The Garden of Eden
There is a song in the wellspring of my being,
a rainbow that shines forth from my eyes.
Like a child’s tears, it is endless, and from my
breath wafts the scent of the rose. Music!
Give me music! I will tell you a tale as old as time.
The man heard a voice and set forth from his home
on a journey to find the holiest of Holies.
He believed! He left everything behind.
On his way he met a stranger who told him
of a cavern in which blew the very breath of God.
Deep in the very center of this cavern
was a flame that never went out.
He had seen it himself, but was too afraid,
and he left, his hair now white.
The man set out for this cavern, and he found it
in the farthest corner of the world.
Shadows haunted him all the way, warning him
against going within. But the man was eager,
and his mind was set—he would behold the flame
that never died. He entered the cavern and a cold wind
blew forth, in a voice deep like the stirring of echoes.
He went in without a light, trusting that the Holy One
would guide him, and he was right. Long, long he delved
deep into the cavern, hearing the strange winds as they blew.
He could see a light in the distance, and then he knew
he had found the Holiest of Holies. He stood before the flame,
and opened his mouth to speak. He had a thousand questions
on his tongue, but none came out. Finally, a voice spoke from the flame:
No questions. Tell me what it is you see.
“I see a flame,” said the man, “yet, nothing is burning. How can this be?”
No questions, said the voice. Tell me what it is that you see.
The man was confounded. He had already answered, and yet, as he looked
closer, he saw: A vast and beautiful country, with a river flowing,
filled with sheep and green grass and wildflowers growing.
There were men, and women—beautiful they were—and children
playing in the fields. Everyone seemed enlightened and happy.
This that you see, said the voice, is the true Holiest of Holies.
I am but a messenger. All that you see can be real if you make it so.
Return to your homeland, return to your friends and family and
tell them what you have seen and make it so. This is your birthright.
To live in peace and harmony. And so, the man left, now white of hair,
and he returned to his homeland, where, in accordance with his people,
he tore down the buildings of iniquity, shattered the false idols that
they had worshipped, tilled the ground and made it fertile again.
There, in that place, he rebuilt the Garden of Eden.
Of A Woman’s Betrayal
She blessed my home and my ancient life
with foot massages and honeyed wine.
She spun jade silk savage dragons and drank from
gold cups ruby jeweled wine and listened
to rain drops with a whimsical smile on her face.
She walked with dew drop lightness of foot
and smelled of lockspur and myrrh. Roses were
her pastime in morning light and by evening
she unlaid diamonds from her leather case.
Tantric spells she weaved over my aged body
which awakened like clam shells upon the touch
that gave birth to fine large white pearls.
She brushed her long dark hair with her jade comb
in moonlight and dashed her dark eyes back and forth
from my naked body like illuminating flame.
Her skin was white like alabaster and her teeth
were white like pure ivory beads. She never slept—
all through the night she recited whisper verses
into my dreaming ear. When I woke she lay naked
like a curved hillock covered in snow. To touch her hip
was to encounter mythical beings and ancient laughing
ghosts. To touch her breast was to light a spark that set
afire my every youthful whim—and I became a child again
right there and then, laughing and mingling my breath in her
hair. We danced that way for what seemed like endless spans,
lost in the gold tint of her fire. All day long she would tend to me.
Now I am at death’s door, and oh! where has she gone!
She has run off with my son, they are lavished in the gold I earned,
heading over mountains to eastern dawn light, while I fade slowly
toward the darkness of a setting sun. There will be no dawn from
this point on, shadows grip me on all sides. Oh, where is my beloved
who showed me her mighty heart? She is long gone. And the days darken.
At Gould Farm
There is a dog in the hay field yapping disaster,
a freshet blown way out of proportion along the road.
Old man Wayne drives the red tractor windward
waking snakes from their slumber slithering sideways.
He smokes, smiling, singing a song in a raspy voice.
The bog nearby is full of toads.
The sound of crickets saturates the trees and the fields,
a sickle moon is there for the reaping, the sunlight
spills as the sun descends, saturating the fields with gold.
In the barn the cows are lowing, munching mealy-mouthed
on hay from the trough. The goats are following Mac up the road
in a line, a retinue of munching Druid gods, made holier even
by this man of the cloth. Red winged blackbirds, wrens and sparrows,
woodpeckers and the hooting owl all reside somewhere here,
they fly over the fields of goldenrod, foam flower, and trout lily.
Apple trees are upon the hillside behind Orchard House.
One can hear the apples thumping to the ground
all night. The brook runs slow in the Autumn light, some late straggler
is crossing the bridge. He’ll have a long haul up the hill back to Main House.
As the sun goes down the crickets ignite a storm
and the peepers begin to peep from the deep forest along Gould Road.
We sit in Main House in the living room, where old Steve is tending the fire.
Bob is there too, reading, and I. The three of us are silent and we overhear
the tumult from the kitchen, where they are cleaning up after the last meal of the day.
I am writing a new poem, which I will share at morning meeting the next day.
In this place where the majority of us are supposedly mentally ill,
I find that the days and nights are usually devoid of any commotion.
Most of us are content to sit back now and reflect on a day well spent
and a life that, serendipitously, has led us here.
On the Occasion I Was Attacked by an Eagle
A terrible luckless tear of flesh and into bone
that is how I came upon myself when I left for home.
My flesh mangled in discord with the night—
an eagle tore at my sight and roped its talons
across my throat until beyond a curse I couldn’t speak
and it left me broken in a field and mangled all the rest of me.
I crawled to my car and drove home quickly, barely conscious in my seat
as worry took root upon my brow and I wiped it away
stuck my face out the window and put my nostril in a cloud and breathed deep,
drinking the rose till I arrived home and ran to my homestead clan
and shattered their neon cars such that they could go nowhere.
I licked up the rosewood and tore at my calf till billions of bloodboils burst
and undoing my name I writhed in pain chaffing the shattering
bones. I couldn’t escape the night or its teeming truants, the bats—
they lived in my skull where my brain was once at.
Now I dipped a blue lozenge into my bath, and baked and buttered my eyes
till the old cat came near, the blood howling savage ravager of night
came near, and licked my wounds such that I ached no more
and I was soothed by the needly tongue of the cat such that
the heavy burden I carried was replaced and satiated by love.
I wrinkled my nose and submerged into the bath and bled the fine
blood of my father’s lineage. Taken from the tough errancy of my life
I reclined and looked at the cat’s eyes above peering down all curious
and refined. Then it licked the bath water above me and I laughed and
had to reemerge, taking the poor creature in my bloody wet arms,
it meowed pitifully, but I just smiled.
Swords raised against dementia, victorious
by eschewing time. This and that,
we age and we dine, the moon talks
a blithering spell. I walk the fine line
between heaven and oh fuck that.
I speak with time not knowing the reasons,
but they come, discovered as one discovers
a wakeless shadow, a wakeless night.
Night seems like a velveteen tongue
licking my nuts with a bloated hum.
Such wherewithal required that a man might
die with his own hand bleeding
in the night. That’s how I stand—the Aleutians
call, but worried hands explicate the seemingly
impossible toils with their connivances.
I stick my tongue out at the old ways.
Blood hollers and controls me, my brain
negates my whims. Such control as a mute
fool will extol, silence as a hand-me-down.
I rope the magic money into my abyss,
kiss lightning like a lecherous monk,
I’m waiting. I am drunk.