Category Archives: Illusion

“This You Chose”

“This You Chose”

This you chose, you know, the lethal wound, external fire,
Internal final cut the cleanest; the choice was never mine.
This you chose; your arms, your scent defined
The borders, walls, the floors, the exposure. Your desires
Say nothing past the yesterdays of pre-dawn, and glad
I was to rest the while, and glad you are that I am gone.
But nothing’s rendered in the late night’s song,
The me in you, and yes! You know the sad
Result: that moon’s pain can not know a sequel.
The senses, these you know , with no contempt,
But radiant resignation in the hours of heat and pure idolatry. Spent,
The sentence stands within this world. These final sentiments rule;
The veil, the truths we’ve always known; the hourglass, the idols of our nights,
Its sands, a closing hush of breath at daybreak when all our meteors take flight.

“Sad You Say?”

“Sad You Say?”

Sad you say? I knew you meant it;
Yes, my sadness drained through your fingers
Leaving little more than moisture. Something of me lingers
With you that you own is yours. Summits
Of either joy or pain remain to use the heart, the limits
Of the body—anywhere will do—from head to toe; these, the singers
Intone its presence, equations flatter integers
Enough to anoint themselves exclusive in finite intimates
And variations for the sake of form.  These flights of melancholy
You mistook for yours; as well,  your joys I imagined mine  in the mirror,
And neither of us were the wiser in the final calculation.
If one of us is right, we’ll see our satisfaction and salvation
In what little time remains to us in life; the eternal holy
Light is never long in coming. If one of us is wrong,
…there is no deliverer.

“The Strand”

“The Strand”

The strand is smooth, straws and silver threads
Extend along a line from every summer’s county fair
To forever’s histories and never mind who’s there;
Unless it’s effortless, what may or may not be seen or said,
Declared or promised, nothing strikes a dénouement
Before the climax, a careless detail wrought before
The action;  mere statement preëccupies horizons. Friction’s cribbage boards
Exist in particles scattered by synergies of natural endowment
In the winds as ever eastward jet streams on a cloudless day;
Circumstances rise but so high above the nimbus thus far
Across a skies’ perceptions yet confined below the collegium of stars,
The temporary aisles of a lasting peace crowns the noisome fray
Howsoever bound as portions of the earth wherein are sown
The greatest veils of mortality the world has ever known.  

Photograph by John Lewis

“Seek a Lighter Hue”

“Seek a Lighter Hue”

Seek a lighter hue in pastel conversation,
Hoards of daily mass conversion
Of the every act to some point in time, a little light diversion;
The mirage, the art a while, and for the mind a choice illusion,
An arbitrary sunset clause for replenishing, the flag unfurled
In the early hours of mint and red carnations and the dawn’s early munch
To satisfy the need to fill a shallow hour’s shadow till we lunch.
She knows she needs but say the word–
I’m gone–with no one near enough to hear her scream
While in the downshift here fickle seasons deem
It time to shrink that auspicious moment to a tight knot. If the Gorgon stays
She’ll have her way with nothing left to say.
Did she really think it wise to mitigate the circumstance of every rule
With aphorisms stitched on store-bought linens primed for workmanship on
Cloth, the only real estate, the final use for all those golden spools?

“Solace in the Courtesies”

…just a note to say that about a year ago, I posted the following sonnet induced by having seen the Moon and Jupiter in their full glory together; they’re both back, and contrary to public opinion, so am I; for the mind, “the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to:; for the heart, time is conquered, thank God… —Once, 23 July 2011

“Solace in the Courtesies”

Solace in the courtesies of the constellations, Jupiter
Surely there at sunrise, the brightest star,
Visible while the jealous moon, scarred,
The closest audience; apt, significant. The irony. Her
Dwarf, yet here in circumstance; the bond a quiet perpetuity.
The mighty planet rests for moments in the night,
And we regard the larger aegis the greater light
And think so little of her smaller celebrant; so great an inequity
In vision we’re wont to dote upon from such a station as this.
It is just so with all luminaries of perspicuous wisdom and guidance in the night
That they are worshipped in coal black skies, but preludes to the dawning light
Because it pleases the eye see none but them and rest awhile in ignorant bliss.
Yet with the rising of the sun, all former brilliance must surely fade,
Withdrawn by force to honour greater virtues than the night has made.

I wonder why it is that knowing consciously the identity of what that star is that shone this morning just before the sunrise and has been shining every morning so significantly in the southeastern skies makes so much difference. Tonight it was joined beautifully by proximity to the moon.

