Category Archives: Samsara

“Just What You Meant”

“Just What You Meant”

Just what you meant is not too clear today
While all the world feels indisposed but then, aside
From that, it seems the effort to decide
To see must equal if not dwarf the weight
Of longing to be done with this and out
The door and down the street, and gone.
You might well ask what siren draws me out along
A path to worlds away from you, when the route,
The melody we felt, inevitable as the juggernaut of dawn
And all we pledged through pale eternities in this
Fresh day still shone. Together, a certainty that ruled those early mists
Throughout the early morning’s night, what had drawn
Us so close with lightning’s grease to both our spirits’ light?
Instincts lost left walls of thought, but in the end,
all actions dulled as the sun rose and both of us took flight.

“Make No Mistake”

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“Make No Mistake”

Make no mistake, choices present
Themselves in simple lives’ pursuit of complex
Revelations to ignite a present circumstance; one reflects
On powers of the tongue, the joys of pleasant
Intercourse and periodic forays into conflict,
And again, the peace of simply being here or better, no more
Here than there and having no idea what for.
Knowing begs remission to be a common asterisk
On someone else’s ledger, or possibly a footnote
To the reason why it all came out this way.
But one decides not so very much on what
Must come to be as whether to acknowledge or withhold the vote
On what in fact is and settle on what of course exacts
A fee but is at best an accidental abstract or but a figment of a fact.

“Occam’s Rasor”

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“Occam’s Rasor”

Occam’s rasor, yes, perhaps, but what else is there
Between stepping-stones, zeniths, the nadirs,
Putting aside in-betweens, shafts of spears—
Another road less taken and that one trampled—toxic airs,
Steps that lead in either direction, fares
Compared to desiccation, dreams that disappear.
Sooner than later as choice replaces truth, fears
When hybris meets hamartia? Where tares
And thistles abound, rents, ashes, the cardinal numbers
Spread themselves among the ordinals and seem to sin no more.
Even so? What of these, the inevitables, these inescapable nemeses?
Step forward, then. Discover the reason for the second step; where emphasis is on the first. The second? A third? Awake, the final unction’s found in slumber; Asleep, the hours promise the penultimate hour, remembrances of the final door.

Bahá’ís throughout the world gather tonight and tomorrow within the First Day of the Month of `Izzat [Might]

strength

“Sonnet in Honour of the Feast of `Izzat’ or ‘Might'”

Judge well, judge fairly, judge the might of any man
In salutations there above it all, crowned, a name become a lyric,
A word in apposition to its legend; manipulated Pyrrhic
Hero, all ears offending, bending ciphers in the sand,
Commanding others in a fleeting circumstance with undisputed fame,
Raw powers granted for the sake of another hour, perhaps a day, gone,
Fossilised before the melody’s reached the page when so easily as on
A clouded noxious day, his specious honours clot, his reign
But vapours. What remains of yesterday’s effaced from buildings,
as from his body, plaudits once ubiquitous, become but shadows of the sun,
A nothingness distilled from arbitrary fruits of moot achievement
here and there among the shades. No lasting shame nor is there blame,
Nor action, bold distraction, no final satisfaction spent upon itself in vain
Parsed  from first to last so long as youth and strength sustain the every run
Through forgeries and fortunes. Judge this man when he is in the deepest well,
And buried sees his heaven while he knows he lives in hell.

“What Cannot Cool”

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“What Cannot Cool”

What cannot cool and wills it so is justice.
Love notwithstanding—volition’s stains
Whether long nor short are perennial, the certain gain
And loss, effusion and delusion of yet another solstice;
A cosmic second and another generation lost amid an armistice
Between the running ulcers of epochs that in the very quick of veins
Within the seas and continents bind mortal immortalities reducing rains
To harbingers of cancers from the rivers to the ocean floor: avarice
In nature is moot. So much rests on that noble brow,
The cut of cheek to chin and back again, upward the temple
Blessed with grace and manifest declension of the rib
And thigh of Adam, though the eyes of life within the crib
Were opened before he rose, resigned to visions of the sacred cow
That cannot justify a mother’s milk: behold the man and tremble.

