2.1; The Cave-In of the Cave
When I first came back to consciousness
it was to a darkness, deeper than in any night.
Images from the past
were passing through my mind.
Words were the best I had left in memory,
and words seemed almost empty
and were close to fail.
Where am I? I asked into the darkness,
and she replied: you are in the cave.
Welcome to you who’s waking and tell me where you are,
for I can hear your call but cannot see your face.
I couldn’t tell, and so I said:
my back’s against a wall of rock,
my feet are on a floor of stone.
One hand is in a watery pool,
the other’s feeling creatures crawl,
ones I have never known.
You must be by the waters edge, chill,
be still, I come.
You needn’t be so awkward here,
it has been a sort of home.
Even though you cannot see
in here you’re not alone.
And even though you were asleep
beyond your dream you rose.
How did we get here? I asked:
you were with us, up top.
You may not recall,
but I remember your voice well.
You remember not the rocks?
the cave caved in.
You were struck,
felled by the fallen.
But you woke, I hear your words
and sense your soul.
This ‘nothing’ all around us is an issue,
and you question.
Fear me not for I approach,
out of your unseen.
I will graze your head,
you will sense my stroke.
You will not see me, at first, in full, but you will understand
enough of how it went when it is that I have told.
And so she touched my skull,
passing fingers through my hair,
and I felt some wave of comfort
in this place eerily near.
Let me remind you of what has happened,
and for now do not despair,
just be within the present
and it will all soon be made clear.
We came down to the cave as a group
with a common intention, or at least a common reason
as to why we’d now been herein.
But when our group split, all throughout the caverns,
through the earth’s deepest crevices…
well, we’re not sure yet how, but the way out caved in,
and when it did, the way in crept slowly out…
into our bodies, while the pores of our skin drew taut
with haunts which burrowed into our thoughts
Each one of us, in some respect:
carrying our cares of being there within,
but we’ve been disconnected from the world,
and the world we’ll soon forget.
We remember the surface up top
and what it once was to us, indeed, it is therefrom
of which our words down here most speak.
But some say we’ve advanced, some say it’s our loss
others say we’re lost, and few say we’ve been found.
The sunlight leading out has gone,
and the wires lining the walls have been cut,
the fire has been doused
and the others have become as ‘not’.
But enough, here, turn this flashlight on,
toward the ceiling and the walls.
See for yourself what we’ve become
being severed from the world above.
I did and saw: someone standing faced toward a stone,
swaying back and forth
with their back turned to us all.
Murmuring, muttering things we can hardly make out,
and cannot quite comprehend.
With their hand raised up, fingers widely spread,
palm out, faced forth, dead set
to speak against our ends.
While their other hand is drawing
what they said upon the wall,
writing it in chalk and spelling all of it in bold.
And there were some who ran on off,
but there is one who seems at home,
‘didn’t see the first,
the second’s just a form:
Sitting in the last of our clean drinking water,
a modest pool in a sudden drop, taking a piss,
devising a plot
that could keep the way out shut.
And our tools are broken and there is Philo,
boxing in the shadow of this shadow boxing him…
at the entrance and the exit, with his bare fists,
the skin upon his knuckles torn
to show the barren bone and limb.
His ligaments are giving way, they too about to tear,
but he go on throwing blows
because his spirit isn’t here.
I heard a break in every strike,
a cut, a crack, a tear.
And each became the more distinct,
but it’s heart-beats that we hear.
And there, Sophia, heaving air,
nervously breaking on anything near.
When she sees it is us she just sits there and stares
into our eyes through the tops of her lids…
circling her head, repeating: “this”,
with less pains than us, in her angst, she accepts.
But nonetheless cannot yet come to grips
with this darkness gripping her.
While her arms draw close to her sides,
and her hands lay still on her lap.
She lingered too long, hardly animate,
collapsed, and fell off a ledge.
We suddenly felt the thud, but nothing after it,
while Sophia’s laying on the floor
regathering her sense.
But we here being still refuse it to be lost yet are afraid, some,
I hear their screams,
all worked up about the cave.
Echoes of awful things seem to lurk around this place,
and between the piercing shrieks
a host of whispers have remained.
A crisp sheet clears the wakened roving
for we that dwell within this veil,
dim lit homes as we are rising
to getting by or living well.
And by the light in many windows,
a show of figures moving slow,
I see the neighborly old widow
at home and working through the morn’.
