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It’s hard to say what sort of day it is:
Ideas crash, ad hoc,
out of exasperating vastness,
crass and shocked as sunlight,
cracked and cut and bleeding,
stained with black blood
from the mutha-flooding kiss
of the abyss which sucks back
at them till, at last, of course,
they can’t resist. But meantime
they consort in a cabal,
breeding secrecies and plotting
to corral impossibility into abject
submission. And for a moment
death plays dead: finality
is in remission: hope amasses.
The moment passes.
Night-blooming human head plants
can’t be counted on to conjure up
romance but they’re good company
when bleak Existence looks at you
askance and it is two o’clock
beyond redemption in the loneliness
of last chance sleepless night: when life
will not agree to any even slight degree
to help requite your least desire;
you're sinking in the mire, and things
are getting dire indeed. But then,
sometimes, as if they sense the need,
night-blooming human head plants heed
the plea: know what is required: a soft
endearing word. Once murmured –
and once heard – equivalently
captivating vegetation joins the chorus:
whispers more – therefore allowing you
to feel rapport with something actual –
a sweet reprieve you cleave to: better,
God knows, than the raw deal of your
own internal spiel. Oh, be relieved
night-blooming human head plants,
anyway, at least, are real.
As long as she hasn’t killed them,here’s what a mommy must know:
whatever it took to build them,
the point is to let them go.
Hanging out unrobed
like Mata Hari – ruby earrings
dripping from their lobes –
is Harry and Mahatma’s way
of cheering themselves
out of after-Christmas doldrums.
It’s swell to feel yourself
insouciantly lolling on a plum-
red velvet throw, not worrying
about how things will go,
with precious jewels
as your companions:
just the gift to lift you from
the canyons of post-holiday
despair. After all the folderol
of promulgating vol-au-vents
rempli de champignons
et truffes all day – that stuff
can make you swear! –
it’s lovely to recline, aloof –
expensively decline to care.
See the threads and shreds and strands
that coalesce out of the shadow-lands of being:
streaming into, breeding bodily capacities –
random chances massing into form;
glance at the enigma of your eyes and hands:
this build-up to a warm and human viability –
with its inevitable liability: vulnerable – visceral:
ephemera which trick your vision into registering
symmetry and outline from the swarm –
the threads and shreds and strands that weave
and melt into a course of sieving this, retaining
that, exacting strategies for taking, giving –
this force that you call living. Regard this blessèd
and exquisite mesh – this conscious flesh.
The problem with imaginary friends is,
when they hang around for long enough
they start acquiring autonomy –
abandoning the clear taxonomy of traits
and psychic states through which they
once definably were present. Now they
morph from unequivocal to unpredictable,
which isn’t always pleasant. Quixotic
ambiguity is what they seem to gather
through the mystery experience
imbues – their vagaries bewilder
and bemuse until you aren’t sure
who is imaginary any more. They soon
are indistinguishable from the rest
of everybody else who may be actually
knocking on your door. That’s a chore.
Mild tensions ignite.
All feels contrived.
No poem is right.
Now they’ve arrived.
They turn it about –
wielding their wizardries:
Christmases turn out
not to be miseries.
no other was
with a finer
or a stronger
The certainty of certain troglodytes soon draws the curtain
on the barest possibilities for chat. They stand there in their
troglodyte-hauteur beyond the reach of caring what you think
about what they call “this” and you call “that.” You wouldn’t
mind relaxing with them – praise their dahlias, pet their cat –
bantering about the bliss of watching premiere ballerinas
do their pas-de-deux and entrechats – or asking them where
you should go on a vacation: Cap D’Antibes, Mount Ararat?
But any topic taken up with certain troglodytes goes splat.
She rides a lover like
a politician rides a scandal,
flies it high, ties a handle
on it, strokes it, stokes
its hopes, soothes it when
it chokes, glides behind
the plume of toxic smoke
that lust and smoking coke
evoke: she’s not the nicest
girl you’ll ever meet,
but she thinks she’s a treat:
a naked pink and orange
transgressions fill a lack.
Anyone who’s ever
had her wants her back.
We just caught sight
of a delighted naked flock
of archetypal elderly in flight!
Spirits of who we might be –
if they could only stir
us up sufficiently to see
beyond the blur
of mortal terror’s hold
Getting, being old.
Habits and agreements –
city going on –
copulating rabbits –
rutting through to dawn –
and old men
wearing cologne –
sweet – strange:
being alone –
Let’s all praise
the shaded man –
evasive and abrasive
and invaded man –
the man for whom
chiaroscuro was invented –
the man in whom no sense
is circumvented –
of the heart suggest
that can’t be guessed –
the man who lets
enigmas bloom –
the fully human
being in the room.
The metabolic processes of psychic progress
are a deep bewilderment. What are the biological
imperatives of Soul? How does it cultivate the messy
fleshy whole – the rest of what adheres to it –
what springs from it – what rings in it to make us us? We mesh: we mostly get along. But what about
when things go wrong? Does something central harbor
markers of catastrophe conditioned in some future
to explode? – existential DNA which hankers to unload? –
promises to blast the last of us away? Is the plasma
of our genesis devoted to its final day? Who can say.
Philosophic phlegm. Silly words. Tired of them.
