Today I crawled naked through a cave.
I definitely remember dressing my self for sunrise, but then I was resting
flat on my back with arms and legs splayed like a corpse, and was suddenly alone
when the ground began to sway and jiggle as if mixing paint in my brain.
Imperceptibly, the Earth made drastic shifts east and west while also up and down.
The tender dirt wriggled around me, snuggled up my shoulders and over
my stiffening hips in a magical collapsing that consumed me whole in a moment.
And like I said, I found myself naked in a cave.
It seemed my knees should bleed, but against my subtle skin
the friction force of the ancient funk I found growing on the stones below
was akin to a gentle cleansing. Like a fresh sponge, the shallow weight of the
cave walls grated dead cells from my newest form, as I wormed my way past a grave.
I found a headlamp in my frontal lobe, and its low translucent glow flowed
to the fringe of my limbs, illuminating too many paths from which to choose.
Old water wandered unknowingly up my nose, only to be grabbed and dragged
down to get lost in my lungs. The rank air carried scents
of soggy cinnamon, thick with the delicious spice of underground decay;
smells that inspired kind and simple sentiments, for all I had abandoned
above. From this distance it was effortless to love existence as it had been,
and probably still was for some. While wistfully floating in untold time, I felt I had
missed some opportune sign, and so needed to climb back, somehow up toward my mind.
However, I was left entirely bereft of spatial orientation; up was already abstracted, and
if down could even be found it might be quite far from the original ground. I felt a stab
of panic tickle my temple. This fear immediately manifested as shadows dancing in a
dull neon disco. Leaping, tree-frog green flipped into fleeting beet red and met with an
elderly dash of disappearing blue, all sliced by a bolt of heavy yellow honeycomb goo.
The murky kaleidoscope melted like a smoldering Dali clock in-formed by Play-doh
distorted and forced to appear as people congealed or maybe just your average apparition.
The previously silent colors were suddenly infested with echoes of ephemeral talk.
I watched as strange conversations unfolded before me: a mother told the asking hand of
her toddler about how "The blind dog looks out the window, and barks"; while a young
girl in funereal garb stood behind an inaudible orator, claiming "Kamikaze house flies
plunder her skull for the rot they already ate"; and a healthy gentleman stumbled through
steel streets dragging magnetic legs until a mustachioed Gestapo sentry informed him that
"he had not yet been activated" ...and Lord only knows what all that meant for me.
Thus, the phantom swarm came to supersaturate my shrinking catacomb.
All at once, infinite specters were flocking hither and thither so that I was not aware
of one for more than a moment before I forgot it and soon I simply consented
to their free reign, and would not deign to bless them with attention.
This, of course, forced them all to disappear but the fear did not dissolve,
as the sheer black cavern contorted and morphed to my every move like a boundless
leather wet-suit, strict and expanding on all sides into thick indigenous darkness.
A palpable abyss, so impossible dense in its vacuity that the scattered weight of it bore
down on every pore with the tingly little tug of a trillion tiny elves tap-dancing
with jack-hammers, tormenting me as I attempted to shimmy free from the vast vacancy
of this, the strangest of caves. I was consumed in fussy struggle, squirming to expand my
self and shed the cloak of contradiction, which felt irrevocably wrapped around me
like a cinch belt of fluid iron, specifically built to warp and distort me, and it worked.
With a swirling flourish, I succumbed to a chasm in consciousness.
When once again I arrived near this mind of mine, the party of elves was reduced
to a lingering simmer, as if the tap-dancing had given way to mere mingling,
some calm mixing over cocktails and the sparse, convivial singing of sirens.
The ethereal sound waves warbled on the edge of perception, resting
in ranges of vibration above and below those known by the thin drum
of my invisible ear. Floating, I let my mind free on the shores of periphery,
drifting in search of the elusive sound, ever tempted to wade toward the tempest.
Suddenly feeling the immediate need, I decided to attune to this distant pulse.
Squeezing every orifice and flexing all my fibers, the choral tremor crept closer
to comprehension but was obviously altered for having been forced. Nonetheless invited,
it arrived: and my temples were unprepared for the thunderous godly throb. Spasms
plummeted into crown down to perineum, rebounding there and bouncing back up my
back, causing a deep convulsive shudder as I hastily tried to harmonize with the violent
surge in tempo. Vibrations dashed through their peaks and valleys faster than a thought
and I could only snap my jaw at any oxygen out there, desperate to digest the wet air.
As the frequency reached its peak of fever, I approached an harmonic pace: breathing
into rhythmic beats, the pulsations growing slowly slower, tension leaking from my
tender temples, sinking through my jaw to dissipate, sublimate through my buttery body.
