WIRED TO LOOKING FOR GARDENS OF EDEN
Wired to looking for Gardens of Eden at the wrong end of my dopamines.
Want to move back to the country
and live in a secluded place
you couldn’t find unless I led you there.
Want to take pride again
in knowing all the names of the trees and stars and flowers
as if they all lived in the same small community
of intimate immensities that I do
like pebbles on the edge of an avalanche.
Tired of playing Russian roulette with the asteroids.
Want to live somewhere even the animals know
the plants know more about healing than they do.
And it would be great
to have a woman who knows how
to think and feel and make love there with me
to laugh at what a brilliant idiot I am
to know how to make soap out of the sap of flowers
that smell like their names.
Pride of London.
Lady at the Gate.
Lady at the Gate.
I’m not looking for purple noons and honeybees.
I’m not trying to make a big splash like Basho’s frog in Walden Pond.
Just want to lie down in the tall yellow grass of a September hillside
and feel like a freshly baked loaf of bread
cooling on a windowsill
like a philosopher’s stone
as the sun goes down over the hill
and the dust of many roads
gets in the eyes of my starmaps
like gusts of stars
that makes them water with the wonder
of being here at all to know how lost and homeless I am
even in the depths of the dark womb that first imagined me like water.
I cling like a tree to my lucidities
and I’m rooted in the light
as much as I am the dirt
and I sprout poems and paintings like flowers and leaves
and even when I’ve been struck by lightning
the dead branch blooms like the moon
and you can hear the drums of silver apples
marshalling at my feet
like a troupe of white-winged horses.
Like the pulse of the windfall
when death first entered the garden
to let me know how alive I am
in this present moment
that has no death or birth in it
and goes on forever
as the only feature of time
that doesn’t need a calendar.
But I’m not waxing Biblical about the brevity of days
and I’ve always been grateful
that I was born too stupid to be a cynic
and looking up at the stars from anywhere
one of the greatest wonders of life to me
is that so few people are amazed.
They’ve never listened with their eyes to the night
so that when their eyes speak
they don’t understand
the mother language of the light
and the fireflies forget how to talk to the stars
and everybody’s looking for an interpreter
to tell them the meaning of things.
They don’t know how to enjoy
with everything they don’t understand.
That’s why I like New England asters and purple loosestrife.
That’s why I like being kept at home by snowbound roads
and unanswerable fires.
I want to sit at a carved picnic table
under a locust tree in the morning
when it’s in full bloom
and humming with thousands of bees
and wonder aloud in a poem that’s writing me why
whenever you find nectar
there’s always thorns
as if my life depended upon it.
I want to approach my material confinement
with the suppleness of water
given that’s what I mostly am
and have no fear of spiritual evaporation
after I’m dead
and gone beyond into
the transformative darkness of my original watershed
because I’ve seen the same thing happening to the shapeshifting stars
that everyone says are fixed.
I am not deceived by appearances
into believing there’s any kind of reality behind them
as if a mirage were lying to a desert.
Water’s no less of a window
when it reflects the moon on its surface
than it is in the depths of the sea
that grows it like a pearl.
If you can only see with the eye
and not through it
as Blake suggested
then you’re inundated with visuals
as impersonal as the camera lens
that follows you through the city
like an upgraded form of state shadow.
But out in the country where no one’s watching
but the occasional squirrel
once you let the light in
your seeing isn’t just
a phenomenological reaction
to photonic randomness
but a creative response to chaos
that makes images out of visuals
and symbols out of visions
and facts out of purposeless experience
like tiny mouse skulls
and abandoned herons’ nests
that don’t make a liar
out of your imagination.
I want to live somewhere in peace
without thinking I’m selfish or a coward
to observe the world around me
as if it were the expression
of the beautiful absurdity
of this reclusive artistic discipline
that keeps making me up as it goes along
to fill in the lyrics
of a half-forgotten song
it’s singing to itself like water.
I’m tired of the gibbering of the sacred monkeys
who don’t know what’s holy about life
unless it’s washed in blood.
I’m tired of the intrusion of the good and bad
into my solitude
as if the mob
and the government
culture and education
had a right to homogenize
the taste of life in my mouth.
Not the same.
I’m sick of gaming the rackets of life
for my daily bread.
Sick of the maggots
laying claim to the pedigree of butterflies.
Sick of the tapeworms
trying to convince me they’re spinal cords
or downed powerlines that are the envy of cobras.
Sick of never underestimating
the violence and ignorance of humans
without always being right.
Are there ants that go to sleep hungry tonight?
Are there bees in the hive without honey?
Just want to walk out late at night up to a high field
with a broken gate
or with someone else
that hasn’t been closed in years
and delight in going creatively mad under the stars
exalting in the radiance of human eyes
in an exchange of lucidities
that proves we are not strangers to the light
here on earth
or in any other place
where we greet each other like guests without a host
wondering why we are gathered here to ask.
My heart is torn under its own weight
and all my dreamcatchers
have turned into unsustainable spiderwebs
My soul is the swan of the full moon
unfeathered on dark waters
by a snapping turtle
that keeps rising from its depths like the world.
I’ve walked so long down this long road on crutches and stilts
it’s forgotten the feel of my feet
and all the mystic auroras of my spirit
robe me in meat
and chameleonic anxiety.
Sick of technological progress
that is the equal and opposite reaction
to the devolution
of what’s beyond comprehension
into the truth
that upstage the myths of the stars
with mutative alibis.
Want to go somewhere I can scream
and the hills will understand the echo.
Want to go somewhere I can look at the spring columbine
growing out of the green moss toupee
on the lichen-covered rock
and not see it covered in the blood of children.
Want to walk out into the darkness
even on a starless night
and feel like a vulnerable mortal
made wary by the innocence of natural dangers
and not the deranged perversities
of ghouls off their meds in the cities.
Want to get away from the maggots and tapeworms
that govern the body politic within and without
like the corrupt flesh of a dead horse
that died of exhaustion
pulling the milkwagon uphill.
Don’t want to walk any more roads that turn into quicksand.
Just want to kick my cornerstones like pebbles
down a dusty lane
as if I had all the time in the world
not to explain to anyone
why it seems so crucial
to get the colours of the New England asters right.
And I know it’s a dream.
I know it’s an illusion.
A mirage of the way I feel.
But sometimes even water
is wounded by this desert
where the only roads are snakes
that make paths in the sand and the stars
and it takes a mirage to heal.
Sometimes it’s better
to let yourself be decieved by appearances
to be relieved by the compassion
inherent in the way things seem to the mind
like a cool herb on a severe burn
than go blind.