Fragments

 

A COLLECTION OF

LEFTOVER BITS AND POSSIBLE PIECES

 

To all else since

come and gone

 

Hugh M. Lewis


Copyright 1984 Hugh M. Lewis


 

 

The word was invented to hide the truth....

About the silence of the system

Ignoring all the people

The criminal and the insane

All those who have forgotten

How to become artists in life

As most artists paint the future

But once in a while an artist comes along

To remind people of their past

And all people have ghosts....

Forgotten dreams suddenly surface

From the depths of the pool of reflection

Words cannot tell what the system knows

 

*****

 

Dear flower bud

So full of life

Ephemeral moments of glory

Passing through this inexorable existence

I love you so

But you refuse to blossom

And I am afraid

You are becoming too old

What are you afraid of

That you refuse to bring forth

The color and beauty

That is yours to show?

What unrevealed tragedy silently transpires

This world will never know

What fleeting greatness

Could have been yours to admire

I would feign

Shed a tear

Or something like that

Only I know it will do no good

 

I have seen so many generations

Of such beauty simply wither away

And I have felt so many buds

Refusing to open forth

I have imagined in my mind's eye

So much missing splendor and unfelt pleasure

That now I am left only saddened and sullen

Silently remorseful of its tragic-comic fate

A common fate

Awaiting us all

Upon the busy pathway

With so many flowers

 

*****

 

Magic needle

Simple spool of thread

Tiny finger so deft

Capped by a silver thimble

Gentle handmaiden

Of enormous love

And caring strength

Weaving together

The warp and weft

Of the undulating fabric of spirit

On the mysterious loom

Stitching together

The tiniest bits and pieces

The diverse fragments

Into a mosaic

Of strange patternings

Together composing

A grand tapestry

Compounded and confounded

Obscuring horizons

Obliterating contemporaneousness

Distances diminished

Into intangible moments

A web

A net

Without an end

Without an edge

A curtain

A shroud

A cover, a sheet

For the dead

Structures of the mind

Games for a time

What was and what will be

Collapse into the moment

Ideas pop

Explode and fuse

Touchstone to reality

Godhead manifest

 

*****

 

Candle light, burning bright

Dancing flame, entrancing flicker

Casting shadows, shows of fanciful delight

Prancing puppets passion play

Friendly bouncing funny fellows

An ephemeral little spirit

And a tiny ethereal sprite

A myriad fleeting scintillations

A thousand tintillations

A zillion confabulations

Silently reverberating tintinabulations

Subtle infatuations, wild stupendous imaginations

Magnificent magician

Electrifying silhouettes

Mysterious wireless marionettes

 

A tiny bit of heat

Wax softening and slowly melting

Dripping down the slender shaft

Wick burning, fluttering, spluttering

Tiny little thing so alive, so full

Upward bound

Glowing, growing upon a faint draft

Blowing, whispering, waning warmth

Writhing, forking, twisting, furling, curling

Slowly dying upon a wispy breath

Gradually burning down

Carelessly blown out

 

Simple thing upon a single string

Energetic soul, emerging essence

Silently springing forth

From some secret solitary source

Sudden kiss exciting, surprising, defiant touching

A final, intensely flowing flurry

Then mere diminished glowing

As if suffocating, suffering

Seeking ultimate release

fleeting, fleeing

Life forever flown to somewhere distant

Some far off, fanciful, forbidden place

 

Now no more

You leave me alone again

In the darkness of this cold night

Leaving only this spot of melted wax

Where have you flown to

Burning desire of mine

Where are you now

Ethereal entity?

 

*****

 

Lone friend

forlorn phantom

I know too well

That sordid, dreary look

Face so seemingly without expression

Beneath that cold, calm mask

Bathed in clammy drab shadows

What lurks there

So quietly?

 

Brow unwrinkled, unfurled forehead

A senseless smile

Or maybe just a contemptuous smirk

The stony stare

Of dark ominous eyes

Receding infinitely

An oblivion's distance away

Forever

 

An empty breath

A hollow echo

Ringing ever more faintly

In my dumbfounded ear

Sounds of senseless stillness

Without corporeal meaning

And yet understood so well

Silence absolute

Empty, endless solitude

Complete, undisturbed

A feint whisper

A hollow grave of cold air

 

You stole my father away

And frightened my sister even further

You beckon to me

To come a little closer

In futile jest

And morbid fascination

Some secret to share

Some other, sacred sense

Of ominous, foreboding doom perhaps

Simple fate?

 

No false promises

Of niggardly fame

Or hollow immortality

Only escape, completion, an end

Perhaps eternal rest

And nearer still

You beckon me

As if to a funeral

Or some strange wedding

Perhaps to touch

Or taste a different tomorrow

Or another yesterday

Belonging to me and you

What powers

We are dealt

In these day-to-day bouts

With death's destiny?

 

*****

 

No today....no tomorrow.....no yesterday

Existence has become suddenly

A meaningless venture

And presently I am feeling

So utterly defeated

My closest friends have become

My furthest foes

Love and hate intertwine

Beauty become all ugliness

And evil conquers all goodness

Carry my body down to the sea

To wash in the might clash

Of surf and shore

Dragged beneath that primordial essence

The salty source of dark and light

From which all dreams originate

All myth and fantasy dwell

The rhythmic whorl and whirling rhyme

Silencing discord in a clap of swirling, twirling commotion

Thunderous rolling resounding, rebalancing of elemental essences

Expunge my soul beneath that magical sea

Extirpate my spirit within its swirling embrace

Ensconce my beleaguered body in its frothy foam

To dive with my entire being beneath the broiling surface

Over the edge of the earth

Beneath the blackest blanket of night

Into the deepest reaches of depth

Reflecting blue starlight from below

Glowing green luminessence

And there

Expire

And in my secret, solitary passage

My spiritual salvation and soulful resurrection

I transcend this hell called reality

And my corporeal existence

Becomes a mere lonely walking ghost

Marginal, liminal, stalking about

Lurking eerily around the edges of life

Living a spirited illusion to be suffered and eternally endured

Freedom.....freedom.....freedom

In sum a political failure

And social reject

From where else derive my strength

But from the grip of secret death?

 

*****

 

You awaken me

From my deep slumber

You bring to my bedside

Big yellow flowers

To brighten my inner realm

And to perfume

Its stagnant atmosphere

 

You open my window

To the cool morning breezes

And draw back my curtains

To a sun shining

In a light blue sky

To the music of chattering song birds

And the wild dancing of nature

 

Over my desolate kingdom

You have worked your sublime spell

Of enlightening enchantment

You've mended my earthly wounds

And healed my hurting heart

You unloose my supple spirit

A sun bird soaring forever skyward

Ascending the heaven-bound heights

 

Amidst all my sorrowful suffering

Is found the only true meaning

Within the many thorny pains

Are born the few simple pleasures

The hint of love penetrates deep into my heart

Blessing me with life newborn

Rejoicing in the renewal of my spirit

 

In this mortal impermanence

Rests the secret truth of eternity

In this hopeful hint of newborn love

Burns the grace of my salvation

 

 

*****

 

Aesthetic illusion

So bright

So lucid

These emerging flowers

Multi-colored and sculptural delights

Coarse grains in vigorous renewal

Fatal visions in deathly dreams

Joyous flower blossoms

In a Rosie-cheeked smile

Saddened petals wilted

Drooping and dropping

From the well-spring of lush life

Petals too beautiful

So soft and sensitive

Bruised so easily

By brash brutality

By the brazen crudity

Of common sense convention

 

*****

 

Broken dreams

And tattered images

Ephemeral thing mocking me

So boldly with secret meanings

 

Mother of forgiveness

Mend again my broken cup

And replenish the fluid essence

All but spilt out

 

Renew my vigorous source

And console my spirited breath

O earth mother

And sun goddess!

 

What ill-begotten and hapless fate

To cross death's pathway

Too many times the foolish imp

So often the lonely lover

 

*****

 

I beckon to the edge

Of lost visions

And twilight vistas

I query the betokened promise

Of yet unsatisfied desire

And still more desperate degeneracy

 

Where is my handle

My hook...my anchor?

What shall serve as my guide

And wheel and rudder

What shall be my map and compass?

What the ballast and balance

The light-house of the dark night

In this rising storm?

 

*****

 

Grant me the power

To turn my weaknesses into my strengths

To turn my suffering into my meaning

To turn my hardships into my happiness

To turn my ignorance into my vision

To turn my failures into my triumphs

To turn my follies into my success

To turn my fears into my courage

To turn my dying into my living

To be thus reborn

Again and again and again....

