Sunday, May 31, 2015

one day, when we forget our names

there is a fortress in the middle. see. there.

learning is the way is unlearning is the path to wisdom.

one brick at a time return bricks, beneath trees, to soil.

here, roots of sycamore, draw forth a sip through dirt brown matrix. clench. crumble.

let sedge grass grow if/when/where sycamore falters.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

for one last moment (notes)

some notes:

the heavy-set beautiful raspy voiced woman at the town office (which is situated at the edge of town) said to me, strangely, upon my last payment of my water bill, i see you run by sometimes. how i could watch you for hours...  i have no idea what she truly meant by this, but she was smiling. (i know i must be a spectacle as i run. i am not a delightful apparition.) something in me shifted with her words and a happiness was created inside me.

but i don't want this happiness, for it will change me.

the next time i run by the offices i am aware of the windows. i'm aware that someone might be watching.

when i run through town to get to the outer limits, there is, whether there are people present or not, a pressure upon me which influences my cadence;

while out at the treeline and the river, out in the fields or along the dirt roads, i am free to fall inside my own steps. (i realize this is all manufactured thinking. the pressure is not real. or, the pressure is as real as i make it.)

what i want from running: to use this body; to come into contact with the world. (there is no other end but the middle, the experience, the being.)

in some vague and restricted ways i have a disabled body. then what joy (not always the right word) to use such a thing, even if only minutely successful.

how many times i have thought to erase this blog. as i have erased others. to erase everything i've ever written. who cares, after all. even my own care diminishes.

but truthfully, as i plod on and on in my vulgar fashion, it can never be for an end. (i'm a hack; i know this.) it can only be to use this self and to come into contact with the world.

there are things happening in my life. there are things no longer happening and other things about to happen. i try to remind myself (it's not easy) that it is not about outcome. what outcome can there ever possibly be? it is about living in the self and coming into contact with the world, moment by moment.

***

for one last moment

all of the future lays before us undetermined, not even stars to mark distance
all of the past lays behind us like a pack of well spent dogs sleeping upon the floor
when my son smacks a mosquito between his palms

he makes to put the tiny departed body somewhere in particular
but i motion for him to, ah...throw it to the carpet beyond
i laugh, maybe most mothers wouldn't say such a thing

and quite probably they wouldn't

with that he throws the mosquito corpse to its certain withering
and turns his lanky thirteen year old inconstant body to my familiar one
curling in on me, a well spent pup, unsure of his future, but confident for the moment of his past.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

the other(s)

an untitled poem by margaret atwood, from You Are Happy 

Men with the heads of eagles
no longer interest me
or pig-men, or those who can fly
with the aid of wax and feathers

or those who take off their clothes
to reveal other clothes
or those with skins of blue leather

or those golden and flat as a coat of arms
or those with claws, the stuffed ones
with glass eyes; or those
hierarchic as greaves and steam-engines.

All these I could create, manufacture,
or find easily: they swoop and thunder
around this island, common as flies,
sparks flashing, bumping into each other,

on hot days you can watch them
as they melt, come apart,
fall into the ocean
like sick gulls, dethronements, plane crashes.

I search instead for the others,
the ones left over,
the ones who have escaped from these
mythologies with barely their lives;
they have real faces and hands, they think
                                           of themselves as
wrong somehow, they would rather be trees.

the voice

don't worry, i hate too

there i am in my beast guzzling and guzzling the oceans and the black depths of rocks and the clean air, guzzling past the crows and rows of dying pines, and one guy in his pick-up truck, and then in cuts another, and do you know how fucking irritating it is - the guy who does 120 in the passing lane only to slow down after, and the lights and the lights, and the damn who-slates-this-for-summer construction, then the last turn, and then the jerk who walks so passive-aggressively across the parking lot in front of you slowing you and owning you with his coffee guzzling and guzzling the forests and the lower ranked and the weak soil

