For I am before the beginning of things.
There is no name for what I am, or any word.
All the right words revolve around me like moons.
I am like the light the moon reflects, but I am not
the moon, or any star, or the result of combinations.
I am the hunger of a perching hawk eyeing the nest
of newborn sparrows, their poignant cry will go unheard.
I am the thirst of the drunkard whose lips are sealed,
the phantom pain in the legs of a double amputee.
I am alone in myself, like the pure and solitary thought
of an execution squad when the captain shouts “Fire!”
I am in no special place, nor do I move from there.
I make movement possible, I make falling in love
possible, I make the slaughter of innocents possible,
and the white flash of the fusion bomb directly overhead.
I make mistakes possible, but soon they become religion,
and politics, and cruel prisons that keep multiplying.
I am what lurks in the dark that stirs the primal fear,
though I am before the dark, before fear, before the space
in which the stars appear to punctuate the darkness,
to make all life possible, love possible, and death.
I am what persists after death, that nameless ecstasy,
that noble rot, that impossible thought, unimaginable.
For I am walking towards you now, even as you look
out towards the horizon and wonder if you will ever be
loved in the way I am loving you in this timeless moment,
the moment of your recurring death, the death of everything.
For I am walking this liquid land that once was an endless sea.
For I am before that sea, before the small delicate creatures
who later became famous for building the sailing ships,
for coming to the New Land, for planting the first tree,
for chopping it down without a twinge of remorse,
for saving pennies that add up to dollars, for spending
it all on frivolities — steel rockets that fly without pilots,
that drop fire on wedding parties, that never return home.
I am home to the sky. It collapses at the end of day in me.
I bring on the night with its dark delights, its soft looming
despair — I wrote that book, the three blind poets stand up
to recite my chapters, the lounge singers my rhyming verse.
They imagine they can somehow fathom me, I am their sorrow
when they realize that they never will. I am their comfort,
I am their wine, I am the pillow they wearily fall upon
when they have had a little bit too much of me.
In their ambivalent dreams they are searching, but for what
they know not (how could they), though when they are still,
when there is nothing but silence, I will be the first sound.
This will make them enormously happy, they will try to say
a word, a great word that is more than any language, more
than the true symbol on the Egyptian tomb, more than
any amazing grace, more than the beguiling honey
on a serpent’s tongue, more than the lover’s offered lips,
the shadow darting just out of sight, the way a certain flower
only opens up at night. Listen: I am that opening, and I am
the air in which it opens, and I am its haunting fragrance.
O Beloved, if I were to be anything, I will be that prayer.
- Mountain Hermit’s Lullaby
- Last Page
- After All (2)
- Swept Away
- Campfire Song
- No Failure
- Dry Creek
- New Year Poem
- New Years Eve
- 2 Heart Beats
- Peaches & Thieves
- Open Mouth Point
- Liquid Sky
- Brevity of Light
- Bright and Cold
- Down To This
- Your Next Move
- Kashyapa’s Smile
- Lifetained Hands
- A Night in Old San Francisco
- I Will Tell You About Her
- Tiny God
- The Last Song of the Kauai O’o
- Secret Thing
- One Heart (2)
- Murmuring Into Light
- No Boundary
- The Announcement
- Lovers’ Pantoum
- All Stop the Streaming Mind
- Duet of One
- Fifteen Ways In Which To Regard Nugget
- Going Up
- Kitchen Spirits
- Homage to the Wild Woman
- For the Love of Exploration
- Three Scenes with Birds
- Thanksgiving Menus
- Morning Ode to Nuggie
- It Comes To This
- Being Human
- The Note
- Thirteen Cases
- The Harshest Judge
- Glowing Apples
- Just Smiling
- January 2018
- December 2017
- November 2017
- October 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- October 2016
- September 2016
- August 2016
- April 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- January 2016
- December 2015
- October 2015
- September 2015
- August 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- January 2015
- December 2014
- October 2014
- June 2014
- May 2014
- April 2014
- March 2014
- February 2014
- September 2013
- August 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- September 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- March 2012