THE SILENCE OVERTAKES ME
The silence overtakes me, I had almost forgotten,
and I am disembodied again, awareness
with no fixed abode, and it’s sweet and sad
this passage of the mindstream through the darkness.
Memories of childhood, collecting bruised potatoes
fallen off the conveyor belt of the vegetable factory,
thousands of muddy spuds like asteroids in orbit,
being rinsed off by fans of sharp-edged water
spread out like the wings of translucent birds,
smell of wet burlap bags and how proud
I was as a kid of seven to be a good hunter for my mother
and haul a bag of potatoes home as if
I’d killed and skinned the carcass myself.
When you’re seven you’re still a wolf-pup
and the game isn’t quite as dangerous as it will be.
The faces of past lovers bloom on a midnight lake
and then the wind scatters their petals. Or they glow
by the light of a fire lotus burning in the window
of a Napoleon airtight on a snowed-in winter night,
musing and caressing the cats dozing under it soporifically
as the flames dance in their dark eyes like the corona of the sun
at full eclipse, and you realize how lyrically vivid
images you glimpsed out of the corner of your eye
at the time, written indelibly upon your heart,
but barely noticed, are when they move front and center
like a star into the iris of eternity. Lachrymose and beautiful
as if a deeper union than the one we thought for awhile
was ultimate, had come of its own accord spontaneously
as if separation and solitude had become the cornerstone
of a palace of water that had gone on flowing on its own
and had made the sea, and once and awhile,
a heart made big by sorrow and the silence that holds it out
like some strange kind of lantern, is there to witness it,
not outside the moment, looking in, but from within
where it lives forever unfolding like ripples in a jewel.
There’s a soft elfin frequency in the air, and an unforced smile
on the spirits of wounded things resigned as scars
to the phases of the moon that first tasted their blood.
I don’t know who they are, but I throw another log on the fire
like a threshold or a burning bridge if they want to
step out of their shadows and cross one for the homeless alone
and say with my eyes let’s all live around this for awhile
as if it were the last house of the zodiac with its lights on,
or that rusty oildrum where we used to roast the potatoes
on the branches of young maple saplings bubbling in the heat.
A riverine intermingling of vagrant hearts
addressing my mind like a star chart of fireflies
buffeted about like the Brownian motion of a playful breeze
gusting the constellations like dust before the witchbrooms
of the black walnut trees exorcising their leaves
to get on with the next chapter of their manuscripts,
ghost writing their own immolations, heretics
trued by the fires they burned in like sumac
on the pyres of their boughs, sky burials in lyrics of smoke.
Time, the sacred clown, reliving the ashes
of its own tragic-comedy as if the encore
were more profoundly sad and absurdly beautiful
than the first aspirations of opening night.
Everything in commotion then that now
moves me more deeply with the stillness of its passage
as if all the eras of my life presaged this one moment
with no birth or death in it, this farewell that never ages.