His solitary sojourns engender tuning, ideas and inspiration and culminate in desolate sanctuary. He experienced immense pleasure, however, with her. When they sauntered joyfully the trees responded with airy shelter and sprawling shadows. When twilight was warm, he laid his head upon her lap and was swept by sleep. She sat still, content, stroking his hair, sparingly. Their arguments were passionate and, ultimately, fair. He insisted he was concerned only with truth. She countered that he was unwilling to fully reveal himself. She seized and retreated rapidly. He remained even for long bouts and then exploded. He preached political reform, she shepherded the wounded. Amid unbearable heat they dove together naked into a lake, performed gymnastics beneath a waterfall, shouted! She hitchhiked the highway, sexy, unharmed. He walked, regrets shed, to destinations, unknown.
She stared at her laptop at the retreat. I suffered from social anxiety and a migraine and achieved relief from putting myself forward. She called me brave. She said I had a great life. She asked how I felt about returning to my family. She scolded me for non-conformance and later was instructed to peer deeply into my eyes. He facilitated a yoga session seamlessly and after said he would depart without pause for love or money. He labored in the kitchen and meditated, hoping to counteract transgressions of the past. He spoke of a master who would not malign Coca Cola, would deem it favorable, and would feel no desire to consume it again. I could not register surprise upon learning of the internecine squabbling of animal farm sanctuaries, the corruption of a homelessness organization, that an accomplished LGBT advocate felt compelled to die, and left a message imploring less selfishness, which quickly faded, as the soccer and baseball games in the park continued unabated. The Whole Foods was nearly un-navigable. I attempted politeness though felt rage rising as my presence was undetected. A young guy bagging my groceries talked to me of his newfound knowledge of food coops and his transition to vegetarianism, and asked if I was vegan. I generated a measure of genuine enthusiasm, spoke more than I had wished, and offered thanks for his efforts, to which he responded with graciousness. The coach chanted repeatedly, her timing unerring, her pitch clear, firm and related. She expressed dissatisfaction and ordered that the routine be practiced again. The athletes followed and corrected an earlier flaw, without resentment. I understand the transcendent qualities of passion, though I yearn for simple love, and I dreamt again of classes missed and failing grades. The charisma of the solitary explorer of the wilderness, who burned money and took itinerant jobs, was enthralling, and enviable. He was badly wounded, too.
Once you, complete, an expression, of beauty, please, do not speak. Commit, to sacrifice, an argument, against pacifism. Remain, iridescent, a body, of inspiration. Step forward, only, when earnestly summoned. Be sure, every practice shot, is brutal imperative, any miss, wreckage. Eradicate, any inkling, for inessential information. You will be loved, by many, and perhaps one, who understands, the gift, of purpose, clearly defined. Accept a modicum, of funds, and indulge, only, in the purchase of a house, of windows, by the sea. Forego furniture, but for a hammock. Between performances, lay there, awash, in the drama, of waves, and clouds.
The smoke swirls, a kaleidoscope, above scented water, euphoria, turned to, cacophony, then, clarity, at close. From the outset, you danced with me, your movements aligned, to vocal abandon, and soulful violins. May this mayhem, continue, wordlessly, beyond exhaustion, generating, a pregnant morning, outweighing, doubts, of descent. Breaking, from obsessive imaginings, I aim, to address, you. Surreptitiously, I study, your declarations and recollections, your reactions, to my expressions, in a group, customized for you, denying, and delighting, in, your smile. We keep you, captive, so we must not begrudge, your constant assertions - incessant squawking, or sublime song. Maybe I should be grateful, for my speed, I feel better running, or still, fearful at the gape, unperturbed, at the brink.