don't worry, we're all in this together

if we make eye contact it's quite clear, this comradery, this hate, but don't worry, we won't because we're guzzling and guzzling the trinkets from the shop's shelves, the shit sent by sail on boats guzzling and guzzling the oceans and the black depths of rocks and the clean air, guzzling past the pelicans and the road kill walrus and the hordes and hordes of homeless rohingya, and do you know how fucking irritating it is to guide a boat with children shrieking below, and the lights and the lights is that a city our salvation in the distance or a shimmer off the water or the roads, who slated this for this year - the construction, the last turns, the jerks walking passive-aggressively in front of you slowing you and owning you and guzzling and guzzling

don't worry, i'm at work, i hate too, we're all in this together

and so i guzzle my beast of self down the hallway to piss out my coffee/my fuel, but do you know how irritating it is to turn the handle and have someone in your way on your seat guzzling and guzzling your space?

but from behind the door: please (a voice) [shattered pace]

what?

from behind the door again, a voice: please - - -

and so i open the door and there she is, an elderly woman, indelicately exposed.

i'm stuck, she says, sitting in plain sight; bad knees.

we never say our names but there i am between her legs, rocking her and rocking her to her feet. there i am in the shadow of her heat. there we are together for a moment.

***

(beautiful lady, who was not shy, thank you for this moment.)

Monday, May 25, 2015

impact, notes (may 24, 2015)

i have always wondered how it is that someone hits a moose. i've practiced the physics of this a thousand times, the large cumbersome body emerging from the woods and speeding towards the point, between two bodies, of intersection. always there has been, in my mind, the notion of choice, of manipulation, of possible aversion. collisions must happen because someone is not paying attention, i have cleverly told myself so as to assure myself of safety. (i lost a co-worker to a moose some years back.)

but today when the moose stepped out of the void and into my path there was no room for maneuvering clear of impact. there was only an instant of recognition. i could see the matted patterns of his fur. i sized his formidable musculature, his height, turned the wheel this way and that, plotting, not if i would hit the moose, but where upon the car, how.

miraculously, as i angled my car for impact, the moose too angled himself. had he not seen me, had he not had the opportunity to gauge the formidable impact of steel front or steel side of car hurtling toward him, we'd have met upon our horizons. two. three seconds. which didn't exist before. and no longer existed after. so much might have changed...

and it was all as unextraordinary as a sneeze. it was mechanics.

the moose turned in quasi circles in the road, its rear end staggering in undecided intention. then my brakes took. my car altered positions. and the moose, at the last possible second, trotted off into the bush across the highway, leaving only a foot or two between us at our closest point.

one car coming from the opposite direction witnessed it all, but only witnessed it; it was far enough back to be otherwise uninvolved.

i placed my hand upon my chest after but my hand seemed empty. my heartbeat had been unaffected. there had not been time enough for fear. it was only my mind which reeled in the pocket of aftermath. wow, wow, wow, i said aloud, over and over, noting the empty ditches where a moose might, at any moment, emerge. wow, wow, wow, for the next five kilometers, astounded at the lack of sentiment.

and then the five after that, when i imagined the moose's body hitting the windshield, a pain took hold in my gut and sentiment leaked from my stomach through my body, like a sudden rush of poison.

***

impact

for the thousand catastrophes we practice
one day at noon 
a moose yawned 
and stepped out of the marsh
and presented himself to me

a body which had once emerged as the ejaculate from the groin of a mighty he-moose
which, while in rut, had presented as the spark of ultimate intelligence to he and the mighty she-moose
now, a new large brown body
stepped 
matter-of-factly
out of the marsh
and into the middle of the road
a tangle of fur, limbs and consequence

Sunday, May 24, 2015

novice,

if you have not had the opportunity to have the seeds of your brain shrivel
and you have not shaken them out like the hard remnants of a gourd
and you have not remembered that you are not, despite appearances, human,
but are instead that other quality of living enmeshed in horsetails, pond scum and pig shit
and if you have not then risen up realizing in these garbs your immaculate conception,
then you have not yet begun.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

lorded by the lowly (two poems about lilacs)

each year the lilac opens a door
and strides through the long hollow corridor,
dragging behind her her billowing robes,
her unrequested lobes of essence.

