Unforeseen tech changes behind the curtains of our stage have brought this site to a standstill for months. Confusion reigns. My apologies.
In need of a foothold, Anxiety, fidgety,
drops to our feet, pecking the ground nervously.
The earth trembles, the invisible clouds
cover the sun. Anxiety, wide winged, once
gnawed at the immortal liver of a god,
relentless; but our anxiety resembles
no other life forms. It’s not an eagle, noble;
nor are we gods, impoverished. Anxiety’s a child,
the homunculus in each of us, without content,
but never content, restless, in need of perch, preferring
the seed of even the smallest discontent to peace.
At dusk, the fireflies in silent fulmination,
drifting upward, like fleeting stars shooting
skyward, caught askance on a black screen
of probability, seen then unseen, possibly, yes,
in the settling darkness, in the quickening
shadows of coming night. They are a tribe
beyond our realms of noise. A room full
of conversation intimated, then quietly fulfilled.
We are kindled when born, small fires, if lucky,
cupped by the gentle hands of loving parents,
a tinder box full of innocence that gives light.
But innocence is a soft wood, easily consumed.
It blazes unevenly, a green wood flaring with the wet sap
of adolescence. The good of the world is still inside us
but a thousand sparks rush upward like stars, blinding us
with their brightness. We become what we see, a fire burning
with the boldness of new desires as we consume more
than we need. It’s then our innocence is spent
in what we call the awakening, the first chill
of a perverse disappointment seeping through our universe,
the cinders cooling. Decades pass until rediscovered
0ur dreams preserved in the amber of our youth.
Lying near the surf, on a crowded beach, their bodies
strewn like stones, I found one I placed in my heart
to better see its features clearly. It’s creases softened
inside my skin, its life renewed from the distillations
of my searching alembic. I saw tears beneath familiar
eyes seeking safety. I dried its cheeks with my hand
and felt its skin warm. Though at first inanimate to me,
it now seemed like a child I once knew. It was hungry,
so I fed the face grown old like mine and saw a smile.
When I turned away from my reflection I saw the beach
again a finite space filled with countless refugees,
their needs no larger than the hearts of those more fortunate.
From stars far removed, in time and space but no more,
vast waves arrive, with powers still that stir the air to move us.
But bound by data to our screens, the blinding lights
and antic motions, we can’t hear the harmony. An inquisitor
raps against my walls of feigned indifference – insouciance,
I call it – my own fingers accuse me in my laptop speculation.
Sweet drinks and rhapsodies, sit-coms and journeys to far away islands
cannot support the foundations of our imaginary lives – we disappear.
The revelations I sought in the music of the arts cools:
the words have lost their meaning, the melodies
their natural syncopation, and my portrait its sunny disposition
– or haven’t you noticed? So content in your quest for happiness.
Beneath the bright, shiny songs of the angels we’ve adored,
whose voices rise and fall contained; whose scoured images
of perfection radiate with the plucked plumage of innocent birds,
our consumption of matter can not support this artifice of joy.
The vital signs of our purpose, once found in the heartbeat
of the living, the pulse of the old and the laughter of the young
is swallowed by their all around suffering; admit, we fear
the loss of our meaning – the inquisitor lurks inside our voice.
But from the edge of everything the once upon a time still
calls us, hear it, make time for a better world for all things!
All of us hate something, or other, at one time
or another: the day, the dog, the chair
in the middle of the room. Some of us hate them,
but for different reasons: they love the wrong god,
or love the wrong person, or love the wrong color
of skin! But today I fear I hate the species
that forgot love. Such lack of love is suicide,
a migrant drowning in a sea of manic turbulence;
a refugee lost in a desert of moral counterfeits,
every border a barrier, every country my hopeless state.
God “. . . loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. Love ye therefore
the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
King James translation
Time, that mysterious movement issuing from the indefinable, filling the vacuous dimensions men chose to call days, months, years. . . With his marker, he would regulate its motion, crossing each day off the calendar, replacing it with another, which, because it possessed the same characteristics, caused him to see in every passing day but one eternal day. But Time, despite his efforts, continued passing through the four walls of his room, in a succession of nights and days, of days growing shorter and nights growing longer, accumulating in the great reservoirs of days, weeks and months. It would flow forth interminably from a corner of the universe, a bottomless font; and it had been silly of him to have believed he had discovered a means of halting its motion, of paralyzing it, even for the moment. What he had done, perhaps no man had ever done before, not here in this country. In the east, the far east, men had probably seen what he had seen, the timeless tranquility of paradise. But even that now was a memory, since he had not possessed, nor understood the motion itself.
Summertime. Sunshine and stillness. A timeless composition wrought by the gilded fingers of the sun. The fluid moments of morning, of transition, the give and take, the push and pull of many colors have given way to the present moment. Continue reading “VELLUM’S PARADISE, PART III”