You fall in her presence, like deference, to a humble car salesman, trading, degrees of truth, and gravitas. You follow, their subtle mannerisms, apprehending intuition, intoning with accuracy, on occasions, in a voice, a bit beyond whisper, and bumbling other notes, too many words, abutting nerves. I hope I have not offended you? What do you seek, this afternoon, the sun on display? My cold face is tolerable, though my fingers, are set, to freeze. What do you imagine, lies, beneath, this shadowy, sea, amid the bed, of this billowy meadow, atop this craven crust? If we anticipate, ambiguity, perhaps this figure-skating, may be maintained. I should not tire, of careful conversation. We must not attempt to re-live, experience. I have not entered deeply into the travails, of others. I question whether they are, inevitable. I am not undone by lunacy, but rather enraged by mild betrayal, and those who, linger, unaware -- this is my moment, to pass.
We should not squander the shower, while sun remains, preserving the blackout’s intermittence, whispering, an intention, to evaporate, the toxins, of the minority - hostility, at a swell, of humanity, listening, to love. We should wander, the margins, of a gentrifying neighborhood, industrial blocks, bordering a still quiet waterfront, dotted by lunch joints, where white hipsters, and latina proprietors, sweetly exchange holiday wishes, over sandwich purchases, where a grill closes, at 2pm. We should gently, treat, chronic disease, the cures for which appear, among us, splendidly, in autumn’s ephemeral colors. We should begin with road rage, and open windows widely, and locate, pleasure, in, the chill, as its harshness, intensifies, and thaws, feelings, foregone. Let us take hiatus, from temporal television, and wash our faces, in saltwater, and observe, as our eyes, dilate, and our minds, accept, only, the unvarnished.
They say they failed, because, we held, the Halloween parade. They say we will remain undeterred, and, unaffected, by their hatred, of freedom. They call the cop a hero, the assailant a coward. They say we will not blink, we will not change. They balance a projection of strength and soberness, humility and indignation. They rehearsed these remarks mentally, for years, and still there was authenticity, mingling, in their expression, justice, meandering, in their hearts. But I do not recall terror in Costa Rica, where elderly men, impoverished, by our measure, sit outside modest homes, doors ajar, faces baked, by sun, smiling, fully, at tourists. And these incidents occur rarely in Scandinavia, where governments invest in health care, child care, and college, instead of stockpiling bombs, and embrace an ethic, of inter-dependency, whatever that means, as bemoaned an unfulfilled Presidential candidate, perturbed by the inconvenience of citizens, preferring equity, to an anointed monarch. After 9/11, a few proclaimed the return of chickens, to be immediately deemed pariahs, stripped, forever, of CNN exposure. But I believe, and Homeland ratings suggest, we know: there is no us, and no they.
He was tall and slender, like a track pro, and his youthful energy belied his age, maybe 70, and his appearance only hinted of his circumstances. But he shared that he was without a home, suggested that he could benefit from assistance, excused anyone who would choose not to abide, and made it clear that his offering would be for all. He sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow, unspectacularly, though he held the tune, and imbibed it, with innocent spirit. While singing, he walked the aisle, holding open a hat, and several of us contributed. When he concluded, after a momentary pause, a woman clapped, and then many of us joined, in an extended gesture, of appreciation. Moved by the reaction, he said he was so pleased that people still care for music, that he was glad to provide an alternative to rapping, that life itself is a song, not realizing that the tribute was not for his performance -- but rather, his, grace. While he spoke, we smiled, and gathered, more closely to him. I pressed my hands together and raised them to my chest, and met the eyes of a woman across from me, a churchgoer I suspect, and she nodded at me, kindly. He said, whether you have all the money in New York City, or you’re broke as heck like me, you are, and then he sang… Unforgettable…and the train lifted in laughter. I departed, to transfer lines, crying, holding my head, in my hands, on the next train, where my emotions were, unnoticed. But I reported the incident to her, and she also had been affected today by experiences of the heart, and we felt, glory.