While windy blows give us a warning
to wear our coats into the world,
as frosty pines on our skin are darting
little shoots of silent cold.
And so it goes, the ceaseless lining
ourselves up with ticking time,
whether steady or else hurried,
to greet the gray ominous skies.
2.3; The Sleeper as He Dreams
A walk along in morning’s night
through a world of walls on every side,
passing intervals of posted lights
which brighten the streets, but darken the sky.
The suburb’s reek of remnant sense,
slumbering forth it’s rise,
and I see that I’m alone,
yet I feel some thing’s alive.
There’s a familiar pulse about this place,
growing each step,
ghosting my aims…
yes, breaks a wave
of some subtle force
over my frame…
for suddenly, into the streets
pours out throbbing human heartbeats,
the cadence joins in symphony
between the dreamers as they sleep.
So I’ll tend to myself
and say that I’m fine,
and feed an emotion
just to get down a line.
I’ll play the right music,
and I’ll write a few rhymes,
cloud-9 on my vices,
rose-tinting my mind.
The projects keep piling,
can’t keep with the pace,
but I keep on writing
without or with taste.
Eyes-spicy from pixels
and a barb’s in my brain,
my arms are all achy,
and I wake with the shakes.
And talk too excited,
and scare others off,
hungover from silence,
so flooded in thought…
no clearing in conscience,
how many I’ve lost
by saying too much
through an unbridled tongue…
for I’m easily opened,
too much like a book,
but at times it takes effort
to reveal the truth…
so I tried to be dodgy,
but can’t dodge the world…
there are no exits,
no windows or doors.
Then I’m sure you will notice
when I’m face-down drained and dazed…
whatever of me is left
you can find on every page.
Still you’re praying for some others?
to walk along your side.
Still you’re looking for a lover?
who could help you through the night.
To warm you when the airs have chilled?
when the dew has turned to ice.
And add an echo to your ears?
with a pseudo-lullaby.
Awake although your eyes are closed?
while pacing through your mind.
Harass yourself with mirthless tones?
as though on trial for a crime.
Do you lay with little patience?
Do you still give a little thanks?
Are these the days of tribulation?
And is this then just a break?
Do you perpetuate depressions?
Do you weight yourself with blame?
Do you say that you are anxious?
Do you linger in one place?
Do you wrestle with your self?
Are there two voices in a fray?
Can you not find the peace
to rest and greet another day?
Feigning that same face you wear?
Is beauty turning bleak?
Does a presence lurk in absences?
Is there no right way to reach?
If you’d like then I can speak a song
and lull you off to sleep,
with a whisper like the thunder,
but in a voice that’s full of grief.
Would you slow-dance in this black-light?
And meet after in dream?
I’m sure I’ve seen you there before,
I hope that you’ve seen me.
With eyes an airy-white just like the mist
lingers on the land as fallen clouds,
silhouetted shadows of a polar shade,
left as signs of some things there concealed.
smiling like a soft wind curls the smoke
upwardly doubled over on itself,
able to be traced back to a source,
once blazed but hid the ruin in a veil.
Its body moving subtle as the earth
digesting waters once the storms have ceased,
alive in quiet needs of these to be so dormant
to reveal what has fallen and might spring.
Its arms motion to me as withered limbs
fissure through the light given at dawn,
when the trees only appear suffused with black
inversely to the skies unveiling orange.
So I’ll pry apart the parts the past invested in this whole
and observe each like the sediment swept with an undertow…
above the bits till they have sunk when tides have been subdued,
to find the remnants of the past presently in my view…
down just below the waters brim there sits a wispy face,
but the figures blotted out and the features dissipate…
here, then there, now everywhere, my souls under some hex,
framed as if a window view were all I would expect…
yet too up on the waters’ edge, a sort of looking glass,
I cast my gaze into the sea and see myself reflect…
the silhouette vanished at once, was then I realized
this thing which seems embodied was the phantom I, revised.
Would you reach into the room
and be for me the catalyst of truth?
I, with smoke smoldering in scattered ashes,
but losing touch of the airs that would inspire a blaze…
I ache with energies, as embers
yearn to be inflamed.
Then let your breath be blown upon the cinders,
and these might seem the signs of starting fires.
Swiftly turn the organ ‘tween our shoulders
and warm my body as you breathe in me the oxidizer.
So strike me with a spark straight in my center,
and let’s together kindle now this source…
release its heat and we’ll grow wide together,
and let us walk more surely in the world.