With each new day

 

*****

 

The Interstices of relationship

The webs of dependency

The myth of meaninglessness

Miserable people

Who will not admit

Being the source

Of their own unhappiness

Who instead want to spread

Their misery all around for everyone

 

They share only their discontent

And will not help others to happiness

But why should I be made so miserable

Because others are so?

I choose to make my own contentment

Inspite of unhappiness all around me

Much hurt have I seen

And diminished to mere nothingness

By jealous desires of selfish others

My miserable heart

Has suffered many unhealed wounds

If only I simply want it so

Isolated from other's will

 

*****

 

Where to begin again

Beyond the befuddled gray

Obscuring half-forgotten yesterdays

Half-remembered tomorrows

Formless fog that dissipates

Strange forms emergent

Ephemeral epiphenomena

Energetic and eclectic

Evasive, escaping, entrapping

Sleepy untold spells

Unfolding superstitions

Ethereal apparitions

In silent misunderstanding

Ill-begotten shadows

Misbegotten reveries

Long since, long past

Laid to rest

 

Silently returning

Revolving

Resolving

 

In between

Here and now

Now and then

Somewhere, sometime

In between

Confusion abounding

Willy-nilly astounding, surrounding

Confounding and compounding

Lost in a crazy maze-way

A mystical mosaic

A labyrinthine lair

Some magical monstrosity

Some mythical Minotaur

A map of meaningless patterns

A mysterious crystal

Of multi-faceted reflections

Brightness dimming to darkness

Feint glimmering of lightness

 

A despairing prisoner

Of some grand design

Self-constructed illusions

Screens and veils abstracted, abstruse

Absolute abysm

 

Obscene cells, ominous imagined ceiling

Wrought from countless dreams

Disheveled, disparate, destitute

Volition chained

Willpower constrained

Vision constricted, confined

Delusions embraced

By solid

Thick impenetrable walls

Alone, solitary

Beyond all bounds

Beyond dreams and hopes

Beyond love and mercy

Beyond time and space

Secret sanctity

Sovereign solitude

A new beginning

In between

 

*****

 

You can look

But you can never touch

You can desire

But you can never be gratified

Your most natural needs

Alienated and exploited

Sublimated to compulsive craving

For some cheap synthetic substitute

Destroy your desires

In order to withstand

And survive

The harsh vicarious tortures

And subtle manipulations

Of a meaningless

Modern existence

We are elevated

We are enlightened

We are ensconced

By our chains

Of distorted desire

And perverted pleasure

 

*****

 

Please help me come again

Upon the proper paths

Leading to fulfillment

And greater meaning

Help me once again

To find that soulful source

Of sublime strength

And to open the passages

To spiritual freedom

Pen, ink and paper

Hand spewing forth

Upon petty principles

Preaching fair play and justice

Of purblind and prideful prejudices

Do not leave my side

In my lost and forgotten

Moments and dreams

Of lonely abandon

Give birth once again

To that harmonious being

That bears its message

In a poem or painting

 

*****

 

Where am I now

After all that I have said and done

What more can a person want

Than here and now

Penniless and impoverished

Painfully self-persecuted

By a poor prideful and petty ego

My Kharma is one

Of perpetual self-frustration

And purposeless perseveration

 

Who can dwell always and forever

Among the lofty pinnacles

In the complacent company

Of heavenly vistas

Without occasionally needing

To descend Earthward into hell?

 

Heaven and hell

Desire and guilt

Freedom and limitation

Things that plague

Our restless souls

Even to the grave

 

*****

 

Too bright brilliant blue sky

So strong soft clouds

Shinning white islands

Blinding my eye

Floating ablaze

And anchored aloft

On an ethereal blue haze

Like so many supple sails

Billowing softly on strong winds

And gentle breezes

 

Casting out to far-off island worlds

Mountainous shadow silhouettes

And distant, humid horizon lines

Invisible meridians of flowing currents

Awash with the waves and white-caps

Serene heavenly harbor

Stretching so far away, so flat

Sitting in an emerald blue bay

Pleasant placidity

Waiting for the fury

Of a fierce, fiery saffron sunset

Patiently, silently lying

Where the sea and sky

Fuse together

 

And then so many blinking, twinkling stars

Man on the moon smiling

Glowing orbital disk

Full-round monolithic obelisk

Dreams sneaking out my window

Open to the rain-washed freshness

Of the midnight air

Drumming drip and dripping drum

Running off the over-hang

Coolness and silence

From long ago

 

Fleeting consciousness

Dreaming

Wooing sleepiness

Dizzy, blurry wistfulness

Serenity, tranquility, peacefulness

Beneath tired lids

Meeting with open arms

The blissful freshness of a newborn being

Become one with the universe

Embracing renewal

Between clean white sheets

 

*****

 

Jazz up my rubber soul

Pump up my plastic heart

Gas up my thin blood with pure O2

Corpuscles, vessels, arteries, capillaries

Young blood pulsing through my heart

My bleating, bleeding body

 

Bow down beneath the master mentality

Kowtow below the selfish sow

Inform, reform, conform, deform, uniform

Belong, believe, behave yourself

Consensus nonsensus

 

Flat footprints in the red clay

Prehistoric presence preserved in the mud

Neo-Neanderthal and homo prejudice

Primitive personage, plodding pathways

Muted presence before public peonage

Humankind's long passage

From the forgotten past

 

*****

 

Passed through the light

Passing through again and again

Then the white awakens

When the wrath of Heaven descends again

And again and again

 

 

Down to the essential earth

The ground of being

No more blacks, no more reds

No more yellows, no more colors

No more races

Waves rise and fall

Rising and falling

Ground waving, waving, rolling and waving

Then the tragic fall, the comic rise

The point of ending and beginning

Coming together

And magic shadows spreading again

Stretching and strangling and dying

And the cycle beginning

Renewing

 

Passed through the light

Passing through again and again

Then the white awakens, arises

When the wrath descends

Down to the ground

No more black, no more white

No more red, no more yellow

No greens, blues or browns

Absolutely no more colors 

 

When waves rise and fall

Rising and falling

Then ground waving

Rolling

Waving, rolling, and waving

The tragic fall, the comic rise

The magic shadows spreading, strangling, dying

And then the cycle begins again

Renewing, refreshing

Returning round and round again

Never ever ever ending

 

*****

 

Brown bodied

Black beauty

Long curved back

Yellow measure

Of Asian anatomy

And eastern geography

Shifting white edges

From the corners

Of mysterious almond eyes

Moon face

Celestial head

Monkey mind

Funny squawk

Talkie talk

chop, chirp, chatter

Shade stalking

Shadow walking

Slow promenade

Sweet lemonade

Gliding grace

Poised phoenix face

Composed countenance

Confucian permanence

Flesh so soft to touch

Hair too long, too black

Lovely lips too full to talk

No one to wipe the ears away

All the fears and losses

Please to put aside

No longer count

People who've passed

Times that have fled

Please please me

Blood boils and spills

And midnight kisses

 

Western man meets Eastern woman

And myth intercedes

In a delicate dialectic

A dance of confucian confusion

Tensions mount

Clouding the sultry atmosphere

 

*****

 

Monster slumbering

Working madly through the night

Waiting for the maniacal rendezvous

Being careful not to disturb

The demon until the morning time

 

*****

 

Placid lake, permanent reflections

Starry fires, blazing fields all blue

Stillness sitting forever

Waiting quietly

By the water's edge

Lotus floating

Keeping company

Time flies away with the wind

Space drifts off with the sun's shadows

Unsullied perfection

Unhurried meanings

Most permanent

Most ephemeral

 

*****

 

Little child

Why are you crying

So emphatically, so ceaselessly

Such agony

As never before evinced

In the history of humanity

For such trivial nonsense

It must be most urgent

Very important indeed

 

*****

 

Child's innocence

Female's fertility

Valley's deep shadows

Water's reflective placidity

Wind's elusive origins

Nature's uncultivated stone

Presence in absence

Nonbeing in being

Impermanent potency

 

*****

 

So now

Spirited kindred

Having been thoroughly processed

Through the torturous thresher

Between the gears

Of miss fortune's machine

 

