I think it’s today

It’s a crushing and a consuming

that swallows me in its path,

rolling and roiling its path from yesterday’s nest

to the unknown adventure of tomorrow.

I am tossed.  I am torn  before the torrent,

familar though it is,

this dance with Duty,

as She always finds me,

She knows where I play in my dreams,

and She knows that name for me

that forces action and motion and thought and pushingrunningjumpingdancing.

I can smell today around me,

carrion afield buzzing and crawling

as I build a bridge for those who will follow after.

None of this is for me anymore.

“Life is hard.  You have to change.”


Naked

I clothe myself with nudity before Her ever shining eyes,

futile attempt to discard the mantle hanging leaden over my shoulders,

its rough texture worn smooth with labor and grime,

I hide myself behind transparent nothing,

fully awake and fully aware in the unveiled intensity of Her unyielding gaze.

 

Like ice beneath the flame,

the vestiges of emotion and strength and desire are shorn away,

running in rivulets to pool along my bare feet,

and to reflect once again those shining, terrible eyes

in small pools of disconnection puddling smooth in the windless afternoon.

 

It this all there is?

my beard ruffles and dances in Her hot breath,

before the unending stream of command and demand that pour from Her mind

as an uniterruptable torrent,

silent and true and strong against hope or reason or darkness.

 

I bathe in that current against my will,

for what is will before Her face?

I am neither tossed nor pushed along the streamlinee,

but rather pulled ever closer to Her embrace,

ever closer but always apart.

 

Drained.

I am empty and blown away,

an automaton marched by pulled strings

and unseen clockworks.

I would kneel or feint had I the choice.

 

I have waited her overlong,

and She comes now again,

angered that I have caused Her to turn Her head to find me.

 


The Quick Farewell

Briskly,

and through a brisk afternoon full of sunlight,

purposefully my feet carried me directionless

ever away from the monument of youth,

glowing symbol of those spaces that are lost now

to memory

or to the fog of forgetfullness.

 

I have no will,

against the torrent

even as my steps can carry me only onward and forward

down towards that end of all things,

that yawning chasm from whence nothing can return

and the little smiles and tears shall vanish forever

as all that I am vanishes forever

as brief echoes rebound a final pass

fading finally unto silence.

 

It is a bittersweet thing,

living and loving,

knowing and knowing that knowledge will cease

and that shining eyes and innocence are such fleeting vapors,

I cannot hold them,

and I weep as I see them broken away on the winds of time.

It crushes me,

the weight of this emptiness.

 

There is only alone at the end of all things,

and it is made so much more tragic in the light of these things that shall pass,

why does it all have to come with such a price?

 

I love.

It is deep and unfathomable.

I do so love,

and I will cherish these shining eyes and guard this precious knowledge

though it costs me a lifetime of lament,

and never will I let it go,

until these thoughts

and this love itself

are taken into that final void.


Tongue that Spot

alas but for an egress,

some recess

from the excess

of success.

 

I wear thin this imposter’s veil of deity.

 

This spot strokes my mind,

flaming and fanning a smoldering of brokenness

of doubt

of the Sorrow that underlies the everything and the always.

It is a waiting beast,

lurking before tomorrow,

ravenous against satiety,

heedless of victory or achievement or the unlaureled appointments of Duty.

 

The success is a mask,

avatar and persona for someone else

for another ego.

 

There is nowhere to turn,

and the unraveling threads

manifest the tapestry.

 

There lies no buffer from the pain,

and Sorrow begins to lap at my ignorance.


There,

in front of the thick,

velvety

silence,

there I struggle to relax the burning

aching knots of meat and muscle

screaming against time and age and duty.

There,

with my back towards

and my focus and spirit facing away from calm

and serenity

and nothing

I drag my hand to wipe the imagined sweat

as it is cold here

so vacant beneath the closing

crushing dome

unbreakable adamant without reason.

I smell the old smell

of burned up hair

and smoking drought of purpose –

it wafts in tendrils through this quiet space

that is no space

a place between other places.

I want nothing.

There is nothing I want.

Desire lies smoldering,

one of countless cinders among the refuse,

youth and hope and attachment and vision,

one of infinite odors mingled and tangled like the fibers of my body

indistinguishable one from the other,

emergent mass of nothing from something from nothing

and back again.

From somewhere,

some noble depth of unconscious spirit sporting the facade of teacher,

from somewhere rises a spirit of gratitude

directed nowhere and to no one,

only flowing out from an uncharted,

unknowable someplace,

gratitude for the nothing and the everything and all of the sights and sites between.

 

Thanks.

Thanks from no one to no one,

thanks existing before and after

above and outside and between

that bit of nothing that calls itself me.

 

 

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Why are you asking me this?

It’s such a terrible run,

Living and dreaming and hoping against where we’re certainly headed.

I see no way out,

No way to move from where we are to where we could be,

Ever distant reach of potential,

Always lurking over the next hill as I pray to accept the valley that consumes me today.

Hope.

