POETRY - 4 Poems from “Where Death Goes”

THIS LOVE

l’amor che move il Sole e l’altre stelle
—Dante

This love that shaped the distant stars
and this rock here and the flat it’s on and its
irregular shadow and the gnat that
lands on it briskly wipes its feelers and legs
together and then takes off into thin air

and that shaped the delicate curves of your lips
and the appreciation deep inside the sponge
folds of my brain I have for them noting their
arched beauty perched on your being like exotic birds

and this love unseen we’re counting on to
pull us forward all the way to the end
and even pull us through when we have no more
will than a plank or this rock here with its
shadow in the shape of a sinister barrister a
flying squirrel a house on fire a lake of pure
soul-essence across which we might
swim to safety at last in love’s rising light

this love that awaits us which is ninety-nine times more
powerful than any of the love we can
see here on earth between Creator and creature or
creature and creature or even
inert earth and creatures which is in itself a
realm of such electronic blessing even the
air itself we all breathe by the very
miracle of its breatheability

the love that calls us home and whose
echo rings through the deep rounds already closely
ringing inside us like answering chimes
or that actually begins from deep inside those coils as the
very origin of that call

like a flock of white flying birds who
turn in the sun and seem to disappear then
suddenly seem to appear out of thin air again and it
turns out that all along they were there
but for a trick of the eye

this love that created the call and
that answers the call and thatwalks in between both answer and call with our

faces always facing and never reallyturning away from it

this love that moves the sun and the other stars

3/8/2002

AT THE POINT

At the point of being torn apart by wolves
or eaten by tigers
I wonder if you find yourself on a
high plateau at a little silver table say
eating grapes out of a cut glass bowl
or on a windy plain holding the sides of your
coat as you watch distant fire leap from
treetop to treetop

if as the shark closes razor teeth on your
arm or neck or as you
sail down past floor after floor of city
skyscraper you might find yourself on
horseback at a gallop through seasurf on a
bright sunny afternoon in Majorca heading for the
chateau on the hill for paella and tea

God’s mercy exceeds His wrath
His delicacy exceeds His ferocity
each soul’s comfort is somehow
assured as the axe falls and “God be praised!”
leaves the lips of the
soon-to-be-beheaded nobleman or highwayman
in whose eyes a sudden Technicolor Paradise has
just been displayed where soft green hills lead to
gently gurgling streams as the pollen-laden air hits his
eyelids going down on a scene that will soon be
more real than this one with its
crashing timbers and atomic structures fraying at their
tenuous threads and sifting into
heaps of lint behind the incautious
furniture of this world

3/9/2002

 

LOVERS REUNITED

Lovers reunited after years of separation
never mind why
don’t notice the pin stripes or polka dots of their
very physical reunion they seethe high wind in the other’s eyes or the conch-shell
pearlescence or something about the mouth opening to
speak that resembles the noble height ofVictoria Falls when herons have just passed
through the water strands and the jungle noise all around
has settled down to a virginal silence

blue or brown in the shapes of this world
tight or loose high or low all the relative approximations to
perfection evaporate in the light of the
fire of love’s recognitions
which sees through appearances to the volcanic center
out of whose molten core spring
glass harps playing our song in extended
arpeggios so intricately vast none of the
notes have time to decay in the air until the
space all around as well
lights up in pure sound

3/15/2002

 

A GALAXY FLUNG

A galaxy flung like a fiery jump-rope into the sky
where it glitters among stars slowly twisting and changing shape
a white bear on a white ice floe in a bleached arctic fog
passing slowly under the arch of the sky like a single star
a pinpoint of light that lands on a
forehead or above the heart and sinks in
illuminating the whole inner being like a
dark tunnel flooded with headlights
the perfect enunciation of the word that opens
doors all down the soul’s corridors each onto a
room in which the alchemy’s taken place
and four-dimensional celebrations are in such full swing
invisible somersaults and handstands with ribbons of celestial music
in slow motion unfurl their satiny curls
I stand up in the heart’s light to sing this song
and knock the roof off the house
and topple the mockingbird off the television aerial
who stops for a moment regroups then takes up where it
left off with hardly a pause and never a
faulty note
the clock is ticking into this inventory like a
train bound for Natchez filled with
inflammable cargo
our identities on this earth and all our
desperate presumptions
when space within space in various shapes open to the
endlessly changing panorama that goes beyond
death at the beginning and
birth at the end or vice-versa
God’s fingerprints all over us like a celestial crime-scene
is our rightful conditionand our endlessly spontaneous full-throated
proclamations of praise


3/16/2002


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