As I approach, the sleeping feral cat turns…and we bow together.
Archive for April, 2013
Basel wrote: Then consciousness is like a giant squid.
Basel smiled. Take that, Mr. Magic Madden.
A perfect iambic pentameter line.
A simile. And one that expanded
your consciousness. Membranes that must remain
in water deep and wide enough for you to swim
for miles and not find land or feel the moon
as it guides the tide—more like the water
is passing through you than you through it…
Okay, enough of the water comparison.
Basel needed a volta, a turning point,
a place to land, a breath of air, a birth…
Got it. If a poem is, he wrote, like a baby hid,
then consciousness can be a giant squid.
More like sub-aqueous rumors that only he
could hear, than like bubbles that did not rise,
except to his ear; more like words in an alphabet soup—
not swimming, but suspended, like he was, too alive
to be here, but here anyway—than a baby, fat in the sink.
For he had been promised birth. Even above
the ancient song that sang, Stay, little one, stay.
He had been promised birth, and he would get it,
but not with the name he wanted to use,
for how could they know his real name?
There was no prophecy about his name.
He was the sign, the bubbles, the origin of space.
Stay, little one, stay. Listen to us just this once.
‘No, sisters, nothing can stay, not here, not anyplace.’
The baby is in the dishwater, playing ‘Dish’.
He’s got dried egg yolk between his toes,
oatmeal up his nose. Soaking wet.
No clothes. Diaper wet diarrhea.
Bathsheba pulls the plug, the bride’s surprise.
If she had a paralyzing ray gun right now she would
paralyze him for the day and leave him in the sink.
Let him think about London or Lisbon or life on
Alcatraz Island before there was a prison there.
But she didn’t have paralyzing ray gun.
She didn’t even have permission to go to school yet.
To school to do what? To form an after school club,
The Middle School Moms? To teach yourself how
to love so loud in your head it was like a scream?
Neema got it. He was not the principal; his name was ‘Principal’;
he taught math; he was talking about the midpoint of a line,
how you had to know it’s beginning and its end.
A chalk line on the board. Tell me to stop when
I get to the middle. An inch, barely. That’s the line.
Why didn’t you tell me to stop? Another line.
Stop! Oh no, boys and girls. I’m nowhere near finished.
The line goes off the board, chalk on the wall,
around the room, across the door. The end.
Neema got it. Time was a factor. The first and the last.
Eschatology. She could use it in Word Stump.
I teach mathematics, its principles, he says.
Any questions? Neema shoots up her hand.
Mr. Principal, does that mean Mr. Madden
is going to drive us all crazy this year?
A big smile. Yes child, you got it. Perfecto.
The beaver never needs to see why we must pick so many flowers.
The river, with its lilac leaves and tiny eyes, sees what we leave here.
Chameleon, leave us—
Hiding spring in the tree leaves—
Is that you, old man—
Not every student thinks to study the sunrise—
not with hand-made wings, they don’t.
A great grey sky, shy gulls, the night’s cries
tell of harpies and liars—not of
the music of the handmaid’s harp.
What is cool, though, is that
to fulfill the harp’s music here on earth,
someone’s ears must hear it all.
Today’s conception must start with this,
with ears that have words behind them—
like a sub-vocal light until light’s crystals stir,
or reign or cry as angels might when set on fire.
For rumors do not touch her wings, sir.
It must be heard to make the harp a lyre.