AS LONG AS PYRAMIDS
As long as pyramids
have gazed upon their own reflections in sand
I’ve waited for an afterlife among the stars
that didn’t pull its roots up from here
and forgetting how sweet it was among the flowers
disappear like grass from the Sahara.
And the gates to wherever I’m going
keep opening and closing like the wings of a bird
that’s never going to get off the ground.
Things go round and round like life and death
as if they were one kitten chasing its own tail
and jumping straight up in the air like a hair-do at its own shadow.
I give water back to the river.
I give the air back my breath.
It was always this way
long before I was born.
You give back what was given to you
like a secret whispered in your ear
that was never meant for anyone but you to hear
your own voice in the sound of the night
giving itself back to the silence
that clarifies everything
by not trying to.
Life isn’t something you make your way through.
Life isn’t something that comes back on you
like a wave that’s lost its footing.
Life is as motherless as space
that bears all things within itself
like forms in time.
Cling to life and you’ll lose your hold.
Let go of it and you’ll endure like a cornerstone.
Be time and you’ll never grow old.
Act your age and you’re still just a cheap thrill to eternity.
It’s easier to forget what you never understood
than it is to remember you’re insane
but if you go around seeking compassion and lucidity
as if they were things you had to learn
that means you have none
and everyone’s in pain.
Going with the flow
you sit still on your flying carpet
and your mind moves like the wind beneath you.
Digging your heels in like a horse with spurs
and a burr under its saddle
the unbroken stallion
spreads its wings among the stars
and your mind doesn’t give an inch.
Wisdom isn’t in the way you see things.
It’s in the way you don’t.
If you stop bringing your own eyes
to the things you’re looking at
they’ll give you their own to see them by.
If you don’t bring your own ears to the listening
it’s easy to know what the stars are talking about.
If you don’t bring a mind like a headmaster
to everything that makes a fool of you in life
when you try to understand life
as if it were a school you had to excel in
you can see clearly that life isn’t a discipline.
There’s nothing to win.
There’s nothing to lose.
What you reject now
you will later accept.
And you can read
the palm of your hand
and cast your fortune
by placing a bet on the running of rivers
but true lifelines are always perfect circles of rain
no two ever the same
as they progress the way they came.
So who can ever be ahead
and who can ever be left behind?
The dark watersheds of the mind
don’t hold their fountains up like trophies.
Don’t say a word at the beginning of creation
like a talkative god
who knows too many names for things
and you can feel life
giving birth to life within you
moment by moment
like the muse
of her own inexhaustible inspiration.
The wise man sits like a dunce in the corner
as the fool lectures on folly
and more hatred
has been perpetrated by the good
in the name of love
than the bad who haven’t heard the word
and turned an echo into a calling
and said nothing.
If I jump toward paradise
tell me quick
is that rising or falling?
And if I shine out in all directions
like an autumn water star
that blooms among the lilies
that coronate their own reflections
one crown up
and one crown down
is that the sky using the water for a mirror
or water peering into the sky?
And which of all the ways the light takes is wrong?
If you think of yourself as a thing
then you must wait to be illuminated.
But when reality stops being solid
and everything turns to space and time
where is there any darkness within you that’s blind?
Where is there any face in the night
even in despair
even in delusion
even in anger and longing and grief
even on the terminal rows of disbelief
hoping for a reprieve from that it once despised like proof
that isn’t the moon-face of an enlightened mind
dressing up for Halloween?
Why look for the meaning of life outside yourself
like a vampire looking for a grail
when it’s the theme of blood in your body
that writes its holy book in braille
so you can read in the dark
when the light fails
tall tales of your own spiritual insight
and how hard it is to understand
that there’s nothing to stand on?
Gravity might hang on awhile
like a rejected lover
to what space lets go of cavalierly
and that’s clearly how earth got to be
the round cornerstone of stability
that mothered us into being
like hot spin on the q-ball of a long shot
that swept the elemental table like a floor.
But we’re still just a little chalk and English on a blackboard
that hasn’t been completely rubbed out
by the writing on the wall.
And we sit here like buddhas in the abyss
listening for echoes even before we call
trying to see the stars before the arising of signs
and grasp true things without mouths
like a language that’s never been spoken
to anyone who’s learned to speak.
May it dawn upon us all
sooner than yesterday
like blind lightning
rooted in the birth of time
in this first and last moment of the universe
that we are the homeless lost and found
of everything we seek.