:: :: :: :: terrible dragon: slaying the world one poem at a time :: :: :: ::
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Whatever looking allows
Something Wants In
The pressure changes in the house. Open one door and the rooms rush out. A mindful window and the wind whimpers for hours at your inequal ears. A lone black cricket basks beneath a hallway nightlight still as a sleeping stone. I step around her so as not to rouse, careful to douse no shadow.
I pass and think. Weather sends its ghosts to try the doors and I come to blow ink across open paper. This is an old arrangement. The invisible things of this world want in and regularly let it be known they will not be kept out or made to prove they are worthy of your ignoring them.
Persistence claims its converts. I can hardly keep my eyes set to task as the weight of hemispheric night exacts its deep devotions. I rest them be- tween lines that reappear each time I reopen them. The hand knows no other master and so waits at the gate to inscribe whatever looking allows.
Faithful dumb hand. Something else wants in. A house holds too many points of compromise. Night requires not one of them and enters un- challenged. Again, the pressure changes. Every- thing wants in now. The invisible will have its visit. Sleep is a hallway cricket still as black stone. Unseen, I leave the deephouse through a disappearing window.
Nothing answers a hawk. She lets loose in dry typhoons to whool and skirl in a ringed vernacular that only other stripes may understand, choosing no answer. My oaks have heard it all before. The egg came after the acorn as the god came after the man. The bird leaves her name for the wind to carry some place she can never wing to.
I open my sliding door and the sound scrapes her off the branch. There may be feathers left for my finding, some small trespass we mutually excuse so that one might seek the other, some answer being better than none at all. In this do we find our small trophies, the dropped quills fanned in a vase on a sill in Santa Fe, sacrificed reminders
that everything here is bound by brevity no matter how beautiful. She lets again and again there comes no answer. She is somewhere higher now, circling under things that themselves circle beneath other circles we pattern ourselves with. From this distance, she might be a quilt of grand design, a deeper fill unforeseen in the grandeur of purpose. She calls
again and again nothing answers a hawk. Mourning doves coo the shaded ground as quail stand vigil against rapture from a sky come flighted with cinnabar talons and red consequences. When she calls, lie mute, motionless, for she will have you for her own. Do this if you wish to remain footheld; if you’ve no desire to learn what question she posed.
Snails outrace the sun as morning spills across the wet lawn. It will take them nearly all of it to reach the shade of succulents. Stars trail behind them like comet glisten; broken glass catching the light just so. Contrails stream along the slick green blades.
They will shelter and recoil into the whorl of spiral shells, rest until dayfall summons them out into the dampening twilight that comes with its spray of slow milk. They will watch it all as very little passes overhead without their sluggish witness.
Owls will arrive and alight, evacuate their dark turrets in the boughs before dawn rescinds their vigil from the far horizon. This is how it has always been done. Snails outrace the sun to leave you with the morning; no trace of crumb to point you home.
We fled from fire as it descended from hungry chaparral, summer already curing the oaken sky as a skeletal stingsect took its place low in the bones of the southern ecliptic, a crimson star pulsing flamewise hardened by antarean armor, its two releasers poised to flood the night with sustain and persistence as we had not yet met.
We would come eleven months later when love might well have forgotten us in its mad tumble of beck and call as it saw to incite the blind prayers offered by so many others. But the keen fire came, devoured some, spared some, left us in a wake of black smoke and incindered charms. Our house stood, fierce against whatever the sky might counter with.
And the flames knew each of our names, crossed them off without checking, those of us who were not to be taken into its strictest confidences, those of us who were to give everything to them without complaint, without promise of purpose or safe passage. It was the cruelest commencement of a season in recent memory, one that would last well past then and now.
So we met—a poet and a quilter—pressed into stanzas of seven lines each amid an economy that may or may not work out either in literal or literary life. These are things we send upcirrus in drafts of transmutated ash, toward next year where we might stand to look back at now and here we are, this way, fleeing from fire again because to do so is to be overrun by imminent majesty.
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.