Theseus has sunk,
attempting to repair too many parts at once, while off along at sea…
and we: the captain and the crew are drowning just beneath…
seeing wooden boards and oars sinking into the deep
from the vessel we couldn’t keep afloat that kept us from the waters reach.
The mast was first to find the floor,
darting through as would a spear,
onto the murky green below,
to strike a target not so near…
recalls to me our voyage,
the last flashes before I pass
were between my birth in Theseus
and my death now coming fast:
To be up there with changing waves, yet stable on the deck.
To slightly undulating sights, to the water much like us.
To the currents we were caught up in, to the fall and rise of tides.
To the vast expanse of airs, to the unobstructed stars at night.
To time that didn’t turn in ticks, to the circles not the lines.
To feel our turns around the sun, to the moon’s phases, our guide.
To be moved by ocean and winds, to face what seemed the ceaseless brine.
To making forth horizons more, that were always ever passing by.
To glide over the water’s edge, to glance and see the sky…
through tempest, torrent, calm, and stillness…
through infinity in our eyes.
To fix the wood which finally rot and never touching land.
To sail toward the wisest shores and turning ‘round again…
There within our vessel loved, to becoming discontent…
we wanted more than what it gave and took more than our give.
To willing more than perhaps should and caring not for aught.
To tearing boards that might have lived had we not torn them apart.
To those that weren’t so withered as the ones submerged in salt,
we pried too many pieces from the place where they belonged.
To then, when waters poured on in, to them, first swept away.
To going down in slow decent while accepting our due fate.
To Theseus then half engulfed, to the hull as it would break.
To the only life we’d ever live, to our oceanic grave.
To begin another start,
to the light beyond the dark,
I had long been asleep
when my heart beat faster…
blood, through the veins in my arms,
wanting them to lift me up,
as my dreams had just been done
and my eye lids flicker
shut, back into my bars,
the ones that keep me from
the good that greets the morning sun
is rising after dawn, in my bed I toss and turn
and try to sleep in longer.
And through drawn-blinds rays-jump,
telling me I’ve had enough,
and with light lining my bed
I shield my head
and make a last attempt
without moving at all,
to ignore or just to stall,
to remove me from the motions of the rising past the fall…
I’d rather just stay put,
I’d rather not be moved
but rather go on sleeping.
When I’m fearing what’s to come,
made anxious by the sun,
and laying here against my will
with thoughts so full of this that must be done,
with my eyes still tightly drawn
I feel it won’t be long before I must rise up,
accept what’s just,
and resolve my thoughts to move myself beyond.
My strength’s not up to par,
my vices have it marred,
their thrall is one I have wrought upon
so many years indulging in their stuffs…
till I was sick and felt corrupt,
till I was selfish and cared not,
till I finally lost a sense of plot
reacting on whatever senses brought.
My pathway had been lost,
I sought and found it not,
and fallen to so many wrongs
I looked out of the grave that I had dug.
Then I knew something was off,
could tell I was disrupt,
as it was then my conscience called
to me in tones more pressing than my wants.
When the sun at last had struck
my heart and woke me up…
it prodded me and pulled me from
the hollowed bed in which I had been stuck.
You know all too well what it’s like to not be noticed
by the one you’ve had your eyes on now for months.
The drought of life has passed on by,
and light rains graze our skin.
We had been dried up for so long,
our spines, broken or bent.
For lone along the world we walked,
and limping as we went.
And found our selves when they were lost
by a lover and a friend.
The ashy skies from fires subside,
the horizons come again.
The haze that haunted us so long
has settled on the land.
For the moment we can see afar,
together, as we stand…
looking upon the yoke in wake
at the beginning of its end.
We breathe a breeze of clean, crisp airs,
new vistas in our sights.
We’re welcomed by so many ways,
but some we’ll have to mind…
for some will have us looking back,
or send us omens in disguise,
and some will lead us into dark
before they show their light.
Through mountains and their ups and downs,
‘cross valleys long and wide,
‘long coastal regions of the west
with the rise and fall of tides,
past summer in its searing heat,
and winters frosty pines,
if ever there you would lose heart,
remember, you have mine.
So shall we treed the preset tracks,
and stick to all the signs?
Shall we lay our own-most path,
and walk with both reason and rhyme?
Shall we be the birds with broken wings,
or did we grow to fly?
Shall we shatter our last innocence
to experience the times?
Yeah, I’m not so good at keeping my heart covered,
there it lay, spread out on the table,
flopping like a fish that’s trying to find some water.
