THE MYSTERY DOESN’T COME WITH WINDOWS AND POINTS OF VIEW
The mystery doesn’t come with windows and points of view,
errors of perception, smudges, smears, labyrinthine fingerprints
on grimy glass, half-legible runes of names people longed for
last year, breathless palimpsests under a glaze of nicotine
varnishing the pane like an old masterpiece to keep it
from being washed away by our tears. Nothing to argue about.
Nothing to sour your clarity over by washing your eyes out
like mirrors with vinegar, instead of tears, wine, and blood.
Nothing to feel impure or unworthy of if you go home
to take a bath and you turn the faucet on and stars don’t pour out.
If you’re standing in a field of broken corn stalks on
an immaculate winter night looking up at the ferocious radiance of the stars
wishing you could trade your feet of clay in for winged heels
as you go inside to attend to being mortal and notice
the wheelbarrow stuck in the ice like a baby mammoth in a glacier
flowing like frozen time to calve in a sea of awareness,
your insight is no more or less pristine than a fish monger
watching the sun going down in the smog of Beijing.
The mystery floats into your field of view like a gravitational eye
that wraps itself up in a skin of oleaginous space like the silks
of the aurora borealis, a bubble of life that parts the light a moment
like the wavelengths of a lover’s hair. Comets, curtains, veils,
rivers of red cedar, the flowing of the mindstream around
the rudder of the rock, the shark fin of the circling sundial,
just to add the buoyancy of a bell to the emptiness without
weighing you down with the gravitas of starmud in the human heart.
It humbles and exalts simultaneously. Nothing to crow about,
no need to wake the neighbours up, nothing to found a cult upon
like a meteoric foundation stone entering the upper atmosphere
like a flashback of Mars throwing a rock through the window
of a glass house it doesn’t live in anymore. The wings of the housefly
and the scales of the oilslick are no less stained by rainbows
than the rose windows in the eyes of the most famous, beatified cathedrals.
Do you see the ruby-throated hummingbird at the larkspur,
the maggot eating the meat of your tongue like a sacred syllable
you could never pronounce for fear of choking on the name of death?
One’s not enlightened and the other ignorant. One doesn’t
cancel the other one out by adding a blessing to a curse,
an acid to a base, Gomorrah to Gethsemane, to nullify the bad
with the good like a pillar of salt the wind doesn’t waste time on
sowing the seeds of life like rapturous wildflowers and apocalyptic blights.
Seeing deeply into the mystery of life isn’t a matter
of choosing one eye over another. What discipline has to be mastered
to see a tree, a star, the moondog haloing the detached retina of the moon?
Life doesn’t summon you to a burning bush like a fire extinguisher
to put the fireflies and chimney sparks of insight out for fear
they might catch on. Look at how long the field fires of the stars
have been burning like revelation in the ashes of a waterclock of urns.
There’s no lost skeleton the light’s looking for to unlock
the keyholes of your pupils to open the door to the darkened room
where you live like a recluse behind your eyelids like a rose-bud
that’s going to bloom any day now if you die faithfully long enough
trying to second-guess a cultivated vision of what’s just outside your window.
What’s the difference between a deluded mujahdin
and a corporately funded cosmologist trying to tailor
the desert of stars in the hourglass wombs they were born in
to the mirages they kill professionally like scholars in the name of?
There’s no holy war between the silence and the solitude of what you see
when the mystery of life opens the eyes in your blood
to deepen your ignorance of the ineffable by suggesting in secret
there’s no need for the visionary to transcend the visual
like a moonrise on the waters of life it’s reflected on,
no need for the fish to ask what’s true or false, far shore or near,
about the oceans of wary sentience it’s swimming in.
When was the last time a dream ever lied to anyone?
How often have you known a nightmare to tell the truth?
I look at Vega in the constellation of the Lyre in the summertime
and I see the birth of a fossil of light. In the winter,
walking brutal country roads, I’m the altar of a sacrificial mailbox
shot full of black holes like rusty stigmata without a return address.
I can smell the incense of loveletters burning in the flames
at the autos da fe of old roses martyred by venerable heresies of the heart
and like a river as it approaches the sea from the wellspring
of inspiration on the mountain top it’s all one continuity of flowing
like autumn leaves and cherry blossoms on the same mindstream.
Haven’t you ever felt there was something draconian about butterflies
and pellucid about crows ever since their feathers changed from white to black?
The lustre of the empty stone, the jewel in the eye of the ore.
The bright vacancy, dark abundance of our quantum entanglement
with the full moons and eclipses of what’s arrayed before us here
like a hidden secret that wanted to be known in the stillness
of a liberated heart alone with the Alone walking beside a river
running like a starmap of ancient sky burials and resurrections of the mind
as the Pleiades go down dancing into exile like homefires on the waters of life.