TO BE ALIVE HERE
To be alive here
is to suffer the godspear of light
that enflames your breath with life
through the heart, the night
of its napped shale
embedded in every part
like a mystic jewel in a wound that never heals
or a hidden nightbird in the far fields
when only the stars are listening.
To be alive here is to know
your only here and now
is to be alive.
Born into the lifeboat,
who needs to be rescued?
Is the fish afraid of drowning,
does a bird implore the sky;
is there not enough room in your eyes for stars?
Images, thoughts, symbols, feelings, words,
we live behind billboards illuminated
by artificial daffodils of light,
and walk our own midways alone
from tent to tent of sensation,
from mutant perversity to mystic elation,
blind in the blazing: come in, come in,
to the darkness under a flap of your skin.
How much has not changed for how long
inside the cocoon that diapers your reluctance
not to hump out of yourself with wings,
not to jewel the maggot with stars,
not to let the swamp hold up its waterlily,
not in overcoming or advancement,
not a white diploma of moonlit skin,
but a symbol and a celebration of what became of you
elaborating the world generation after generation
until, not enough just to see it,
your eyes immersed in the sea like rain
that has known the roots of the flowers
and opened the golden mouths of the grain
and washed the stars out of the hair of the fool,
and rinsed the age like a bloodstain off the stage,
you can finally be it.
You are empty.
Blood unspools like a thread
drawn out like a river unravelling the oceans of you
that used to lap these fleshbound shores
and flaunt this palace of bone on loan
from an absentee owner.
There is no face under your name
that isn’t looking away from itself
like light from the sun.
Utterly subjectivized, the imagination
reverses its spin
and things come undone,
and the skies that have dropped like petals from their eyes
to see without seeing the unseeable
are neither many nor one
nor the ineffable sum of the unbeable
because all things have already been achieved
and the world returned like water to the mindstream
it was taken from
like a snake that startles the stillness
before it flows away into the silence
or the light of a star that shines within
that doesn’t trouble the day.
But to live here in irrefutable bliss
you mustn’t confess to anyone
you were born knowing this.
To live here truly is to live
as if you had never existed,
though there are lifetimes behind you
like footprints on the road of ghosts
to say where you’ve been,
and every breathless glimpse is the eye
of someone you’ve never seen.
Here is the everywhere of is
and there is no shadow of another,
no map of blood to follow you like a pilgrim,
no sister, no father, no mother, no brother
you could possibly mean
to the photo-album of an aging gene
that doesn’t remember you
except as someone who was passing through
who didn’t know what things could lead to
when the stranger in the dangerous valley
took the highroad out of the mountains like an echo.
To be alive here
is to suffer one day, and dance the next,
to pass by rooms within yourself you never open
like tiny lockets of rain you weep alone in the shadows,
among so many furious stars,
trying to seed the pain with flowers
or patch new skin, a cool herb of light
over the burnt face of the moon like waterlilies
so the black mirrors will reverse themselves in the night
and turn your eyes away
from the things you can’t shatter with looking.
To be alive here
is to know you are dying,
the whole breath of the moment in every death
baling like overwhelmed boats to stop your crying.
Where do we go? Does anyone know?
Are we cinders and crows in the eyes of this shoreless sea
that watches us like a dream
no one can wake up from alive,
is this disproportionate night the jewel in the hive
that eclipses this rapture of honey
with more space than the flowers and stars can face?
Is a dead thing the king of its own skull-throne
or a toy of the ants lugging dismembered butterflies through its eyes
like sails crushed in the ice of a northwest passage
to be reassembled like moonboats on the other side?
We are islands and waves
and we close our eyes like the sea
in the imageless depths of our own inconceivability.
We are humans, worlds within worlds, and each
with a light of their own to know them by.
We are stars circling the lighthouse of our own knowing
like words off the coast of consciousness
that all mean, like birds, the same boundless sea
that slowly wound its aeons up like alarm clocks
to set us off like an insurgency of thought.
We are humans, bells and hells of blood and water that walk
upright like lightning rods wired to a brain
that the sea panned like a nugget of light
freaked with night, from the ore of a lunar vein
and everywhere we fall upon our own roots
and wash our own skulls clean of ourselves
like rain that was once alive
to raise them again like the moon to our lips, and thrive.
Long-winded brevity; brief longevity,
to be alive here is to be constantly giving
without knowing what your true gifts are,
like rain and rocks or the light of a star,
because even to share
is to set us apart divisively,
to break the plough like a wishbone.
There’s silver in the voice of the rock when it speaks of change
and though the rain doesn’t really know what it seeks to be
it gives itself everywhere inexhaustibly like a hinge
to the turning of everything,
and how could the night have guessed
the enlightened fury of a star
under the scars of its own elements
would lead to us in all our radiant intelligence
like something it got off its chest?
