The red bird dances burnished flames of
laser lined orange-ruby darkness.
Trellissed windows, the umber peace of
space, settle the mood of the woman.
Leather mittens bind her hands, cotton
curl rags fly, auroral lights flicker
as, moving across the sky, she bows
before wind, hums the rutted mud, swoops,
sinks in stubble fields. Currents from the
weirs of the moon, from vacuum urges,
from the continual silence of
expansion beyond awareness'
rim clash where the red bird watches old
continents drift and join again. Let
loose, she drifts lightly into sleep out
on the plain where floods incise limit-
ing marks, embroider fine threads, cast a
mesh, catch the light, reflecting pewtered
bindings of the earth, keeping it whole
a twine ball, convoluted upon
itself: thousands of layers criss-cross
the emptiness, the magma, the beat
of the photon, the cast of the air.
Seven angels spread their wings,
took their places, hovered, watched.
Eleven children wept by
wisteria not in bloom,
lilacs not in flower. There
is no purple, there are no
tears. "O, Angels of the loom,
weave my mother back into
the warp of time, slow the drift
of hadrons to trace again
my father's face, for there is
no purple, but too many,
many tears." Leaving relics
of flesh, a bit of bone for
the mourning world to dissect
with precision, bury with
pomp, they danced off ecstatic,
one perfect Bang, electron
to electron, dispersed in
the cool wind. At zero, plus
seventy four, marking time,
having slowed down to speed up,
eyeing the peace of space, blue,
deep, the white bullet, tagged
by destiny to explore
polar regions of the sun,
shattered. Whizzing atoms shot
fragmented past facets of
emptiness searing human
images across the clear,
icy void, the nothingness
of free Bubbles of silence.
"O, astronaut, astronaut,
hide yourself so cleverly
among moons that you cannot
be found. Become the marching
universe, become every
particle of it. Let those
who look for you not find you.
O, astronaut, astronaut,
scatter your molecules, merge
with the quarks, be our vanguard.
Send us out, at our choosing,
to explode among stars."
Memory makes the oddest choices:
a little Chicano restaurant
on a gloom-cold Seattle day: once
alone, once with my sister--nothing
special, even the nachos not good.
Yet insistent poignancy pierces
the vision of that moment, any
moment, that hour in space and of time
at an oil tablecloth, on a wood
chair with one fork between us before
the energy of nothingness kissed
us with the eternality
of other forms, other ways: chalupas,
in Texas, perhaps, fajitas or
sopapillas or tacos or cheese.
Wander the rug merchant's shop.
See hues of browns and reds and
blues, patterns of guls, hooks,
gardens, heaven and earth woven
with symbols wild as the runes.
Women sit on the burning sands,
or wrapped high beside the snow
fed springs, weaving, and carry
their looms from the mountains,
down from Tashkent, down to the
plains, and up again in summer,
from Baluchistan, Isfahan, Fars
patterns of earth and branches,
physics and philosophy in umber
and indigo, crimson and tan. A
history of the world, infinity,
stretches from your feet worked
in pile. Tread softly. Admire
the colors, praise the weaving,
the time, the pattern, the rugs.
and the oak leaves a shade
of leather blue. Who wants
to announce her candidacy
in the hierarchy of the
flocking trees, where light
penetrates only slowly
through mists of ocher
shadow, never reaching the
needles, never touching
the accumulated carpet where I
sit, sole, and another woman
lies stretched out, elbows up,
hands beneath her head, feet
dangling toward the stream,
incubating the concealed sky?
At fifty-five I begin to see the necessity of courage and the lie.
For years now I have been asking people about death -- mostly contemporaries, but some older, some younger. I find almost universally that, like me, people would perfer lying in their graves, asleep for eternity, no longer having to cope.
The consensus is, it (life) is not much worth it, but either they're 1) afraid to die (Are you afraid of going to sleep?) or 2) find it (life) interesting enough, in spite of the pain, to stick around to see what happens next. A few hypers -- like the lovers of greed and lust -- keep themselves so busy excercising their powers they don't think about now -- or later.
So here we all are. And it's burdensome on the rest of us for you to act like a victim, to seem pathetic, unhappy, depressed. Keep up a front of good cheer. Don't form anxiety in your neighbors' breast. They long for rest, just like you. We're all sad and in pain, but let's laugh about this joke of a world.
You'd think if God were going to think up a world, He/She/It would do a better job than this. HSI could have, when creating humans, made a happy, loving creature full of constant joy and helpfulness, tested by good cheer instead of pain. HSI could have had us test one another by happiness not hatred.
O, I see how the pain functions: you test me, I test you, and it goes round robin. "Our finest hour" comes out in war, earthquake, famine, flood. But it could have been different. Or we could tell the truth: we could admit out love of war, pain, disaster, the opportunity to show off our courage, demonstrate our magnanimity -- if only for an hour.
Ever met anyone who got rich and wanted to move closer to his fellows? O, many send money from a distance, from behind their high walls and gardens. But nobody wants a homeless human, especially not with a starving baby, squatting under their rose bushes. Nor would one with a billion bucks in the bank, pay her an "excessive" wage -- say enough to feed herself and her babe -- to pick the roses, dethorn them and put them in a vase. It would spoil her character, raise her expectations, make her love and trust a fellow human. What DO the rich tell themselves when they see people starving in the streets? What excuse do I use?
It could have been different. So the last recourse is to admit we like to do what we are doing. We enjoy the earth the way it is -- or we would change it. So remain of good cheer. Don't haunt your family and friends with anxiety. They, too, would just as soon be peacefully asleep in their caskets.
Make everyone's life as cheerful and pleasant as you can. Make your own cheerful and pleasant. The goal of life is death, we'll get there soon enough and sleep gratefully forever. Lie still, lie quietly, no one asked you to tell the truth.
Did you know a crater is
to mix water and wine in?
-- the depths of a volcano?
-- an electrical gap? -- the
space you left in my heart?
Check this against new version in Ellora folder and old version on the NET
INTRODUCTION + POETRY + MUSIC + ESSAYS + TRAVEL + FICTION + TEXTILE ART