TOO LONG IN THESE DEPTHS
Too long in these depths, sullen and sublime.
So dark you’ve got to be the light
if you want to find your own way around.
No moon. No colour. No star. No sign.
And even my presence doesn’t help
to humanize the place. No day. No night.
In this space eyes almost seem redundant.
No seer, no seen, just this seeing deeply
into a dark mirror you have to drown in
if you want to see your whole life
flash before your eyes like a school of silver fish.
Even the ghosts of the dead candles
don’t linger here for long
and the brittle sticks of incense
find the lack of smell here
a fragrance too strong to be borne.
Almost muggy, a viscous summer night,
when you can almost hear through your skin
things humming to their own ripening
like iron on the nightshift being poured
out of the igneous crucibles of earth
into the shapes of the fruits by which
they shall be known. Pear. Apple. Apricot.
Wild wrought iron grapevines and blackberry laurels.
And there’s always a death shroud over the face
of someone who’s about to be revealed
on the other side of your eyes
where the sacred wounds are sealed in blood
and concealed like dice in a bone-box.
You can feel worlds yet to come
resident within gargantuan transformative power
like lightning at peace with itself in a gathering cloud.
The pressure gets too much. The darkness
too smothering. The solitude too overbearing.
And once you realize there’s no object
to the search, nothing to achieve, attain, find,
except your own way back to the surface empty-handed,
time to catch a ride on a bubble up to the top again
where the water teaches the moonlight
how to dance lasciviously for salvation and rain.
Where starfish are elected to constellations
and expected to shine, and the fireflies
refuse to be governed like blips on the screen
of an air traffic controller in a lighthouse on the moon
keeping an eye on things like Big Brother.
Time to bask in the extraordinary ordinariness of things
like ants on a blade of stargrass, willows
that left the dye in their hair a little too long
and now they’re strawberry blondes
waiting for their roots to grow out down by the river.
What a marvel of domestication a bath is
and what a joy to collapse into it like a bridge
and just think of how mystically amazing,
what a holy ablution of birds in a fountain,
the mere act of washing your hands must seem
to an aqueduct that carries water
all the way from the mountains of the moon
but has only ever known the rain to compare
with what it must be like to feel
so spontaneously lavish with it.
Time to aspire to a medium I can play in again
with the dolphins and the flying fish
running before the prow of the moon
with a painted mermaid ploughing the waves
like a marine fertility goddess without seeds
raising the skull and crossbones
flying from the masts of the shipwrecks below
higher than the supernovas or surrogate angels
have ever been hung like dreamcatchers.
above her immaculate conceptions
of what her innocence might be like
when it’s in on what there is and is not to know.