What Might the Doctor Say?
What was it that brushed my face last night?
Old spiderwebs? Dim spirits? Soft hair?
None of these, unless in mirrors.
I felt the scattered fragments of your mind
In wave after wave of rising and falling and gyrating
Chest-pulling movements to travel between worlds.
I have no power but my awareness,
No reformations but my memory and its
I have no time-machine save my words, my paper,
My word processor and usb drive,
My notebook with the thought of you and
Universe carried---dust and pollen---through
Transience and in/convenient broken-down mechanisms.
But I lay there, breathing, forgetting to breathe,
Laughing in the darkness,
And realizing I had foundered my way through
Another clumsy dance, without knowing you were
Moving too, skittish, afraid---
Or was that just me?
You heard the same song at least,
Or something like it.
I could've sent myself to oblivion,
Asked you to come too,
Wrapped in promises and impositions;
Could have drifted into false-god-ness like a
Hell-bound tyrant, implored you
To change me, change you, fix the broken sky,
Bind the moon to its position above the treeline,
Whirling dervishes---endless gyrations
To praise a deathless lie: Permanence Almighty.
I've done it before! Again and again
And again, watched the world come to be
And thought I'd catch it, sketch it,
Dissect it, perceive it, keep it
Safe and sterile and unchanging behind the glass,
Pretending it's alive and flitting about
And not pinned down by its wings,
Because I couldn't tell when the life left its eyes,
And thought perhaps this was just
How life looked from the outside,
Wondered at its value.
I wasn't there when she was suddenly
Not form, turned to dust,
No longer ever alive, and I couldn't figure out
Why I couldn't see it, when ever and anon these
Others like me (but not like me) cried out,
"Oh, and she has passed away,
Gate, gate, pāragate, pārasaṃgate..."
Why they waved goodbye and I still stood
Upon the same shore, but saw naught but horizon,
No boat, no ferryman, no mystery unfolding, just
Puzzles unsolved, memory corrupting as I watched
Like the files on my flash drive---did they ever exist?
Were they ever written?
Was there ever a world?
Ever a light?
Ever a flutter of wings in the yawning cavern of my chest?
Or had I forgotten to click 'save'?
Was I too late... too late...?
And here is a stirring,
A file re-opened,
A memory awakened,
From the time before I ever drew breath.
And inspired, drawing light, bending it around
Our heads and exchanging it between our mouths and our fingers,
I take in the spirits and remember---I remember!
Ah, gate, gate, pāragate...
You and I and others
Contained and released---too soon!
A whole twenty-three minutes early, imagine that.
A whole twenty-three months too short.
No-- No, perhaps not.
I stray into godliness.
"Repent, He roars, for Sin has caused the plague.
But we say, 'Dirt---so wash.'"
I drew a bath, burned it out,
And exhaled myself until I sank
Deep into the ground
And drifted above while I
Why rip the world in twain
When it yet spins so delicately upon its
Relative axis and displays all its magnificence
Within the movements of each other's eyes?
Knowing all the while the same wonder
Exists everywhere---but noticing,
Spinning about in this moment---
This particular moment,
This particular space in time,
Short as the straw that spells death---
By and with each other,
For here is the All and Nothing-at-all
As it has manifest now:
A word, the repeated cry of a far-drifting bird,
A thought shared a thousand ways,
A conversation scattered across the stars---
Your words, new constellations in the cloudy sky
Seen in the darkness, worlds apart,
Records in the black,
Flowers on glass, blanket on grass,
Can't tell the birds from the blossoms...
And too soon: the impatient night
Slipping under the sheets.
I would have slept beside you,
Talked until we fell asleep,
Listened until your words became
Whispers, sighs, yawns, and
Gentle silence in the morning light.
I do not know yet who I am,
Whether devil-god or only human.
But what would it profit me to know?
I think I'll just let this world turn
In all its subtle poison-remedy.
No cognitive retreat.
No soulful desperation.
And with a child's wonder
I'll let it in and let it go,
And will not tear the world apart
Just to pin it down behind glass
And hang it on the wall.