where she emerges she bursts forth
and bobs at the precipice of meristem
like a solitary shining drop of effervescent body,
inflorescence, the flowering idea given skin.

perhaps this is why we love her -
how bright and doubtless her smile;
how heady her simple grace;
how evident her accidental congealment.

and she, not one empress
but one of hundreds of thousands of confidences
waving in the wind,
queen of consequence and being

(reign, a foreign principal
in a far away world,
for to reign is to capture,
to hold, to own)

but the lilac, while supplanted to my heart with devotion,
or perhaps most truly - to my mind with worship,
this lavender flash of substantially sweet opening void,
owns nothing,

but in the way of this world briefly holds power over all
by scent, 
by innocent bodylust seduction, 
by sweet lingering shadow.

***

the lilacs

we had a house once.
we had children.
we had an old wooden desk
and on that we had a vase.
each year we cut lilacs
from the lilac bushes we had
and we had a bouquet
for a reasonable
lilac-life duration.

we had a marriage—

Friday, May 22, 2015

dream and memory



these are long weeks too far from myself and the world. and so i set out to find all the things which make sense to me. which means finding something i once knew.

i come across her in an opening. her legs tremble. she smells the air. we are looking at one another. i see something of myself i once had. is it in her? in the still field? in the possibility of her flight? in the light?

what might she see in me? only a creature to flee from?

in my dreams i understand tasting air. my lungs smell like freshly crushed clover.

where do my dreams come from?

what we eat

the girls heap a spate of savory sticks 
to their plates (a square of earth each),
tip-top the tongue tantalizing displays 
with a windfall wave of dandelions and clover,
rake their fingers through the disarray 
and smack their licensed lips over and over,
exchanging stories over delightful plates of posy noodles, 
all the while maintaining composure -

childhood, what a delightful ruse the world is...

while you and me, from behind our desks,
manage to wade 
between twin servings of books 
(cultivated maneuver),
things more true than this,
categorical, unequivocal.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

solve for distance

we walked the city's
stray dogs
hungry, horny, deranged
perimeters
wanted to tear out
stars dangled
threatened to scar our inertia, our skin
we bared our teeth
pushed back
the surface area between - always mythic
but such zeal for grinding
we could walk (blind) days and nights
around around around
the city inside us
the city laying down its tracks
encircling the cenotaph
no one at home in death central
sometimes we'd get drunk
smoke weed, worse - risk god 
wager all, get lost
frisk each other
in empty parking lots
wet tongued eels chasing eyeless
through sea's dark coral ledges
bony hands plunging 
in death freezing seizures
rigid digits jonsing wet marks
a spark, anything
to make, partake, to be taken
but always one plane would pass
quick silver - leave us where we began
through the other
make us think
nothing had moved
nothing had moved
not one thing
in that world of terrorized cement

nothing ever moved

except the whole lot of dark fetid tangle

only we didn't know it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

the echo of light is two shadows moving against a wall

doughy and dazed after collapse from our love making,
your scent dabbed behind the lobes of day: perspiration, semen, salt,
mind swells with the notion that

somewhere a gull is flying wing-true out over ocean;
winds veer, waves lap,
a sound calls.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

modern

my son needs boy bodily things (personal) that i can no longer choose for him. take me tomorrow, he asks. no. only day off. plans. monday? no. holiday. closed. tuesday? work past six. store closed. wednesday? sadly. no. work 'til nine. thursday? a moment. maybe. perhaps. friday? no. work late again.