Such a tool for the foolish and weak.

Hope is a crutch,

The weakened dyke against the irresolute fortitude of fate and of pain.

We are all of us lost,

Broken pawns in a game we cannot win

Against entropy and evolution.

Look to beauty,

To fill that short breath between today and eternity,

And delude the consciousness that is most assuredly

The mistake of God,

A hope requittal in a system broken since conception,

Twisted in the womb of the Bang.

We are all in of us lost.


Fall Wedding

I drank in the crisp air, thin and sharp like the bite of mint – the sting ran down my throat and lanced the belly of my lungs.  A soft wisp of steam poured from my mouth like the smoke from a train piping through a bright valley morning. I could feel the heat lighting from the back of my neck, and from the tips of my ears, covered though they were by my soft, brown wool hat.  I hugged my elbows closer to my ribs, squeezing the heat back into my core,  smiling beneath the ineffectual sun as she shone bright but cold upon my face and upon the water of the pond.

A soft breeze scattered a fleet of dried leaves across the nascent ripples birthed on the sheer surface of the glass-smooth water.  The sunlight bobbed and danced over the ridges, shooting crazed patterns like knives in the pumpkin and stone colored canopy above.

I stopped on the path, just before it ducked into the shade of the chattering maples and oaks.  I listened in the quiet to the playful chattering of beech leaves on slender, elephant-smooth trunks.  Those leaves would hang through the long, cold winter in fierce competition with the late oaks – the blissful ignorance of youth pitted against the reluctant willfulness of the ancient.  I would merit from them both, happy animal that I was – free to meander through the light and shade, open to thought and motion so quick as to be ephemeral.

That day I squinted my eyes against the radiance of an October sun on the umber-cobalt sheet of the pond but I gazed through sheaves of years, back into memories of greenest grass and pique of buzzing midge.  I looked not upon the gravel path, succumbing to the onslaught of falling leaves, but rather gazed into the shining eyes of a semicircle of storied faces, backlit with dreams and good intention.

My mind was not focused on the collective whispers of the forest leaves, nor on the mournful cry of walnut-gray geese resting before the continued push south.  Instead I heard the soft strum of string, the guitar ringing free in the outside air, looking for wall and floor to spring from in echo, but finding only shining air and distant cloud.  I no longer heard the soft lapping of frigid waves licking the edge of weathered hull, but instead my ears remembered the expectant hush of minds focused on myth and ceremony.

I stood complete and present in a time that was no longer present.  Fully self-aware in a memory whose mutability my probing thoughts enhanced, I swayed beneath a closer sun, years away and a season apart.  I could hear no words, nor see the detail of face nor of raiment. Yet I felt the mood, and bathed in the goodwill and expectation. We set aside there doubt and fear.  We cast anger from ourselves like empty cloaks – it was not needed in that place we had built.

I knew the sun waned through twilight to evening in the vision.  The untamable eye in the heavens replaced by man’s pet servant – fire, as she danced and kissed the sausages and vegetables, charring and caressing.  And in the darkness we feasted, dancing and singing and smoking and drinking. With feet bare, and hearts open, we revelled in the togetherness of celebration, and we forgot of yesterday and of tomorrow, and of those things to come later.  In that moment we were. Simple and fulfilled, we were.

A shiver ran through my toes, and I, as if from slumber awaking, became present again in the present.  I stood, short pillar of gray and green against the racing brush of time, painting the world before me in maroon and brown and yellow.  So slowly, and yet so very quickly, I counted year upon year stacking neatly behind me, ever pushing me wiser and older down the path towards rest and completion.  I looked upon my world, pastoral beauty framed in billowing trunk beneath cloudless cold sky.

I looked and felt a stirring for the crafty peace of autumn, for smokey childhood days of heroism and timelessness.  I watched a small boat trail glacially slowly across the pond, piloted by a passive silhouette of detailless suggestion.  I felt the heat of the earth retreating slowly into the depths as if all of nature were drawing a hushed breath before slumber.  I knew a wistfulness for the unbridled possibility of youth, and for the slow, deliberate wisdom of age. Within me stirred some primordial duality – the hope for newness and creation, married perfectly to the restfulness of death and darkness.  I saw myself not as a part of the world, but rather as someone watching a world, a stranger catching a shadowy glimpse of a deeper truth that was so much larger and grander than I could comprehend. But I was so thankful for the symbolism, though I understood nothing of the meaning.  I stood in awe, a child behind the discussion of kings and gods, lost and adoring, alone and insignificant – but complete.

I pulled the boots from my feet, and tucked my socks neatly inside.  I placed the boots next to each other, resting to warm in the nearly cold rays of the sun.  The earth beneath my feet was distant and cold. I did not feel grounded. Heat and life fled from my toes, evaporating in the cool dry air, feeling carried away by the breeze.  The soles of my feet spoke of stones and twigs, but their voices were muted in the vacancy of my mind. I walked to the water’s edge, and felt the clear tongues of the waves as they lapped at my toes and ankles.