This stream of whiteness, is awash, in the morning, the subject, of mild air. This sheen, of pristineness, must be fleeting, but this tarnish, overnight, the soot of sole-less shoes, undone by tar, is premature - a deprivation, of the grandeur, of mountains, no longer, beyond, grasp. Having emerged from a shower, you stood, in the living room’s center, a quarterback, drinking a beer, your assistants gathered, their gazes fixed, upon you, though a few, veered, uneasy, of a tax, upon the affluent, behind a veil, of race-neutrality. And where was I: present, an ambivalent participant, or omniscient, relegated to silent observation? Before the muse, there is only music, revealing itself, luminously, as we facilitate, with fidelity, the unfolding, of the universe’s fate -- embedded, in every note. Please do not interrupt, but to offer, gulps of water. You are, shirtless, at the shore of eternity, incapable of envy, emanating kindness, with every glance, entering instantly, into intimacy, that passes nearly as quickly, like fallen leaves, in brilliant reds and oranges -- faded, twirling.
As the rational devolves to the radical, the sun’s appearance, wanes, warmth struggling, to soothe, piercing brightness, causing me, to pivot, to refuge, from haze. The price of solar has decreased 80%, though still, they tether, to fossil fuel. After decades of subterfuge, he conceded, humanity impacts weather, but assured shareholders, the earth need not be rescued, absent air-conditioning. He activated the Dakota Pipeline, he claimed, for jobs gained, and said he had not heard, a word, in resistance, though tens of thousands objected, 700 were detained, some stung, by rubber bullets, and barraged by cold water, freezing, prayer. He applauded himself, for opposing racism, poeticized justice, and opted against affordable prescription drugs, lest CEO salaries be diminished, or donors offended, as he prepares, to campaign. Please let me find a quarter, father, she implored, as she scoured her bag, before, a scarcely, standing, public telephone. There it is, she intoned, with relief, and gratitude, that’s my father. I am limping home, moody, like, mother, feeling, vague pain, the misfortune, I might never, know, my foot shredded, my joy, stone.
We tread on pavement, in the cold, our heads uncovered, demanding, retreat, exhorting, release. We pant, for justice, but shout, about fighting, and winning. Our statements, are ungrounded, in fact, and buoyed, because the time, grasped us, strangers joined, without greeting, in joy and anger -– it feels good, to be, unpaid, and flirting, with dancing, even, if with a shadowy partner. The police are kind, and one inquires, earnestly, of the meaning, of single-payer. A well-dressed advocate notes that most of those agitated, about gentrification, are, gentrifiers. To a live CNN audience, Bernie declared that Trump supporters do not favor Social Security cuts and tax advantages for hedge funds -- to not a single, registration, of disagreement. Rumi meditated of the field, beyond. And amid the majestic and foreboding forest, I will hew, to, you.
Mild beams of light, rendered apparent, in concert with cold, glide before me, in symmetrical shapes, filtering, my anxiety, bringing my 4000-step walk, to fruition. Your diction resonates for me, and I can tolerate your inaccessibility, but why must you be disproportionately, attuned, to disgust? Whereas, in song, your brokenness is ethereal. I cannot help but register a tinge of surprise each time the italian guys smile respectfully at the black ladies. Perhaps I should sit all day in the teeming pizza shop and observe the sincere goodwill that passes among those politicians call -- ordinary. Maybe that would empty me. At the fruit store, the MTA worker inquired of the price of lemons and, upon learning they are three for a dollar, she purchased a third. And the young, gay, black barista regarded with contempt the disorganized latina woman requesting a napkin. Feelings of envy linger less, as acceptance arises more easily, and gratitude is better recalled – from the faces of these warm, intelligent children. So I should direct activism at myself, and against this inundation -- of heartlessness.
The water, washes, the debris, of today, splashing it, effortlessly, from the pan, a gift, of the indivisible skies, a quiet smile -- as if we were freed, of cynicism and heartache, hearkened to glimpse, the eternal, reminded, of the peacefulness, of the massive, majority, of humanity. But beneath, and despite, cleanliness, the pan is stained, indelibly, by excessive fire -- a stampede upon love -- giving rise to avarice, and vengefulness. Einstein said – We will not be undone by perpetrators, but rather, those who, silently, witness crime. He knew – because his genius was first employed at destruction, to his later distress. So if we wander beyond the fleshy wall of resistance, will we learn of our capacity, for recovery, whether error must remain, wedged, in our veins, if we may be redeemed, by heroism, how deep must be, the axis, of sacrifice?
