Epigraphs for Chaos and Stars

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Aug 122011

“The prettiest are always further!” she said at last, with a sigh at the obstinacy of the rushes in growing so far off, as, with flushed cheeks and dripping hair and hands, she scrambled back into her place, and began to arrange her new-found treasures.
–Through the Looking-Glass

“As to poetry, you know,” said Humpty Dumpty, stretching out one of his great hands, “I can repeat poetry as well as other folk, if it comes to that–” “Oh, it needn’t come to that!”
–Through the Looking-Glass

Without Goal

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Aug 122011
Each human soul
Without goal
Is unwhole. 

Every condition
Of historical mission
Without an individual's kiss
Is a mission amiss.

Without the startburst
Of a singular eye
All sights degrade from best
To little better to worst;
The telescope suffers a sty
That once held all universe's pride,
And dull death slides
From the wound in God's side.

Without the insistence
Of Love's wondrous indifference
Each breath, all flesh
Beats bereft
--Life's limitless gift

Unchained Medley

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Aug 122011
Really the only medley that I like
Is the medley the mind makes when all songs
Have ceased. Surfeit of silence,
Or so it seems, become a storm of drums,
A vast catastrophe of cymbals crashing,
So and so, upon memory minus remorse.
The discarded songs, played through, had come
To their melodious ends and settled hues;
Absent amorous fingers fiddling on their strings,
Untouched, they did not know what else to do
After the final ting. Are they waiting,
The songs, to be taken up, be played, be plucked
With protesting recitations of gorgeous notes
Back into existence? If so, if surely so, then song
Did never have an end, nor is ended now
As I hear in inner ear a medley most morose
And happiest too to tell me what it is
In a silence that sings through me like a song.

Wordy Waltz

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Aug 122011
Is an imaged Word, an imagined Thing
False that falsifies Reality--
Made itself of maybes in our uncertain clime?
A clock of hairs grows boisterous
Upon a curly mantle indifferent to ticks;
Does this winsomeness rescind in a swish
Starker clacks that tap the Reality of Time,
Or 'tis it time t'was taught our make-believe
Before it ever sauntered off the shelf
To drive us will-hee nill-hee over hills
Past our final ploys to final plots
Springing green in Floridian retirement parks? 

How does the poem of apricot, bon mot,
Go on being apricot in a grove of orange?
Is this ripe, particular fiction
Compounded, pat-pat, out of the real?
Oranges or apricots, we ourselves go on
Being our granular, indecisive selves,
Daily twinges of one eternal twang,
Niggling addenda adducing vast impossibilities,
Long after the mirror's form informs each eye
We are not what we were. What can one say
With capable pronunciation? Let huzzahs help
Tortured clocks to tick, apricots to drip
Each imagined day into the reality of night.

The Gown of Sleep

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Aug 122011
To sleep is to meditate without a face,
Or is it? Is it Anarch Unconscious,
Or just a gown for the mind, for the self,
A way to somnambulate the ichorous void
In tiaras and swirls? A glittered hem
Provides a border where the mind's the mind
No more, and the essential dark consoles
No more our crinolines and ribbons.
The day's crested curl has rolled itself away.--
A place arrives where consciousness ends. 


And yet we look, we leer at it continually,
Continually concerned that thisness
Should end as that darkness should extend
Out beyond the mind, beyond the gown of sleep
Swishing its glittered hem like a cape, voidward
Toward nothing, toward what, toward that, toward that 
That continually and perpetually 
Declares us by ending us, as the hem declares the gown;
The petty grave's past tense makes present being great.
No mausoleum trumps the pomp

Of simple death.

And so we take the complement with milk
And go to sleep and lose our daily face,
Touching the antagonist in dreams.
We stand gowned, merely gowned, on the void's edge
--Continually, continually
Making our way toward the definite dark
That dreams of us, perhaps, when it wakes,
Taking its coffee and morning paper,
Sampling the headlines with its grapefruit,
Comfortable with one more dawn's gowny ends

Obliterating inexistence.

Gratuitous Title

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Aug 122011
The self-deceiving Eskimo
Does not know what he does not know
Nor knows he what he should
Benignant of evil as of good. 

The Eskimo is bespattered by a vetting sleet
That seeks to part his bones and meat
That does not know that it does not know
It dissects a self-deceiving Eskimo.

Tethered together in all kinds of weather,
Unaware of fate, the cold that kills,--
Eskimos ourselves benighted by a snow
Of balmy blands whose meat and bones

Undoes the ever-curious Eskimo.

The Me-ness of Me

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Aug 122011
Unremarked in fallowest fields one thing
With picky panache
Silhouettes the solitary bug
Pivoting its spectral hues in yellower grass;
One thing darts an engulfing eye
Upon the minor life mimicking the swells
Motioning the ups-a-daisies and downs
With ups and downs of its own, internal candor
--Insect in a day most nearly over. 

One thing, one eye

Mundane Topic

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Aug 122011
The honest man in the mirror, mundane topic,
Sees himself. But not, not as he is, dwarfish
Moralist in a vermillioned land,
A hunchback crouching in a box. Oh no,
Not that, not as--but as--he sees he as he
Was meant to be. 

Interlocutor at large in a world
Mad for prestidigitations,
The gift of if and fragrant hullabaloo
--The verisimilitude of seems, not is.

He meets himself bending in a pool,
His prodigious doublet washed off to skin,
Misty skin, and rain in the rushes again
Beating the mirror into silvers.
He sees this, and sees still, with any eye
Scrounged from any possible socket,
The panoply, the possible panoply
Of the yet to be.

The Queens of This and the Kings of That

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Aug 122011
The mind is portable, and its jar is gemmed
With prinks of light that color what it is,
How it sees itself and makes the world. 

The mind's not mind that consecrates its acts
By pure formula without reference to fact,
A mute maestro fiddling fortissimos of the sea.

The mind's not mind that curmudgeonly contracts
From dauntless dwellings on the abstract
To rote particulars of minor fact.

The mind is portable, but not without itself
Or its jar does it go the world about,
Packing up perspective freaks of circumstance

Into abstract projections that rainbow a world,
Articulate abstracts of that and that
That adumbrate austerely the moiling void.

The stars are projective gems of crowns
That hemmed us in, and that we have thrown away
Playing marbles with the void. Still, we see them, dimly,

In the besetting dark, past projects of the self
With the sun gone down and the night fresh as a wish;
Still we wear them in our dreams as crowns, dimly,

Effortless masters of fact in our jarring jars. 

The Nothing

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Aug 122011
Syncopated zeroes,
Intending nothing,
Knowing nothing that knots
The nothing that they are,
Sing zero, sing zero
Around their open aches
Oohing outwards
Into a world too present present
To apprehend their absence,
Their hollow hallow core
And respite for thought,
Their assertion of a suction
And place for the present-absent
Among rogue marmalades
And ladies' parasols
Stacked backward in the attic. 

Because the mind moves ever-on,
Sentimental futurologist
Weeping over imagined ends
And incipient catastrophes
Only tracing thought portends,
A first wheel restless for neighbors,
These zeroes too can give
A now of nothing, a blank
For maps mind's one cartographer
Can skate in lines of pure invention;
Those zeroes, those zeroes too
Can give a uteral nurturance
By their nothingness, mere nothingness
In so much here.