Friday, June 13, 2014

Trinidad Timeslip Interlude

1. Observational Magic

Come to Big Lagoon with me,
Collect smooth stones from the sea,
And we'll see what we shall see.
The magic doesn't inhere
In here or in you or in me.
Inland, there's a tree stump
Of a redwood cut down a century gone,
Big as a small cabin with its own small woods
And flowers now growing out of it,
Obscuring it as it obscures
The actual small cabin behind it
Where we can stay, in a green shade
Between a creek, a chicken coop
And two highways, all murmuring
To the distant punctuation of an axe.
What is it, actually, we don't like
That is samsara? Is the suffering
Of samsara just things we don't like?
Would an absence of preferences
Mean the absence of contentments
And rhapsodies as well as suffering?
All conversations contain an earthquake
Anecdote this afternoon in Arcata,
The sun and the bumming around
Back after heavy rains and last
Night's chittering and rolling wave
That you sensed as a ghost
About to drag you under the couch,
About to swallow you up in the floor,
Then as a poltergeist rattling the cabin,
Then, "of course! It's an earthquake!"
And you jumped into bed at 10:18
And roused the slumbering ego,
And the ego said, "yes,
It's an earthquake" and patted your hand
While you lay awake in the cabin
By the giant stump of time, waiting
For the earth to change again
And you with it this time. Forgive
Me. I was so tired, I had to sleep.
Come to Big Lagoon with me,
The magic is out there, turning
Particles into waves, and tomorrow
We will sleep in and sun on
My enlightenment bench between
The cabin and the overgrown stump
Beside that cabin, listening to birdsong
And rooster crows, the unseen
Creek and passing cars, the axe chopping,
And a hound dog briefly baying
For no known reason in the west
Woods. We'll read poems about woods
And prose about creeks and time.
We will take our notes and talk
About time existing or not, and that
Will finally change us.

2. Baba Yaga's Postal Worker

The flower of boring places,
Suburban lawn dandelion
Blossoms in the dank woods.
On the old wagon road,

Baba Yaga's surly postal carrier
Refuses to admit knowing
Where the road goes. Every stump
Grows four or five great trees,

Each holding a private conversation
Of falling things. The day stays
Bright and ordinary around
The dream of a trackless waste

We make tracks trying to find.
Have another cup of coffee
On the lawn chair. Turn your bright
Face to sun neither here nor there.

3. I Was the Moon Tonight

This morning I was the driftwood
By the long breakers, the sneaker waves
That can claim lives briefer than trees.
Highway at my back, crushing surf
Blowing mist in my face. I was
Really something for nothing
This morning as a bee blew in
Against me, fighting the breeze
To get a little nectar from the wild
And tiny beach flowers anchored
By the oldest and heaviest dead woods
Sunk like spars of shipwrecks
Across the Lost Coast. Something
Wants meaning from a broken beach perspective,
Crossing the bar, no bar to any watch we keep,
The long withdrawing roar proving longer
And longer and louder than any one
Turn of the tides. Everyone's a beach comber
On a monstrous, magnificent beach,
Poets, painters, philosophers, photographers,
Even the penitent sitting in silence,
Stunned by relentless thundering.
That an unseen moon drew on
The tide was such mystic nonsense
A skeptical Galileo couldn't countenance.
The veil smoking up in fine tulle
From the shy faces of deadly breakers,
Anthropomorphized for faint understanding,
Looks delicate, intricate, faint and
Promising something holy, something rare
For the patient, who scrutinize the pulverized sands,
Near-sighted, anxious and finicky as sandpipers,
Something for nothing but feeling that presence
Greater than the sum of our gnawing hungers
And more constructive, more corrosive.
We take away nothing but the feeling
There was something to grasp we could grasp there.

This afternoon I was the astonishing stump
Of a redwood so gigantic that broken
In two it glowered, huge and pale, a spire,
A breathing ghost bigger than Tane Mahuta,
Wrecked lord of younger, greener woods around it,
Recreating itself as new trunks from its corm
Underground, becoming massive future shades.
"A tree stands there, mute," wrote the pilgrim,
"But secretly it seethes." The secret is safe
With me. No one is listening, anymore,
And hardly anyone reads. I was content
With that observation so long ago
I couldn't complain when lightning split me.
Look through the signaling, fringed fling of green.
The fallen, crescent moon stands on end,
Carved by coincidence and glowing,
One bone-white curve of smooth wood in dark leaves.
I may not be upright, but the pilgrim liked my adjectives.

Tonight I was the moon, dragging the tide
Like a blanket up the beach and over
The silver heads of the driftwood logs,
Lighting the way for moths to dream catchers
Strung by tidy spiders in the stumps of trees,
Peering into the melancholy cabin
Between the breakers and the hills.
I'm so tired. I'm so tired. I'm so tired.
But only from time to time.

4. Inside It

Sequoia the little girl, not this tree,
Sheds clothes quickly and when she wants
To put something back on that's inside out
On the floor where she left it, she picks it up
And asks me to "please inside it."
She's got Grandma to do that for her this week,
And you're alone with me and books and these trees
And we're well and truly inside it.

Where will this moment lead when this moment
Is never singular, never anywhere? We talk
Of time and space between the cabin and the trees,
The marsh land and the scrap yard,
The highway, the town square, and the shuddering beach,
But all our terms are inside out and always have been.
There is no now or then, no next
That we can count on, only shades
Of change. Cherish the well-worn, savor
The incoming, and let what's next
Take care of itself. We must somehow,
Ourselves and without help,
Inside them.

5. Blue Lake

Last stop at the last resort.
Time plays possum all the time,
And then the mystery is history,
Time to pack up and go home.
Did we do all we wanted to do?
No, and we did some things we didn't.
One hates good byes. One savors them.
In the end is the beginning of love
That began somewhere near here
And has returned, again and again,
Always slant rhyming, the truth
Being an approximation of the past
That can never remember exactly.
How to rightly portray a goodbye?
The workshop tools of craft writers
Want a lot of showing. No telling
What they would make of this
Rhetorical tree the earthquake bent
To a simple curve in front of me.
Ferns and giant clover cloud the ground
Around the cabin we are now leaving
Where we woke up dreaming
A chant that was never our own
And then long since a part of us,
Bent lines sung from old quartets,
The sheet music rustling in branches
That all night hovered over us.
The end and beginning are always
In love, the beginning and end are one.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.