HERE AND NOW
In the time of emergence
an old Navajo chant
speaks of the "time of emergence"
and I think of the all-there-is
not a product created by the hand of a god,
but a creation that emerges from the mind
of the all-mother/all-father,
creation, not as a single event, a job of work,
complete over the course of a week of seven god-days,
but a continuing process of never-ending creation,
a creation-flow, an emergency of ever-deepening truth,
like the night emerges and from the night a day emerges
and from the day, a night, like the sea emerges from the deep,
breaks on shores far from where its water essence begins,
then returns to the deep that sent it, and back again to the same
or different shores, far-traveled, enriched by its journey;
like rain on cut hay left in the field overnight,
the fire of creation processing within, its must odor rising again
with the fallen rain to become a cloud, drifting over continents,
over prairies and mountains and cities and great forests,
across the oceans, bringing the musty smell of wet hay
with new-falling rain around the world and back again
to mowed fields where it began,
in a moment of passion emerged from one of us to another,
then the continued emergence through a life of ins and outs,
comes and goes, contributing as we come and go,
our own passions to the universe we are part of again,
flowing through our time until our end
and in a moment of death-ecstasy, souls singing
as we join the all-there-is from whence we came
our part of the great emergence complete, until we, like the sea
return again to new and different shores,
enriched by our time drifting in the creator's emerging conscious
"I am not afraid of chaos because chaos is the womb of light and life. What I don't like is mis-management of chaos."
- Franketienne, Haitian author, poet, playwright, painter
there are patterns to the univese,
from the orbits of galaxies
to the circling of the tiniest electron
around its mother neutron anchor
to the greening and falling of leaves
to the daily commute of bankers and painters and donut makers
to the soft sleep of babies and the long, dry nights of old and time-worn men,
all circling, each circle a world within itself,
inter-acting with its fellows in shadows of confusion,
like looking at the color patterns of gumballs encased in glass,
patterns seen only through a one-eyed squint from some great distance,
the further away clear becomes the organization,
red upon green next to blue under yellow,
each placed in a structured chaos,
like the universe in all its chaotic glory,
structured truth we can never get distanced enough to see,
an incubator spewing chaos,
indestructible unalterable manageable only through
the indirection of unseen hands that must never fumble
or chaos will solidify and all the circles will stop their spinning
and fall to the lethargy of inertia stilled
and all that is will, like Lot's wife, turn to salt crumbling on a silent palin
in the steady wind of never-again...
The poems in this post come from New Days & New Ways, my most recent, and probably last, book of poems, specifically from the 6th and last chapter in the book,"Out There," an attempt to close the book in a more philosophical vein.
I don't expect to ever again do the work involved in putting a book together and putting it out there for people to read.
we are all children of the big bang
and that nothing truly new has been added to the mix
and while I don't know what came before the bang,
I'm guessing we'll figure it out
before the end...
bangs within bangs,
bangs bouncing off bangs like a six bank corner pocket hustle;
one bang banging another like steel balls hung from strings
banging one after the other in a row in a forever and ever progression;
bangs banging out there, banging in somewhere else -
that's one to imagine,
creation in reverse, the Garden of Eden returning to uplowed field...
or it could be a single, once-and-only bang -
that would make us really something,
us and all the universe we know, or don't,
our stars, the only stars anywhere
you and me, the only us anywhere...
somehow, I just don't feel that special
Born again, and again and again and again
I know many people who proudly proclaim
to have been born again,
under-achievers I call them
since, not satisfied with being only twice-born,
I have been born again;
and again and again again
for I am a being of universal elements
and thus, certain to be born again
as I have been born before uncountable times,
for the parts that make me as old at the universe itself
and so must be all the things I have been,
things near to home and faraway -
lost in the vast unknown regions where stardust still drifts -
vastly traveled are my parts,
so vastly traveled I must be as well ,
so varied and old and well-traveled
look around you at the vast everything-ness
that we are,
and will be a part of ...
