hilltop on which I live, obliterate the tragic sea beyond. I am occluded as this weather that has descended like a horde of pestilence.
Ominous. Precursory. Foretold by doom and the chokehold of destiny. Life is being lived four lines at a time and this is the best proof I can offer. I cannot tell what will come next but that the trees are now brittle and coated in sickly grey caramel.
The ground is clotted with dead straw. I foresee the night to come: it will go bouldering through the blackness like an obelisked whale pulling the dawn afire with it. It will set lovers undermoon, break tides to bed them in breaching shapes I am no longer part of.
My hands are missing and my lips feel foreign on my face. Nothing is as anything I expect. I surrender that stubborn pretense and continue with this poem because to stop would mean having to look my children in the eyes and not have reasons for any of this.
Wind scatters lark song across a dry October field. Nothing will regather it as soundwaves bounce off an invisible star unsettled in the middle of this arid season. Even the islands are not where they should be, dislodged from their moorings by the instability of discordant weather.
This might be a metaphor for love were it as barbed as a reveille, were it thrown overboard like a lover from a balcony too busy spilling hair to see the fixed and fusioned heart at the center of a boy who will take a lifetime to misunderstand that love is nothing like this, that love is everything like this.
Across the hilly bosom of the morning, oaks stand like shimmering fonts pooled with sunlight as if dipping your hands in them might absolve you of a week of green sin. Late monarchs wend their graceless spasms of flight into something that becomes beauty in spite of itself, something not unlike the dry field of a boy’s heart.
It begins with a small itch that spreads across the blades, distends to a dull ache, in time becomes a sharp wound of longing for something she cannot yet guess at.
There may have been structures beneath that afforded some form of implausibility, a tether of lift, a nail of ascension, a manner of leaving that remains deep in the ruin of excavated tissue, but she can’t be certain.
She dreams sometimes and it all comes back, the reeling careers, the banking careens of a life in sky. This is home and the mists that pass far below in coverlets and forests that cushion her rise through slumber caress each care at the end of days in suffercloud, temper the feathered ethers of giddy sun that glaze the broad arc as she hurls herself against harsh blue, again and again.
So the empty persists and swells beyond where such things might have fit. She turns to walk and somewhere, in the sole of her gait, a leaving that leaves her groundless as she treads heavy the earth.
A man should stir himself with poetry, stand firm in ritual, and complete himself with art and music. ~Li Po, Tang Dynasty poet
If nothing else, I have stirred clouds with a spoon. The spoon droppedby a negligent moon, the moon pressed through a part in her curtains where she fell onto the floor beside whatever she’d been wearing earlier.
I have performed rites in crossed kisses that hung in the air like symbolsmade by mute priests, unlearned the bare meanings of snaps and buttons,unteethed the riddles of coy hasps and zippers. Women have taught me this.
I was an eager student, though perhaps not the brightest. I burned the skynevertheless and swept wind and wing from their tendermost edges until Icould look up to see that ruin was as precious as Rumi and starfire rubies.
What shall I say of the ten thousand moments I had and didn’t have with you? Shall we write that tigers took them while we slept as worlds dreamed their own becoming, unable to rouse us that we might see ghosts flash in a gash of stripe?
Shall we draw strings of color across pleasing shapes and agree that what grain may have passed through an hourglass coursed there by the sacrifice of mountains and the persistence of rain until it all ran dry and small and measureless?
If nothing else, I have stirred and stirred until the poetry muddied and became what it has become. I have ventured ritual in graceless endurances where neither art nor music were able to follow. Conclusion arrived in the canvas of my veins;
completion commenced in a wave of skinborne drum. I am vanquished by dynasty. When the doors close and I am no longer in the room, leave your clothes huddled there in the lesser light. For it is the only thing that ever holds any of us this way.
wisdom is worth all we lose to attain it. ~aucassin verdé
i wonder if the artist ever lives his life-—he is so busy recreating it. only as i write do i realize myself. i don't know what that does to life. ~anne sexton
you must acquire the trick of ignoring those who do not like you. in my experience, those who do not like you fall into two categories: the stupid and the envious. the stupid will like you in five years time. the envious, never.~john wilmot, 2nd earl of rochester
art arises when the secret vision of the artist and the manifestation of nature agree to find new shapes. ~kahlil gibran
creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. art is knowing which ones to keep. ~scott adams
those who don't know how to weep with their whole heart, don't know how to laugh either. ~golda meir
i said to my soul, be still,
and wait without hope,
for hope would be hope
for the wrong thing.
wait without love,
for love would be love
of the wrong thing.
there is yet faith;
but the faith and the love
and the hope are all
in the waiting.
wait without thought,
for you are not ready for thought.
so the darkness shall be the light,
and the stillness the dancing.