Alone, barren, remaining, surviving

Unthreshed strength so broken

Fate deems us all one time only

For a few sojourners

Surviving pitifully

Another passage to eternity

On borrowed time

Weathered cracks

Withered figure

Suppleness blown

Away by the winds

Bent in fragility

Spent in weakness

Down to the dark earth

Crushed asunder

Beneath weighty wheels

Endeavoring still

To rekindle the flame

The fleeting form of love

So strangely lost

Surreptitiously stolen

What lot is cast

For fledgling offspring

Like seeds of the winnowed chaff

Thrown upward

Blown to the winds

Bereft of a spot of soil

Worth calling home

Growing up cracked, misshapen

So sorrowful

To see such suffering

So sad

To watch unfolding fate

Helplessly, hopelessly

Would want to magically

Shift and change places

Without losing one's breath

Momentarily resurrecting

Lost futures

We the lucky few

Standing unscathed

Undaunted remaining

Without transfiguration

Of body or soul

Yet unshucked of our spirits

Our time will also come

It will come by and by

 

*****

 

Bring me back again

By the silent seaside

Memories long since

Washed ashore

Like so much curious junk

Waterlogged driftwood

Carved by the tides

Rounded skipping pebbles

And odd-shaped sea shells

Like flotsam

Carried by the currents

Ocean odors

Seashore breezes

Seaweed

Sand so warm

And dark and moist

Flattened by the pounding waves

And rolling surf

Salty froth forever

Rolling and receding

Umber gray

Mariner's skies

Chilly mists

Animated whitecaps

A million serpents' tails

What immense

Incredible power

Anchored beneath

Hidden below

The surface of the sea

Lurking forever

Luring lost souls

To permanent sleep

 

*****

 

Bring me home again

Once more to the primordial ocean

Of my deepest dreams

To that huge, knarled old oak

With curled thick limbs

Overhanging the seaside

Laying down against the horizon

Bring me to that green hillside

Sun swept, breeze swept, cloud swept, salt swept

With so many clean white marble stones

Neatly laid to rest

In endless

Orderly rows

Like some final call

Of some forgotten roll

Of a lost navy

Overlooking a blue bay

With long gray-hulled ships

Anchored at harbor

And the fat little lighthouse

Framed by the flue skies

Carry me gently away

To that sleepy place of my dreams

So peaceful a place

To finally rest

 

*****

 

Octopus, O octopus

So many tentacles

Motioning frantically

Turned upside down

Head immersed

In an inky black cloud

Caught upon a hook

Hung by an invisible line

Pulled up by some strange monster

Helplessly suspended

Out of your element

Misconceived, misconstrued

Misrepresented creature

From the private side

Of darker depths

 

*****

 

How I have failed

To become who I really am meant to be

Who I really must be

 

And I ask myself why

When I don't really know

How to be the other person

 

I haven't really tried hard enough

I suppose

Or maybe I've tried too hard

To simply be myself

 

*****

 

White bespectacled Scientist

Father Freudian Quasi-secular

Sacred Psycho-analysis

Psychic dissection

Spirit desecration

Life-long regression

Paper power Monger

Preserve the Status Quo

Phallic Authoritarianismo

Protect Sacro-Sanity

Of Normal Psycho-Society

Leather Couch, Leather Chair

Undress and seduce the naked soul

Symbolic Whips, Emotional Chains

Sexual Mythologies, Spiritual Embryology

Hysterical Exploitation

Extol Psycho-Control

Magic Miracle Medicine

Scientific Faith-healing

Hyponotize and Mesmerize

Lobotomize and Straight-Jacket

Rubber Room and Rubber Maiden

Electro Shock and Xanex Therapy

Spilled upon the Sterilized Floor

Shell-shock Veterans

Of life's injustices

Walking dead

Zombies of the Wasteland

Neurasthenic drug addicts

Failures at readjustment

Difficult and depressing

Escape Parental persecution

Deliver the Paranoid

Unto the Electric Crib

Shocking Treatment

Shit his pants and Scramble his brains

Plague his last few months

Before his final act

Valium and Mendicants

Confusing the confounding

Helping the helpless, the hopeless

Suppress the repressed, the depressed

All for One Hundred American Dollars

For One Half Hour

Better than a Prostitute

Longer Lasting

A Whole Life time

Representative State Controlling

Big Brother Executive Executioner

Inventing and Inviting

A thousand and one different ways of dying

Bigger than the Governor of California

Messing People's Panties

Screwing People's Heads

Playing People's Brains

Sacred Scientific Sanction

Sterile Psycho-Social Science

 

*****

 

You gave a grant of human identity

In an ocean of anonymity

You shared a little compassion

In a system of alienation

And now reality must set in again

And split asunder those few small intangible things

That weren't meant to be forever

But in a dream or a reflection

 

*****

 

Sun and shadows rise

Desert's still breath whispers songs

An old owl flies by

 

Love's wishes and loss

Sun's beginnings and endings

Wind's being blowing

 

*****

 

Exploding through the windows of consciousness

Shattering the fragile darkness

Soaring off into the night

Past the glimmering stars

Through the many meteorites

Beyond all the heavenly bodies

Even beyond the Milky Way

To the outermost edge

Of the uttermost Universe

Before time, before matter

To steal the secret fires

That light al the Heavens

To glimpse beyond what we know

And all we can imagine

Then falling back to earth

Pulled by its gravity

Rapidly through the vast empty spaces

Like a burning meteorite

Naked in the night

Through the open window

Back upon my soft pillow

To rest my head

Dazed and wondering

In a dreamy stupor

A glimpse back upon my retreat

To view an eerie phantom

Blazing like a comet

Bright across the dark night

Whose face of silent dread

Framed by my moonlit window

Beckons and stares back in stony grimness

Bearded silver-streaked white streaming

Hair flowing long like so many fires trailing in the wake

Long shimmering vestments of silver space

Long trailing robes glowing

Tail glittering far behind, arching across the starry sky

Like a silver rainbow in the night

Bounding across heaven's vault

Riding a comet like a fast horse

Giant leviathan so far away

Across the firmament of the night

With a cold steely gleam

An angry, all-knowing look in the eye

So silently passing unnoticed by any on earth

Except the mysterious moon

In my nightmare struggling to awaken

With such unimaginable imagery

Vanishing suddenly into the darkness

Like twinkling stars fading out

In the early twilight

 

*****

 

Difficult dialogue

Without words

Silent meaning passed

Between our lips

Round and round

Our tongues twist and turn

Delectable dance of secret meanings

Wishing for a way with words

Big brown eyes

Speaking across the skies

Revealing soulful desires

Discovering heartfelt fires

Secrets that we share

Love born in communion

Enraptured in nature's rituals

Turning the cycle to completion

Building dream castles

From the moist sand

Only to let the waters

Wash them all smooth

Dream nymph

From the deep blue depths

Cooling foam upon my body

Washing away my castles

 

Little boy mocking

Venturing forth with his sails

Unheeding of monstrous shadows

Looming so large in the wake

Little girl unfinished

Living a grand illusion

Without the power of love

Misbegotten hopes of unsatisfied desire

Nature's cycles turn round again

 

*****

 

Time, and time..... and time again

Temporary and eternally

Taking its toll, tolling its take

Sun dawns outside

Twilight flooding through the window

Filling up the spaces

With soft shapes and warm colors

Another distant train.....

Long in passing

Clock clicking

Ticking wheels turning

Tocking, talking

Arms in slow motion

Long and short

Slowly spinning

Twirling through space

Circular seconds, roundabout minutes

Existence confirmed.....then reconfirmed

In circling, cycling commotion

Coterminous beneath round glass

Hung upon the empty wall

 

*****

 

Patiently

The years have slipped all by

Quite unnoticeably

Old worries have been forgotten

Replaced by new ones

And a few friends have come and gone

I awaken in the morning time

Without remorse

The day's rhythms of course

Now I take a breath's pause

or two perhaps

When passing simple things unnoticed

With wonderful sublimity

Like a leaf dripping with dew

My heart quietly beats

Marking the time away

My finger is pricked and quietly bleeds

And, occasionally, a tear

 

*****

 

Man in motion

Meticulous mind

Circular devotion

One of a kind

 

Metaphysical montage

 

Meaning's momentum

 

Click, Click, Click

Once, twice, thrice....

