Saturday, November 2, 2019

The Absence of Ghosts

“Every time we misremember something old, we are imagining something new.”

We never fell from the void,
But from the fullness we fall,
Becoming, toward the void

That calls us, drawing us on,
Drawing us into being,
Out of what once was the all.

When we will be, we won’t be.
When we thought we were, we weren’t.
When we are, we’re never here.

Nothing is nothing perfect,
Perfect nothing in the end,
Nothing that let us begin.

Paradox is not a curse
Of being trapped in language
But language’s greatest gift,

Meaning’s distorting lenses
Arranged to close the distance
Between our thoughts and what is.

On the river’s northern bank
Facing the shores of the south, 
Metaphysics established

One of its first palaces,
The tidy correspondence
Between balanced Yin and Yang.

Gods and atoms formed the nodes
That gave the causal networks
Coherence numbers needed,

But meaning itself remained
A scrim, a screen, a platform
On which ghosts performed the plays. 

Quiet falls on all the peaks.
After centuries of roars,
The water tower of Tibet

Empties, and billions of apes
Scatter in a world of floods.
That was last night’s performance.

Poor Boyu, he never knew
Whether he knew what he knew,
Nor what he did not know.

He had to quit performing.
Enough! Enough! He shouted.
Then he went and worshipped doubt.

He grew spooky, that Boyu,
Entangled in painting scenes
Of pears on porcelain tureens

In pairs whose geometry 
Of perfect gravity meant
That the curving surfaces

On which their branches unfurled
Their fruits and leaves, in a way
That was beautiful, although 

Boyu now knew beauty meant
Nothing, contained nothing much.
Mixed with paint rinsed from brushes

And crematory ashes,
Memory makes excellent
Potting soil for histories.

Ah, these fragments we pile up
Continually, without
Any end of mind in mind

But with an expectation
Of a miracle, supra 
Spem spero, to save us all.

The broken robot recites
Conditions to get to sleep—
Presence, absence, zero, one,

Many, imaginary,
Natural, fantastical,
Is, is not, was but is not,

Never was, never will be,
Everything ever could be
Vs. never, finally.

In the palace on the banks
Of the Yin and Yang river,
Boyu and the robot play

Chess with all the conditions
They can think of, until one
Or the other gets to sleep.

No comments:

Post a Comment

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