1974

grand-père got dirty. grand-père washed with the bar of soap.
grand-mère washed after him.
mom washed after them.
susan brought it to the bathtub.
frank brought it back to the sink.
dad came home and washed his oil slick hands with it.
i washed the oil slick bar of soap and then i washed myself.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

this car don't want to go forward

what if we lived in reverse.
what if progress were thoughtful progress,
while a kind of regression, sure,
a returning to,
rather than a continual abandoning.
what if grandma thompson
could climb out of her grave's sore,
get into her car
and drive to the country
where she once lived,
which would be
directly beneath the food court
of the dayton mall.
there she could climb the rickety wooden steps
to clip her mother's sheets to the cloth's line.
how the wind would fill them sublimely!
how the whole world would then be possible!

***

landspeak

if i feel sexy for the world and moved to call, hey you, come here, what is it i call to?
   beguiling vultures, vetch and vines,
   beech, bluebell, buttercups...

Landspeak by Robert MacFarlane

Friday, May 15, 2015

merging

the old ladies are wearing their joy in their cheeks 
like bunches of christmas oranges,
only it's may in the park beside the snag and rushes at the bird sanctuary.
young girls under old straw skin, they murmur their pleasures to me,
"the painted turtles have returned!"
           "they're sunning themselves!"
as though the two sentences weren't subordinate clauses,
naturally and necessarily linked.

i slide onto the bench in the sun
without startling one turtle from its perch,
more and more like one of them.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

borderland

out at the borders of the universe
lie the borders of the next universe.

i access the next universe by leaving the first,
friction and work maneuvering my body.

no, i do not know who or what i am.

even beyond the regular integers of streetlights
the silly square farm fields (so symmetrical),
squat as parcels.

deer and bear try through brute presence
to pull them back into the forests,

while farmers drag moldboards through soil
trying to stubbornly reestablish them.

the water is so solid in springtime
that it burrows beneath the roads,

then lifts its head into green pastures
like the pate of an unyielding calf.

ever petted a calf?
oblivion plus two plutos swirl behind each pupil.

its head moves your hand with a will
not akin to the will of your hand.

journeying toward the lip of my cacophonous sadness
the rosy lips of my impossible joy seduce me:

from the water's embroidery works the body of a heron
like the fist of a first muddy idea.

why a heron instead of not a heron—

dissolve,
then lift, then fly.

***

driving out of town last night all the voices of self squabbled their old arguments. such conversations they engage in! always losing arguments to the edge of the horizon. they know this will happen. they know once they begin there will be nothing to do but to play it all out and then sweep the detritus over the lip into the inferno of oblivion. and so sadness mounted.

i thought of how useless it all is. how it all amounts to nothing. all the sadness. all the happiness. all the struggles.

of course i always know this. 

but sometimes knowing this is freedom.

and sometimes knowing this is imprisonment.

i thought about how ineffectual i am in all ways. how i have nothing real to give. how there is nothing real in me to alter the world in its overwhelming equation.

it all, always, will add up to the same thing.

i thought about the possibility of everyone i love being gone and so the possibility of utter sacrifice opening up. what might it be then that i could do in my life? where could i give myself to to make the best of my being?

and there was no answer. no matter where i would give myself i have no skills, no ability to engage in a meaningful and valuable way like a doctor, or a teacher, or an environmentalist, or a farmer. therefore wherever i would give myself, i would, through whatever small acts i was capable of, still remain to a greater extent, a burden.

then i began to think about a programme i heard on the radio, a local piece about a young man who incurred a head injury at 24. we heard from his mother first at length and then the journalist addressed a question to the young man. it was a laborious few moments for him to make the smallest answer through a series of sounds which amounted to one word.

what is that kind of existence, i wondered.

what a beautiful mother and son. what excruciating pain, circumstance, change. what reckonings! and...

what if that were me? (not as mother, but that too, but as victim of accident?) what then?

an impossible question.

but isn't that me? isn't that all of us in some regard?

it was unbearable. the pain of the mother and son. and their courage and their love were unbearable. and the impossibility of answers was unbearable.

i stopped my car.

i stopped my car over a place where a spring creek is forced beneath the road.