“Transitions”

“Transitions”

Transitions, troughs and floodgates
Swell before the crops are in;
Appointments rough-hewn begin
From centuries’ wealth in soils. He hesitates.
Lamentations of the classic farmer’s touch
Bestowed on something that was expected
Neither to outlast the seed nor tip the balance but once elected
Audit landscapes from the past and serve the sudden rush as much
As circumstance permits a well to gush and choose another path.
He was a teacher; was, and no doubt
Will continue to apply the torch to oils of souls
Whose mission is to lance the boils of youthful wrath
And freely prime the wells of mass miscalculation of the myths,
The babbling and cursive powers of hubris and its shibboleths.

 

“The Body’s Built for Stretch Marks

alzheimers

“The Body’s Built for Stretch Marks

The body’s built for stretch marks, peculiars, indictments drawn from lines
Reserved for bruises, random ancient scars received at childhood,
Subtle abuses leading to arrests, differences in the artificer’s sketches, would-be
Blind catastrophe to a child bound for trial. Etchings, wounds, fine
Byzantine rites of passage penetrate the masses gathered in their schools
Of fantasies as testacies: for the ignoble, pastimes; the chosen, noble death
Certain. Pride of station, booty, brazen badges pinned to what is left
Of that old shirt or those old pants, and in the end, the glass is raised to fools,
And myriad mirrors of Alma Maters. “Yes,” she said, “Lose that baby fat,
She said, but she was lying as she sliced another quarter pound of butter
For the stir fry as dairies churn to pave the way for satisfaction and utter
Joy at dinnertime for the calf, an unction for the stomach, a hardening heart,
Vanitas sanitarium omnia vanitas, and then some for the cat.
All is vanity if clutching at the straws of life,luck and liberty to boot
To generate bravado in hopes that render all his finite questions moot.
Catwalks above his life’s pavilions, sidewalks in a decent neighbourhood,
And nursing homes dot the landscape while all declare,
“You know, the Devil made me do it!”
Who denies the processes of thought, the fine idyllic conduits
From “Why not me?” to “All I am is what I should
Be,” whispered while whistling down alleys and paper routes. The avenues
Conjure images and constructs preserved en bas relief in two dimensions,
Melting icecaps in an ocean of invention and intervention at the mention
Of a third. “To whom and what for?” He wonders at the dews,
Fresh-formed deadlines, spinal taps and tallies, and reams of “Things to Do”
And all before the door is closed and locked, keys deposited at the main wicket.
Who’s survived to say that winter’s haze might raise the need to buy a ticket
To some gilded paradise conspicuous on the fridge, or a cruise for two
Along the coasts or toward the navel of the nation
As he remains at home inured of all such thought and aggravation?
So wide the miles to peace and once again some pompous reconciliation
As the Parthenon limps through yet another year
and cancer strikes the very spirit of the Holy Temple Mount.
In the malls of Washington and London the body count
No longer matters to the kids at dinner while the recapitulation
Of the days’ decapitation give reviews on CNN no rapt attention.
Nolo contendere” say they, the salt of sorrow’s “single spies”
That marshal once again in “battalions”, with no word nor photo from the skies
Above the glass-lined pulpits of the ‘ulamas of cable news scansion
of only slightly less innocuous city gutters, the catacombs of dubious mention
All along the Tigris, the Congo, above Solomon’s mines on the African Horn.
They know their losses simmer silently in the chambers of the heart;
They know their worth in sovereignties and ulcerating boils apart
From what is said of foes on Fox or activists on board the unborn
Born again processions that occupy the parks. Landmines litter, braying gospels
of long’s and short’s, the meretricious glitter scribbled hastily
on chits strewn throughout the bar codes in the canyons of every market floor
Just as surely as autumn leaves attest what may be God’s penultimate bounty,
Blatant warnings in blood atop the sash of every second church door.