I recognize your mournful tones. They return me to a voice, uncluttered, a memory of childhood, without end. I can be a father, not a teacher. A purveyor of quiet, and intermittent silliness, followed by the stillness of dark, my lucid companion. I am wary of loud sounds, and I care less if I am not perceived, if I am not to lead. Thank you, my lady, for your humble entreaty, your awareness of our situation, the glow of your gratitude, the splendor of your dignity. Thank you, my friend, the spiritual runner, for your earnest greetings. And thank you, young and wrangled brother, for your acceptance. I cannot know how I arrived at this enviable position. But I trust my presence is because my purposes remain unfulfilled. So amidst this stream, these flakes of debris, this awkwardness of adolescence, this perishable identity, this ethical underpinning, I still await a feeling - a clearing.
Following an assault, in the dentist’s chair, fire splayed, fraying my face, forcing it, to reform. I wish not to speak, of myself, at length, and I may wish, to learn, of you. Yet you spew upon me, a mangled expression, unaware. You mistook my fledgling patience, for weakness. The space of summer, may have given, rise, to rebirth, alongside guilt, over an infraction, perhaps long passed. Though I am tempted, there is no value, in comparing, those committed, to contemplation, to we, with lawns, we forgetfully, mow. At 80, his insight, and confidence, coalesced; and he cooks for his wife, and walks the neighborhood, exuding joy, and respect, whiff of weed, on his breath.
What if when encountered by narcissism in the workplace we remained cheerful and cooperative? And in the face of indifferent customer service, we patiently stated our case? And when confronted with a blaring horn, we considered the driver, with serenity?
What if we meditated on every hurt and injustice, and breathed slowly, through each pebble, of pain, and exhaled, entirely?
How about if we dissolved boundaries, permitting everyone to flee, meander, choose, to be -- re-born?
What might happen, should we elect, to allow, disorder, to unravel?
Could we accept the churning, that might engulf us, should we give, in, to, excess?
Would our bodies become like air and water, mingling, weightlessly?
Imagine we met the gaze of our apparent nemesis and remained, eyes inter-locked, for hours, uncounted.
As if in a trance, might we remove, our arms, from our pockets, lay them aside?
Can we hear the birds invite us to?: utter inaudibly, the ineffable, rest our knees, upon soil, pray, without awareness.
If these stairs are to be scaled, endless as they are, broken by flatness, masquerading as respite -- we must be, at ease.
At intervals, instead of eating, we would rollick, until music was memory, and then submit, to blank sleep, our nakedness an oblong sculpture, a clean sheath, to the refuse, that blots, my name.
At long spaces I scarcely notice you, our only encounters my ephemeral greetings, en route to an aged bathroom, that offers a mirror, I avoid, or before which, I contort, my face.
On occasions of lightness, I speak to you in friendly tones, and stroke your back. But invariably I remain briefly, because, I cannot tolerate, your licking.
As I come to admire your graceful movements, my comprehension – that our constructions can disintegrate at any instant – shifts to emotional knowledge, for a moment. And then I realize – likely I am again seeking refuge.
I cannot discern meaning from sensations of cold water -- shock, dread, exhilaration, clarity -- on my head.
I have come to favor sunglasses, having realized I chafe at brightness, my eyes raw, perhaps, from excess, of seeing. I cannot carry them, though -- my pockets are already brimming, with belongings, I scarcely remember. So I avoid disclosure, with pleasure, on occasion, with a borrowed pair. Satisfying the primal appetite: oblivion -- the loveliness of nothing, but radiance, worries, of money, gone the way of mounting minor maladies, and this stiff back, rapid breath, and that epic walk to sea, your hand, on my hair, my head, in your leg.
This second layer of self
Unable to decipher
Having made a living
Like a fool, perhaps, attempting to enshrine