It falls into your lap, but you don’t like slimy, throbbing things,
you scream and push it away.
It retreats into my chest like a frightened cat.
Still peering out, it prowls, moving nearer when you’re looking off.
But when you at last come close
it starts, startled, coils, leaps from my ribs;
bites your hand, you grab its neck and throw it onto your interstate…
’gets struck by a car, explodes, and flesh covers up the headlights
which once led you through the night.
I don’t have game
but I’m not trying to play you.
You’re not my bitch
and I don’t aim to tame you.
You aren’t a tool
and I’m not going to use you.
You’re not an object,
I cannot just take you, I’m not going to claim you.
But I am going to ask you:
if you’d let me be with you, and if you’d like to be with me.
I see you: sky.
You see me: earth.
yet harboring force,
rotating in chorus,
the bulwarks of beauty,
the shepherds of birth.
‘Tween us lay waters,
and whispering winds,
the waves of affection,
and inspiring ends,
the fires of becoming,
these base elements,
with spacetime to move us
why should we miss this?
Let’s seize what’s between us,
the crest of the turf,
lay hold of the buildings
they’ve built for their world,
let us take back the rivers
lay claim to the flora,
for we’re the harbingers
of whatever’s stored in us.
And fear not the heights
nor the depths that pervade us,
these prove this is right
as nothing evades us…
For I’ll see you: sky,
whenever I look up,
and you’ll see me: earth,
as ever: enough.
I place my ear on her ribs underneath her left breast
to listen to the most beautiful iamb I will ever hear.
In solitude even when surrounded,
such distance for how so much a nearness…
for though I could barely move my hand and touch your arm,
we may as well be miles apart.
But when I stepped out from behind the curtains,
authentic in myself and not acting out the fancies,
you liked neither the story,
nor the character;
there was no applause.
She strikes like lightning,
and fades as fast.
The positive charge:
moving down from the sky
in unseen electric lines,
to me, the negative one:
moved upwardly as static
sent onto its discharge.
And we reach in a touch,
and dispel our energies at once,
and that bright chord ties heaven to earth,
flashes, for but a moment
and sends me off
as the after clap and boom,
in billowing thunder,
roaming through the airwaves,
far from its source…
till a murmur
is all that’s left,
and a mark on the land
where the charges met.
Covered in particulates of my skin and sweat and piss and shit
and vomit from my drinking days,
for all ways in from here come out.
And God I miss you
but God I’m stout enough
to make it ’round here on my own…
or thought I was,
for mind in times as these
drifts back to the beauty which came from between us.
2.21; Ice Skating
It was my first time,
when I was not so callused.
My skin was fresh and soft and fleshy.
My body was ready, my nerve wasn’t.
You probably could have guessed, from my gait,
unfamiliar, undressed to that new situation.
Finding it difficult not to have felt at least slightly self-conscious
having never before cared so much to please another person.
As we stood at the edge,
dawning soft smiles and even breaths ,
stolen by the moment, and with nods of certainty,
and suggestive eyes in a terse glance
we leapt onto that white sheet,
a freezing bed of ice, the A/C set on super chill,
and firmly gripped the side,
whatever was left of the world we knew…
as we took it slow, getting our bearings,
better understanding the movements which propelled us…
off balance in the beginning, writhing,
or coasting with some grooves furrowed before.
I went down, during an 80’s throwback,
while turning on the chorus.
But I learned quickly,
an instinct uprooted.
The music faded to the background,
every other sound dropped out,
taken in with the other-touch,
free from the self…
with a focus from which something in us wouldn’t care to deviate,
carving up that once glossy sheet,
leaving our marks, memories,
etched in with the rest…
not exactly two,
for we moved as if were one,
in keeping sight of the other
we kept sight of ourselves…
oriented by a presence,
oscillating in the infinity pattern,
gliding the place between weightlessness and gravity,
figures in a flight of finer friction…
breathing out hymns with the thrusts of the waist
and even breaths in as fibers rest from tensing with each steady draw,
struck by the chord of being close,
with hot-blood from our beating hearts…
bounding down another round
after the turn is done.
When in the end we step down from that bed,
looking then as mountains would from space,
and leave it as it is:
a strange infusion of grace in passing.
Tie up our shoes and go to greet the night.
Say sincere-solemn goodbyes.
Get in our cars and drive away,
with disheveled looks and shaky legs,
having given so much that I still have marks
on the softer parts of my feet.