EXISTING UBIQUITOUSLY IN MULTIPLE UNIVERSES
for Pat Doyle
Existing ubiquitously in multiple universes
because it’s getting too hard
to suffer this one on my own.
I just received an updated e-mail
from a friend who hanged himself
this past Christmas
let’s change the world together
but then the computer said
there was a decoding error in the url
and that’s where the message broke off.
If you stare long enough into the nothingness
all your inconceivables
become synchronistically believable.
What is a mind the measure of
if it isn’t the quantum foam of hyperspace
blowing worlds like the bubbles
of an infinite multiverse
where the impossibly probable
does and doesn’t exist
like the way you look at clouds.
I had a dream once
where I stood on a cosmic precipice
and looked out into the abyss
and space was full of eyes
looking back at me
and ever since then
that the seeker only exists
because the seer is the seen.
Like the Sufi master said
you can only understand
the things you’ve been.
And I would add in the same breath
that being is seeing
born in the heart of the stars
and that this life
are just metaphors
for the way we forget and remember them
as if we were seeing ourselves
when we look back at them in time
from the inside out.
Yesterday throws a light on tomorrow
as if it were already a thing of the past
which explains a post-dated e-mail from a dead friend
but not why it should end so absurdly
or why it was sent in the first place.
What could any fundamental paradigm
in this house of warped mirrors be
except a distortion of my own face
in a space time continuum
that imagines me
out of the sum of all my reflections
as if I existed like an entity in arrears
long before I showed up
as what appears before me tonight
like anybody’s guess
as far as I’m concerned.
In a place so full of masks and mirrors
it’s hard to hold on to your lack of identity
like a passport to unknown worlds
when you’re the only witness.
except the stain-glass mobiles
hanging from the dirty windows
but there are beads of rain
enmeshed in the window screen
like jewels in the weave of Indra’s net
and they’re all marked
like a thousand tiny logos
from the Bank of Nova Scotia sign across the street.
A thousand eyes.
A thousand drops of water.
The tears of a thousand mirrors
created in the image of everything.
And when they’re all gone
what is it that disappears like my buddy Pat?
The bank of
like someone I have yet to meet?
Cosmology or cosmetics on a clown
trying to run himself to ground
because in one world
he’s afraid to go to sleep
and in the next he never wakes up?
Does the rain remember everything it reflects
like mugshots of the usual suspects?
Does it dream of things in the tongues
of dead languages
like the forgotten grammar of chaos
and wake to the echoes of the voice
that talks to it in its sleep?
I could weep.
I’m at a crossroads
at the end of a cul de sac.
I’ve been uprooted like a weed
and thrown on a compost heap.
My mind is mulch
on a garden that doesn’t bloom.
I’m watering dandelions on the moon.
Whence comes victory and the help of God?
Or am I only a poet possessed
who wanders into every valley
where his hands forget what his mouth said
chasing exotic metaphors
for the incomparability of the multiverse
to anything in existence?
The fruits of a lifetime of labour
nothing but fossils?
I need a new assessment
of what it is I think I’m trying to do.
I thought I was leading disparate elements
out of this desert of insights
into the oxymoronic bondage of enlightenment
that sets things free for good
to celebrate their own human divinity
without having to give up their solitude
for a redundant union with God.
I’ve always thought the mystic
was the most vulnerable part of me
but now I’m beginning to see
it’s a false spiritual clarity
that’s the bigger threat
and I’ve gone back to trusting my eyes.
And what do I see
that’s at least honest
even if it isn’t very uplifting?
I see how the greatest achievement
of my existence
was being there to witness it.
To watch the dust gather on my blue starglobe
with its archaic constellations
like paper cut-outs
a kid would paste on the walls of his room.
To look at the crystal star clusters
dripping like mobiles from the window
and see how much the rain is like them.
And how the mind which brings things together
like infinite similitudes
out of the incoherence of their dissimilarities
so that people fall in love
and the planets stay in their orbits
and good people inoculate voodoo dolls
with the blessings of an antidote
like victims of the curse they’re spreading.
How the mind
which brings all this together
like an Arctic mirage of an iceberg
to the cosmic hallucination
of a lifeboat sinking in a desert of stars
is the loneliest of witnesses without a metaphor
when it looks for a face in the mirror
and all there is the endless space
in which everything happens
because it isn’t there to be noticed
though it’s what makes the difference
in everything we see.
I see how the mind
is empowered by its own impotence
like I am
to look for cornerstones in an avalanche
Ionian pillars among the asteroids
like a higher branch of learning.
I see how the mind is not set apart
from the blood in my heart
or the crescent moons of my toenails.
How breath and water and stars
and birds lifting off the lake
like the birth of rain
are all just vapours of a dream
in a mirror
that can’t wake up without me.
Gusts of stars
like gold-dust flowing down
from the world mountain
into the valleys and mindstreams
of the sleepwalkers below
panning for insights
that might shine a light
on the poverty of what they already know.
Chaos is the life of order
and order is the replication
of its own unpredictability.
Prometheus is liberated by his own chains.
Bodhisattvas are imprisoned by their freedom.
The grail goes looking for the ailing kingdom
and finds it as spontaneously as rain.
There’s no identity
to the endless variety
of a creative imagination in pain.
There is suffering
but no one suffers.
There is death
but no one dies.
The most intimate details of life
are cosmic laws
that are as inherent as pyramids
in the mystic specificity of every grain
as if everything
were the cornerstone
of the afterlife
of everything else.
You cut a witching wand
like a forked fractal
from a branch of the tree of knowledge
that begins like the letter Y
to go looking for the watershed
of the original design
and you end up divining
the meaning of the creative fever
that inspired you to search.
When the Zen master said
just regard the extreme chaos
of conditioned consciousness
he was talking about Nazis
goose-stepping their way
through the rubble of
He was talking about chaos
failing with the highest grade-point average
in the graduating class
of a traditional military academy.
Form is a function of its own unpredictability.
Intensify the one
and you shorten the odds
in favour of the other.
You can see the immensity
and power of the sun
in the opening of the smallest flower
and the far sightedness of the most distant star
in the wavelengths of light
that inspired the eye to look
back into time and space
when the grammar of chaos
was the muse
of every sentence in the book
in an endless encyclopedia of beginnings
each of which evolved
like genomic alphabets
into the cosmic expression
of a work in progress
that always ends in a prelude.
But syllables are such a meagre way
of expressing what’s unsayable about life.
Like the gesture of an unfinished e-mail
that suggested we change the world
like the urgent imperative of an optimist
on the verge of suicide.
Homage to the ghosts that empower us Pat
and to yours in particular.
But it’s hard to imagine
sticking your head like a key
through the eye of the needle
whenever a lifeline
ties a noose in at the end
of an umbilical cord
is going to do much in the way
of bringing heaven down to earth
like a kite you can reel in
without getting hung up in the power lines.
And may the muse of inspirations that last
bless the poet who said
All things change when we do.
The first word ah blossoms into all others
and they’re all true.
And eventually the lies are too.
And maybe that’s why
you didn’t finish the e-mail.
Did death make you realize
as it does all of us at last
that you don’t have to hate something
to change it?
That what we don’t know
isn’t the probable cause
of our estrangement?
That the quickest way to end it
is to befriend it
like an unnamed road we made
of all the shortcuts we’ve ever taken home?