I’M FLYING UNDER THE LIGHT
I’m flying under the light to avoid detection.
There.That’s the first line. A cornerstone.
Maybe water, granite or quicksand
but the cosmic glain
is cracked open like a skull
to extract the message from the fortune-cookie.
The second line comes easier
though it hasn’t come yet.
I’m waiting like a crematorium at the end of my cigarette.
Yes. Hot coffins for cool people.
Like it. Where’s the rest?
A mirror looks into my face
and sees the enlightened folly of creation
is not the work of a clown.
Forgive the little arrogant flag of flame
I’ve been trying to raise
out of a nation of ashes
like an arsonist with noble aspirations.
I’ve looked up at too many stars over the years
not to see beyond my next breath
like a cloud of unkowing,
a road of ghosts,
into the sweeping clarity
of the silence and the darkness
that have unmarrowed me like a bone
to grow new organs of light, new senses,
new eyes and hearts and minds
that are free of the ferocities of night
that consume them death by death
in unextinguishable fire.
It’s a mode of compassion
I can’t get off my chest,
my way of venting with tears in my eyes
when I consider what becomes of us
who stood here once in the high starfields
alone in an opening between the groves
and gave our eyes back to the sky like water
that tasted of too much suffering
to be sweetened like an apple by grief
or provide us with a vision of relief
that floats better
than all these lifeboats of belief
even in the donated tents of these bones,
flapping like skin in a desert wind,
only our homelessness is our own.
Like stars and dirt and leaves
we’re swept off the stairs
across thresholds, out the door
and into the dustpans of our own eyes
whenever we think about putting down roots
and waking up beside our own boots
like bodies that walked all the way with us
to a known address and a bed
we didn’t share with the dead.
Even when the moon is full and beautiful
I can hear the clacking castanets
of the crabs and the pebbles
rounded like skulls in the tides
of the untold myriads
that have come and gone like the sea.
To be so much and then nothing,
to be washed clean of everything you cherish
to watch the dyes run like blood and paint
or arsonists from autumn leaves
when your mind has lucked out
like a watercolour in the rain
and your brain unspools like mud.
Sometimes I think my awareness
is no more than the smear
of an incidental rainbow
on a distended bubble
whose inflation always
snaps back on itself in tears.
I prick myself on the thorn of a star
and let my eyes pop into vaster skies
and almost convince myself
that our bodies are crushed like grapes
to deepen the abyss of the wines
that bleed us into oblivion.
Or life is a dream without a dreamer,
fireflies in a well without an echo,
a magician so overcome by his own spell
there are doves flying out of his nostrils
and fish building nests in his brain like a tree
and yet he still can’t conceive
of what he pulled out of his hat.
And fulfillment may well be the enlightened flower
of the ignorant roots of desire
like the truth in the mouth of a liar
but I’m not assuming I’m a vegetable
and who knows,
when you put it all together
from the earth and the light and the rain
into one brain
I might be nothing more
than just another kind of weather
trying to take shelter
in this makeshift eye of the storm.
But do you see what I mean?
There’s no more continuity in being blind
than there is in looking into the face of God
and seeing the worlds within worlds
that seep like feelings into her thoughts
as if one world without a witness weren’t enough.
Words stumble here like physics
before its singularity
and are left like bodies and shoes
on the myriad thresholds of hyperspace
where the worlds pour into each other
like a waterclock of salmon
returning to the source of it all
like the pulse of the sea to the call
of the voiceless bell that gives birth
to all the unimaginable generations of time
that have wounded the faceless mirrors of eternity
by breaking the silence and serenity
of the well that would not answer
by dropping in like eyes
that disappear in waves
washing out their own reflections.
Sometimes it seems as if
there are only two kinds of people in the world:
those that are going and those that have gone.
Where did they go?
Where are they coming from?
Are we the only strangers on the road
and our inhospitable purpose, this passing?
When she leaned on the windowsill
and cradled her head in her hands
to watch the summer clouds
her arms were cormorants of light
and she wore the window awry like a crown.
And the old Japanese man
with hair whiter than moonlight
who used to apologize to the weeds
he uprooted all morning long
in the whisper of a language
only he could understand
for making a distinction.
Where have they gone
where eyes can go and see and come back
across the threshold of their extinction,
mile zero of a road that leads
everywhere all at once
like any point in the infinite space
of the expanding universe?
Why must we leave
the mystic particulars of our lives
like shoes and bodies and names
at the opening door of our bootless generalities?
These fingertips were kissed by a mother
who strung them tenderly
like ten little birds
ten little arrows
to the lips of her bow.
Now that they’ve flown
can anyone follow
the light into the unknown
or lift their reflections from the waters,
their shadows from the gound
like breadcrumbs and fingertips
to say where they’ve gone
or even more impossibly
find out where we are now
so they can find their way back to us?
Or is all that we ever were and will be
like the root in the flower
that passes it by
on its way into the open
where its eyelids fall away?
When I fall away from myself
like a drop of water
from the tongue of a leaf,
an unspoken word, a tear,
like rain on an autumn headstone
will the stone ripple
like the rings of a tree
to let you know
that the great sea of life
still jumps like a fish within me
to break through the immaculate
silence of the pond,
its undulant membrane of light,
like spring in the morning,
like a pulse of light beyond
the dark side of the mirror
that has never seen the moon,
that absorbs everything
like a cloak, or an oilslick,
an eclipse, a black hole
where things never appear,
to let you know I’m here. I’m here
where I have always been
where the joy of life transcends
its own thresholds of meaning
by parting its own waters
like the wake of a night passage
or the curtains of an open window
or a woman who opens her legs like a compass,
suffering her own felicity
to give birth to the shoreless sea,
drop by drop,
you and me
each moment we live
where death hasn’t laid down its threshold
and birth can’t get through its own gate
because the concepts have left no living ancestry
in this empty world of now
where we live, where we
have always lived,
our elbows on the horizon
like two moons on a windowsill,
wondering, longing, dreaming,
a breath, a veil, a mist
as we evaporate
like visions off the lakes of our eyes
into the great abyss of our unkowing
like a nightstream that lives
by going on, inexhaustibly.