 

I started again, and again

I began again and again and again

And then I couldn't finish

 

*****

 

sun force, wind force

warming then cooling

driven from behind

lotus softly sitting

upon a green gentle slope

overlooking the magical grove

of trees of all shapes and sizes

multi-colored leaves

shaking and rustling

birds chattering and flitting

from branch to branch

and the branches become arms and limbs

suddenly the limbs sprout hands

with many waving leafy fingers

green canopy of twisting snakes

animated by briskly blowing breezes

mysteriously turning to life all around

a forest of figures wanting to uproot

magical creatures in a strange elfin dance

in a hidden forest glade

I strain my eyes

fearing to move my head

the blue mirror speaks beneath the ripples

beckoning with the lapping fringes

keeping time with a chorus of frogs

ducks waddle along the edge

knowing what's in my mind

and in my mind's eye

a secret paradise has suddenly sprung to life

 

*****

 

Red light, dream light

Darkroom, black box

Lines, images, shadows, contrasts

Tonalities of black and white

Magically bringing to life

Two-dimensional memories

Upon the watery surface

A little bit out of focus

A stray hair follicle

Streaking the sky and scarring the face

A crack, a smudge, a dust particle

Growing on the cheek

You were once someone I knew quite well

You and you and you too

So many carefree citizens

Captured permanently by silver graininess

Frozen memory

Fragmentary moment

A worn out flat face

Upon a tattered photo

Life imprisoned

Glued to a two dimensional world

Paper prison

Perspective rendered most permanent

Time forever lost

Ever lasting

 

*****

 

Where to go in a world

That knows no ends

What to do in a life

Without bounds

How to life a life

Without edges

the dilemmas of the moment

Rebound reflexively

Upon the self

As we cast about for simple images

to fill our cups

With baubles of the soul

And doubting the ever-present

Existence always isolating

And shadows lurking always behind

Choices forever coming between us

Down ever-changing streams

Sentiments give way to hard facts

Ideals yield to basic realities

 

*****

 

Looking back into the magic glass

Multiplying distant reflections

To see another self cast

Mystery mirror of the mind

Curving to nothingness

Slanting to infinity

Reflections and regressions

Living lenses of projection

Resurrected images of life

Dancing flame-like fairies

Upon the silver surface of the soul

Dismayed realities bent

Existing upon such fragile

Shallow grounds of glass

Suchness of form and meaning

Perspective framed within the two-dimensional corners

 

For the time being

Forgetting the moment

In absolute wonderment

Confusion commingling

In fantastic profusion

Ideas dwelling in communion

Consciousness arising

silvery reflection

handy namesake

molding the mind

giving reality to form

and meaning to reality

 

*****

 

Beacons casting about

Far a field

Foggy illumination

Glaring luminosity

Against a dull ground

Piercing thick depths

Penetrating passageways

Pavement unrolling

Darkness enclosing

Lights flashing

Mass dissipates

Form diffuses

Thick slow motion

Animated scenery

Through some ethereal molasses

Floating by

Drifting by

White line racing

Zoned to neutral gray

Sun glasses darkening

paving the way

Into the future

 

*****

 

Meaningful touchstone

Lost in internal depth

Holes opening inwardly

To eerie dimensionality

Reflecting distorted visions

Casting the world

In translucent facets

Multifaceted shinnings

Glowing multiplications

Ephemeral entity

Ethereal emerald

Lost in internal depth

 

*****

 

Shadow stretching

Mouth gaping, yawning

Spreading across the land

Swallowing the vast sea

Casting void, consuming color

Strangling the living world

Gulping the earth and sky

Divine death grip

The sun is bleeding

Rapidly sinking

Below the surface

Falling off the edge

At the end of the horizon

With skies ablaze in a cloudy fire

The twilight skies soon sparkle above

Where sun and earth collide

Fusing upon the edge of our world

Brilliant orange and yellow dripping

Like lava flowing

Bleeding from the clouds

Like sponges squeezed

Dripping, oozing bright blood

Caught between heaven and earth

transfused and melting between

Dribbling across the waters

Land flush in soft crimson hues and darkening shades

And then darkness quickly envelopes

Death sleeping just beyond

Life forced underground

Across the time, Across the spaces

 

*****

 

confusion collusion

contrasting compromise

casual comments

critical complements

 

word play

mind game

now my turn

then yours

 

once upon a time

somewhere else

far, far away

reality collapsed

 

consciousness compressed

compelled

streaming through the sentences

squashed between the pages

 

dancing fingers of a fugue

entrancing flames

embracing memories

lighting the corners of the room

 

let's finish

and settle down

upon some piece

of common ground

 

*****

 

roller coaster

slowly climbing

falling with a rush

barely stretching

around sharp corners

up and down and up again

greater heights

higher thrills

faster rushes

screaming bug-eyed

body flying about

seemingly beyond control

around and around

faster and faster

wanting to stop

the dizzying rounds

but having too much fun

and fun and fun and more fun

and more nauseating fun

Oh that everybody's life

Presidents and peasants alike

could be one continuous round

of never-ever-ever-ending fun

riding a nonstop roller coaster

to oblivion

*****

 

fading blue

zoned to gray

artificial greenery

homes of hope

tomes of love

fast fleeting bye-bye

street wisdom

recurring round

every turn and corner

passing every crossroad

standards of city-survival

and consciousness motorized

success and pseudo

status and god bless

the Mmmm factors and money almighty

 

riding with a parting friend

bouncing across the pot-holes

joking about things nonsensical

and sadly real

escaping to some foreign land

fly away to future forever

good luck and good byes repeated

so many broken ties

sickle severing once again

bonds of being

so tenable, ephemeral, momentary

taken on the wing

one Buddha's departure

another Buddha's return

Buddha believing and

Buddha being

 

*****

 

Teeth chattering

Tongues blubbering, babbling

Bones rattling, limbs shaking

Eye-glasses askew

Falling, cracking

Limbo akimbo upon

The harder edges of reality

mouths in motion

moving everywhere

going somewhere

perhaps nowhere

so many little teeth

white, yellow and golden

toing and froing

words flowing on the tip of flapping tongues

rows and rows of corn growing

little kernels chopping

like typewriters typing and typing

biting the transparent air

and once bitten

merely forgotten

Lips sucking

kissing, inside outing

jaws jutting, jacking,

gums jumping

upping and downing

throat wobbling, warbling, worbeling

sounds articulating, gesticulating

enunciating, gurgling

coolly, slowly

pushing and parting

the thick atmosphere

with great precision

finely honed perfection

and grand leverage

collapsing upon thin air

enclosing empty spaces

nothing saying

*****

 

Trash man takes no money

He only collects junk

Sweeping clean the city streets

He is a nice old fool

So people say

behind his back

They call him a friend

To his face

Artist prostitutes his soul for nothing

He makes nice gifts for free

Expecting nothing in return but disadvantage

How else to live in this modern world

But by playing king of the money mountain

Stealing from the poor, giving to the rich

Successful businessmen

Climbing to the top

On other's burdened backs

And his trash rolls down to the bottom

Like grand golden balls

Trash man gets no money

He only shovels up the dung heap

Groveling in rich people's throwaways

People call him a poor old fool

Behind his dumb back

And friend to his happy, smiling, simple, stupid face

Trash man wants no money

And the rich become richer, the poorer stay poor

Politicians' talk is cheap,

And only the polluted air costs nothing

 

*****

 

Sadness

My old friend

We speak together in silence

Between the looking-glass of solitude

Returning to me in loneliness

Once again

From long voyages

Far, far a field

From beyond the vexation

From beyond the unchartable wilderness

Of prancing, dancing, marching marionettes

Hollow wooden puppets that taunt and torment

With bonds of twisted delight

And permanent, painted smiles

 

Sadness that quells a flustered spirit

Like a smooth calmness beyond a calamitous storm

Sojourner of the wondering, wandering soul

Sit with me a short spell

Speak to me once again

About our many other times together

Long since past

Console me with your long silences

And many moments alone

 

*****

 

I would feign write this to some friend

But there are no more friends

Who might read what I write

We have known one another

But now we no longer know

What is worse, I don't want to know anymore

And what has happened since then

Since we last parted our separate ways

Now I set and write to myself

As if there were something very important

Worth my while writing about

I write but I am not supposed to know how

 

*****

 

The four walls of my soul

Slowly closing in upon me

Ghost balls blow silently

Across these cold wooden floors

This roach, my master of quiet times

Scurrior of the vacant spaces

Keeper of my night-time vigils

Receptacle of my childhood dreams

Buddha-consciousness hurrying along

Between the shadows of forgotten, untouched

Nooks and crannies where my old shoes and unused boxes sit

Full of junk of past days, shed carelessly about

These chambers of empty consciousness

Like old cast-off clothes, hanging from the hooks

 

Staring off into oblivion

Long illusions

Egg shells

Bits and pieces

Spots of glue here and there

To patch up broken wishes and things

Fragments of a tattered past

All that's left to bother and fluster

My mind now misbegotten

What I have become

 

Inbetween spirits, inbetween moments, inbetween periods and momentary places

Interstices of meaning upon the edges of existence

My friendly roach

Where are you now?

