I AM THE UNITY OF SNOW
I am the unity of snow.
I am the melting.
It’s just the way things go
from one state of being
to the another
without changing their nature.
I want to explain things to Einstein
but he’s always been slow to catch on.
You can’t have a unified field theory
that doesn’t include the mind.
You can’t get it together
by leaving everything out.
Einstein discovered Einstein like a thought
that stood outside of creation
like a separate universe
looking at this one like a peeping tom
through a window as wide as space
and clear as mirrors and glass
in a dynastic line of telescopes
but they’re not the eyes time uses
when she wants to see
what’s become of her face over the years.
I am the unity of melting snow.
I go the way I go
with millions of fallen leaves
making plans for next year’s trees.
I delight in the crazy wisdom of the wild asters
holding themselves up
like bouquets at the roadside
to the dust and the wind
and the momentary glance
of the occasional traveller
who knows so much
about where he’s going
there’s no destiny in his destination.
He’ll take the risk
but not the chance.
He’s an illiterate
who doesn’t know the names
of the stars or the flowers.
He’s thinks of growth as an advance.
The asters rooting their constellations
like the Pleiades
in the drainage ditches
along the backroads
that have all left home for the big city
like smalltown adolescents
or Canada geese in the fall
are nothing but a blur to him
not sentient life forms from a distant star
that sends greetings
in a universal language of flowers
to see if we’ve mastered our mother-tongue
and know how to answer back.
I am the unity of snow
it takes to turn one big country
into a Canadian
with the identity of a snowflake
no two alike
like fingerprints and dna
and a passport that’s good
anywhere in the world
like water and ice.
It’s hard not to be grateful
for having been born here
and if Einstein had been born here
among the sumac and the cedars
instead of the black forests of Germany
he would have discovered
his unified field theory by now.
He would have looked up
at the raw wild stars
of a wilderness night
huddled around a campfire
as the forked tongues of the flames
lie like a ghost story
about things they know nothing about
and seen the New England asters
blooming along the Milky Way
like a sidereal bouquet
of mentally arranged insights
into the spontaneous nature of light
when it takes time and space off
long enough to shine
like Einstein’s image of himself
trying to explain everything to the universe
when no one is listening.
When the truth doesn’t fill your mind and body
you always feel you’ve had enough.
When the truth does fill your mind and body
you always feel that something’s missing.
It’s the emptiness of not-being
that inspires growth
that tilts the wine jar like a planet
into flowing like a drunk’s dream of earth
into seas way over his head.
Out of the potential of nothing emerges
like a doe stepping out of the woods
to drink from her own reflection like the moon
when it comes down to the water
longing for lost illusions
that gave up the ghost
with their last breath
like the last gasp of an atmosphere
billions of years ago.
I am the unity of snow
but even going with the flow
is still too much of a direction for me
to feel so absolutely free
of arriving anywhere
I’m in cosmic harmony
with what’s mystically specific
about the creative liberties I take
to be melting snow
and wash myself clean of myself
so I don’t get in the way
of what I’m dying to know
about this huge afterlife of water
I call my home and native land
though everybody here
knows it isn’t so.
Or whose dream it is.
Or whose death inspired it
to lavish so much pagan karma
on its savage innocence
I’ll always see a stranger
embodied in the hills
in late September
like a past life
that’s too far back to remember.
Psychology is landscape.
Everyone’s a shaman.
The red-tailed hawk dreams
its totem animal’s a human.
The clever American fox
lifts its nose from the ground
and raises it up
like a Confederate revolver
to shoot the stars out of the union
that melts the many
into one cannibal’s cooking pot.
Not like here
where the one breaks bread with the many
like hot blood on cold snow
older than the unalloyed wisdom
of lone wolves like me
hunted into extinction
by a National Geographic documentary
about what it used to be like
to be lyrically wild hungry and free
when blood wasn’t frozen
like a rose in the snow
of a full-length feature
on how to hunt wolves from a helicopter
like a maggot with a gun
taking his dysfunctional erectile rage out
on anything with a bigger one
than he could possibly imagine.
Blood was the dark incomprehensible rapture
renewed with every breath
that bumped the head against the heart
like a thought against an emotion
like a wave against the great nightsea
through the veins and vines of nature
like an ancient instinct it shared with the stars.
Now no one knows what I’m talking about.
There’s no madness in their passion
that isn’t the bad echo
of a better voice.
There’s infinite variety
but no choice.
There’s no chaos in the mayhem
that’s ever going to give birth to a dancing star
and no darkness in the hearts of humans
sincere enough to see it.
There’s no ocean
in the mud-puddles of sentiment
that are gone by noon
like the hangover
of a cosmic emotion
that ends up on the market
like a celebrity perfume.
Van Gogh would scare everybody to death
all over again
and as he said with his last breath
there will always be pain
and though he was a little deaf in one ear
he wasn’t insane
when he said
in my head
just a moment ago
but look at the beauty
in the intensity of this
shining like Venus
or a white iris
in a vast abyss of indigo
like a longing
that will never be fulfilled.
Anyone can see with their eyes.
But what the spirit paints like a witness
that’s never been sworn in
by the God and the law
of those who are bound by sin
is the beginning of a myth of origin
that’s not a star map for the blind.
It’s time for a sidereal religion
that lets everyone in on the big secret
the stars have known all along.
Nothing’s ever really wrong.
Nothing’s ever really right.
Nothing is stained by its opposite
any more than the day is by the night.
It’s just the nature of light.
It’s just the nature of mind.
You might be a lightning bolt.
You might be a firefly.
You might be a star.
Whoever you are