TO ASPIRE SO HIGH YOU’RE OUT OF TOUCH WITH YOURSELF
To aspire so high you’re out of touch with yourself,
the dying sacrifice that’s lost perspective of its exits,
your mind, a comet on a hyperbolic flyby of the sun.
A shot in the dark. Whether it was lucky or not,
you took it, you slowly squeezed the trigger of the moon,
a portent, a sign, a beautiful night, an engaging view
of the river and its willow, a flash of insight
with no recoil to echo like a mantra among the hills,
in a perfect moment of silence, in a gentle colloquy
of lightning and fireflies, life was more over
than anything death had ever tried to attain
on the rungs of the bones of the shakey ladders
the skeletons use to climb out of their graves,
chakra by chakra, scarlet runners of snake fire
setting their staves like rafters in the house of life alight.
The dragon cradled in the fledgling ashes of its pyre.
A cosmic egg trying to break through the down
of another grey day of the extraordinarily mundane.
Unheralded. A childhood unmothered by time. Insane.
Not two. So no one ever there to make a third.
No shadow standing in the wings of the stillness,
the silence, or the empty stage of my one-act solitude.
The sky is there, but I’m the famous disappearing waterbird
that migrates circumpolarly north of nowhere
a compass needle could point out the stars to
like a lightning rod with confidence it won’t
burn out its nerves jumping its neuronic synapses
without a timing chain to synchronize the firing squad.
I can tell by the shadows I’ve cast behind me
like sundials how many times I’ve peeked
through my blindfold to catch a glimpse of death
as if I were consulting the oracular ashes
of irreplaceable starmaps of the inconceivable
in the fire-pits of the Library of Alexandria’s
accidental cremation every fall when inspiration ignites
the leaves of the flammable maple groves
and everything is ageless as a perennial farewell
wearing an expiry date like a wildflower in its lapel
to commemorate the eternal recurrence
of autumn stars over the smokeless chimneys of Auschwitz.
Yellow Capella’s broken horn of plenty when Almathea
suckled Zeus, and the kids weren’t boiled alive
in matriarchal milk unlike the fratricides of Rome’s
procreatrix wolf mother howling in her tears for blood
through a thousand reichs and gulags of violated starmud.
O Osip Mandelstam, where are you now? Are you still
writing somewhere underground like a rootfire
flowering in the eyes of your tormentor’s demented gene pools
as if you could take the muck and detritus of the lowest places
and transmutate them into something hard and cold and beautiful
as a waterlily of swords blooming like a vow together
to raise up one flower, one star, one inviolable word more
than the tyranny of your disappearance could silence
or work to death? It’s the trivial pursuit of sublime energies
to entertain lesser goals, until they begin to focus
like gravitational eyes on bending the light like a destiny
that effortlessly unfolds like a posthumous loveletter
to the human spirit that candles, and gutters, shudders
in each of our hearts like the slow fireworks of an evening fire
on a cold night blazing with Russian sunflowers the dark
couldn’t put out in an unheated barracks that failed to freeze
the ink in your pen, or the moon that’s symbolic
of the madness and the wisdom of the rest of us,
like Luna moths come to the light in your broken window in winter.