Tuesday, December 7, 2010

There is a Cataclysmic Beauty in Every Moment

There is a certain cataclysmic beauty in every moment,
a certain dream-like way we have of propelling ourselves about.

Two heavy glass doors of the bank each bearing the word push,
a priest and his ministry watching
as the local parishioners steal the paint off the rectory walls,
a patrol car turns a corner at sunset,
two old men in the park accost each other with chess pieces,
one lonely candle burns in the temple,
on the desert a gun is raised and yet another
viewpoint is extinguished.

A man and his lady: their shadows jerk and spin,
an empty bottle of gin,
factory smoke,
in harlem, glass is pushed out of windows
in preparation for summer,
a sprawling restless suburb spews out its traffic
towards megalopolis.

Space and stars and the cosmic wind-eyed poets
and admirers of faraway things.

Rushing wind of tree light amber
carries wild ponies along the crests
of fiery dreams,
capricious captains of wayward sails and blind wood bearers worship visions of god and the chaos he engenders,
the seasons mark the weathering of earth in time's embrace as
homo sapiens tentatively walks its surface.

Light transfigures the islands of the sun
in the voluptuous ring of fire where
vulcan maintains his kingdom,
the earth sails round and round in its arc of heaven where the greeks once nimbly held the rudder,
sail on sail on proud earth though your rulers be forsaken.

Two guitarists at the window by the night,
the moon glides gingerly over the sounds of humanity,
the air is filled and we awaken to it like gypsies,
blood and violence both rushing over sanguine dreams,
the hypnotist and his magician hand in hand in the alley,
the highway motions, the sea distorts,
and the heart empties its vessels.

Brick upon brick,
the worn patterns of the ancients,
the brooding whispers of the virgins of the clotheslines,
sunday morning newspapers,
and the hock shops.

Moon glides into the vault of the sky,
frog cadence pushes up into the still air
beneath the cloth of darkness,
oblique shadows briefly interrupt the moment,
life stands like a calamity above the birth of spring,
a lonely scotch broom catches the air by the side of the highway,
two billboards disguised by nightfall wait until dawn
to capture the eyes of motorists who have
forgotten the majesty of trees.

Words are caught and vaulted into the morning air,
the sounds they impart to the wind land on nothing in particular,
solitary bodies move in jaunty strides to park benches
where bottles of wine leap out of hip pockets
into fish-like mouths and ultimately
into brandied circulation to deliver
a vital numbness to perception
shrinking time into a
singular cup of liquid tension,
cavalier gentlemen with their lives' works packed on their backs,
stake out their concrete niches,
men of past and future miseries
dream of other worlds to take comfort in.

The ebb and flow of foliage under time's capitulation
comforts the earthbound with its familiarity,
the short gray tedious light of winter with its long damp nights
and the rain streaking across wet windows,
the obscure moon and creeping inevitable cold
as it lurches along the ground and
permeates the seasoned wood of the house
and swells itself into the bones and the space of the room.

The idle hermit-like croaking of a frog
who forgot his hibernating ways,
the deer who descend from secret habitations to taste
the fallen red fruit beneath the apple trees
always with ears funneled to catch the faintest sounds,
the rain, the infernal rain,
tempering everything with its relentless rhythm.

Sad, sad william moves along the black monument
bathed in the unsettling mist of midnight air,
he moves along its polished surface with a trembling hand
searching for the names of his dead comrades,
the great capitol looms nearby but offers no solace.

On finding the chiseled memory of his friends,
on feeling the recognition come at last,
sad, sad william wings his heart skyward
in unabashed joy!
relief at last to a burdened spirit,
his tears sing of a lost generation.

Life is a chain of light and dark,
brain shapes meaning from escapades of form and shadow,
without night there is no detail,
no delineation of beginning from its end,
no respite from the merciless truth.

The morning stretches across the household trash
and an old crumpled newspaper on the porch,
it is winter and the snow being not quite so unfamiliar
falls with both rapture and cunning,
the dew on sleeping eyes,
the spider
its fly in web near stone,
there is a plane in the sky overhead
and the thoughts from it descend upon
a forest of robust illusions,
on a lonely mountain in California,
astronomers from the college are
trying to capture the sun in a mirror.

Ice is melting in the river,
time is polishing the rocks and slowly they diminish themselves
so that the wind might release them from the burdens of gravity,
sand releases the desert of its heat,
the stark white ice of mountains,
the towering ice that spirals beneath the breath of intellects,
the cold hunger of nations chasing the empires
billowing in their heads,
the dance of heat and ice beneath the moon's escape.

The street cleaner,
his cracked lips and parchment features,
cigarette dangling among the smoke of private thoughts,
the bus stop,
the gas station,
the doors of stores and restaurants are opened,
morning coffee waits patiently in kitchens
for men stumbling out of their werewolf dreams,
the women and their silent bravado.

The town lies in its contradictions,
a candle and mirror to a bewildering age,
nearby, the mountains cradle their momentous glaciers
silently catching stray planes
whose pilots failed to measure
the proper attitude of retreat.

Humans with their thinking and planning
remain solemnly in their shelters
as the wind marks its way across the prairie,
the cows and cattle graze,
the sun finds its way to a hillside
where it plummets and ignites the watchful clouds
to a final charcoal finish.

The world is a place of cycles and
unfinished remembrances,
churches are built and once a year
the messiah climbs back on his cross
and once a year the pilgrims seek their admonitions,
droughts come and go,
calves fall like timber in heavy spring blizzards,
the romans came and left highways
and a certain yearning for architecture,
flowers and flies and tumbleweeds
all have their seasons.

Bells in their stolid churches,
old people walking upright
like the old reeds they are
keep memories of their children
in the air above them as they move about,
gather themselves at noon on benches
where they exchange both rude and pleasant things.

Children are too much like their parents,
and parents so much like their kin
that there are always petty crimes and jealousies,
and to every family there are born upstarts
who hold up mirrors, mockingly,
but, there is always laughter.

Old kingdoms fall stubbornly
and death is usually premature,
delight and tragedy mingle at the borders,
but, there is always laughter.

Humans carry the ghosts of many tongues
and the dormant remembrances
of the great forest and the endless sea.

The woman pushes out her first born at forest's edge,
a young fox looks on with a kind of recognition
of the majesty of the event,
she caresses her baby and reignites the essence of her race,
the engine of life continues.

There is a certain cataclysmic beauty in every moment,
a certain dream-like way we have of propelling ourselves about.

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