She stood there looking
Just like a bridge, ready
To take its toll.
She dropped her journal
On the sidewalk and three
Black birds and one red one
Flew out of it. “The ink was still
Wet,” she said.
“I was hoping for birds,” I said,
But she didn’t know what I was
Talking about. I sat on the corner
Curb waiting for the light to change.
I knew it would take a very long time.
“Remember when we were talking
About God?" she said. “No,” I answered.
“It was on that beach and there were flies
All over everything and they kept getting
In our mouths when we were talking.”
“No,” I answered. “I’ve only heard about
It from a book I read when I was 12 years old.”
“It’s a good thing sunlight isn’t hard.
Everything would break on a sunny day.”
“Everything breaks when it is raining.”
“Are you trying to be funny? Like dawn
Breaking and all that?” “Not at all.
I just don’t know how it holds together
When it is wet. I can’t see anything at
Night. A lot of the time there is nothing
There.” “Yes, there is. I can hear it talking.”
“I’m going to take a walk out past the gardens
Along the slough.”
“When will you be back?”
“Back?” I said.
But she was already gone.
STRUGGLING TO ASK FOR HELP
She made my favorite sound.
The sky at its vanishing.
A few stars poke through.
She bites her lip hard. Blood
Begins to show through.
A night song then. It is cold
Enough to start a fire but we
Have come to prefer places,
Like this, that keep us alert
And without guile.
We have things that belong
To one another, that we have
Spent years working on, hoping
We may be understood. But no.
We are still often asked, “What
Is it you are trying to say? What
Are you going on about? Nobody
Is able to make sense of your sounds.”
She can pull birds of different colors
From any conversation she hears.
Then she makes that special sound.
It is somewhere between "I love you"
And "Don’t ever touch me like that again."
I have never known what to do with words.
They become extremely keen when I handle
Them. They cut through my clothing and leave
Me naked before you, struggling to ask
For your help, what you may have seen
On the horizon, if you know which way
We are going? What are we going to do when
We finally are able to hold our bodies against
One another? How can we begin to hear anything
If we must stand in this wind, begging as we do?
We were walking on the levee
Above Snodgrass Slough,
When Mike told me what was really
Happening with us here on Earth.
“We’re all in Samadhi, man,” he said.
“No more logic, no analytical ability.
Our being becomes silent and we sit there,
Perfect beings with nothing to do.
"So," he said, "we create another being of ourselves
That walks around on this earth,
Having adventures and doing things
So that we may remain in Samadhi
And not be bored through eternity.
"We are the entertainment of our highest
State and do what we do, knowing
We can return to that higher state
At any time.”
I nodded and pointed out a herd of goats.
“Look at those goats,” I said. "Even here,
In this state, we can be entertained by one
Another.” And we continued our walking.
“OUR SHIPS WERE ALL UNWORTHY
FROM THE FIRST”
All of Babylon’s winged bulls
Lie dead upon the stairs.
Long ago they took hold of the moon
And pulled her down beside
Them, bellowing the end
Of the House of Man.
But they had neglected to tell
Such plans to Time,
Who, though stupid with sleep,
Raised only a half-opened eye
And they fell upon his homeless seat
With its slow quests of
Wandering ships, feeding itself
With great storms and Time’s garments:
Sand and wind
And wind and sand.
And we see them dead before us.
Time, touching our cheeks tenderly,
Asks if we like them?
“Look,” says Time, "they do not even carry
Their own names, but suck at eternity
With stone countenance and
Cold stone eyes. I walk among
Them, not at all surprised.”
THE FIRE CHARM
Silver threads upon the air.
They touch our eyes.
We are not there.
For the the room has opened,
Sprung its locks,
And the dances of the lightning
Have quit and fled their box.
WAKING UP TOO FAST
People in my dreams
Caught in the act.
Running through the room
To get back to where
They belonged as quickly
As possible. But I saw
Them sliding through
THE WHITE TROUT
The clouds were molten.
More ideas of clouds
Than floating ships of water.
The sun would soon have at them
And dissolve their nests away.
I crouch near the creek
Searching for a white trout,
A lady the fays said to be
At work, on duty, waiting
For a long-lost love,
Enchanted in the olden times
And left between the pages
Of a yellowing book of tales
No longer told to any but children.
There is a way across morning,
Past the range of first light
Lifting over the oaks,
Past the proclamations of the birds,
Still only dark forms fluttering
From power line to power line.
The lights on the tower change
From red to a strobe of white
Before quitting altogether
As this change comes into the sky.
There is a genius here to which
We are not party except to walk
Through it, marveling at the spinning
Of the earth, its ability
To catch the shimmer
Of a white trout as it rises
From the water, fully clothed
In white robes, again to take
Her place. Her place in
Her shining stars,
Awaiting the sound of her lover’s horse
As it draws nearer and nearer.
A constellation of morning
Gathered into our lives.
Drowning as a mirror
Our true selves.
—Medusa, thanking DR for the poems and pix, and wishing him Happy Birthday!