that is all. and that was enough. so much.

the creek rises again on the other side of the road. the fields are breaking into green as though green is the earth's musculature.

the sinuous curves of the creek are like the will of water meeting the will of land; such a powerful place. 

all of the voices in my head were instantly hushed. the small crowd of self was chastened to sit down and be quiet.

and then. and then from the low bend in the creek where i could not see, a heron rose. a heron rose and worked its body into the air! i have in the last few years seen this dozens of times but each time is the first.

while the water had been enough, the heron broke me completely. again. as the world always breaks apart the disassemblage of my spirit and unifies me into silence.

it is the world being the world, stating to no one in particular that it started so long ago and took hold, has taken precedence over all else. 

it had all been just a blur of self pity and sadness until i stopped at the creek that is. and the heron, too, that rose and worked its wings—is. the remarkableness of the manifestation of being is all.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

oh perfect loveliness of earth and heaven - might these dreams be fulfilled?

there is a raging obstinance 
and unworded purity 
struck through stone and animal skull. 
eden grows from it 
and contains everything.

there is an oil spill, 
a sick slick upon the world. 
just ask jeffers;
then bill that exponential.

inside the oil spill floats 
a small oasis, a balcony garden 
in the middle of a city of madness. 
each man carries the mark of madness 
and the clemency of a tablespoon of soil.

from earth's scrap, no matter how inconsequential, 
man could, if he would just choose, 
grow eden.

Monday, May 11, 2015

just over there an orchid blooms in darkness

learning how to shut-up. learning how to detect lies. learning to shut down the machine. cut the engine.

outside the night is what? vast. black. pricked by forms. which feel electric. but are still. or are simply moving.

how to quiet the i. how to turn off the self. how to hear the truth over the hum of the electric blur of what feels like the eternal blurring. but is only the temporary ear. the eye.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

three teens sleep in a tent

                      ...the waste of the seed of the self
Stains in the shaggy hide, and they know it not.
                                             —William Everson

at first i think of stray mittens,
the two red wagons staggered 
through the long backyard,
cast-offs on the journey
toward the mouth of the tent,
the wood charred and plinked
upon itself, a child's
abandoned game of pick-up sticks,
but with the spring rain ripe
and the grass burning green,
i'm awoken sober as to clatter 
to the world's eternal awakening.
the idea of their bodies glows,
ancient dark flames fanned
between rind and dense electric flesh,
innards of the rouge vif d'etampes,
the yard looking less like childhood
and more like a gaping seduction, 
wagons, singed wood, 
half burned up sticks, which pierced, 
then taunted and flaunted
their marshmallow's skins,
socks and gutted slick packages,
all their taking off-s, dismantlings,
while they sleep inside, those wild
young buffalo, those purring heaps
of husky wilderness,
inside the tent,
inside themselves,
inside inside inside,
ten times the size their shells!
they have no understanding,
those terrible living beasts,
aroused through ambrosial selves,
drunkened by world and each;
can't tell their hooves 
from hands or feet;
don't care.

***

i try to still my mind to hold these few things. barthes writes in the pleasure of text,


Is not the most erotic portion of a body where the garment gapes? In perversion (which is the realm of textual pleasure) there are no "erogenous zones" (a foolish expression, besides); it is intermittence, as psychoanalysis has so rightly stated, which is erotic: the intermittence of skin flashing between two articles of clothing (trousers and sweater), between two edges (the open-necked shirt, the glove and the sleeve); it is this flash itself which seduces, or rather: the staging of an appearance-as-disappearance.
is there not then an intermittence, a place of seduction, between spirit and body, self and world?
 