I drew a deep breath again, and closed my eyes.  I spread my arms and tumbled into the icy blackness of the pond, the flame of consciousness extinguished by the icily merciless bite of the cold, dark water.


Practicing again

The flames crackled in the darkness.  The sounds of the small clicks and pops flew out into the air of the forest night like so many cinders carried aloft in the rising smoke.  Doug settled his back against the stiff bark of a fallen log, still fresh and hard with recently departed life. He could feel the ground drawing the heat from his body out of his ass, leaving it just warm enough to feel uncomfortable on the protruding roots.  He shivered and drew his thin blanket tighter around his throat.

Beneath the bright tongues of flame that consumed the small twigs and branches, the vermilion coals within the growing bed of the fire danced and sighed in the light breeze of the night.  Doug look to the pile of kindling the lay just within the glowing circle of the firelight, resting atop a larger stack of coarse pine and poplar logs that he hoped would stave off the cold of the long autumn night.

Far off to the west, the faint flickers of an unseasonable thunderstorm lit the overcast sky with deep bruises of purple and gray-brown.  The storm was too distant for the thunder to reach his ears. As the hour grew on, Doug saw the storm clouds marching slowly southward, lavishly dropping their precious fall energy against the northern slopes of the tall mountain peaks.

Above his head, sharp, yellow-slate clouds leaped between heaven and Earth, greedily lapping the faint starlight from the sky like hungry dogs.  The valley between Doug and the storm flickered with the lights of the town below, where solemn towers of wood smoke dutifully supported the blue-black dome of the sky.  

Doug turned his gaze from the valley floor.    Though he couldn’t make out the details of the houses from this distance, he closed his eyes against the flickering yellow gems.  Trying to fight back the memories of the woman he had left, Doug succeeded only in conjuring the image of her face, still wet with tears, to his mind’s eye.  He felt the sharp tang of her voice, raw and rough with anger, as she shouted at his back. He could still feel the sharp clap of her words as they crashed into his ears, now ringing red with shame and pain.  Then a pregnant silence, a rich pause in the anger that waited expectantly for him to turn, for him to say something. Anything. And he did pause, for a moment, breathing heavily with a knot in his throat and a tickle in his spine.  He stopped for a second on the path – not considering really, not feeling anything at all except the racing of his heart. His cheeks glowed in the bright afternoon sunlight, and the rim of his hat itched on his sweating head.

Then for moment, he did consider.  A moment too long.

The silence fell sour and was dashed upon the rocks of a single broken sob.  Its impact knocked him to his knees, as the sound of the sobbing faded behind the soft clack of a door on its frame.  

Doug felt the color wash from his face, drawing out his life as the setting sun has drawn the heat from the air.  For a moment he lingered, savoring the pain before the inevitable numbness sank in. He wanted to remember something before he forgot everything.  He bowed his head, and with his eyes shut, felt the echo of that last shout bounce through him and around him before fading to memory in the dying afternoon light.


Beneath it

I simply cannot.

Insurmountable weight of institution

crushes with cloying and utter disregard for truth

or development beyond the self-inflicted limitations

of twisted self-examination

through the cold queen’s mirror,

blind hanging on the granite wall

aping images of inconsequential merits

and self-aggrandizing themes

so bold in their inanity

their insanity.

Today I simply cannot.

I lie beneath this oppression,

this eighty hour torment of cracking the nut of the earth

for a morsel of bread,

only to dig another hole on the morrow,

on the morrow

on the morrow

until there are no more dawns to await,

and I lie myself in the ground

to feed the worms and dust

until I too am forgotten,

forgotten,

empty dust.

It simply is.

It is that it is,

and I am the very intent of inconsequential,

the idea and concept of trivial,

yet do I not suffer and know?

Indeed.

It was a cruel jest at best,

horrid experiment of vanity at worst

that lead me to know,

to taste what is joy,

at the cost of the deep understanding of sorrow,

the devil-defining shadow of god,

the same reality bound in different vantage only.

Today I cannot.


A pillowy soft shroud of purple-gray cloud

is raked slowly across this early autumn sky,

uncaring as it removes the hot sun from my shoulders.

With strides unmeasured,

unhurried,

I walk across the face of the world,

unhurried,

at peace.

I am.

I am now become that I am,

complete and alone and filled.

I rest my soul on the comfort of five pillars,

each a glowing strand of what I have built,

and of what has shaped this peace

and now carries these tired old feet from nowhere

to nowhere else

unhurredly.

At night I lay restless and in physical agony,

in a house that is a home that caresses the small parts of life

and smooths the folds with unmeasured grace

to drive to forgetfulness the hunger for gold and bauble,

and instills in me a swelling,

a pouring over,

a celebration of who I am and what I will leave

as my mark upon immortality

though I must surely fade as those forgotten before me.

But for now,

I am here,

and the I that is me can live a bit longer,

perhaps,

through these ten glowing eyes

and shining smiles,

echoing through eternity in protein and laughter,

I shall become even greater still.

 

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