consider how marvelous I am,
and you as well
sometimes I think of the me that was a daffodil,
and how beautiful I was,
much more beautiful than I am now,
though rooted and consequently less curious than the proto-cat I was,
roaming with early felines, newly crearted to hunt that was the me,
that was the deer, or the beaver, or the small mouse hidden in high grasses,
or the grass I might have been,
or the wiggling worm that fertilized the grass-of-me with my worm droppings...
so many places I have been
so many beings I have been, so more than the twice
the pentacoltals brag of ,
and so much more than twice-born I will be in the millennia ahead,
so much more to be, so much longer to be them
I can imagine how jealous must be those who consider themselves
to be only twice-being
Explosion at the Campbell Soup Factory
of the moment before
the particle of a second
when the universe stops to inhale
before breathing again
with a gasp of stars shaken and stirred
in their orbits
the thought complete,
all pieces floating in confusion slide through the chaos
to find their place together...
and you know, you finally know how your life
fits in the greater, pulsating, ocean of creatures
both like and unlike yourself
the greater theme is finally yours to know...
now it is only to not forget
This poem is by Marilyn Hacker, from her book, Winter Poems, published by W W Nortorn in 1994.
letter on June 15
I didn't want a crowd. I didn't want
writers backbiting in a restaurant.
Last night's leftover duck, some chilled Sancerre
(you've called fresh-tasting) beckoned to me more.
I crossed the Pont Sully, into an eight-
forty sunset, toward home, and whom I'd meet.
In the letter that I didn't write,
I tell you, I was meeting you tonight.
You in an envelope; you in the braille
of postmarks footnoting the morning mail.
You, bracked from life with someone else
though part of every page is what she tells
you; not my morning clarity of bells
to matins, phoned links to life with someone else.
I met you here as if geography
wee all that separated you from me
though hand to hand and lovely mouth to mouth
magnetic norh and doubly polar south
are on lost maps, the trails are overgrown.
It's warm, it's almost dark, it's half past ten.
"I can't imagne Paris without you"
was the tearjerker on the radio
when I begana to cry in Julie's car
under the Nashville skyline where you were
the bottom line. By the time we got
to Phoenix (with bald tires and gluey hot
seatcovers) I was already half way back
to Paris without you. In time, with luck,
anyone can imagine needing less
than all this food, these books, these clothes: excel
uholstry, distraction dead wood, bloat.
You're what I had to learn to do without.
I did. But there you are, no farther than
the whirring of the small electric fan
we bought that summer when you had night sweats,
then a sore back, then just a cold, then doubts
that you'd blot out with morning lust against
my chest, my cunt my mouth, as evdence
that you were present. Later, you'd deny
what you'll admit to now: the late Julythree-quarter moon on shuttered bars, the meat
and vegetables, the dim glow when you lit
a candle in the chapel after Mass.
An ancient park attendant clears the grass
of kids who where imagined jouissance
when we conceived and miscarried out chance.
We each have whispered, written, other names.s
There are more dead for whom to light small flames.
Down on the street, waiters crank up the awniing
of the cafe en face. Tomorrow morning
I'll be no farther and no closer than
your walk down to the post office with Jan
along a storm -pocked tertiary road.
Word-children, we will send eac other words
that measure disances we have to keep
defining. When I lay me down to sleep
you stack up your day's work sheets on the porch
table, light up, lean back. Two silver birch
trees for a twilit arch above your head.
I't hours before you're going to bed.
it's all a circle,
these lives we lead,
and in its time, comes again
like this bright and beautiful morning,
sky clear, the light blue of bright
yellow sunshine and yellow-laced shadows...
i've been here before and, with luck,
be here again - and again and again, knowing
even as I luxuriate in this cold bright,
that dark will come again,
welcoming that dark, for bright is not bright without it,
as day is not day without the brackets of night,
as people who live in the dry desert, how they welcome
the rain, people who live under a forever cloudless sky,
how they marvel at a cloud's slow passing...
and as I think of my circular life,
I think of my dog, lovely, sweet Reba, for whom
every minute is the only minute, like all dogs,
living in the moment, every minute a lifetime,
sixty life times in an hour, how disconcerting,
how wonderful to be so inflicted by nature,
so blessed to live like that,
to live outside the circle of time,
to live in the constant changing
forever strange and forever new
and I wonder if I could ever be dog enough
to live a life of so many lives
A cold, fishhook moon
a cold, fishhook moon
floating in a black, star-specked sky...
the universal pool of all overhead
as I walk the path down hill in the goose-bump cold
of this post-midnight, pre-dawn morning...