To be alive here is to know
that a single drop of water is enough
for the moon to swim in her own seas again,
and there are tides in the windowpane she transits
flashing with life, tiny glass fish
that make a turmoil of devotion
by seeding the ocean with eyes.
To be alive here is to know the wise
know less than you on both sides of the mirror
that lies in pieces at their feet like waves
that have learned to hold their tongues.
To be alive here
is to read a book on transcendence
while you’re sitting in the sun,
to ask why the moon is crying
when you’ve already drowned in her tears.
Is it holy? Is it joy? Is it real?
And look at the way it takes the whole of itself
from beginning without end to end without beginning
to make a single eye, all the measureless aeons of the myriads
that stand behind and before the seeing
timing the shutter-release
like someone taking their own picture,
running to get in the shot
before the flash goes off like light in the abyss
to illuminate the billions upon billions of faces
shed like apple-bloom in the orchard
from the radiant tree of its rootless being.
What is this without antecedent
I so urgently need to know
that I have poured the stars into me
and the starlessness of long, autumnal nights
and slept like the eyes of the rain in the roses of hell,
and grown black pearls out of a grain of dirt
like new moons in the mouth of a funeral bell
and hurt and hurt and hurt until
I could not tell who or what
was suffering me in and out of existence
like a dream in a fire that burnt without consuming,
my eyes in space twisted like melting windowpanes,
and darkness running down the blade of my solitude
like a nightdew of black blood on the tongue of the moon
as I shook in my chains like an avalanche
imprisoned in the heart of a mountain
where I wept like a metal in the cold abyss
of a horror without eyes or a name
that is everywhere this
that keeps killing me into bliss
by striking me like fire from a rock,
like the rainbow from its lock,
like a sword from the stone of the moon.
The universe pours itself out like a fountain
into its own inexhaustible mouth
like a drunk with a jewel in a bottle in a brown paper bag
up against the writing on the wall
in a dangerously infinite backalley
where Peter pretends to love Sally.
In each and every part it gives and takes
the whole of itself like a gift, like an ocean,
like an ocean breaking into eyes,
or the squirrel in the bluebells,
or me sitting here with the trees, waiting for leaves.
And everything is so eloquently
this effusion of transformation
as if fire were a music all its own
and in every flame and face,
thread, star, thorn, leaf, flower and voice,
in every feather and wave of awareness,
in every thought, feeling, and delusion,
and in what is beyond what we think,
the whole of the tapestry, the whole of the sky, the sea, the vision,
the mystic specificity of the indefinable,
the creative urgency of the uncreate
dropping worlds like pebbles in a pond
where every ripple opens its horizons like an eye
and even the rings of the tree are a slow pulse,
and the waterbirds shed their jewels in moonlight
and beyond beyond into the immaculate darkness of the thriving night
is the way their wings beat, the heart flows,
a star reaches out to touch the skin of a grape,
or a wave greets an island in a new language,
or a god drowns in himself so again and again and again
he can review his whole life flashing before his eyes
through every one of us,
through the rose and the bloodstain,
through the doorway and the window and the dream,
through everything that seems and unseems itself
like roads of light that move like snakes in the water,
like the holy paths of the unnamed ones
who return like memories of coal converted to diamonds
dancing with fools in the translucent bliss of their clarity.
One existence. Many. None. Three waves of light.
The sea. The sun. I am manifested
by everything I’ve ever been
like the running of a river
without beginning or end,
not old water behind, and new ahead,
but the whole universe, my watershed,
I am drawn from the well in this bucket of a body
enflamed by this fierce urgency of stars,
inextinguishable fire on the water,
growing eyes like ambassadors
from everything I am
to the empty throne
of the infinite bloodline
that delivers me like a message to me,
worlds within worlds like the sea in a bottle
bobbing at my feet.
And everything is always teaching;
every tree runs a school, every star
is a private tutor, every flower
a sage in a brothel, this harlot of blood
the wine of an unknown church,
and every bone in my body
the rung of a descending saint.
And what do they inexhaustibly teach
if not the youness of you to you,
if not the dark abundance
of your formlessness through forms
as if the world, and all that are in it
were your native language
and you were the ancient future of everything,
and every seed, a betrothal; and every flower, a bride?
Why suffer like a refugee at the gate
of your own estate
by refusing to let yourself in
through the open doors of the trees
with eyes that are wider than space
where can you hide from your own being,
or wash the seeing from your face?
Does ubiquity look for a place to stand,
a place to call its own, a seat at the table,
when everywhere it’s the homeless host
of these world-bearing guests who bow like trees
on the branching thresholds of a boundless feast?
In the furthest fields of yourself
you are the star, and the flower, and the seeing,
and it’s the namelessness of everything
that grows a mouth without saying like a word
that gathered overnight on the tongue of a leaf
that can taste you like the nascent stars of an old belief,
you have shone so long alone in the dark
to be alive here in every inseparable part.