SO CRAZY AT TIMES I’M EXILED FROM MY SOLITUDE
So crazy at times I’m exiled from my solitude.
I disguise my madness as the excruciating discipline
of beading the stars into a lifemask I can wear
like a constellation of fireflies that never arises
the same sign twice. Among all these myriads of me,
not one with an identity I can isolate monadically
and say, see, I’m indefensibly this mystically specific human.
I have an ontological address, and these are my doors,
my stairs, my floors and windows, my local habitation
and a name as the bard suggests. Whatever my magnitude
I’ve got a place on the starmap. I’m grounded like a garden
in being. The hummingbird thrums sacred syllables
into the ears of the hollyhocks, aum mani padme aum,
the jewel in the lotus, and the crow caws like a black mass,
but even when I walk through the cemetery
up on Drummond Road, looking for a gravestone
with the future of my name on it to prove that I existed once
to suffer the same dissolution as everyone else,
none of the voices I hear like starlings in the elms
are my own. And altogether the dead echo: not here, not here.
Everyone seems to have a God-particle they cling to for mass,
but I’ve been bubbling up for light years in one universe
after another, and I’m more vaporous than solid,
and even when I morphologically assume what I take to be,
briefly, the true shape of my shifty universe just
to get along or belong to all my friends with backbones like rafters,
it’s only a provisional scaffolding I climb up on like monkey-bars
to paint the latest theory of my myth of origins.
Am I a sum of destructions, God’s Own Zero,
or a creative deficit of cosmic proportions in debtor’s prison?
Have I run out of afterlives, broken the continuum,
or is this one just unborn without a beginning
though there’s no end of dying behind or ahead of me?
Subjective idealism, the slippery slope to solipsism,
the shadowy puppet theater of my own imaginative projections,
the mind only intuition of Vishnabandu,
the vehicular autobiography of the road not taken,
no bed in the shelter of the Shepherds of Good Hope
to lay my head down on like the rock of the world
to dream of what I could have been if I’d found a self
I could take seriously. Not life in a palace, but even
a tent I could carry around with me like my homelessness,
or a deer bed of cool nocturnal grass, a crude crop circle
under a broad-leafed basswood tree to say where I slept last night
on my way to somewhere else like the stations of a crossroads
where I can dance my way honestly like a Sufi
into annihilations of anti-matter in a charged particle field
reversing my spin. But there’s no particle at the end
of my wavelength. The snake with its tail in its mouth
has swallowed its head. The exclamation mark is missing a period.
Or maybe I’m hydra-headed and the more I prune off,
dead blossoms off the hollyhocks, the more grow back.
Salome would have danced herself to death by now
if she ever wanted my prophetic head on silver platter.
Valley without an echo, rootless tree, not even an anti-self.
I’m an oxymoron of crazy wisdom, what’s to oppose,
when there’s no one there to contradict being not two?
And then, again, what if I’m missing what wasn’t there
in the first place and I’m just lamenting the loss of legs to a snake?
A toy I lost in last night’s dream. Quicksand missing a mirage?
A reciprocal hourglass I mistook for a candle without a wick?
Or maybe sometimes the moon howls for a lunatic
to talk to her like a lonely mountain
that can’t find its reflection in a sea of shadows
but fits her like the skin of an eclipse up to the elbows.
Emptiness doesn’t insist upon itself anymore than space
gets in the way of things, or the wind is a distraction
to the flight of the white clouds behaving like herons.
Or a star is inhibited by the eyes it’s shining in.
It’s conceivable that somewhere along the line
I jumped orbitals like the photonic discharge of an insight
into the earth as a beautiful woman who had become my lover
and I was enchanted into passing my time and space
here with her, without leaving a mark on her
as if I were sleeping with water so unfathomable
I had the good spiritual manners not to kiss and tell.
And there’s a freedom, I swear, when you’re not bound
to anything, not even the void, or your word,
like a flurry of loveletters released from a dovecote
that makes you laugh out loud at the absurdity of glee
profoundly delighted at the emptiness of the sky
receiving them like the first signs of a giddy emotional life
more sublime than the dragons that bring the rain
to the starfields of wild rice with a universe in every grain.
Words aren’t panned from the grammatical ruts of the mindstream
like nuggets of gold washed downed down from the world mountain
to be picked out like blackberries or stars from the galactic slurry.
Nothing’s thrown away as of little or no value,
not even the alluvial silt, or the cobwebs in the corners
of some dead stranger’s dreams. Everything shines,
and even the blind can point themselves out entangled
like medicine wheels in the treelines along their horizons
their eyes once disappeared over on the prows of Greek triremes,
or birds, yes, birds, homeward bound through the gloaming.
Disparate images appear and school into synchronized fish
or startled sparrows, and then they’re a gaggle of Canada geese
trying to rise from a cornfield like an Ottawa traffic jam
waiting for the fireflies to change. Metaphors bridge
the gap between things with copulatively interactive equals signs
or staples in wounds, the axles of death carts and dumb bells.
Or the neck of guitar like the deck of an aircraft carrier
when the music’s flying solo after take-off, and the notes
are hooked on a spiderweb of spinal cords in hidden harmony.
The bottom falls out of the bucket, the mirror
of a reflecting telescope, a brain hemorrhage of light
like the supernova of a star that has finally had enough of the dark
to lose it big time. Evanescent hybrids and alloys
of memes and genes transmutate into surrealistic paradigms
with the half-life of logos. Intelligence has a heart transplant
and reason waits like a fire-hydrant on call to be a first responder.
Forms caught in the searchlights like bats and bombers
in midflight, no sooner glimpsed than gone,
and nothing to focus on, not even the clear light of the void
where your eyes evaporate like tears on a hot stove.
Maybe I’m that river of Heracleitan fire you can’t
step into twice, or a wardrobe of shadows for every occasion
to accessorize my next incarnation as an extinct species of being time
without the necessary photo ops and passports to prove it exists
like a future that lies buried under the stones of its past.
Logic can try to stay on top of its sorrows
so it doesn’t get hurt again by the unforeseeable,
and sensible shoes can cut their tongues out
and amputate the flightfeathers on their heels like tonsils,
and still speak mutely to each other like thumbs up or down,
a waste of good messengers with nothing crucial
to say to themselves, that isn’t better left to the silence
that’s been flatlining their headlines for light-years.
But I wear a black leather jacket on my back like an eclipse,
or an oil spill, that occludes my rainbow body until
I shed it like the new moon of a rat snake
and it’s impossible to say whether I’m a hearse
or a wind-up waterclock in the hands of a teleological god
that knows I’m only dangerous when I never show up on time.
Late for the Burgess Shale again. No fingerprints. No fossils.
Spontaneous generation like a flashmob
of immaterial sub atomic particles out of the void
that always behave like thought waves cut loose
like an empty lifeboat on a sea of awareness
when no one’s looking to see if you’re solid or real.
If this is the way you are, or just the way you feel
the dark abundance of your negative capability,
the bright vacancy of your absence from the mirror,
asylums of apostate selflessness in an inconceivable abyss
where to say not that isn’t just another metaphor
for what this is. Or denying the affirmation,
the affirming of the denial. Crazy wisdom.
Deeper in the shallows of what’s hidden
than in the manifest depths of what appears.