Fading forever away

From fortune's funny, twisted fate

Hidden from Chance's haphazard glance

Out of the corner of the eye

Where do you wander off to?

Slipping in, then out again

Stalking the silent spaces

Walking the still secret moments

Of their our resting places

Lost consciousness

Fading in, fading out

Ephemeral entity

 

*****

 

Papa, where's my courage?

Brazen young men

Venturing forth

Over the old ocean blue

Only to find friendship

Buried beneath the common red clay

Suddenly vanishing in the mud

Forever from their young wives and children

Forever from their parents and brothers

Too soon, so soon

And now, so much later

Most of my youthful courage has disappeared

Slowly draining from this cracked cup of clay

And this cup is slowly breaking

Desperate now to put the pieces back like new

Just like before,

Many year's down the road, this dirty, long, dusty way

The mud is all gone, but the dust becomes thicker

Now only many dreams, only lost memories cut adrift

Kicked up from the ground

No one cares any more

No one ever really cared

No one listens, no one ever really listened

They shut me out, I close myself in

They lock the doors, I quit knocking

Quit trying to escape

Papa, what kind of courage

Does it take to survive this crazy world?

To walk this road, when it rains or when there's draught

and its way, our common destiny

Only seems to lead me forever back again

To this shady green hillside

Overlooking the broad ocean

So now papa, I lay my soul to rest

Beside your sleepy old bones

Beside the old blue sea

In the shade of this green old tree

 

*****

 

Mama, where's my superhuman strength

To struggle on with this cross?

Goddess of Mercy, who lifts my heavy eyes

From off this lowly burden

From off my weary shoulders

Young mother with babe in arms

Pretty young human things

So tiny, so delicate, like porcelain children

So young, too young

Who can be sol cruel as to ask any questions?

Sitting upon the filthy city sidewalk

Her dark eyes look deeply into mine

For a moment only, like cupid catching hold

I see for an instant the common spirit of humanity

And I drop all the coins from my pocket into her cup

Why not money from my wallet too?

And painfully our eyes are pulled away

By the crowded tides of anonymity

Seh shot an arrow deeply into my heart

And stole my soul away, for just a brief moment

Before the wound closed back up

Mama, give me back my superhuman strength

To carry on with this heavy cross

 

*****

 

Don't cry any more

My dark beauty

It's been all night long

And when did it all begin

And why, why so long, my beloved?

Your silent tears upon my cheek

Your skin so soft

Your touch so smooth

It's salty smell

What can I do for you

What magic words can I utter

To heal these deep wounds?

Not a word do you mutter

To break this deathlike grip of silence

Young phoenix born to fly forever free

Soul since scarred, forever punished

They made your young body a burning battle-field

Young lotus, blossoming misbegotten

In a fiery lake of mud

This spot of tear-drops upon the sheets

Becomes a pool of sticky blood

In some other reality

Our bodies naked, our souls exposed

So where are we now

And what's that lurking in the darkness?

That victim was so far away, so many years ago

Please bring me back home again, my beloved

This sudden confusion I can no longer bear

Please cry no more, my beloved

And go to sleep once again

 

And where are you now

And where have you gone to?

How cruel must I be

To show you these old pictures

of Life and My Lai

burned bitch of life

now twenty-nine-years-old

who's forgotten?

Misbegotten victim

Of misled young men

Those unforgettable faces

Their unforgiving graces

they last frozen moments

One moment of truth

remaining forever

 

The shock returns again

And my beloved must cry again

Young male bodies

Draped across the mud

Beside a pair of wet, used G. I. boots

Such a waste, my beloved

Quickening beneath the lime

 

The stench has passed from the still lake

Mornings vapors rise in stillness of the light

Generals, Politicians, Great Men of History

Take heed

Make your plans

To fuck the old whore

Another time

 

*****

 

Buddha of Prosperity

Who's turn around is it now

Upon your wheel of fortune?

Spinning forever around

Hiding beneath this ancient turning stone

One simpleton's game, Another Chinaman's chance

Burn some more joss

The bigger the better

The more the merrier

Upon this merry-go-round

We all call life

One billion miraculous perfections, perversions

And the love of money becomes the money of love

Death is then only a meaningless exaggeration, continuation

A celestial bureaucracy

Of fearful, fanciful imagination

Light the fuse of the firecrackers

Pop, pop, bang and pop again

Never enough paper money

My eyes are burning from your eternal smoke and infernal fumes

My numbers perhaps propitious

My tosses are maybe....

But what's the difference

Between a wish and a prayer

Whisper a secret in my ear, chant my fortune out loud

This Buddha is feather-light to life above my head

What becomes of right and wrong

What happens to solid good and rigid evil

In this complicated ethereal world

Of smoke and shadows?

And don't forget the landlord's due,

And it's lucky to leave behind

Even a morsel for the Hindu Gods

Never give a tearful handkerchief

Or a pair of scissors forever parting

Trust nothing but fortune and fate

And pay the bald young priest

Another one dollar donation

As he sips his coca-cola can

Beneath the saffron robe

 

*****

 

Little spider

Swimming light across my ceiling

In these wee morning hours

Moving so silently about

Your upside-down world

Far and wide

For many minutes, even hours,

You seem so directionless,

Wandering across that great flat expanse

Circling several times around

About the shade of that lamp

What are you searching for?

My nocturnal nomad

Perhaps some morsel of some bug

Tinier still than yourself

To whet your appetite

 

And still your ceaseless searching

Your never ending, nervous motioning

I detect some kind of cumulative method

To your seemingly senseless madness

Perhaps it would improve your minute chances

To sit and wait awhile

For some insect to blunder into you

Spindly little legs

Casting such a fearfully long shadow

I move suddenly

And then the tiny acrobat suspended in mid-air

Airborne twirling half-way down some invisible line

Swiftly pulling yourself back up the rope once again

To wander aimlessly about some more

Just above my head

My deepest instinct is to simply reach up

and squash you

But I know better

That you have done me no harm

As you come to rest above my bed

Now I am fearful to turn off the light

As you descend half-way down again

to the center of the empty space above my head

Hanging for just a moment

And then slowly, haltingly climbing again

So unsuccessful you seem, my tiny fellow

In your solitary quest

You have chosen a veritable desert

To hunt for your fortune

Does your world seem so much different than mine

Up-side down as it must surely be

You and I right now

We are the only two creatures alive

And I am not so sure

It isn't only just you who exists

And now you wander off again

To the edge of your inverted world

To a cozy little nest in the distant corner

For some strange reason

I think you must somehow sense me down here

And understand me

Some strange kind of up-side down monster

And I hope you will let me sleep here below you in peace

Good night....

......I awaken in the morning light and look about for you

Far and wide, but somehow I feel I may never see you again

.....but late the next night

there you are again

Sitting motionless

Are you still alive, as for hours you no longer move?

Have you starved to death

Or are you like a wind-up toy that's finally wound down?

.......But many days later

There you are suspended above my chair

Greeting me with your acrobatic act

How you have grown so big

You must have done something right

 

*****

 

Blessed is the child

Who learns to give

More than she takes

Who learns to cast away anger

And to put aside her envy

Who learns the errors of her ways

And the patience of her desires

Who stands sometimes apart in silence

To listen to the wisdom

Of her own inner-most reveries

Who learns to speak her own words...

Bless is the one

Who discovers her own way through life

 

Dear child

So small and innocent

Why do you huddle so

In the corner of this big room

Eye's wide open in terror

At some soon anticipated punishment

This clock suddenly fallen from off the wall

Why you played with it and pulled on its long chains

This clock was already broken

You are too young to tell the time

But not too young to know the pain of guilt

 

Young boys

What can I do

To alleviate your wounds

In your big little hearts

Wounds made by the weaknesses of your parents

How much money would it take to set things right again?

To turn back this clock

And mend your innocence back again

All of you are suffering so

Without even knowing the reasons why

How can I set things straight once again?