***

rilke writes in a letter to witold von hulewicz his polish translator,

Nature, the things we move among and use, are provisional and perishable; but they are, for as long as we are here, our possession and our friendship, sharers in our trouble and our happiness, just as they were once the confidants of our ancestors. Therefore it is crucial not only that we not corrupt and degrade what constitutes the here and now, but, precisely because of the provisionality it shares with us, that these appearances and objects be comprehended by us in a most fervent understanding and transformed. Transformed? Yes, for our task is to stamp this provisional, perishing earth into ourselves so deeply, so painfully and passionately, that its being may rise again, “invisibly,” in us. We are the bees of the Invisible. Nous buttinons éperdument le miel du visible, pour l’accumuler dans la grande ruche d’or de l’Invisible [We wildly gather the honey of the visible, in order to store in the great golden hive of the Invisible]. The Elegies show us at this work, this work of the continual conversion of the dear visible and tangible into the invisible vibration [Schwingung] and agitation of our nature, which introduces new vibration-numbers [Schwingungszahlen] into the vibration-spheres [Schwingungs-Sphären] of the universe. (For since the various material in the cosmos are only different vibration-rates [Schwingungsexponenten], we are preparing in this way, not only intensities of a spiritual kind, but –who knows?—new bodies, metals, nebulae, and constellations).
***

a poem by william everson (brother antoninus),

The Screed of the Flesh

                 "Be not as the horse and mule, who have no 
                                            understanding."

                                         ...and at times,
      a startled bird, flying straight through their field of 
                                                      vision,
         scrawls the far-stretching screed of its lonely cry.
                                                       —Rilke

I cried out to the Lord
That the Lord might open the wall of my heart
And show me the thing I am.

All of my life I walked in the world
But I had not understanding.

All of my life I glorified self,
Singing the glory of myself;
I let the exuberance of the self, the passion of self,
Serve for my full sufficiency.

But all of my life I knew not what I was;
The thing I was, it had not understanding.

It ran like the colt in the field,
That takes its delight in the pluckup of its foot,
In the looseness of its mane;
That takes its pleasure in the lift of knee,
The liquid action of the knee;
And has no end except its running as its end,
Nor asks of what it runs, nor where;
But runs, and takes its glory
In the swiftness of its run.

So I. I took my glory
In the running of the heart,
Knowing it good;
And in the ranging foot,
And in the dartling sight,
Knowing them good.
And darkled my days with ignorance.

I darkled the fields of my childhood,
The country roads of my young manhood,
And the streets, the streets of my full maturity.
And did run, and reveled in the run.
And knew not where I ran, nor why,
Nor toward what thing I ran.

I ran, but I had not understanding.

As the greyhound runs, as the jackrabbit runs in the 
   jimson;
As the kestrel flies, as the swamphawk flies on the 
   tules:
As the falcon stoops in the dawn, as the owl strikes 
   in the dusk;
I flew, but I never knew the face of the Light that I 
   flew in.

Lord, Lord, as the coupling horse, as the bull and the 
   ram,
Who cover, and who dispel themselves in the creature
   of their kind,
And fall back, and the seed of their kind is left in the 
   creature of their kind,
But they know it not: the waste of the seed of the self
Stains in the shaggy hide, and they know it not.

I stood in the stain of my own seed and had not
    understanding.
I lay in the coals of my burning, and knew but that
   I was burnt.
I had not understanding.

And when I stooped to drink at the cistern could not
   but quench my thirst.
Nor when I ate of the pomegranate, nor when I tasted
   of the grape,
(The muscat or the sultana, the malaga or the
   black);
When I crushed in my mouth the fat of their mast,
Could not, could not but eat. Ate only. I had not
   understanding.
Nor gave I thanks, nor the thought of thanks,
Nor spoke up, ever, my debt of thanks, as each day
I was endebted, as each day I could only be
By the free spilth of Thy giving.

Lord, Lord, I ate, but i had not understanding.

For how shall the eater who eats but the passable
    thing of the earth
Be filled with his act of eating?
Belly will fill; blood will fill of the eaten thing; body
   will fill.
Bowels will fill of the eaten thing; dung be given back
    to the earth
That the eatable thing might be.
Earth consumes and sea consumes and the element
    of air consumes;
So shall the perishing things of the self return to the
   things they are.

