THE MORE I TRY
The more I try to write and paint
the more I’m pulled away by things
the more I’m dismembered
by the mundane exigencies
of underwhelming circumstance.
I’m swimming through glass.
I’ve abandoned all hope.
Like Rumi said
I think of them both
and I sneer
like an emergency exit in a hall of mirrors.
My fate might be no more than an afterlife in arrears
but I resent being used so stupidly.
I’m looking for wisdom in a corporate feudal system
that enslaves part time people to full time jobs.
One life on earth.
One brief glimpse of the stars.
One chance to be set adrift in the mystery of it all
like the fragrance of a lover’s hair in the autumn rain.
I’m fighting an unholy crusade of one
that I’m doomed to lose
like a pilgrim that wandered off the track
with no particular shrine in mind
or way of finding his way back.
I knew years ago
when I was all elbows and windowsills
a poet’s life is a fish hook
a crescent of the moon
you had to push all the way through
to avoid the greater damage of pulling it out
once it got caught in your heart.
And there’s only been one theme from the very start
I’ve been humming to myself down this long dark road
where I’m walking with the moon
and the black walnuts don’t need to show me their leaves
like green cards or illegal passports to anywhere they land.
We’re all here alone together
among the homeless in the same lifeboat
on six billion mindstreams
all flowing into the vast inclusive sea of awareness
under a chaos of stars
in a labyrinth of wavelengths and cosmic snakepits
wandering off in all directions at once.
I used to believe
that people were born to see and be happy
but as I grew I realized
that the fairest form of clarity
Soften your eyes
and the diamond thaws
as if it were brought to tears
that put other jewels to shame.
When everybody’s already on death row
who can you find to blame?
Jim Morrison was right.
Nobody gets out of here alive.
But in the meantime
we can attend to the wounded.
We can apply the moon like a cool poultice
to the forehead of a fever
and raise a spoonful of stars
like an elixir to the lips
of a thirsty mirage.
We can wake a child up from a bad dream.
We can be oxygen
to those without any atmospheres
and when the world mountain
can’t find a way down from the clouds
we can be the river that shows it how.
What is our understanding of it after all
but a good guess
a stab in the dark
a lightning bolt
a chimney spark of insight
compared to what we don’t know there is
to know of it?
Even the point of a single flower
is a whole field in and of itself.
And every system of conditioned consciousness
is having a secret affair
with chaos deep inside.
The cowards demand certainty.
The heroes are full of doubt.
Life is a succession of disconnected gestures
that somehow work out.
You find water on your way to a mirage.
Delusion was the muse of your inspiration
to head south
and the clarity of real water
was what happened spontaneously along the way.
No one likes a cul de sac
just as they don’t like angels that get in their way
but the dead ends in life
have as much to say as the thoroughfares
and no one ever walks away weaker
or more lost than they were.
The path the blind take
is just as much the way of the seeker
as night visions are
to the revelations of the day.
Try to walk all roads at the same time
and you won’t even walk one well.
Walk one well
and all the others will follow you
like the threads of a strong rope
or mindstreams flowing into a widening river
on its way to the sea
and you’ll end up walking them all.
And no river’s flowing the wrong way to the sea.
The clouds that pass over
don’t look down upon the flowers
that open below
as missed opportunities
they’ll be asked to explain to their watershed.
If things grow
If things perish
lend them your future.