Oh, to be a rich addictive dip! Subtly
spiced, accessible – in high demand –
soft enough to slip on melba toast –
voluptuously thick enough to boast
about – to grandstand on a cocktail
table in the middle of a chic soirée
full of extravagantly hot grandées
for whom I’d be an aphrodisiac –
the last transgression to which
they’d succumb before they left
to you-know-what each other numb.
Dressed with fresh Wisconsin cream,
the juice of Spanish limes, a touch
of kosher salt and Indonesian pepper –
oh, the hubba-hubba I’d inspire –
oh, to be right at the center of desire!
For that I’d gladly suffer sacrificial use.
I wish I was an avocado mousse.
Feeling less than sultry
in the dawning morning light –
sitting half-awake in the ill-fitting irony of her pink-hearted bathrobe –
one importuning suitor at her left,
another at her right –
she’d once supposed
ménages-à-trois might be all right
before she’d had one.
By now whatever slight
je ne sais quoi her two relentlessly
attentive boy toys
might have had for her
had run its run. Some fun’s no fun.
The end of love
can be abrupt.
Especially when you
make the whole thing up.
Out of the vivid pink of living light
our sentient presences alight:
ignite each other’s interest.
Stained with lurid brightness
by the shocking sight of difference,
we wonder if we’ll ever reunite –
or if we ever were a unity to start with.
The universe regards itself again
through us: a lotus noticing
it’s opening – refocusing.
Another vision we must part with.
Living with a set of limbs or mind or spine
or point-of-view which by the measure
of most other beings is askew first seems
to doom the mutant creature to a labyrinth
of aberrance: every day a Pilgrim’s Progress
through innumerable turns and twists of bodily
betrayal – persisting like unfathomable
sins it hadn’t known it had committed –
of a size and strangeness so intransigent
they can’t not manifest again, again, again:
until one day it spends itself – and in a blink,
the mutant creature finds that it can think.
And thinking makes the Universe crack open
like an ostrich egg into a flood of cosmic yolk.
The mutant creature gets the joke.
Globular to angular –
takes a form;
stages shapes accrue;
once warm, now cool –
contract – exact
You want to bear
and love the change
in metamorphosis –
and almost do.
Today another sentience mounts her head
and wraps it like a hat – introducing lulling
thoughts which seep expansively into her skull
to render her, for once, at last, dispassionate: allow
a clear-eyed new increase of the idea she might,
some night, discover she quite likes this going-it-alone.
(Craving tenderness had gotten tedious.)
Although, with this accommodating creature,
now that she’s noticed them – she daily sees release
her into realms in which she hardly can be said
to be remotely solely at the helm. She’s in a crowd.
Thoughts, like pets and problem children, can,
of course, get loud: wear out their stay – until,
that is, that final possibly delicious day the whole
shebang of them and you implodes – and falls away.
she’s not going-it-alone. In fact, new entities –
What are your eyes up to?I search each pupil for a clue.
What would they have me do?
Sometimes a feeling
like a cloud calls up
another feeling like a puppet
and they both put on a show
you never know about.
Benign as lambent sighs,
they lilt around like spies
until they find their
separate ways out.
All you can surmise
is that an inexplicability
somehow erased a doubt.
One stridently demands you’re an agenda.
The other wants your utter quick surrender:
What is this private holy war –
this secret insurrection?
What storms the door
of solipsistic introspection –
sets off these soft alarms?
Why do I want you in my arms?
I seem to want to keep the link alive
to waking consciousness all night.
I do not turn the TV off. I let the sounds
and unseen sights of BBC World News
and other PBS enlightenments ignite,
make bright, a shamanistic purgatory –
a liminality that veils, regales the inner
and the outer and persuades them
to unite. To feed, to feed, to feed:
to end the blight. Tugs-of-war excite,
incite – breed between dimensions. Sex!
In this space where nothing’s known,
beseech the Universe! Oh, let’s have sex!
Nursed and vexed – Soul erects.
Assembles and dissembles. Trembles.
or purity, or God,
transparency seems odd.
Being loves disparity –
conundrums in the shadows
which pass through glass –
evade, amass –
Testosterone in muscularly musky splendor
sometimes sees the ghost of something pink flash by –
and wonders, as it’s brushing past, if pink might render
him a little softer and more feminine: supply
the means of knowing from an inside view
what women are; sense aspects of the female genus
he must surely constitutionally misconstrue;
beckon to a little estrogen; let Penis rhyme with Venus.
In a universe wherein dimensions
number only Two, three mystic sisters –
Agnes, Myra-Ann, and Lila-Sue –
herald the presence of a Third:
“Chiaroscuro!” “Front and back!”
they can be heard to call to all:
“That's what we lack! A Holy Thickness!”
Other flatnesses dismiss this as absurd.
“These girls breed moral sickness,”
they all hiss. “Their deity deceives.”
And so they flat-line Agnes, Myra-Ann
and Lila-Sue. Nobody grieves.
You find the colors bright.
You see the sun is out.
You press it to your chest.
You dimly grasp the wonder
under cover of the light.
You doubt. Assess.
Strangenesses surround it.
You can’t quite clasp
your hands around it.
You ache. You take
a breath. It isn’t love.
It may be death.