Category Archives: Experience

“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 as vast
And spacious notions of impermanence and impasse.
I see before the fact in part— imperfectly at present—pursued
By spoils of  wars and rumours coupled with a dubious acquired taste
For bitters, 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

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“Limbs”

 

Conceptual image with a businessman on top of a maze.

“Limbs”

Limbs, appendages, extensions, sinew stretched
Across chasms, voids, and axles;
Creation’s foam will occupy the mind; cosmic jackals,
Vain imaginings spun from fractals, etched
In plaited mesh and skeletal remains combine
To people thought and populate whole scenarios—
Nothing ever quiets the machine. The interim’s need will borrow
Legitimacy and gravitas from life’s singularity, refine
Their use within the era, penultimate lines in rhyme
Penned to presage the tentative, simple strokes of time.
Transition’s in the air, my friends, and next in line
For what’s about to come to pass might well be curses
For the speed with which the world embraces change for its mistakes.
Creation weds the art of accident to apposition for its own sake.

“Oh, He Knows”

Summer: Young September's Cornfield 1954 by Alan Reynolds born 1926

“Oh, He Knows”

Oh, he knows, he surely knows that pain,
And in the morning of his life he drew
Himself from deeper wells he knew
He could not fathom, nor did the rain
Object, no rival to his tears, and all he did was dance.
Departing early, Venus rising in the mists of cold Nebraska dawns
Found sweat and pleasures in his skin as he was drawn
To deeper paths beyond the last and lasting chance
To turn aside; but, no! He did not return. And neither
Did he stop till he was well beyond the sleeping town
And found himself the audience of a thousand feathered clowns
Atop the ocean rows of corn and maize and high above the purple ether
Of the shallow island’s edge. The vanities that irrigate his endless thoughts
Were rivers then, and there he danced until he dropped.

…painting at top by Alan Reynolds…

“Feel the Fear”

“Feel the Fear”

Feel the fear in all things blithe; death,
To see what only mystic pages sign and still it’s too damn cold;
Nothing’s moving. Reckon talismans, medallions sold
For incense and bouquet; breathe once and then the second breath,
Friend. Taste reticence itself and all things flee; barter sovereignty
And youth and place the sandals at the door. Terse and curt,
They will renege, prevaricate, and standing still
their high fives fly. They flirt
With no one but themselves, their flesh disports with rude obscenity;
Daggers, canines, grey-lined barbs of cultured mumbled sympathy
For mothers long in heat, hesitant but nonetheless disposed to saying
Judas had his reasons.
Politely cut the losses, righteous piracy embroidered on the sleeve–
The tattoo leaves no space for pores–pluck the fruit,
reschedule colonoscopies.
They’ll make you know they love you;
scratch the surface, pick the scab.
And why not? If things go wrong, all is veiled,
steeled in memory, forgotten on the slab.

“I’ll Not Wait”

“I’ll Not Wait”

I’ll not wait till dawn to praise the sun;
Shadows follow closely where I sleep; this night must end:
I’m guaranteed as much. What, then? Tomorrow? What? Again
A word’s delay a world away is all, so, patience me. The midnight trains still run
Their course–stampeding to the east to crawl back westward–and catch
The rising or the setting cosmos all along the local milk run. Coaches
Matter not, jettisoned or newly recreated in the Milky Way, we approach
Our destinations, dusks or dawns in proper times; passengers dispatched,
Who only seem to arrive at destinations previously booked
And so we do not blithely cease to live because we wait
Upon a final station or dream of tracks not even built. Medusa guards the gate
That turns all nightly plans to stone, and we her momentary shades that looked
To make the journey know the Night Train only claims a means to ends
Through mirrors while season tickets mark what joys the daybreak sends.

“So Easy to Feel”

“So Easy to Feel”

So easy to feel, to seem to be, to know at last propinquity
As if the light declares the coming glory of the sun at daybreak
Redundant. But as that disk cannot be seen for more than seconds, I take
That certainty of coming morning within me,
Knowing that midnight’s richest prize in ivory
Is forever fixed as is the station of the sun; the moon an intimate
In someone’s flight, perhaps, but even so, as she reveals herself in states
And phases never hers, agitation gains nothing in the motion save in memory
And affectations of the sea within me–force upon another force,
Measured consequence of a functionary that renders boundaries
Of continental pride and the ocean’s doors
Cast aside in the riot of the tides, a natural stampede, no more
Than thresholds of natural accident, the stream and river’s course
Now rising, now again a swelling to apostrophes, eternal inertia born of gravity.

