THIS EARLY IN THE MORNING
This early in the morning.
First night in a foreign country
if it were not for the stars.
The premature stars of spring.
Slow crocuses under the snow.
The darkness fits me
like the skin of Orion
grown intimate and old.
I have come this far
like a night stream
under the cover of its own ice
but I don’t know for whom?
My solitude has made me simple
and this many lighthouses from home
there are fewer and fewer people
who know how to let go of my hand.
Have you ever seen anything more beautiful
than the Pleiades through the veil of a willow tree?
Moments on earth too brief for history
and too clear to be soiled by time
as if the present had found a way of lasting.
Moments of thoughtless illumination so beautiful
the entire contents of uncountable lifetimes
still wouldn’t fill a single hearse
in that deathless abyss
where everything seeks its name
in the plenum-void of the same voice
like the universe on its own
that first night in its own space its own light
when it knew by its own sufficiency
there was no need to go looking for a first cause.
In the beauty of that original insight
that clarified its being by opening
all its eyes at once in a flash of seeing so bright
there were no laws
to govern the missing links
in the chains of being
who walk alone through the night like lonely mirrors
true to their deficiencies
without disturbing the stars.
here comes the moon
like a desolate loveletter someone forgot to write
before their emotions turned into these faceless windows
gaping back at the night
like glass wells
that don’t know how to answer
seeing into the depths of their own being
like stars and fireflies
on the pyres of the picture-frames
that once housed their eyes
in a face they didn’t recognize
until the darkness called out to the darkness
and they woke up to the voice in the dream
that gave them their names
like the infinite themes of the moon
talking its way like light
into the cosmic afterlife
of a spiritual mindstream
that follows its own flowing
without being guided by the tiny gods
who lay their myths down
like starmaps and leaves and cards in winter.
Or a man wandering alone through the night
without a door or a destination
trying to seize the tail of what’s gone
like a serpent of water
tasting ancient starlight
in the mouth of its going.
The shadow of a black crow’s feather
on moonlit ice.
There’s nothing momentary about now.
The present neither exists nor doesn’t exist.
There is no living or dying in it.
Time knows its own like mingled waters.
A corpse rocks a baby to sleep like a future memory
knowing it’s eternal.
New moon in the arms of the old.
The future lying down with the past
without the sword of the present between them
like the arm of an amputee clock directing traffic.
The past copulates with the future
to give birth to the illusion of now.
They both slough their skins and disappear
through the hands of time as thick as grass.
The past raises its voice in the future of our mouths
and when we speak
even to ourselves
and when we think
even for ourselves
and when we feel
even if we’re dead to one another,
everything we speak and think and feel is prophecy.
Death bidding the baby farewell
like a bell in the treetops
as if its next breath were already behind it
and its death achieved the moment it was conceived
and even to think of yourself as having been born once
were a redundancy of duelling Janus-faced mirrors
that went on forever without ever turning around
like the first month of the last light-year
that didn’t look both ways to see what was coming.
The world ends in 2012?
The planet drops from the bough?
I’m still sitting here waiting for the Big Bang
like a kid on the shoulders of the world
wide-eyed with apocalyptic views
out over the waters of the newborn stars.
I haven’t followed my blood this far like a lifeline
back to a wound that hasn’t been inflicted yet.
And I’m not trying to save my cake by eating it.
Time is food.
Time is a food that eats us
like a cow eats grass
and we eat time
and the grass eats the cow
and the sea is furrowed by the plough of the moon.
Even if I were to walk forever down these long empty streets
out into the starfields at the edge of town
and broke the code of the Rosetta stones
that lie undeciphered in the local cemeteries
like the ostrakons of a dead language that’s gone into exile,
and even if the mesmeric scintillance of the stars over my head
is a summons to the ghosts of tomorrow
to this seance of the moment I’m holding now
to remind them they are not dead,
I’m still standing in the doorway
of a present as old and wide as space
like a threshold on the verge of taking its first step
back to the beginning
in the direction of my face
turned slightly toward the shining
that follows the past
like the unmapped path
of all things east.