For what did I hope of this thing of self that i sought
   to give it glory? 
Did I think this lovely thing the flesh is more than of
   dung that is dropped?
Did I think the flight of the hastening foot, the lilt in
   it, the leap that is there;
Did I think the beautiful breathing of runners is more
   than the stain of their sweat?

For the earth assumes things of its own, taking them
   back.
It takes up the things of which it is made, it forever
    recovers.
Sea recovers, air recovers the spending breath of
    runners.
Each recovers its own; each receives it back.
The beauty of running men and of beasts, the gleam
   of the horse and the whippet;
The music of woman in motion, that wink of the heel
   and the arm.
The waist that is supple and drawn—O glory of earth 
In the pulse of the carrying knee! O glory of
   God-created earth
In the pace of the fabled ankles!

These are the things we have as the earth, as the 
   shimmer of earth has our love.
And these the earth recovers, for these are the things
   of its own.
All these does the earth recover, the earth and the
   air and the sea; each assumes them back;
Almost as if they were never meant to be more than
   the thing they were made of,
Nothing more than earth, than air, nor anything
   more than sea.
As if the earth begrudged them, and badly wanted
   them back.
As the earth wants back the ash of the grass in the
   smoking fields of October,
When the sun-struck face of the hill is burnt to make
   for the pastures of spring;
As the earth wants back the black on the rocks when 
   the hill is burnt for pasture.
There the bull's head falls on the stubble, the bone
   of the bull is tossed;
The sheep's head gleams on the hill where the
   skulking cougar dropped it;
The bones lie white and scattered, the slotted hooves
   lie thrown.

(And the dawn coyotes
Snuff them, and pass
Over them, and are gone.
They go like smoke in the thickets.
The hunger of beasts
Snuffs dried bone on the hill;
For the hunger of beasts 
Is filled with the flesh of beasts,
But the flesh of the beast will fade.
The hunger of beasts will find no filling
When the flesh of the beast is gone.)

I lay on the hill as a beast of the hill which I knew
   as the hill beast knows.
I sang as the linnet, that sings from a throbbing pride
   of self
Just to be singing. I sang as a bird, that bursts with
   a bigness of heart,
And makes it to sing, nor ever asks of the source of
   its song.
But sings for the singing. I sang on the steepness of
   the hill
Nor knew why I sang.

Lord, Lord, I sang, but I had not understanding.
Lord, Lord, I sang, but the mouth of my soul was 
   shut.

The mouth of my soul was utterly stopped with the
    wadded rag of my self,
As the truthful man who would speak of truth is
   gagged and kept from speaking;
As the mouth of a man of terrible truths is stuffed
   with a wad of rags,
So I gagged my soul with the stuff of self, I gagged it
   and led it away.
I took it down to the cellars of self where the ear of
   the mind is deaf;
To the clay of earthy walls of my pride where the
   sewer sucked in the dark;
Where the gross spore lurked on the table and the 
   lewd spore trove underfoot;
Where the rat-wad dried on the dish and the mouse 
   print slept in the dust;
Where the things of the self were wholly contained
   in the world of its own creation,
There did I gag the truthful voice that it might not
   ever be heard.

I had a savior in my soul
But I riddled his brow with prickles.
I had a good redeemer
But I nailed him to a post.

And I threw his body down in the dark that the
   drains might drain it away,
That the restless sea might eat of it and the eating
   earth erase,
That the death air of the cellar might wholly dispel
   its voice.
For the earth and the air and the salt of the sea will
   take of their own and dispel it,
The things that are truly of their own, each will
   surely dispel.
And I gave that good redeemer up for the act of their
   dispelling.