I wander in the star-lit dark, searching,
as I sometimes do in the night while others sleep,
searching for the answers
that even in these late years elude me,
searching through the mysteries of night
whether full-moon light or dim, no-moon dark
for the the whys and ways and whats
of a day in the life of the one among millions
that is me -
carbon-cluster me, assuming,
with the arrogance of my kind,
that there are answers that are mine
that's what they are now calling
"The Age of Man"
meaning, I'm not sure, either
the time humans began to occupy the earth
as masters, or the period
beginning earlier, when man existed primarily
as small, sampering jungle and prairie prey...
but I'm pretty sure "the age of man," hower defined,
came after the "age of dinosaurs," about which I'm not sure
were they reptiles or mamalian cousins of man
that just happened to lay eggs, or, as I've begun to hear,
somehow related to chickens and I'm not sure
if chickens are reptiles or mammals with wings,
or something else, along with turkeys and hawks
and eagles and red,red rohins, and even
carrion eating vulture...
but I am delighted that there is a chance
that the "age of man" followed the "age of chickens"
and, considering how stupid chickens are,
whether the "age of man" would have ever come about
if we had been competing for an age of our own
with something smarter, a dog, or maybe a pig,
leaving us, had it been thus, scrathing fleas
and sleeping a slop pen in the "age of dog and pig"
and putting all that ancient history aside, I can't help but wonder
whose age the next will he...
considering our record so far during my particular part
in the "age of man", tkhe "age of ash and cinder" might seem
a fair prospect for the next age. or, maybe a better scenario,
like the "age of cockroach" (think of that the next time
you squash a cockroach with your pointy-toed cowboy boot,
it might be your heirs you are suashing,
and heaven forbid they have a long genetic memory -
plan for the future, that's what you have to do
when you're responsible for a whole age)
meanwhile, across the way,
a herd of deer graze across a broad pasture,
except not bunched like a herd,
but scattered individually across the field,
as if each deer, walking his on way,,
decided on its own to stop for a bite of pasture grass,
solitary deer each at its own meal,
not Texas deer, too much alone, New York deer, maybe,
commuters at a quick-stop pasture, adapting
to the "age of man"
and my cockroach mean mood is lifted...
maybe there's a chance for an "age of deer",
a return to golden fields and forests,
a return to the "age of first nature" -
befor the jealous god split timel
and brought the misery of ages to humans
and all the other creatures alike
if I believe that hard enough
it will make, at least,
a better day
Who will be the poet then?
say that a poem is not the word spoken
or the word printed in some proscribed form
designated as poetic by tradition or fashion of the time;
go instead to the image the words,
however presented, are meant to provoke
and find the poetry directly in the vision,
images in the air of real space and time,
transmitted through your senses to that part of your mind
that dwells among the visual cues and clues of the world,
the de-randomized pieces that combine to for a picture
that means an emotion, visions that fire chemial reactions
that push eletronic jabs to our frontal cortex
to createl a contex within which emotions form,
think of poetry as transcending words,
internal visions of the poet going directly
to an external vision to be seen and shared...
(the most beatiful poem I've ever experienced,
a French short film of horses,
a herd of horses running through fields of high grass,
the beauty of their flesh and their muscled bodies,
and the sweat blown from their nostrils,
and the steam, too, from their mouths and nostrils,
the internal heatof their great bodies under great exertion
blown into cold air, and the colors of their coats
and the grace of their great running leaps
over high grass and shallow waterways -
the most beautiful poetry I've ever experienced
and not a word was spoken - no words written or spoken
could match the image direct)
think of poetry as visions transmitted through
some visual media, like the screen of your local cinema,
or think of future poetry, transmitted directly
into your dreams...
think of the day when dreams are the ultimate poetry
and poets the ultimate dream-makers...
who will be the poets then