But to pick up the clock and hang it back upon the wall

 

*****

 

You have succored me

When no one else was there

And you renewed my waning vigor

To forge onward with my life-work

For this genuine love

I would do a thousand things in return

Though it would never be enough

It seems so inevitable

Soon our paths must separate

Each in pursuit of our own elusive destinies

So why begin anything new now

That we wouldn't be able to finish

Vain it is to wish for things

That will not happen anyway

Though these experiences together

May be only momentary

Together they form a fund of meaning

That will last a life-time

Our paths part

Once more to separate

Each travail a lonely fate

No matter the way we start

Our signs always lead us back

To the same, yet different place

We will meet again some day

In some far-flung future possibility

The opportunities will become many

Even if I am a mere insect

And you are a beautiful blossom

And each time our pathways cross

There will be a moment's recognition

Of many shared memories

Long since lost and forgotten

In the great wheel of turning

all things become as one

all of undifferentiated stuff

Cut from the same rough block of being

Soul source without end

Emptiness of grand proportions

A lizard knows the rock it sunbathes on

As a leaf knows the tree it has just fallen from

Like a mother who still knows her child's touch

Though its breath may be forever still

Though she may be one hundred years old

Woman and man have parted themselves

For just a little while

When the great wheel of turning

Comes full circle upon another ceaseless round

They will come back together again

 

*****

 

Upon this paper

Am I writing

Tear the paper from the pad

Bury it beneath my books

Existence reflecting

Imagery changing

Moments in passing

Still I am writing

Upon this pad of paper

Writing and writing

Misbegotten poem

Words all confused

Crumple up the paper

Not in the least bemused

Pitch it into the trash can

To try it all again

But still not written right

How to write, how to get it right

Put it all aside

To try something else

All my books

And all my papers

Crowding the dusty shelves

So many words, sentences composed

Not enough time, never enough time

To read them all

To catch them all

Even if I were reincarnated

Many, many lifetimes

Of a scholarly bookworm

A would-be academic

Or a Brahman priest

They all look so intellectual, so impressive

To the ignorant eye

To the unknowing mind

Leaning on those dusty shelves

 

*****

 

I venture forth

Upon the sea of anonymity

With the hope to discover

Some lost, neglected sense of identity

To finally face all the fear

That have forever plagued me

To even shed a small tear

For those who have left me

With a pocket-full of trite cliches

And a suitcase full of forlorn dreams

To learn all about the world of loneliness

And to rediscover the many faces of humanity

These deep ocean tides that bear be out to sea

The dark surf finally rolling upon some shore

Of the other-side, the other's side

Soon

I am going so soon

To recover my destiny

Walking far and wide

Along the winding shores

Returning to our common beginnings

Walking full circle

Round and round again

Caught forever

Between beginning and ending

One world only

One word only

One shrinking world

With five billion Buddha beings

Five billion little hungry bodies

Five billion desperate souls

Five billion smiling faces

Five billion crying pairs of eyes

Five billion dry and thirsting throats

Five billion echoes of lonely pain

Five billion births and deaths

Every day of every existence

Suffering, rejoicing, eating and sleeping

One shrinking world only

Without any room left

For five billion separate destinies

 

*****

 

For three days now

This pink rose has blessed my table

Sitting silently in a small crystal vase

For a day and a half

The water has been dried up

the petals so supple to touch

With a dash of yellow at their hearts

Now all are falling off

In some silent sacrifice

Pink-yellow rose resting upon my table

You do nothing so well

 

A yellow bee buzzing

Within a big yellow rose

Against a clear, cloudy blue fall sky

A young boy tramping along the gutter

Through the fallen leaves of the big trees

A car swooshes by the rain-swollen street

Off down the road

Unmindful I look on

Without even a single thought

 

Soft breezes

Through my open window

The curtains softly blowing

The little bell twinkling in the sunlight

Tinkling once, twice

Ever so gently

Fresh air fills my room

With distant chirping, chattering

Of many small birds

And distant small kids

Low traffic noises

So far off

the peace, the solitude, the tranquility

of muffled sounds

the sanctity of this place

Suddenly leaving no room

for worries

No time

for heavy thoughts

 

*****

 

Friendly front

Shinny white teeth

A sudden stroke of Genius

Without even a hint

Of televised intelligence

A dumb-founded gaze

Garbled sounds spitting,

Spluttering from between two lips

A whimper and a hush

Such an officious, important personality

A great person of state

Stuffed in a stiff gray suit

Frankenstein had more personality

there is nothing more to say

 

*****

 

Why are the White Man's balls so heavy

That the Chinese merchant must carry them so low to the ground?

Asked my old spider-bodied, Latah-minded Eurasian comrade

With her vacant eyes and suspicious, vacuous face

Domesticated by too many years of carrying the yoke

Of the White Man's burden

Now so old and enfeebled an Amah

Put out to pasture

Like an old, broken down Mare

Left to uselessly idle away the hours

In a poor, barren field

No one knows better than she

The intimate details of the personal lives

Of her Royal White Masters

It is because they are made of gold

I responded

Trans-mutated from the Alchemist's dreams

And the physicist's touch

That the weaker yellow man must drag them with all his knuckles and upon his knees

Across the ground

and the browner and black men must bear them bent

even lower down

Carrying them upon their backs or pulling them from behind

Like two-legged beasts of burden

Someone then poked my old Latah-minded friend

In her backside with their

Index finger and my old friend echoed in quite predictable

Latah-fashion--"pookie..."

Someone else, a middle-aged Nonya, politely asked

What happened and I, just suddenly realizing the near universal

Four-letter significance of the word

echoed "Someone pookied her and she pookied them back...."

And at that we all let out

A hearty, resounding laughter at the torture and torment

Of my ages old friend

Such a delightful joke to play

So often on the same old half-witted person

Someone then continued the dialogue

Looking at me very intently

Since I was the only typical token middle class privileged

White man available, saying that the White Woman's ovaries

Are the most expensive luxury items on earth

And that is why white women think so highly of themselves

and everyone must kow-tow before them....

I continued with my narrative---"In pure monetary terms, the darker the complexion the less expensive the entire package....

And this forthwith sank forever

the inviolable institution of monogamy---..."

(It is, by the way, a purely capitalistic formula)

....Pookie shibai!!!....echoed once more my dried up old Chrony

As we all doubled up with a painful fit of laughter

Pleading for her to stop for the fear of splitting our sides

I then continued---"...This modern world runs solely on money.

And love has long been the Veil of Maya....!"

Someone else then cut in...."The only thing more precious on earth is the infamous Japanese male cock, reputed to be the proudest

Hardest-headed substance on earth....!"

While everyone was nodding in agreement someone pookied

My old friend again. In a paroxysm of laughter

a young Thai wife cut in--...."If my White Husband look too much the other way, then I go chop, chop, chop, cook up with Chile and feed to the dogs...."--making chopping and stirring motions with her hands

Bursting into another spasmodic round of laughter

My old friend pookied again and again and again

And on that day everyone's throat had been resoundingly cut

and the sun never ever set before

Upon such mixed up business

 

*****

 

What are the dimensions of my inner world

Let me find my square and my yardstick

To plum its depths and determine its area

But these instruments are ill-suited to the task

A different kind of measure applies

Of many hours spent in reverie

Of days toiling ceaselessly

I must return again

Away from the dirty, dusty world

To work at filling it all up

With more than mere dreams

And many other possibilities

Armed with only one thing

That no amount of money can buy

To reconstruct the walls like new

Before they were breached

What craftsmanship, what artistry

What consummate skill to paint such a profound scenery

What sublimity, what subtlety

What finesse, what cleverness

Whence the spark of life

That would make it all move

And come out real?

False fronts

Life's illusion

Spreading from my fingertips

Empty forms filled with strange imaginings

The suggestion of death

Hiding behind the empty canvas

False realities framed forever

Until destruction exacts its inexorable toll

Counterfeit dreams summoned from beyond

A purjer's paradise

Art is the persuasion

That best befits

The soul of the independent personality

But what a whimsical thing

Is this windswept spirit

Blowing in whichever direction

Coming and going when and where it pleases

The winds so decide the fate

And this is the nature of aesthetic license

Of a fickle, fragile freedom

This moment has no ending and no beginning

In its brevity there is only eternity

As we both breath and think

As the clock spins round and round

Upon its steady, never changing course

Immediacy, eternity, what a thought

So slippery, so elusive

It slips away from consciousness

Like all the rest

Now that I have made room for others

Within my little universe

Now there is no more room

And closing the door once I opened

Allowing no more to come or go

No more to pass, to steal or be stolen by me

No more to enter or to exit

No more to escape or to penetrate

No more to become lost forever

No more friends shall come through my door

No more shall here share my soul

To stalk off with a piece of my world

A painting for sale, a painting for profit

A poem to publish....a poem for printing

A self-portrait, an autobiography

What is this stigma of poverty

Is it the blight of billions

For whom failure is the only destiny?

