WHEN THE SPIRIT MOVES
When the spirit moves it’s the summation
of everything I am without definition,
the averaging out of all my existential crucials,
the dark matter of the moment
expressing the perennial insight
not as signs in the light, but light itself.
I don’t know what it is or it is not,
maybe just an enculturated meme of antiquated emotion,
or a way of hallowing the next breath I take.
I could be cynical and say it’s fake.
But then I’d have to eat my own ashes
with a long spoon, and what would I do
for an encore? Boring if the truth
doesn’t leave you gaping in wonder at something.
I’ve seen the wind at night in full moonlight
silvering the hot gold of the wheat
as if it were cooling a sensitive burn on human skin.
I’ve seen the fireflies in the valley
illuminate the cloud of unknowing
after a summer thunderstorm
like a chaos of lighthouses on shore
signalling to an empty lifeboat.
I’ve been engulfed by the fearful immensities
in the heart of a woman when her dark energies
start to accelerate space up to the speed of light
and even the most quotidian moments,
lipstick on a rumpled kleenex on the kitchen table
beside the abandoned mirror that couldn’t
get a handle on things, blood on the bedsheet,
the cooling red of a farewell rose, all,
supercharged with chameleonic frequencies
of eternity forever the silence of time and the void
when you’re mystically terrified by the passage
of beauty and passion into the carrying forth
of a waterclock just back from the wellsprings of it all.
Who knows where the time goes and everything with it?
I suspect it follows me home like a feral cat
that wants me to adopt it so it can bring me in
out of the cold. I used to think that spirit
was a smudge of a ghost, a gesture of air,
an aurora borealis in a twilight zone
where the sun shines at midnight and the snow blooms.
I used to try to touch the intangible with my imagination.
The void arrays the things of the world.
Can the mind do any less as a serious creator?
That’s when I discovered the fingertips of the very hand
I reached out with was the spirit reading Braille
because I was blind to what the dark constellations
in the black mirror were trying to tell me
engaging the spirit as a scribe and interpreter
one moment, then blowing it in my face, the next
like a squall of stars in a vertiginous gust of wind.
Snuffed out like a matchbook just when I thought
I had things flaring away like sunlight at a rave.
The spirit that witnesses is not a cartographer
with a surveying team on the dark side of an Orphic skull
to assess if all its softer continental plates
had synarthritically reassembled themselves
like Humpty Dumpty back into a cosmic egg.
The lamp might be shattered but that doesn’t mean
the light’s broken. The spirit never really mends.
It just keeps on shining in a wounded space
until it doesn’t feel the swords of the assassins of water
arming their shadows for a firefight with a dragon
that brings the rain like a medic to a battlefield
where the slain forgive their slayers for healing the moon.
The heart governs in silence. But the spirit moves
like a processional stillness through the mind
that shakes the diamonds out of the cuffs of your crazy wisdom
like dew from the mandalic cobwebs of the morning
and turns the lint in your empty pockets out
to show you you were richer than you thought
before you left home to seek your treasure elsewhere.
You cherish the jewels at the expense of your eyes.
One star tweaks your devotion more than the rest.
And they all go out at the same time. The spirit
doesn’t refuse the mind anything that allures it.
The full moon doesn’t obstruct the flight of the blue herons.
The spirit isn’t the voice coach or dream grammar
of what gets written about your life long after
you’re too far, too long, the moment you’re gone, to read it.
The spirit is like sentient space. It doesn’t come
with an entrance or an exit. The axis of the earth
might be the tent pole of a circus going up in a starfield,
and all the constellations swinging on a trapeze
in a travelling freak show of ring masters
and snake oil salesmen pitching their wares
on a blazing midway meant to befuddle the senses
into buying a peek at the grotesque and ugly
so you can secretly gloat at the shapeliness
of your own reality depending upon the comparison
for your sense of ascendency, your shaky rung
on the ladder out of the snakepit it’s got a foothold in
like a black hole cornerstone in an avalanche of galactic quicksand.
Spirit is flame, muse, familiar, sybil and friend.
No more than butterflies need to be liberated from their cocoons,
or dragonflies from their chrysales, the gerry-mandered huts
of their koans and fortune-cookies, does the spirit
need to be liberated from its earthly transformations. Who
can liberate the wave from water. Who can liberate
space from space? Just because the blossoms blow away
doesn’t mean they’re trying to flee the apple tree.
Let the spirit dance to its own picture-music.
Let the spirit play like the sea with its own weather.
In a bifurcated world that revels in reflecting its opposite
to get a rise out of consciousness, need one eye
be the disciple of the other? Speak quickly
or you’ll regret you forgot the answer
and start looking for intercessors to do it for you.
Dark watershed and radiant wellsprings of the muses
hauling up buckets of stars to bathe in like a moonrise,
your spirit a fountain, what need for it to drink spit
out of other people’s mouths, or masticate
the sacred syllables of someone else’s rapture at being alive
but its own? Whether you’re at a foodbank
or sipping nectar from the birdhouses of the gods,
even the angels can’t chew your spiritual food for you
and have it do you any good. Say, ah,
when you look at the world with infantile appetites
like gaping new moons trying to add to their collection
of silver spoons. Let the thief run off with them
like a crow with an eye for shiny things. The sooner
you get rid of the tinfoil, the sooner the shining
will get real for once and everything you rejoice in,
everything you feel and think and grieve for,
your commonsensical ignorance of the goat paths
up the mountain, and the avalanche of asteroids
you bring down on yourself as if your valley were a grave
the mountain dug for itself, to the enlightened lunatic
of your crazy wisdom raving in laughter with the wolves
at the rising moon, everything thereafter will taste of stars
in the eyes of the ageless friend you’ve made
of your own presence sweetening the air of a late October night.