The humble song of timeless silence consumed my sacred form. An ensemble of
seraphim seemed to whisper bliss into the recess of my soul, and with their consecrated
serenade, animated my many neurons with patters for pervasive future peace.
In a state of true release, I surrendered. How long I may have hovered here, I do not
remember, for timelessness tends to be just that (timeless). There were no pearls, and
certainly no gates. I did not meet one, far short of seven people. The pure void treated
dualism like atoms in the Hadron, happily smashing contradictions together to create
microscopic black holes wholly in the name of play. I tiptoed a beam of wispy awareness,
cushioned by the firm light support of concentrated relaxation; free beyond form, I was
content to reinforce the uniformity of whatever eternal space I'd been invited to invade.
Like a popped balloon whose liberated air voluntarily retains its shape, my former
form was but a sensate memory. And this sense too, was only temporary. Somewhere,
between nowhere and now here, I heard a pinky snap. Then the dull pop of a stiff knee.
I realized God was not the one snoring. I tried to retreat to that weightless place; alas,
it was way too late, and I once more, would have to wait. For now, I knew I had not died,
because a limber young lady asked me to come back to my body (wait, should I hide?)
"Namaste" she said, as a white light arose. And I thanked God for my baggy clothes.
I Am Only Four Years Older
Hara had to move the tractor back behind the woodpile
before we could take the trailer to the local recycling center.
So while we waited, Matthew slid up front and bounded out
the driver's side door to seek the oak tree swing and stand up on it,
and was soon grounded again, flopping flat on his back in the happy grass;
I sat, the passenger, reading with my seatbelt buckled.
In town after work, ice cream was Hara's treat:
I got Peanut Butter Brittle with Toffee on top.
Matthew got Cake Batter with Brownies plus Peanut Butter.
I said, O I didn't see that one.
He said, I know, I combined a couple.
I said, O what did you get on top?
He said, Nothing.
I disappeared into the bookstore, but had not brought my wallet.
I could not ask Hara to buy my books, so instead I spent
the ride home answering Matthew's questions about the books I looked at.
Labyrinths, by Jorge Luis Borges. The Further Inquiry, by Ken Kesey.
The Idiot, by Fyodor Dostoevsky.
He said, O whats that about?
default to contentment, great danger
lies in bed over long hours.
An awakened mind impatiently asks a body
slackened: What happened to passionate action,
or grand ambitions bold and strange?
Once again I want unclouded access
to the wild divine mind, but torpid forces fight
the inventive flow of light I am here seeking to stream.
I no longer consent to this slow stoning. Today I escape my maze
of flat synaptic paths; trapped at the stale base of cranial cliffs,
I arise to chisel new rivers through the limber bedrock of my brain.
The jaded archaic canyons may not welcome water; stained stones
hesitate when faced with the flow of trans formative forces
busy carving the new grooves. Be re minded: rocks always ooze under us
and the definition of a flow is to be never broken.
Springing down out a mountain, divining
the path of least resistance,
the freezing stream tickles brittle stone --
stone teeming with discontent at being embedded
by pitiful clinging, surrounded and alone.
Afraid at first to let loose from land,
does a weak stone surrender? Or does it take the bravest
to embrace the whim of a river and infinitely re form in it as a ripple?
To boogie inevitably begets a more
buoyant energy every time of day;
or night when it's dark dance any way
you can: when no one sees
what difference does it make
if you dance or sleep?
Still, alone, as light
saunters up you sink,
twisting deeper under comforters
to seek easy dreams
again in that dark and dormant
sea where strain and zeal go void.
Pause: Okay? Swim.
The shallow waters through which we wade
are effortlessly made warm by a yawning sun
and just as soon muddied by our vapid splashing.
Floating in a deeper pool keeps bottom sand serene
and feet, kicking-lively, cool (like out from under covers)
where the drowning danger swims in weightlessness.
Wavy shoals waft among me, barely perched upon
a submerged stone smoothed now for my sitting
as I wait to be bathed by the sacred cascades.
Quaking echoes form a faint halo over closing eyes; the soul knows
to leave the body breathing as slow colors open, dance, freely
drifting if not anchored to this heavy sleeping stone.
The Empty Vessel Forgets
Whenever I don't remember I
always assume I was only
so absorbed in some present
moment that nothing was recorded.
Imagine the enthusiasm
I must emit if found
in this fit of overflowing
Others ought not take offense when
I forget everything that happened
because I was probably participating
just in some other state at the time.
Still I see your concern
at my absence and under-
stand how you must ask
Is that amnesia?
Well life is simple when innocent
of information one ought to know
but momentarily misplaced
in the vault of varied consciousness.
or, What's the Golden Rule Again?My paycheck today paid
twenty-two dollars to Medicare
and two-twenty more to 'Federal'
(that must be The mean old Man?).