What is the emergency of this economy

That requires complete, automatic efficiency

To live longer, eat better, to want more, to need greater

To escape lifelong misery, drudgery

To possess more for convenience

For the convenience of modern existence

Escaping foreshortened death, crippling disease

No longer necessary, as a babe's malnutrition

The saddest tragedy f all

All this frustrated human potential

Without opportunities to realize as much as a dream

So much talent wasted, spoiled by life's tyrannical limitations

By the coercive authority of the clock

The infinite lost potentialities, possibilities

Never to be realized within so many people's lives

How much for a painting, how much for a poem?

How much money to buy a little contentment

Or a modicum of make-shift meaning

Constructed ad-hoc

From a make-shift existence

Suddenly strangers

All gone, all done

Who is now a friend,

Where is my friend

Where have they all flown to?

My dearest Lotus, my Gilgamesh

My Ganesha, my Zapata sin ojos

Que pasado?

Pursuing other destinies

Where are you now

My delicate cherry blossoms, my thorny roses

My Janus, my Jung

My good old buddies

My Black Madonna, Issus

My Virgin Marry

And now my Sun child, my avatar, my Shakti incarnate

Where have you all gone to

All my friends I once knew so well

Where?

No only two-dimensional masks

Mocking my memories

Conjuring to life long lost images

Taunting my mind

All have passed from my parlor

Having lifted the knife of parting

And my Goddess of Mercy, my Buddha of Prosperity

My baby God

Fast diminishing memories

Pursuing other, loftier destinies

How many more may come and go

And strut upon my little stage

Of my own little theater

How many more banal tragedies and ribald comedies

How many more sordid romances must transpire

Before the curtains finally fall

Better it were an empty, vacant lot

filled only with ghosts, echoes, mice and costumes

Forlorn I wait, I wait, I wait

With my heart marking the time

With each passing beat

Before my cup

Once overflowing

Shall crack completely asunder

And unmended lie in fragments

bits and pieces in the dusty earth

Beneath my dirty feet

Who shall at last mend this cup of common clay?

What is the price of friendship

What the cost?

Once more, up the Ante

Gamble for higher stakes

In this poker game of people

Exchange gold for silver

Where money ends, so there do friends part

Poor friends are cheap

And come by the dozen

Rich friends are snobbish and selfish

Successful friends keep it all to themselves

Losers pass it all around

Ass-holes all flock together

And the self-righteous are so busy

Screwing with one another

Good friends

Few and far between

Stick around a while longer

Just to see what happens next

 

*****

 

Cast a sidelong glance

There into the darkness

Of unnoticed corners and internal spaces

There hidden away from sight

Dwells the golden key

To the pulsating heart

The life-blood, lost beneath the melancholy

The face of a monster

The soul of a child

Squint, look hard, focus long

It's mysterious form emerges from the abyss

Ever-changing, it has come again

Time to take hold once more

Upon my supple fingertips

To grasp it, then clench it

To struggle and struggle

And never to let go again

Even in death

No longer just a monster of my spirit

My friends have now vanished

This is my only friend

No longer stymied by other people's prejudice

My simplest destiny

Lonely friendship

In its death

My lust, my appetites

these have been quenched forever

My only remaining passion

To resurrect my inner-most world

 

*****

 

Death, I know your face

I've seen you stalking silently about

And I feel your tenacious grip

Upon this terse existence

Many times have you worked your magic

Stealing forever from the stage

Without drama or bidding adieu

From amidst our unwitting presence

Stealing forever those precious little things

The small and simple ways you work

So petty in life, so important in death

So subtle, so swiftly taking from us all

The joys that could have been

Turning brightness dull

Tarnishing the best colored spirits

Forever and never

So long an eternity

Time out of mind you work your spells

Without drama or disguise

You take from even those only half alive

And leave them a little less than before

So unrelenting

A great tax collector

You break the lover's hearts

And make the poor people even more hungry

You turn the rich man's pride

Into pompous hypocrisy

Wounding babies' souls and stemming forever the tides

And currents of our future hopes and possibilities

In coalition with Father Time

Hand-in-Hand

You push us onward

Over the edge

Herding your flock

To the slaughterhouse

And let no one slip you by

Be so ever free

To work among us as you choose

To work your ominous and fateful feat

Able to make seem so foolish

The Hero's courage, the Coward's folly

What we take so for granted

Your face is grim

and you mockingly scowl

Casting melancholy shadows

A depressing pall over every thing

As you take winners and losers alike

You so disdain our petty antics

You have a cynical, humorless way

Of destroying the importance, the illusion

Of our most serious intentions

If only you might allow

A fairer lot in life

Granting to some what even poetic justice would allow

Before you come calling

Then maybe you would not be treated so insufferably

So unwelcome

With such fear and loathing

So much like the stranger you seem to be

And maybe someday to be received instead

Like a dear old friend

Perhaps the way it should always have been

 

*****

 

Together

Upon a magic voyage

Our comfortable craft

Whispering through

The ethereal medium

A dimensionless plane

Empty space

Frozen time

Sharing

This silent passage

Our mysterious navigator

Shrouded in strange shadows

Without a murmur, without a sound

Silently steering us forward

Toward some firmer ground

Closely

By and by

With secret fantasies

Dreams never before seen

Beckoning to come true

Hopes and wishes that have been

Upon a midnight rendezvous

Companion

Sitting by my side

So close together and still to far

I would love to know you better

Before we come to part

Upon different courses

What is your destination?

 

*****

 

Building blocks

For a bewildered little girl

And a frightened little boy

Stacking up and knocking down

Castles built of dreams

Standing all around

 

Playing together

Grown up games of life

Eyes of delight

Fusing fantasy upon realities' soft edge

Shedding honest tears

In fits of earnest laughter

 

Hand-in-hand

Exploring together

With natural curiosity

The wilderness of innocence

Without a single worry

Born in contentment

Of the moment's forever

 

Building blocks

By which a little boy

And a little girl

Become a woman and a man

Hand-in-hand

Gleaning life's little satisfactions

 

Eventually growing and

Replacing the happiness of friendship

With the sadness of a love

And a lost life

That can never be the same

Again

 

*****

 

All that ever was

And all that is and ever will be

The entire universe

Existing forever and always

In this on single moment

Now!

And being without

A beginning or an ending

This moment exists not

And has never really existed

What is left over?

Nothing!

Or perhaps

Only a simple saying

A Koan or something

Existing as one single word

In the great ground of being

All things undifferentiated

Nothing happening

That is unfelt

And in nothingness there is no unfeeling

all and nothing in harmony

Within the grand wheel of turning

The tapestry of life

The symphony of the universe

So why be concerned

With yesterday or tomorrow

Why the pains of feeling without

Why the worry and loneliness?

 

*****

 

Locked in my own little prison

Living a lie without bottom

Not being able to ever escape

The false fears that guard me

The guilt that punishes me

The locks that protect me

Lost in a labyrinth of illusion

A maze-way of infinite reflections

And endless regressions

 

Knock once, twice

Again, Again, Again

Keep on knocking

Bang your head against the wall

Assault the door with angry fists

They will not open it

Or allow you to come inside

To enjoy brotherly warmth

Unless you first pay the price of admission

Which is to sell your heathen, savage soul

And leave your spiritual freedom behind

Outside exposed to the whimsical elements

For the sake of love and hate

 

Do not be fooled, don't be mistaken

Once inside the gates

There will be no turning back

These gatekeepers want no less than our whole soul

Better to locked up in one's own little prison

Than to be locked in other people's worlds

Better to be shut out of those other worlds

Than locked out of one's own

At least one is still in charge of one's own soul

With the freedom to rearrange the furniture

As one wills

 

*****

 

Miracle mind

Nothing so complex

Nothing more sophisticated

No more human motivation

No more wonderful fascination

Than the thinking, inquiring mind

What is worthier or more meaningful

Than a mind alive with numerous possibilities?

