IN THAT INSTANT
In that instant time revoked my eyes like two waterclocks and my seeing was ageless. The white mirrors that had so long stood witness to my testimony about what I was doing on earth were suddenly eclipsed by the flip side of my reflection and the earth began asking what it was doing upholding the likes of me. And I didn’t know what to answer. Except to say it wasn’t wholly my idea though there was a time when I thought of all people I should know whose it was. And even if I were able to make something up that was reasonably feasible and acceptably balanced who would I tell now in this asylum of shipwrecked survivors about what I saw flash before my eyes the first time I drowned when the star of Isis I had tattooed on my left palm let me down. Jesus and the Buddha may have been able to walk on the water but the rest of us have to be hauled into a lifeboat. That’s why everyone’s born as close as they can get to a woman. And there have been other myths of origin I’ve remained true to for an hour or so to get me through another night like a sinking constellation flashing catastrophically on my event horizon. The sacred syllable of holy men on land squatting on their hams to attain an oceanic awareness that would put them out of their pain and everyone else along with them like synchronous happenings in a charged particle field is aum but the night sea mystics who say yes to their depths don’t say anything to free them from their agony but let the light abandon ship with the last farewell kiss of an s.o.s. And I came to realize in that instant my temporal demise is an endless era of unbounded exaltation once I accepted it for what it is. Because it knew more about what was going down than I did. Most people live their lives as if they’d heard them from someone else like a kid in his bed listens to his parents arguing late at night in the kitchen to the occasional mention of his name in lower tones of constrained voices lest he should wake up and overhear them. Shadowy dispatches slipped under the door. And it’s important to give the morning a reason for getting you up but what do you say to a child to make it want to live to be unwanted? These children are born to play but this one, this one, this one’s function is to get out of the way? So you get out of the way, off the field, out of sight. And your tears make new creekbeds to flow in. And where others go straight to their destination like hot asphalt on a newly paved section of Highway 7 with freshly painted stripes of yellow down its back others accommodate their homelessness to the circuitous blossoming of unnamed rivers with no particular goals in mind except in the way they flow around things and accept their turning as a matter of course. Vertumamnis the Etruscan shapeshifter morphs into the Roman god of dreams. Nothing solid to be legitimized by like a family burial plot or a summer cottage your last and only option from the very beginning is to be real. Become space. Light. Water. Take long vacations on the shores of the Black Seas of the mind while other languish in exile like Ovid listening for Sarmations across the Ister between the lines of the Metamorphoses. You become conversant in multiple personalities and polyglot identity thefts even though you don’t have a mother tongue of your own. You let the Tower of Babel speak for itself as you do the wind and the waves and the stars and seashells that have lost their virginity. And it doesn’t matter if you sit like a sparrow on a lover’s finger to receive a kiss that longs for someone else or you peck gravel at Keats’ windowsill entranced by his negative capability to be nothing at all except whatever pauses a moment before him. God’s Own Zero. Her way of making other numbers feel whole and good they haven’t fallen into void bound nihilism. But when the ground of your being is a rootless nothing how can it be nihilism if there’s nothing there to take away in the first place? Take nothing from nothing it’s still nothing. Cool bliss. This. Not the empty sorrows of those who turn their cups over like Tarot cards and tea leaves too depressed to go on with the reading. And you who talk about cosmological constants as if they were the biggest blunders of your theoretical life, have you begun to suspect yet that the only cornerstone that upholds the whole of this radiant edifice inclusively is the one that’s missing like the black sheep of the family from all your unified field theories like the dark energy of a mind that doesn’t reveal anything about itself to the light of those who only know how to look with their eyes?
But abstractions should not be multiplied beyond necessity like stars and flowers and creative ghosts who have returned to their senses like embryos of their symbolic simulacra. No ideas without fingerprints. But that doesn’t mean that we’re all identifiable. Or what can’t be defined doesn’t express itself out in the open like music and spring or the slim chapbooks of poetry that give voice to the Tay River in fall like hand-printed maple leaves. Where I am now. Halfway up Sunset Boulevard that taught me to paint the passage of things with a full palette, sitting under a bridge people fish from in the summer like an Andrew Wyeth reproduction, waiting for a moonrise to reveal how much she’s missed me since I went underground to overthrow myself like something imposed on me from without. And when she comes she’ll be happy to drink with me from the skulls of all those mirages on the moon that fell like blossoms from the hydra-headed stalks of my Herculean identity. Down with the laborious heroes of Hera in the death phase of the crone. Down with planting artificial flowers on the moon like flags in abandoned gardens that never perish or bloom. It may have been one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind but what’s that compared to Hathor the cow who’s been jumping over the moon since the first Minoan sprouted horns? And show me the wild iris or poppy or hollyhock that hasn’t done as much for the earth for generations. You want to come up like one of the good pennies of life from the bottom of a wishing well on the moon you’ve got to learn to put your heart into it like a rose. Not a reason for thorns. And if it sometimes feels as if you’ve lived the whole of your life as if you were bleeding out like the Tay River from an unknown watershed maybe that’s because you discovered the less you know of who you think you are is how the more of you keeps coming like a waterclock that always runs down like a river to the sea in the lowest place of all. This river was named after a river in Scotland to commemorate the race and place of the people who settled here like sword dancers from the Highlands they kept sheathed in their hearts like the bulbs of gladiolas. Who needs to pull ancestors out of their hat to add to that? I shall lie down among the moss-covered stones and tall grasses that preen themselves in the wind like the plumage of the river and embrace my transient lover as if I had nothing left to give her but a gateless gate that didn’t get in her way. What a tree gives to a bird. What the sky gives to the clouds. What water gives to the leaping fish that lives to express it in stars.