TRYING TO DIVINE
Trying to divine the source of my own nonsense,
the spiritual motherlode of my insubstantial substance,
more dark matter than light,
track myself back to my trackless beginnings
like a junkie who doesn’t know
what he’s addicted to,
I’ve come to this impasse of peace
like a nightriver absorbed into a desert of stars
that bloom everywhere along my ubiquitous banks
like the illuminated afterlives
of wild, New England asters
playing scrabble with my constellations.
Things transpire in the stillness without an agency
and smoke is no longer the history of fire
nor time the moon married to a bone.
The eloquence of water still streams over
the skull of my voice
as if it could make up for the loss of my eyes
and cool the clarity of the seeing,
and I am still as susceptible as ever
to the charms of the doves
that sometimes fly
from the transformative gestures of the magician’s hands,
but trees and squirrels just as they are,
and ants in the gravel
are no less of a wonder.
Sometimes the music forsakes itself
and plays the listener
and then I am a one-stringed spinal cord on a witching stick
in a choir of silver-tongued crows.
Or I am beneath the contempt of the ordinary.
Either way, the snakeoil greases the pivot
and I turn with each exit and entrance
as if I were breathing for someone else
like a homeless gate to anywhere.
And it’s amazing to discover what’s healed
when the scab of your name falls off
like a stone rolled away from your tomb
and every wound is the cradle of its own messiah.
Every aspiration is born of contrition
as food is born of the eater
or the fire devours the wood that feeds it
until you can’t tell the grass from the grazer
when both disappear like wings of the same bird
consumed by the same sky like fire and smoke and longing.
I don’t know what to want anymore.
Once I was a tree of ambition.
Now, not even a leaf on the stream
hoping somehow I was a map to somewhere.
The stars of too many nightskies
have looked too deeply into me
and a darkness brighter than light
that wipes me like a smear from my seeing
has doused the match-head of my little flaring
in the inexhaustible clarity of an unwitnessed mind
that is so mystically specific in every form and person
nothing and no one is ever missing.
It’s the dream that things are as they are that wakes up,
not the dreamer.