A few weeks ago, I learned from a friend that that bright, unusually vivid star was in fact the planet Jupiter. Not that the news was astounding, but in some quiet way it was comforting because as I looked out from my balcony in the early morning hours always just before sunrise, when the skies were clear I had seen that star and wondered just what it was. Somehow I wanted some confirmation as to just what that thing was. I wrote to my friend who was kind enough to confirm its identity for me that it is true that it’s Jupiter and it is very visible in the skies during the whole of June into July. Now, then, this silent delight in knowing consciously that I have seen with my own eyes this “other world” that shares our solar system in some subtle way pleases my soul. These are the signsof God, my friend, as if the moon and sun, the inevitable revival of the earth at spring, and countless spectacles of greater and lesser significance were not. Did I need another confirmation of the majesty of this Creation? These days, for me at least, even breathing is a sign of God and becomes more obviously so with every passing day at my age. —Once, July 2010

“They Await”

“They Await”

They await some helpful word and know the news
Their fear falls short of what it is they want to hear;
Days’ delays, too much backlog must disappear
Before the silence and its echo can renew
The striking of the bell within this people. Still
It falls within the natural healing that smatterings
Of longing, waiting, hoping in and of itself brings
Spasms of a healing psalm to the many, and for the few no chill
Will touch the man who holds the triumph of the will to heart,
A movement, distant, upward, outward toward
The next plateau, a freshly minted meme within a percolating promise, forward
Always–never moving yet never still–magnificently arched and carved.
As with a steaming rainbow, himself the crown to every several cloud
While he succumbs to resignation and relief that only ignorance allows.
They study stars to bring a second truth to hand enforced
By what the doctors know, to second guess
The odds, the capture of a second a consolation prize at best;
To cheat, perhaps, or worse, to change the windless course,
The doldrums 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 things greater
Than the product of a wizard or the clever second hand
shuffles 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.

“The Greatest Sanctuary”

“The Greatest Sanctuary”

The greatest sanctuary saves, preserves, and seals
The last and latest treasure; final fears are entertained
And in the end repeat themselves penultimate in any age
That’s spent with nothing left to say. The morass of months reveal
Themselves as names, the briefer moments cast in isinglass,
And hung above the door as witness to emotions borrowed to defend
The journey of both giver and what it is that’s given–split ends
That pass at times for purity of desire. Consternation, then, at last
Effaced, those few peas remaining within the pod will spend
Themselves while outward bound to what is after all a dream
Or merely someone’s lunch. They groom together–the sheen
Is frayed–delay is shame when every effort to confirm or to renew offends.
Reconnoitred, what were formerly evergreens
disclose themselves as deciduous devotions
That decry their former riverbeds as puddles, watersheds of desiccated oceans
That long since disappeared. Yes, we’ve seen this rain before
and now we see it every day;
Umbrellas up, umbrellas down, yet these expose
Themselves as useless as the refugees keep running, hoping, close
To bolting at the slightest sign of teardrops in their pain.
And what is gained in either case, the with
Or the without? The question here is moot.
Is moisture poison to the man who values silks in suits,
Or to the woman bound to shake her fist
At every incident that renders hairspray a total waste?
But these are questions for the sophist’s notepad and fodder
For prevarication while what is relevant to the journey, a blotter
For veneers of life are disclaimers and discounts which so easily make haste
To negate what is evident in a common tin of oysters or a jar of lox:
The end of every one of us is six feet under in a box.

“The Grapes”

“The Grapes”

The grapes hang withered, the harvest
Long since gathered; what remains
Retains the trenchant memory stains
From yet another season, the weathered test
Of futures peopled with a need, steeples
Rising from the premises of the past
And doting on the future that will not last
Beyond a nightly glass of wine. No sequel
To a dream but sanctioned roots suspended
In the act of pruning; horizons in the line
Of distant vision topple hopes distended
From disuse and inadvertently atrophied; wasted
Spirits in the advertent death of taste.
The pupil clouds and nostrils to the offended
Ear are blocked in musks of sweeter youth
That knows no limit. The feet must surely slip on smooth
And smoother promises of liquids, fickle frosts and pools,
Refractions of an oily surface to rival molecules
On a glass as if nuances of insight, some private means to see
Beyond and through but not within the self. Counterfeits
And likenesses ignore both dissembling and the stuff of age
Accepts no protocol beyond the glory of the bellows to a furnace.
These young ones, tender seedlings, virile saplings
Congregate in spacious places fashioned in the hapless
Moment, centred near but not within intention with nothing purchased
Being no better than what they are or might be and what they are is gone,
As meretricious vapours of a neon evening’s whim rehearsed at evensong.

 


“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.

“I’d Like to Think”

“I’d Like to Think”

I’d like to think I am kind to all
I meet in every second season, selfless
Possibly; a distant reason alike to those who, though helpless
And veiled from hope still pick up the phone and call;
They must know that I’m enough to offer nothing of myself in words.
These angels only think they’re weak; I hear them when they read
The lines they’ve rehearsed like nursery rhymes and furiously feed
The mouths of meters of the rush hour, tokens only, fleeing spirits, birds,
forgotten souls encircling, kneading darkest manna in the night.
The ego rarely sees the joys of dawn; not prayer but breakfast comes
Between because their instincts make them fodder for the daily run
To close the open windows tight, and block the calling sun. Purity of light
Without, they prefer the fire within; the eyes are screened, by choice, preferring stations in a Conga line to eternity that knows no fear nor flight.