In any universal force or unifying vision An emptiness of intent inhabits, a blank of indecision. To try and grasp the whole of Man must blur individuation And see all wide variation One, innocent of division. Who can blame them for their blankness, or feel themselves assured That they have flossed Reality from the asterisked Obscure? Wherever truth lies it lies becalmed, Unmoved in its sutures by winter storms or squalls. We come into our knowing neither too early nor too late But just in a moment's glowing and take what we may take. If you don't, as I don't, know just what a thing is Sit silent, or politely ask the thing itself its business.
The wish of an if Is a backwards future; Beyond the moment's present use, The grand seducer is seduced. If in plain vagaries I am vain, In rich reality I'm just me. Forgive me, listeners If this mothering infant tongue Offends your sense: Life is my only defense.
The sum of all the soul Is lazy exhalations, Smoke rings in rings in rings And their derivations. So says the brune cigar (Burning wisely the while) Letting shooken cinders char From the clear kiss of fire. So the smokes of poems Insinuate a smile;-- Dismiss thisness, singer, should you debut, Reality's vile. Too-precise a sense erases Literature's half-guesses. Mallarme
I When Twyla Tharp begins again Her own sweet body to command, Charm of personality or face must vanish Into the reality of pattern. Soldiers lined up pidgeon-toed At the mosque, shot out their enemies' heart. What lies still beating in the cart? Was there passion in that slaughter? II There was a dream of feasting, and we fed on dreams. Instinct in the sculptor's palsied hand Creates where it divides, eating to the face of man As if stone were so much rotten wood. Although young, it seemed all dignity must be spent On sinking love or suborned monument. Where was the gamble if the loss lacked reality? We were young and solemn and did what we would.
"A seed of knowing out of our ignorant fruit must drop. My pear tree, not Sartre's, rises from the wrong ground, blossoms and rots in God's green affections; memorizing Cicero all afternoon, the lagging speeches, a fist of pebbles in my mouth, shouting at the sea.... a carpet-bagging stumper after my sweet fee. We threw the golden teardrops uneaten to the hogs--- all boys and wickedness leaping Huck Finn's fence whitewashed in north Africa. The orchard door yawned on darkness as we exited, loaded down and laughing: reality in the act, not the scenery. A tentacle of happiness, not nausea, gripped me then coiling my black heart in light like an extra aorta, fibrous and alive and dangling from God's omnipresence."
I meditate between the cracks, And, knowing nothing, proceed to weed, To tidy into squares the things I need: The things, if given, I'd not give back. From my ivory dome upon the ivory hill Jack must tumble and follow Jill Until reality has touched them as they are: Children still, but blessed with scars, With maps that parse them into parts Frankensteinian and sparse.
Do we make contact with a kiss? On what do two lips meeting Two lips insist? Did Cleopatra Really kiss, who never climbed The ratty scaffolding behind the stars? Does love demand reality? O fools, is what we feel all folderol? Do hearts connect both ache and cause? Have we really any more Than a projectionist's panache, Lighting up our solitary dark With scenes? Dreaming in daylight What our lonely dreams may mean? I hunger for reality under pinking skies At one, at one, With the inward of my eye.
Cataracts, rapids and furious plumes Smoke at the waterfall's foot in one Purgatorial plunge. Hot clouds of chaos in a boiling sink Sterilize steel, and kiss the quick Motions of two hands. These two images of water, two images Of ourselves in austere imagination, Wetly flail. The yellow raft tips up at the blue, trembling lip Above the whole effortful journey In naked air.
Hey you! Settle them with cigarettes Or with fabulous lassoes cast high corral The jittery arpeggios of choristers, A most disorderly sorority, drunk On song and wit as their hale hosannas Divot the friendly sky. The time for uncounted choirs of praise Zagging the azures in brightened blaze Is over. Call the kiddies to their vittles. Settle down around the plain broad board. Line the bench with fat behinds, and tuck The checkered napkins tight To quell the singers' appetites. Sit still like an emanation of content, At the end of singing, at the end of day. Let blue silk robes fall stately to stiff feet. Let there be, at last, a last reality, Without suggestion. A cold bean soup. Let leaden lentils lard the golden guts.
A. Romance, Love i. She = landscape; love and desire explain our place on the earth ii. Landscape is just beyond lovers' concern and understanding; address to Noelle iii. She = landscape; stars in her hair; harmonious completion on nature by imagination in tune with desire; night has a human warmth iv. Landscape = she; desire leaps out, coloring what is v. She is missing; object of desire dies, yet desire remains; memory transforms moment to sadness B. Futility, Repetition vi. Landscape is self-contained and repeats itself; will this be enough without her? vii. Seeking after cause of all; trapped in objective world viii. Organizing separated consciousness; imagination takes in what is, maps it ix. Difficulty of saying what is in terms of self; repetition calms, gives clues, reduces chaos of what is x. Despair, repeat of moods, is our weather; links self to reality by sharing repetition and circularity C. Speech, Words xi. Listen to outer reality; it too speaks as self speaks to itself xii.Words are not just human; they are an expression of reality as it is as well; refrains of wind xiii. Silence sources the mis-match of words and reality; failure of final correspondence xiv. How does speech work to encode our desire to connect with reality; do these words interact with what is real or not? xv. Questioning of what is heard; is it real, or mere self-projection? xvi. Speaker finds his identity in writing down gestures of what is in a way that sharpens inner feeling; feelings are the inner reality that matches objective reality D. Aging, Death xvii. Time marches on; self will die one day xviii. Desire for contact with the real inside the limit of time xix. Loss of attractiveness; but not death of desiring; this is aging; our hearts are less supple in response to reality, tempted to be didactic xx. Mundane reality is insufficient to the spirit's deepest needs xxi. Age focuses desire; its force grows as its time diminishes xxii. Nothing new in outer reality is available to be learned; connection with the spirit of imagination replaces reaching out into the real xxiii. Wish for certainty; weariness at the insufficiency of what reality has delivered xxiv. Speech continues to express imagination's desire even in age's lengthening ennui E. Meditation, Creative Urge xxv. Imagination is considered as capable of tying together inner and outer reality xxvi. Meditation = motion in the world.; the poem is an object xxvii. Creativity is in all actions of the mind, shaping and even creating the reality we experience xxviii. Reality changes; we carry its impact with us even when reality is not directly accessible xxix. Experience, approached by imagination, can continually refresh the spirit xxx. Figurations of reality do not deform that reality; what is continually re-asserts its completeness independent of imagination F. Final Sequence xxxi. Humility before the self-sufficiency of reality's self-creating process of Life xxxii. Self in the now can be content in contact with reality xxxiii. River reflects both reality and our wishes as they project into reality; something there is that is deeper than words or desires xxxiv. Reality dances on, we with it; reality is enhanced by our questioning of it, and our re-imagining it; experience is sharpened xxxv. Reality comes to an end; and, with it, the imagination completes its project of creation