The orchestra has made a terrible mistake.
It has found itself being devoured by a tiger
Even as it plays without ever touching the details
Of the infinite. Confusion has set in among
The clarinets. The oboes have made deals
Implementing uncertainty, a state unknown
To music, which always wishes to touch us
Where we would not wish to be touched
In public. We would rather read about such
Things in books than have them applied
To our bodies as concertos or pavanes.
Inside of this voice we are surprised to find
Our memories, our relationships with a probable
Reality that is forever having a most difficult
Time of it. We would like to believe this an incarnation,
I will be so bold as to ask you to pronounce
These words aloud, as if you were learning
A song about certain twilights or the temper
Rivers maintain that forever seem a revelation.
I will not ask you if you are reading this
From any particular world. How would you know?
I remember her hair, how beautiful it was and her
Smile, marvelous. The rooms of our loving as
Spectacular horses or brilliant battles for some
Prized land filled with fireflies and gardens, beautiful
Waterfalls and sunsets we could not imagine.
I cannot express these things to you very well.
I will move my hand in your general direction,
Make my fingers move so you may realize
You have lost completely a history that might
Never have been yours at all, but floats like islands
Upon insensible verses, always promising magic.
There was a line of red lights on the western
Horizon. It looked as if a great communications
Tower had fallen to the earth, lights still blazing.
I was trying to understand what I was feeling.
Long ropes made a kind of jungle around me.
I touched some of them. They felt like your skin.
I tried to use them to descend but the floor remained
Too solid and I fell to it, weeping as if my heart
Were broken. I looked toward the horizon once again.
The lights began to flash, one after another, a kind of code
My body could understand but which I was unable to.
I prayed the night would become darker and that
All lights would disappear. I wanted so to be
With John of the Cross but when I saw his body
It was in ecstasy. It glowed pornographically.
Stigmata appeared upon it. I felt my eyes
Burn away until there was only the red light,
The fallen tower, the legions of angels climbing
Higher and higher beckoning me upward.
My legs flailing to find my body, my mouth filled
With blood. I thought I was kissing you.
AFRAID OF THE MOUNTAINS
We couldn’t have been gone very long
But we had no way to measure these things.
When you wake up in the morning, where
Have you been? Did you see the cities?
A shop where colored glass balls are sold.
The floor of the shop is made of sand. Wait
Long enough and the wavelets begin lapping
Under the doors. One can hear seagulls.
You pointed out a ball in the western sky
That you claimed was the sun. I could
Only see mountains, huge and dark,
Crowned with clouds and flashes of lightning.
“We should go that way,” you said pointing
Toward them. “We can watch the sunset.”
I was afraid of that distance. I’d seen
What swings the falcon down to this place.
It is not mystery at all but meat. Meat
That once belonged to the bones these ghosts
Summer meadows and heard the bleating
Lambs across the way.
We move in haste to make for the mountains.
I tell myself I will have no fears. My hands
See a clump or rotted hair, a swatch of cloth
And although I am tired I know
Whatever we do is holy. Whatever is said
Is holy. If only we knew this constantly.
FROM THE BEGINNING
From the beginning
I had felt I was getting
Further and further away
All the time.
He turned and faced me.
I could see the end
Of his machine-gun smile
Short fires. My stomach
Burned and began to find
Its way out of me.
“You can’t do that to me,” I said.
“Look kid, you ain’t so much.
This favor for.” The gun washed
Softly, the big ravens drop
To my head. I feel the cool
In their wings as they
Brush my face and walk
Across my outstretched hand.
And so it came to pass
That people dwelt here
Who did not know their home,
And they became her poets
For they could speak to all men
And belong to none.
And this, my brothers, is spoken
From such distance that the mind
Has no room to see, all hands
Extended in all the directions.
These words come to me sweetly.
What the hand touches, the body
Loves. What the eye sees stands
In error of the home.
All light surrounds. The call
Comes down to name. We who dwell
Here on this most beautiful of earths
Call out to ourselves and are answered by many.
And it came to pass that these words were said
On a day called by a number, in a month called
By a star, in a year called by a circle, in a
Century called by a young mind. They are tales
And they are not tales. They are fore and they
Are their own light.
This is a cartoon, a story, a photograph
Of your bedroom in the middle of the day,
When no one is home and you are far away.
This is the drawing made from life. It
Is so lifelike that when you look up
You can see that room around you and all
The little marks of the drawings fall
Out of focus and resume their roles,
Scarcely altered. The wind in this drawing.
This is a direct message from me to you.
HOW ARE YOU? WE ARE WORRIED.
IF YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY FOR GOD'S SAKE
SAY IT NOW. I’VE PLACED THIS IN A POEM
AS A SERVICE. HOW ARE YOU? WE ARE WORRIED.
I thought that it would ride me, ride me
Like the voodoo spirit makes a horse
Of one and then uses all their words and strength
To build a brand-new thing once again. But a thing
Without a name, not quite a spirit any longer
But a frame, a loom, a little wire man with eyes,
Plain as day upon its so-called head and made
To speak a certain way that only those who know
This selfsame spirit as a friend can understand.
Still, all are unable to command it, no more than any
Horse might be thought to be commanded "Whoa"
Or "Gee" or "Haw". The rein laid softly against the neck
Might turn my head and that spirit would rise from
The smoke of a burning cigar and swirl around me.
“You are dreaming, little one,” the song began.
“You have only been loaned this pretty body
As a field might have a fence: to contain
The meadow as a stage where dreams
Become strong and more complex
Than could be imagined any other way.
"We will wait for you as you become the wanderer
Inside the wheel and watch as you do not recognize
That wheel for what it is, or the very best of speech,
Such as the crow brings on fortune’s wings of fire.”
It is still a good distance to the dawn.
The only thing left that might be recognized
As a gift would be a sleep where wind could whisper
Gold and wood, a yellow moon, a Winter’s tale
Told by Zen cowboys with a gesture, a valentine
Of travertine and onyx, of malachite and lapis—
The roads outside the fences, things that are timeless,
The snow that falls upon our spirit body,
Sketching us into the morning with some secret faith.