Who wins

 

 

Writing a poem is like having a battle with oneself.

Either you win or your poem does.

The Stolen Light

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The Stolen Light

 

Beneath the glow of stolen moonlight,

a white rabbit in the empty street

invites me with a question.

He asks:

“How do you know that you are real?

Is it by the sound of the wind howling

or the cool blast of it upon your cheek?

Doesn’t it feel like when you close your eyes you can

imagine what it’s like to be inside a story?

 

Around his questions spin me, around, around.

 

“The hum of everlasting spirits

follows you through these now deserted streets

hissing in a voice you painfully understand

that you are never really alone.

 

Around I turn, around, around.

 

“It’s us who are alive.”

Their speech is clear as silver;

“It’s us who bleed the world to colour

as we put pen to paper,

who fill the seas

with bottomless words that other lands have thirsted for.

We, the characters.

And, to read a story is to write a story

and to write a story is to gift the story to the wind.”

 

The rabbit hops into the distance, his white wisp aglow.

Tonight the sky is empty of stars;

they all have fallen.

The moon is ravishing in

the light it has stolen from the sun.

I walk home in the borrowed light.

I take objects to be holy

I am surrounded with holy things that speak in the same language as god does.

for god’s touch

Is the wind that touches every bygone leaf,

The languorous creak that touches dying trees;

wood-frogs are hatching in the quiet eve in reeds—

wherein I sit and feel the gentle touch of Silence nursing infant Spring.

I hear another frog chime in

(from yonder down the bay):

“I’m here. I’m here.” in throaty timber seems to say

At least, that’s what I think i hear—

The spirit is hidden to me, like a priest on the other side of the partition,

but holy sounds breeze through coloured skies like shooting stars

May I live and die with arms outstretched
Within this weathered body.

 

To listen is my first prerogative

Yet many times I see articulations fall through wooden air,
flakes from some ethereal wing

extended branches in the shape of arms catch it as it downward falls—yet they do not.

And so it falls, without contact.

and softly lands, like a feather, upon the earth from whence it once sprung forth,

and transforms back into the subtle form of dirt and sand and clay.

Closed eyes and a thousand open mouths

tongues blistered fighting with the wind

Are waiting yet to speak in turn,

and now their time is here.

They say:

Snowflakes keep falling slowly from the nameless sky.

Salvation

Zhang-Xiaogang-Amnesia-and-Memory-detail

 

 

 

 

 

When I was young I would look for solace

 

in broken twigs, in people and in things

that held promises of nothing.

I would watch twinkling snowflakes in the luminous sky

and wonder why

nature has created such beauty for only one night.

At school, I would cut out intricate shapes, as I remembered them

into patterns. Thinking how smart was I

uncovering the secrets of Nature by folding my paper into eights.

 

Old narratives speak of broken beings that rise from the valley of ashes

Into the healing light of day.

But these stories are silent on those that never rise up.

Those that have fallen deep into the empty, dark well

and made company to the echoes of their own serpentine cries.

Old narratives don’t include falling in love with your own hidden darkness.

 

Down here.

No one can hear me— I’m too deep.

I make myself comfortable

in this coolness of earth

that smells like limestone and dirt.

The flowing sap of appearances

has crystallized into a form as foreign as skin.

The living moisture of earth’s within makes me want to suffocate,

I want to breathe endlessly.

I smell the rotting corpse of an ancient fever,

as if I am living for the first time.

 Am I tasting humanity’s sickness or its salvation?

The floor beneath is quicksand into which I am sinking.

                     Do I resist? 

Down here,

these thoughts wrap around me

like vines around a dying tree.

(What more does life have to offer, other than this sweet, distant dream?)

The beautiful implosion of everything that makes life special:

Silk.

Skeleton skin.

Lace and pink ribbon

Floating on the breeze of empty promises. 

Us—oblivious fools lost in the paradise of dreamers.

Love is a masquerade, you tell me, a great ball that promises nothing but more

promises. 

You offer me nothing but a confirmation of my own emptiness.

The pit of the nectarine symbolizes death.

 

 

Now that I’m older I don’t look for solace in things any longer,

I try to find it within my own emptiness,

but there I am met with an echoing laugh.

 

To sleep perchance to dream,

To dream perchance to forget.

I need to remember not only for myself,

but for my family,

I do not remember.

“Turn and face me!” silently I scream, calling up the memory of

those that walked before me,

walked the cold earth without shoes.

 

I don’t bleed for myself.

I carry

the collective darkness inside my bones,

I’m old.

I’ve forgotten to tell you that I am you.

My depths are unimaginable.

Can you see them in my eyes?

You see me most clearly in the mirror

with the shadow of a thousand men and women standing behind me.

 

My pain is a recreation of the old sorrow.

My shadow is alive and burning.

These hands hold earth in its first wound

And in its last.

And the hands borne hereafter will be the spoon used to lift me.

 

The human need

for soil and for toil.

Colour in my pencil eyes

with brown crayola lines. Lines of toil

shaded in by surfing lines of green

giving me the the depth to see

The forgotten sorrow.

I mine these stories up from earth’s red marrow:

From it’s sinking depths of blood.

We carry the words of our forefathers like mountains waiting to be climbed.

 

Crawling

A deep need of being loved, being held, being understood

And a deep need of being with the right person

I would pour out the contents of my heart

If it were into the right dish.

 

my darkness only comes at night

And breathes its acidity into my sailing eyes

The trickster emerges crawling low to the ground

True to his snake like form.

 

The temptation of this halfway love

Is found in life’s metaphysical marrow.

And even now, I feel it creeping in.

 

My depth of need is turpentine

my past lovers have declared it so.

Let the Lucid Present speak to me

And let me see, through your mirror eyes,

what it means to tell a lie.

 

A hymn for the lost souls

 

Things in life are everlasting searches

As challenging to find as a blue wildflower

In a blue field as wide

as ancient threaded skies

Cast meaning to the stars I see

I wonder: am I being seen?

 

Things in life are everlasting searches

Cemented behind brick walls.

Which we can’t see behind.

I wonder, when you see these walls: do they fully convince you?

 

Things in life are everlasting searches

and energy is granted us in birth to search

To venture deeper.

 

But first,

we need to make a living—

we need to quench our thirst

And only then (if a hunger doth remain)

Do we look further.

 

But what’s perverse is

inside this human blessing lies forsooth the human curse:

Our thirst be our undoing.

 

Tonight, let’s raise our glasses, dear enemies, dear friends

and drink to our undoing.

Let’s drink to the finality of morning

When the cloak of darkness has settled over everything.

 

Things in life are everlasting searches

Iridescently gliding upon the curvature of time.

that live on in mystic mystery in my eternal phantasy

Space be their benefactor, time be their guarantee.

It’s me: this clay figurine ensnared in my humanity

And humanity’s sick history

I’m humming in a toneless tune

The chorus of our universal tragedy:

I think these are the words:

I’ve lost the will to search.

Hmm mmmmh mm

I’ve lost the will to search.