LIKE A RIVER IN ITS RUNNING, LIKE LIFE, LIKE TIME, LIKE MIND
Like a river in its running, like life, like time, like mind
no point of departure that isn’t also a moment of arrival.
Toxic parasols and meteor showers shot precisely
out of the green radiants of the candling umbrellas
and half-hearted parachutes of the water hemlock.
Starbursts of flowers that scald like welding sparks.
Bouquets thrown backwards over the shoulders of mean brides.
Alone in the high, wild grass, I just want to lie down in the sun
until half of me leaks into my watershed and the other half
evaporates into the cerulean bliss of the oblivious sky,
just breathe myself out into unfathomable volumes of space,
a riff of sacrificial smoke from a guitar on a pyre
as unconcerned as fire about where I’m going from here.
I like the metaphors that spring up like wild irises
along the mindstream, so I guess this is flowing,
though I could as easily be walking down a dirt backwoods road
feeling many of the same things, as I exalted
in the early blossoming of the chicory as a cosmic event
with mystic implications for those who can see
eternity embodied in the earthly simplicity of flowers
and that time, in the long run, has nothing to do with enduring.
I’m going to trample out a deer bed and lie down here
sketching starmaps of this year’s flotilla of waterlilies
until the light of the isoscelean Summer Triangle breaks
like chalk on a blackboard. I want to clear my mind
like the Nazca Plateau and let the fireflies build runways
like well lit jungle zodiacs for the extraterrestrials.
Not expecting the wind to whisper secrets in my ear.
The trees can keep their secrets to themselves.
I’m not here to read the private life of the moon
left open like a diary of telescopic wavelengths
too intimate to be revealed to the one-eyed peeping toms.
Just want to settle into my own wake awhile
like dust kicked up by a wheel, numb the turmoil
on the wonder of things that embrace me as if
I were a stranger to myself the same as them
and our chief function in life, if there’s one at all,
were merely the expression of our presence here
arrayed in the eyes of all like moon rise in a drop of water.
Things flashing into this openness like constellations
of fish and dragonflies in a mirror elaborating their ripples
into flying carpets of musical effusion
that are never out of hidden harmony with chaos
even when seeds are scattered like dice
on the ghost of a chance on the wind lamenting its luck.
Don’t want to mean, or be, or do.
I’ve been through those doors so many times
I’m beginning to think my feet are retrogressive thresholds
or stone mill water wheels grinding out my daily bread
like a Mayan calendar with a new moon at harvest time.
Nothing’s resolved except perhaps you perceive
how the sublimities of life arise like Arcturus
out of its utter insignificance through an opening
in the crown of the black walnut tree you’re lying under.
Whatever I am, whether I bear a message or not,
or I’m just a witness that wasn’t called upon to testify,
comes a time when it seems more fruitive to let
the medium adapt its grammar to me to say what it wants
than I should try to shape it to the unsayable
that always leaves the taste of abandoned books in my mouth.
It’s possible to flute your emptiness through the top
of an empty whiskey bottle making nautical sounds below decks
like the s.o.s. of a lifeboat in distress. Or you can percolate
like a breakfast clutch of black-capped chickadees in the willows
trying to get them to take something seriously for once,
or mock the crows like lumps of coal too cynically short-sighted
to spot the diamonds in their soul. Or you can
stop imitating yourself as if you were the proto-type
of someone who hasn’t made it to the showroom floor yet.
They’re all feasibility studies in pragmatic absurdity.
Given time, any lifemask you’ve carved out of your unlikeness
will grow to resemble you as space
has become a similitude for the dead.
Me? I just want to lie here until all I’ve got left for a voice
is a bird homing in the twilight, and when I roll over
to look in the water and see what remains of me, is a face
as unrecognizable as the universe.