TRYING TO GET CENTERED IN THE MIDDLE OF CHAOS
Trying to get centered in the middle of chaos
isn’t going to turn me into the third of eye
of a hurricane rose, or square the circle
with the clarity of a lens with a seeing-eye dog.
The rags of the clouds are teaching the dandelion seeds
how to drift with a good conscience,
just let things go awhile. What’s done, what’s not.
Why labour at either when together they’re just
the human way of walking away from things
one moment after another? Chaos has a way
of conditioning itself into people like me
who relax because they know it’s all out of control.
Been feeling like a dead branch, a maple witching wand,
these past few days, because I’ve given up
divining water with a snake’s tongue,
and I thought I was blossoming again
when I saw the first bud of the moonrise
but now it seems to have gone down
behind a screening myth of eyelashes and trees
and my heart is so disappointed in me
there’s no help for it, it’s crying in my bloodstream,
and when all my childhood insecurities
come mocking me like a fox in my sacred hole,
I don’t even bother licking my wounds anymore.
Hope. But it’s dogpaddling just beneath an airhole
in the middle of a seal hunt on a bloody ice floe
that’s grinding its molars in its sleep like sheet ice.
Always hope. A crack in the door left ajar
for the light to get in and the darkness out.
Only a fool would make the exceptional a rule of thumb,
and hope is a palace of water with so many windows
even the best thieves of moonlight
don’t know whether they’re breaking in or out.
Just the same, my blessings on everyone’s head and house.
The wingspans of two birds hinged to a gate
that doesn’t need a guru to teach it to open,
where I’m a stranger who stopped to talk
on the roadside of the fence, and on the other,
I’m a nocturnal wildflower in a secret garden of bliss
that doesn’t notice the difference in the way I bloom.
Anyway, who’s got the eyes to see any further
into their fate than a pair of dice do, and if things
don’t break your way, you’re not washed up
on Circe’s island like a love affair with the moon,
the manuscript of your first loveletter doesn’t
regrettably meet anyone’s needs at the time
but feel free to submit again if you’re a masochist,
so what, there a more mirages of fish in the desert,
and the star you wished upon digs its spur into your eye,
Giddy up. After you get over a little death,
an emotional stone age when Perseus meets Medusa
on his way to rescue Andromeda from a killer whale,
rejection can be the burr under the saddle of Pegasus
and there’s nothing in the way of these high, wide open starfields,
that have never known a fence or a gate, to obstruct you
from burning a little dark energy off
by taking to the air like a mythically deflated weather balloon
in an expanding universe that’s just taken
its thumb and forefinger off your throat to let you breathe out
as if you’d managed somehow again
to exorcise yourself from your own self-possession.
A lot of gurus have to like that. But I’m sick of the sound
of one hand clapping like an overly-disciplined seal
with one flipper left while Orca eats its trainer.
I want to take a leap of faith, not death, like the rain
through a circle of my own making whether
it amuses the crowd or not. Or meets the approval of rainbows.
Attachment too is a buddha activity once you get back
from the sad, cold, desolated shore of enlightenment
and the spell has unsilvered the back of the mirror
like flakes of moonlight, and effaced it with a clarity
that lets you see right through yourself
like the stars in an autumn sky into nothing.
What is it Dogen Zenji said in medieval Japan?
When the truth doesn’t fill your body and mind
you feel you’ve had enough. But when it does
you always feel as if something were missing?
God, what a lot of empty truth I must embody
to be so hungry for the taste of all my lost illusions.