What a tragedy those are

Whose minds have turned awry

What a crime are mature ignoramuses

What a loss

An unused brain

 

*****

 

Momentary meditations

Musing seconds, hours, years gone by

Sunlight entrancing, Shadows dancing

Moire motioning upon the window screens

Images filtering through the blinds

Reality focusing in and out, out and in

Sitting, staring, sharper then blurred

Mindful wondering, mindless wandering

A moment's meditation

A lifetime of thoughtfulness

Thinking, blinking

Drifting, twirling

Through the window, beyond the curtains

 

*****

 

Maybes, or maybe Nots

There are just so many possibilities

In one big "IF"

Living turns

On the drop of a dime

And the changing of the seasons

All the fools' bluffs get played out

Eventually, inexorably

And all the man y separate pathways

Will lead us all to a common ground

And many different flowers

Blossom along the way

Each separate destiny

Must be differently fulfilled

And then concluded

At the wayside of this grave

Though many different ways may be found

All will lead back to this same small spot of earth

Where the lotus dwells

Where our feet now stand

 

*****

 

For all those who dare

To question the eternal truths

Who dare to profane the sacred

To deny, defy absolute authority

For those who give

For others' sake

Without thought of return

To each according to one's means

For those who forgive others' misdeeds

Who intervene in others' hurt and sorrow

For those who refrain from judgment

Who live and let live

 

*****

 

In my mind

With my life

I have climbed a lofty summit

And there my soul now rests

Enjoying a wonderful panorama

Of the whole world

 

Though there may be other souls

Upon other higher peaks

This one have I gained myself

In my own mind's eye

It is just high enough

This mountain-top

Mine alone to enjoy

 

It seemed so direct

So many years ago

That lofty peak floating above my horizon

But so many times turned aside

By some precipice or deep abyss

Only to try once again

Never quitting the round-about way

 

And it seemed so difficult to climb

My body could barely keep up

And now the load is off my shoulders

The burden lifted from my mind

 

I look back down and all around

There back on flat earth

On more level ground

All the little people do look like ants

Toing and Froing about their daily affairs

Here my soul shall dwell

Safe and secure upon my mountain-top

Forgotten by the baser world below

Forgetting that world in ceaseless reverie

Of my magic horizons

Stretching in all directions

 

*****

 

Living a lie....There is no escaping....Caught in a circle of deceit.....A merry-go-round one can't stop.....or escape from....A never ending game.....To play upon oneself.....Credibility staked.....On a spinning wheel of chance....Risking all reality.....Upon a falsehood.....Foolish illusion tricking the jester.....Once it begins.....Where does it end.....Going around and around.....Again and Again.....Living a lie....There is no escaping.....etc., etc., etc.

 

*****

 

In my dreams I begin to fly Lift a little From off the ground And then higher and higher With all my power I begin to soar If I really only want to fly In more and more dreams I begin to fly better and better Until I fly high Above the earth Out of other's reach Off into the clouds And then into the mountains There I circle Above a lofty summit And, alighting Stand upon the highest pinnacle Surveying far and wide To the furthest reaches of the globe Gigantic rivers dwarfed like twisting snakes Meandering down to the blue seas Distant city lights dotting the earth below Fiery red horizons and stars glittering A million stars Flickering in the heavens above I soar off again And swoop down above the ground I watch the people in the cities Along the roads In their yards and homes I circle above the tree tops Peek out from the clouds floating above I fly across desert expanses And then oceans vast Across fields and mountain ranges Very fast I fly over forests and jungles I see lakes shimmering golden and shinning blue And fires burning freely Birds take notice of my strange form And come closer to investigate me I fly high up toward the moon And then circle around where the sun should be I skim above the hill-tops And then and then I wake up

*****

 

Little birdies

Lifetimes spent in a filthy cage

Generations bred to captivity

By senseless human keepers

Never the freedom to fly

As you were really made to

Better now to let you escape

To leave open the door

And watch you fly away

Slowly you heed the entrance

Carefully you plan your exist

You hover near the opening

And then suddenly your gone

Even though you may only live

A day or two more

Better perhaps to die in a natural state

Than to continue an unnatural condition

Better to let you go this way

Than to sell you back to greedy merchants

Fly far away from here

In your final flight

But you hang about

And hover near

And even try

To fly back into the cage

Do not linger about this old cage

The only existence you have known

Like lost little spirits

Without a clue about what to do

Good-by my little companions

You have been good company for me

Through many unhappy hours

Of loneliness

Open the cage door

Little spirits waiting

To fly freely at last

As nature meant them to

No longer imprisoned

In a human-made world

Bring me good fortune

In your final release

And carry far a field

My message

I will soon be

Following

 

*****

 

Cast off the tow lines

Cut me adrift

Steal away from the shore

So silently

Slip between the rolling waves

Make the open sea

Leaving behind forever

Disappearing into the distance

Towards a new life

New adventures

Upon a big broad ocean

Toward some strange, foreign shore

Never to return again

So long to old friends

And foes alike

No more need to worry

Forgotten in the sea breezes

Blown away, drifting away

With the currents

 

*****

 

New bastard buzzards

Beetles chirping

Baby worms squirming afoot

Opossum squashed open

Deer blasted to smithereens

Coyote murdered, bleeding

Rotting rotten dog

Cattle slaughtered

Chickens mass producing

Chicken tonight, chicken delight

Eagles, doves, pigeons nesting

Breeding, feeding, bleeding

Walrus crying

Dolphins, whales calling out

Fish schools swimming by, slithering through

In grand globular circles

Barking hounds, mutts mashing in the streets

Cats screaming, fornicating, fighting

Ostriches and chimpanzees strutting across

Squealing pigs, bleeding, dripping blood

Pig blood, fat back, ham bone

Squawking crows on the wing

Feminine felines stalking the night

Prowling, howling

Seagulls soaring in sullen gray skies

Flocks of sparrows swarming

Forming, fluttering

Foraging birds thick upon the lines

Dragon sleeping beneath the surface

Slumbering, Lumbering

Deep in the deep still lake

Phoenix flown the coup

Never to return again

 

*****

 

Creeping concrete

Poured in tomblike forms

Over nature's vanishing realm

Beautiful landscapes

Buried beneath

Artificial city-scapes

Of reinforced cement

Permanently destroyed

By a growing, developing

Rising skyline

The current new collage

Of pulp and pop

Miscellaneous trash, fizzle, fop, flop and flash

Luminessence, bio-lumination, artificial synthetic platic

Man-made gory glory lifts its clenched fists

Through the television tube

Above the polluted horizon-line

Reduced to the tops of a narrow alley-way

 

New light-scape, nightscape

Reflected suburban cosmography

Of a modern panorama, wonder-rama

mass-produced universe, multiplex

New city-scape

Spreading like cancer

Across the entire surface

Like some choking blanket

Of thick sirens, horns, news flashes

Standards of modern survival

And successful stories

Beating all the odds

New replacement, old displacement

Automatic efficiency rating

Homicidal hominoid

Gargantuan bulldozer, metallic monster

Snail on a shovel

Pumping on the pedal

More power, mechanical love

electrical perversity

Pure people pumped up plastic

Planted in the concrete

Growing like irradiated veggies

Caterpillars crawling upon the distant hillsides

Rubber earthworms attached like umbilical cords

Lone hawk watching wisely in an old dead oak tree

Solitary in a new field of over-turned earth

On an island of scraped tumbleweeds and chaparral

 

*****

 

Little lizards

Lying stilly on the walls

And upon the ceilings

Round eyed geckos

Cute creatures

With little cold transparent bodies

Albinos in the night

Hearts beating in the light

On every wall

In every corner existing

Ubiquitous in every home

Yet no one notices you

Nobody pays any attention

Such a part of the decoration you've become

Without molestation

Without malice

You share clean human abodes

But there you dart

From the shadow of the light

And in an instant

Flick up an engorged mosquito

A fast meal

On the tip of your tongue

And there you suddenly move again

And again

Rarely missing a meal

So still

Then such lightening speed

Another one moves

And then another

An d what is this soft chirping sound

you sometimes emit

Like some bird

Or a strange cricket

But there are no cages for you

So valuable is your service

That no one even takes notice

Of your pervasive presence

Television is far more interesting

And where is your mate

And which your offspring

And you all perform

Your natural calling together

Yet no one pays any attention

And there

A tiny baby above my head

Born of some higher

Luckier caste of creature

On our long chain of being

 

*****

 

Long or short

It doesn't really matter much

When all is said and done

When the books are closed

And the pen laid to rest

When the time has come

Nothing more

 

*****

***

*