“You Own the Year”

“You Own the Year”

You own the year and years before you
As I the year and all that’s passed;
Your signs are rising, eternity is steadfast.
Quo vadis, then? I who serve eternities am overruled
By sheer numbers, countless previous dispensations viewed
In retrospect and circumspect in vast
And spacious notions of impermanence and impasse.
I see before the fact in part, imperfectly at present, pursued
By spoils of the war and coupled with a dubious acquired taste
For bitters, an acerbic memory gained close at hand or lost at sea.
Nothing in this world is or is so stable
That it is not utterly dependent, created, removed and recreated on the table
Of bounties throughout creation; what God has willed to use or waste
Shall be not be more or less than what it is and what is not shall never be.*

***

* “Protect me, O my Lord, from every evil that Thine omniscience perceiveth, inasmuch as there is no power nor strength but in Thee, no triumph is forthcoming save from Thy presence, and it is Thine alone to command. Whatever God hath willed hath been, and that which He hath not willed shall not be.

There is no power nor strength except in God, the Most Exalted, the Most Mighty.”

–His HolinessThe Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, pp. 190-191

“Study”

studying-boh

“Study”

Study marks all stars to bring a second truth to stand reenforced
By what the doctors know; to second guess
The odds, a capitulation of a second, a consolation prize at best;
To cheat, perhaps, or worse, to change the windless course,
A doldrum of ordination well before conception, even more,
Delight to undermine what primal motives strength
Of certitude command, a reprimand, the breadth and length
Of all creation guided as it were to win, to score
Beyond that something, this someone, those some facts greater
Than the product of a wizard or the clever second-hand
shuffle across the face of clocks and cosmic signs. A man,
A faculty of man, an energy—perhaps an enterprising satyr—
Quickening the insight and knowing just how much the gathering clouds
Have missed the point will gorge himself on fate, and blaspheme right out loud.

“Double Sonnet in Honour of the Feast of Asmá [Names]“

Bahá’ís throughout the world gather this evening within the First Day of the Month of Asmá [Names]

“Double Sonnet in Honour of the Feast of Asmá [Names]“

Greatness, the maw and gulf of differences between
Recipients of names and the manifestation of the same
In full-blown sail, vain imagining; objective oversight’s the blame,
The ark in any given second. A constant stream,
The crown of transformation comes in time to weave
From strands of gravity the produce and press of what is never really seen.
Within the visible, a name resides, the hidden thread of dreams,
Confirmation of life and being—in bas-relief,
Or so The Buddha warned—the reliquary of  lethal trust. Between the name
And its receipt abide the seeds of pernicious doubt and protestation,
Manifest but without form beyond all timely attestation,
More an emanation than anything in revelation. In every atom reigns
The distance and sweet velocities of change. The many tools
Of blind belief in Adam’s gift seek rest somewhere within reach of fools
Embracing blasphemy in luminous dichotomies, dilemma’s
Punctuation marks’ delusions born of natural mental sedition. Litanies–
The outward beads of faith and understanding–are crystals of epiphany
Drawn from rich deposits of deep enigma
  In which mystery serves as providence and a farce of perpetual plebiscites.
Their greatest acumen is servitude bestowed
By human justice whose tragic flaw is banal integrity, whose goal
Before the cock crows thrice must beg the question of myriad rites
Born in mortal time like Sisyphus in spite of all he knew and knows.
And when denial and prayer are in arrears,
When needs and resignation outweigh a sum of means,
Words gone bankrupt erupt and deeds are stripped clean of fat and lean.
Perpetual hopelessness finds remission in an average skein of years
With all that overwhelms the truth at sunrise
In redemption in the simple phrase, “I’m still alive!”