ENRAPTURED BY THE ALL-INCLUSIVE MYSTIC SPECIFICITY
Enraptured by the all-inclusive mystic specificity
of terrestrial things.
Appalled by the inhumanity of the way
humans can so easily inflict
what they fear the most
upon each other
as if there were some strange alien duty
in their reptilian cruelty,
some small nugget of the meteor that struck the earth
back in the late Triassic
that we’ve retained like an R-complex
savagely jealous of the rest of the brain.
I can get along without matter
as does most of the universe
and the eastern dawns of Asia do
but mind and form are a different issue.
When water thinks deeply
about what it might be
it’s always a sea
with a small stream of consciousness running into it like me.
It’s a way of picturing the inconceivable for a moment
when time wants to be seen
walking in a world of forms
it effaces like the meaning of dreams.
A provisional scaffolding of smoke
to climb up on and paint
the miraculous birth of water
before it became a saint.
I’ve sat around the old fires
of autumn ghosts on a distant hillside
and listened to the stories they tell
of how wild and free words were
to name things in the garden as they liked
until God discovered his voice.
And flowers and stars
were no longer mystic gestures
of existential glee
that expressed themselves spontaneously
as if the gene-pool of the fireflies
were always dreaming up
new myths to explain to the constellations
how they came to arise
over the event horizons
of our cosmic windowsills
after so many years of longing,
but a choice they’re compelled to make
atom by atom
star by star
as if they were trying to say
something as enduring and meaningful
as an aqueduct flatlining
like a waterclock without a pulse to speak of.
The sun doesn’t tell the wildflowers where to grow.
You can’t dispel the mystery of being here at all
with the things you think you know.
There’s no freedom in a fist.
There’s no captive in an open hand.
There’s no way to get a grasp on space
without giving it your face.
You can look at life as if it were all absurd.
Credo ergo absurdum.
I believe because it’s absurd
according to St. Jerome.
Or you can venture further from home than that
and explore life as if there were nothing to understand
because you already do
or you wouldn’t be you
trying to give the word
to every new creation
as if the last thing you wrote
like hieroglyphics in quicksand
kept returning to where it began
like the pearls of wisdom
that come of all these
cosmic grains of the universe
that agitate the tongue of the absurd
into saying something crazy to the moon
she’s never heard before.
All things are modes of expression
but the muse doesn’t open her door
to the pimps of inspiration
who think she’s a whore.
And it’s a death worse than neglect
to turn your calling into a project
and build a palace of ice in the desert
to house your accomplishments
like snowflakes in a furnace.
Say what you must say
as if the words weren’t your own
but the natural eloquence of the lifestream
saying the moonlight in passing.
Like a man on a long dark road
in an unknown country
who talks to himself
as if he weren’t alone with everything
like a foreign language
that asks him his name
and he says it in a way
it can’t forget
that water is wave
fire is flame
air is wind
earth is dirt
body is flesh
mind is form
and the seven sisters of the Pleiades
going down over the rooftops
of the abandoned farm
and the roses that have kept on growing
and the hills that have learned
to keep things to themselves
and the gate that hangs by one hinge
like last year
now there’s nothing
to keep in or out
are all radically rooted
in what must disappear
in the now and here
of the mysterium tremendum
in order to become
you and I and us and them
looking for signs
of where we come from
to ratify our intellectual pursuits
though our original home
is the same long road
we’ve been walking for years
that still clings like starmud to our boots
that keep tracking us
like homeless silver thresholds
and the Milky Ways of garden snails
into the house of life.