IF YOU’RE BRAVER THAN I AM
If you’re braver than I am
it’s only because you’re more desparate you said
and I broke down laughing in tears
as you were tripping on mushrooms
and I was starting to peak on acid.
Why should you love me at all you asked
and I said I like to take subjective risks
and I can still light up at the smile you gave me
because you thought I thought you were dangerous.
Have you stayed dangerous over the years?
Did you ever find enlightenment?
Or have all those Doors of Perception we stepped through
way back then to expand our cosmic conciousness
by crossing all our thresholds
and dotting all our taboos
closed like space behind you?
Have you made your return address a point of view
you can live with
and turned those beautiful Hispanic eyes
into late night windows
that don’t see anything that ever goes down in the neighbourhood?
Is your seeing still ambidextrous
or have you shut your eyes to the world
so they’re more wall than window
and there’s only one way of looking in?
Sometimes I think that night I dropped acid with you
on China Beach under the stars
estranged by the flames and shadows and smoke
of a cedar fire eager to burn its first heretic
I got so high I’ve never come down
and though forty years have passed
I’m still nineteen back there somewhere with you.
Even my mother used to say in frustration
when she couldn’t win the argument
that I had a way of turning things upside-down.
That may well be so
but I’d still rather be an oxymoron
that can see all sides of things at once
like a multi-faceted jewel turning in the light
in front of a mirror
that doesn’t know which one of its infinite profiles to choose
than suffer the Great Reversal of the Hourglass
and end up walking on my head
and thinking with my feet
just so everybody would think I was normal.
I’m still nineteen back there somewhere with you
and the fire we lit that night
like something ephemeral
among so much that was eternal
keeps flaring up in me like a phoenix that’s never gone out.
Clarity doesn’t turn a lie into the truth.
And enlightenment might be so blissed out
it celebrates its own ignorance
because everything is perfect just as it is
but I still think there’s more sincerity in the search
than there is in the finding.
I still think life is a mystery that surpasses its own wonder.
I still think every moment contains the whole of space
without beginning or end
like a water droplet contains the whole of the sea.
I still think that whenever people touch one another gently
they leave their fingerprints on the window
like constellations on the sky
that prove our identities are as indelible as light.
I still think there’s something more alluringly mystical about action
than there is in the undynamic peace of contemplation.
But the best is to make love as we did that night
as a tantric mode of creative annihilation
that showed the drugs we were on
like flying carpets
what it was like for once
to get so euphorically high on us
the next time they saw us coming
they’d just say yes.