“I Thought to Tell You”

“I Thought to Tell You”

I thought to tell you this, but then I knew
That any hopeful thing I’d cause to say
Would only serve as an apostrophe until the day
You might repeat without doubt, without the usual effort; by then, you’ll
Require nothing, you’ll not lose a syllable nor waste yourself in thought,
No hesitation in the lobby, no strain or pain at all; you’d know
That what you see within this sunrise can only grow
And assail you where your greatest strength remains; knots,
Issues, nothing matters here but action whose crown is certitude.
Exigencies of the moment smile and while there are so many winds,
Ambitions, urges, still what is of value, truly, must begin
When it’s begun, not merely when its known. Truths
And givens: not so; time and place and fruition
Early rushed are soon eroded, lost in lust, and buried in fatuous decision.
Substantial dividends, the grasses have their roots
In wholes and overweening gluttony upon any great savannah;
A cipher to the needs of elephants but not necessarily the rude hyena.
Whether for foraging or bloodlust, the arguments are moot.
Someone said the speaker’s soiled himself or worse; he’s said nothing.
Really? Is this what we believe?  But the audience sits rapt and listening,
And in his fevered silence Crito sits there bristling
In the sweat of final bows to egregious appeal and nothing
If not futile to the likes of Socrates.  Tragedy in the choosing
Of an hour that never is and only seems to be
Remembers in itself a splendid sharp hypocrisy, a certain will to see
The light reduced to sparks and fire, kindling from stolen virtues
extinguished for the sake of mere illumination for the philistines, amusing
If you’re not the one who’s speaking, or the author of what amounts to treason:
Protagonists of wisdoms favouring knowledge above experience are
the nemesis of balance between what is common sense and what in fact is reason.

“Well It’s Simple, Really”

“Well It’s Simple, Really”

Well it’s simple, really: so to speak
I fall apart, I flounder in so much joy.
I’m not built for it; I’m not much for alloys–
I wish I were–I’ve tried. Attractions leak
Through me, and leave their scars on skin
Worn bare, leather turned to suede. I do not simply move. It’s not enough.
I’m never satisfied. as former hours like blossoms grow limp, calloused, rough
Anointed witnesses to the simile in every mile, yet from an ounce the hue
Of every gallon, maybe two, renders so little sign of significance or change
Within. I feel impervious to accolades and golden cords in plaited bands
About the two of us together with all the others ranked in rows. Demands
And idols claim much too much
within a pantheon of measured idols, a finite range
For what they’re worth. Encountered stations
preoccupy the space reserved in niches neatly all along the way
And all proclaim the prophesy and warning, “You know I may not last the day.”
I turn to trees and shrubs, and pleasure in nature’s liquid sounds
To soothe a wearied heart, neglect my own, and willingly ignore what’s left.
I know what’s out of sight, and neglecting all the disconnected dots bereft
Of solid form; I seek solace in the memory of what I’ve found
In the constants of so many wondrous ancient signs,
words and phrases in the books
Of men and gentle giants in their genius that
short of Scripture, Itself, may numb the mind
To beauty’s sympathies and preemptive empathies I only thought I had. I find
No time to hunt for treasure in the skies or nuggets in a brook
Or in the daily stream of all that is what follows merely in a dream, the broad,
Embolden strokes of changeless mortal ties to lives of muted hues
And dim-lit histories made ephemeral through the subtle clues
Extracted from the manuscripts of dessert caves
and catalogues promptly trod
Asunder in the gilded hubris of modern interests and disingenuous plans
To brick the yellow path with castles built on nothing more than sand.

“The Parcels”

“The Parcels”

The parcels sit idle by the door, and I in the chair
Browsing bills rescued from the mailbox, notes
From no one these days to no one since even votes
For what remains from each day are meagre, a flare
Or two by email, terse reminders of a sometime love; I stare
For seconds at the ceiling and back to a tiny screen to scan what floats
Across the little window on the world; yet another memory to dote
On as I think back to when I last called, when last I was there.
Among the many scurrying to work each morning,
Earlier than need demands, too late, in fact to make a difference
To the fresh beginning in what lies before them in a day already spent
On efforts in the shower to stay awake or worse, the lint
Of days gone by still lingering since the phone rang long after warning
Bells were lost on both the dryer and clothing and none of it made sense.

“The People Say They Want a Change”

“The People Say They Want a Change”

The people say they want a change; clubs
Are ripe for shifting gears and crowning kings
From diamonds or from hearts and while the telephones ring,
The bids are readied, cards are in; spades have flubbed,
There’s no one in the mood to compromise;
The deck is shuffled once again for luck,
Brand-new tires on the same old truck.
Promissory notes are dealt; the bids just rise, and rise,
And rise again. But, what’s this? Speculation’s brought
To automated stops on all the outbound tracks,
And while the freight departs, the passengers arrive. Dealers smack
Their lips, and rub their palms, and bids are caught
Between the speeches and cries at last of “No trump!”
Seconds later, Boardwalk yields to railroads, and everyone jumps.