But earth and air would not dispel, nor the sharp-
   set salt of the sea.
None of these would dispel him, on him they would
   not work.
For the leaching acids within the earth, they would
   not eat of my soul,
Nor would the salt sea stanch it, nor would the air
   erode.
The very iron of earth they eat, the hard gem and the 
   agate;
But the soul that I sank in the drains of self, on this
   they would not eat.
But it rose from the swirling dust, it rose from the 
   salt of the sea;
It walked on the swirling water, it stood on the sound
    of the sea.
And the air made room to pass it, the raw air turned
   aside;
The wind it would not take it, the air it let it be.

It said: O one not made of matter, on you I hold no 
   claim!

And the earth cried out, and the sea cried, and the 
   salts of the earth, they cried;
The acids that are of the earth, they cried; they cried,
   and they would not eat.
I sank my soul in the salt of the sea, and the very sea
   disclaimed it.

And gave it back,
Casting it.
As at the recession
Of the waters
The live thing
Lay on the edge of the sea.
And the sea lapped it,
And it lifted,
It put up its head;
As the worm,
Knocked out of the apple,
Lifts up its head.
So did it lift.

So did it lift up its own limp head
And open its own blear eye.
The soul that was given back from the sea
Looked up, to know itself not of the dead.
The soul looked up from the slime of the self
And opened its own blear eye,
Crying:

     Spare Thou, O God, the thing that I am,
And give me to know my condition!

Lord, Lord, I cried in my heart
For I had not understanding.

For I never had been of his knowledge, nor was I
   yet of His way,
Nor knew His way was the way of man, and His
   way the way of the soul.
For I saw not other than the horse or the mule, and
   these have not understanding.
I suffered but as the suffering mule, and sweat as the 
   field horse sweats,
Who all day long must plod in the field, and know
   not why he drives,
But surely the bit will break his jaw, save but that he
   drives.
And the sweat of the horse makes a salt on him that
   dries in the bleaching sun,
So my sweat made stiff the garment of soul with the 
   stiffening salt of the self.
And I labored, and I did lift, I trudged as the field
   horse trudges.
I sweated beside the sweating horse and the two
   sweats fell together.
And I saw there was no distinction, we were made
   as one in our sweat.
And I loved the horse as I loved myself, for our sweat
   had proved us one.

And I rose up from my coupling, with my seed that
   dried on my flesh;
And I saw the horse in his couple, and his seed, it also
   dried.
We poured out our sweat and our seed, and this had
   proved us one.
I held myself but as the horse, and was content in
   his lot,
To sweat in the leather and bite and bit, and turn to 
   salt of the earth;
As the salt of my sweat fell down on the earth, with
   the salt of the earth made one;
As the salt of the horse fell down and was one with
   the single salt of the earth
That the earth and the air might have him, that the
   sea might assume him back;
So did I stop the mouth of my soul and lay it down
   by the horse.
For I loved the horse as I loved the earth, and the
   soul I would give back.

But the earth would not assume it, the sea would 
   not, nor the air.

Lord, Lord, I lay my soul on the empty earth,
For I had not understanding.

And what was the meaning of my soul
That was no thing of the earth?
That was no thing of the volatile air
And nothing of the sea?
For nowhere that I probed and looked
Could I find for its last place.
It was not made for this earthly earth,
It was not made for this sea.

And I cried to the Lord that He show me the thing
That truly He meant me to be:
Made me a thing to live on earth,
But somehow not be of it.

Made me of earth and eating earth,
And somehow not be of it.

To in time lie down as the horse lies down,
But never to be of it.

Given back as the mule is given,
But never end within it.

I cried to the Lord
That the Lord might show me the thing I am.

He showed me my soul!


***

the world is made of form and void, thing and distance, including our body and our sense of self, our separate self and where we meet the universal state of being. it is all a grand seduction, one thing chasing its absence of being (the place where it isn't), the eternal hunger. it is all a drunkenness lurching toward (one hopes) understanding. and if never understanding, then at least it is all a lurching drunkenness, a hunger, a carousal, a deeply lustful love affair.

i wake this morning to my daughter in the tent with her friends. as adolescents they burn so brightly upon the threshold. but of course we are all burning like this.