If i trusted
what would be done with it
then maybe i wouldn't
mind so much;
make that money
go to things i don't know
need to be done, like
bank ruptures or infrastructures.
A bridge in my city disappeared;
while i was not there,
Now it's me-against-the-
government, because I'm
watching the economy collapse
like a bridge in front of me
with no choice
but to speed up and leap,
praying the impact
leaves my gas tank intact.
stolen identity crises
are not uncommon in
our Untied States.
The internet made it instant,
but since the start, our idea
of identity has been only
in opposition to some Other.
Think: England to begin,
then the West Indies or
Caribbean or whatever
we want to call it, then
of course there's the scary Arabs.
who stole our civil rights?
Seems labeling Others left us
little time to identify our selves,
so we grasp at semantic power
where ever we can because we better
know 'us' if we pinpoint a 'them'.
So these days we wear red, against
blue, and maybe a bit of green,
which I guess connects to yellow,
but as long as you're white
and willing to fight, let's not
talk about the rainbow.
So, where am I
left? Am I not
My hair is red,
but my eyes are blue.
My skin is white, but
the back of my eyes are black
as the big fog from Bei-jing;
and I can't see
any sense in outward
embitterment so I
turn in to investigate
what's collected, realizing,
it doesn't matter
who gets elected when
the golden rule is not respected.
Having Skimmed Blake
The young writer
writes of death, desperately
seeking to be deep; he reaches
for the endless resonance he finds
within binds softly bent, spines doubled back
depicting that which he craves to re create.
Sensing words to be immortal,
this newborn imagines mortality;
wondering what that must be
like, he consoles those elderly
fellows who, waiting to die, know
so much about life
that no longer applies.
Fantastic Astral Disaster
I am a post-apocalyptic action hero
and I always survive.
Sub-consciously created, lucid crusades
leave me fighting crazy raids at
some ceremonial commencement.
First, I save my family, then,
The Girl I've Never Met gets rescued next.
She appears as always,
with placid eyes aglow and locked on
me in long ago instants now known again
in this ethereal -- High cross campus we race
ducking under chairs, blocking bullets
fired by black-clad government gunmen,
aimed exclusively at me and missing all
though actually, there are casualties -- On other nights,
post-atomic Minneapolis Uptown mobs uproarious as
arbitrary fires burn ruins from the blast.
Sprinting I spring through looters and
bound down an embankment only
to encounter a tribe of survivors circling,
enclosing some type of Tom Cruise character
who holds an anonymous hostage. Back against
a cornered wall, his escaping is impossible --
though somehow I slip past, protected by a prophecy
and now I could never die, my mission
far too important to ever fail and
I wonder what happens when I wake:
A Big Glass Seed
I have never seen any one
hit a picnic table with
a cherry pit quite like you;
and from so high up too, shit,
you must have been four for
seven at some point. Except seriously,
I suspect you've practiced: crept
away on off-days alone in a kayak,
portaging to the tower to hone those
stone-hawking skills. Nonetheless, as again
you spit, I become more impressed, and sip a sip.
But now I think you need to
pick bigger more difficult pits.
Avocado comes to mind; atop
the tower I could nibble new guac
while you find, train and
tone fresh tongue muscles,
then choreograph the jaw
to propel this other more significant
stone down, tumbling into darkness
while we await the anticipated 'plunk'
which will signify our success.
You will thrust your victory-clenched
fingers toward the elusive Little Dipper;
I will smile but quickly sit forward
to hide my overflowing mouth with
the back of my hand as I finish
chewing the chips I assume
you brought to go with the guac;
and the wine bottle I brought will wash it
all down, but good you stop me from aiming it
toward that same table because, and I agree:
it's okay to step on seeds, not to spit shattered glass.
-from The Great Liberation by Hearing,
from The Tibetan Book of the Dead.
I see, behind my eyes,
sight diving out to engage
the cave of my rib-cage.
Heart fluctuating sighs
slow, dark lungs untangling
the empty upper-body yarns
that twine together and harm
my spine, knotted at angry angles.
Circulating light bellows within,
twisting to my crown as blackened lace.
Fifty-eight uncreated faces
morphing, fight for my attention
then dissemble into throes
of piercing neon spears;
quarks subtly zip and disappear
as fear and calm fade and grow.
This is far as I can see so far
as sight again tangles at the waist;
lost amid a lack of grace,
I sense some karmic scar.
Undone buckle of the body's belt
concedes pristine cognition.
Seeking perfect circulation,
I belly-breathe and melt.
We did not watch you, careening in the winter kitchen
to be sure we had hot dessert despite the frigid innards,
and when you went to get the forgotten candles
our obdurate appetite steeled us from slowing
how quickly we licked the cake pan clean.