Sunday, February 26, 2006


What can we do?

Distractions. Detours. Details. Pernicious amusements of idle minds. Idle spirits, bodies, languishing in the dailiness of living.


There is so much to do. Sinks to scrub. Bills to pay. Sick to care for. Floors to sweep. Miracles to perform.
Trees need trimming. Planting, hunting, gathering. News to digest and discard.

A tyranny of events.

So hermitage calls. But the silence of the void is not silence. The peace of nothingness is not peace.
In the world, not of the world. But still in the world.

I want everything, and don't want to know. Because hunger begets hunger. Truest wanting doesn't seek fulfillment--only to sustain itself. Desire can only really want itself. Satisfaction is the end of it. It shuns fulfillment in the name of self preservation.
A thousand philosophers stand serene and testify together: Eliminate desire. The world's chaos is Dracula. It can't get beyond your doorstep without your invitation. Not even Peace can come by the wanting of it.
Just be, they say.


But I want you.

Open Letter to E____ D________

I am not a good person.

Confession should be beneath us. And this isn't about sympathy. But suffice it to say: I try to live up to high principles, and fail in the worst way.

I don't use the word lightly. I know what the worst is.

It is that I appear to live--and do not. That I focus on what people think, knowing that there are more significant ways to fail than in the opinions of others. Making every effort to make a good impression, and no effort whatsoever to cultivate inward nobility. Preaching kindness and indulging in all manner of selfishness. Talking of Chastity and Respect, as debasing fantasies run rampant.

Even worse: I claim to love Music, but pay her no hommage of practice or serious study. I claim to love the books that gather dust on my shelf. I proclaim a love of words, and worship them in sheltered privacy, then go on to speak in the slack jawed terms of quotidian adequacy. My pen barely ever touches the page.

Lower than beasts is the hypocrite. Only when we are true to ourselves--no, to the best in ourselves--do we actually live. The inside has to match the out. A public self that differs from the private self is a cancer.

So, I am not a poet. Because Art demands a sacrifice that I cannot separated from my shell long enough to make. I have settled for being a wordsmith, a player of games. Respected--maybe--but a respected charlatan is a charlatan still.
My mouth says serenity, but my restless heart wants everything. I reach out as I crave withdrawal, and withdraw when I should extend my hand.

That same unworthy hand I would extend to you--you who were not unworthy of your principles--reaching out across an expanse of hypocrisy and conceit. Because whatever I lack, you never dim your beacon. I point my boat in your general direction, and hope the waves and the currents subscribe for a moment to the notion that I will not wallow in myself forever, and accept the tiny offering of my admission of guilt--and see fit to deposit me on your shore.

If not, then let us hope I'll find the strength to leave this husk behind-- a sacrifice to the deep--and find beneath a lighter, stronger self who can strive against the conspiring sea. And realize:
I am alone, and not alone. I am myself, and my potential. The waves, the shore, and--in some unthinkable way--you.
And if tribulation worketh patience, and patience hope--then I'll perch, and sing the song withtout the words. And never stop.

Monday, February 06, 2006

stille nacht

Several years ago I stopped dreaming. Or, rather, stopped remembering my dreams.
They were all about the end of the world, or just my world. Everybody dying. Or my family killed off one by one, leaving only me.
Not nightmares. It wasn't these dreams that made dreaming stop. The elements of horror were there: serpents and fangs--skeletons (one a hundred feet tall)--withering trees and skies of blood. And Death--imminent and eminent--Proximate, then present--terrible and immaculate.
But horror didn't bloom from these elements. No flower of fear hushed pale in the moonlight through the window. Rather than taking fright, the soul settled.
Because morning kept coming?
If night became a void, then so did I. Sleep was haunted by Death, then sleep was Death. Not a chill wind, or an icy dagger. More like a blanket. A comfort. A stillness.

* * *

So days became the dream. I floated along--aloof as I could be--through trumped up tragedy and fancy--through events and states of being that seemed imagined. Changeling loyalties, political upheavals, facts becoming myths and vice-versa--all that others called Life and living--these were grotesques, tales.
It was ballet.
It was also chaos.
None of it was real and I knew it. Not just because the wavelength of it missed me, but because it all tasted like plastic compared to the dead quiet.

* * *

Slowly, dreams came back to sleep, haunting the night, here and there, with visions. Mostly desires just out of reach and other useless froth, resembling "Life" all too well.
So Life urged the still out into the light of day--to be reconciled with this morning that keeps coming.
I've seen it written of an endless day to come. And as I find hope in it, I come to love the sunrise as the dawn of my own self, and I try to appreciate it one ribbon at a time.
But the heat and the clamor of Day remind us that morning is only a symbol of the resurrection. Our souls rise later--after passing through ultimate stillness--
Hinted at in dreams.
Serene behind the day's mask of human fear.
Tempting us like only a valley of shadow can.

transcription (attempt)

Ah, love--
Ink flows to you like water.
Running down to low places--resting there--
Feeding soil--carving canyons--
Making depths, as plunging for the Great Deep--
And reaching--rising--through vapor and fish--
To heights, as to the Great Height.
You are wrapped around me like paper--and wind--
And Gravity--
And Will--
Run a pen to all extremities,
And half--or more--of all this--force--
Is lost along.
But only to conciousness.