Beyond After

For how can I be sure I shall see again the world on the first of May?  Until the end I thought it was the beginning of the middle.  Time happened, then all of a sudden what you once believed in could no longer be retreived.  The truth was hard, never soft, never easy.  But it contained a life.

May came, but you did not see it.

And so it begins, and so it ends, always with a question.  And if there is no answer to give—only a silence that acts as if asking were enough—how does the wheel turn?  Or is the question the pivot on a circle whose edge contains only unknowing, infinite stillness?  Is that where you are? 

How can I be sure?  Every answer is the wrong one in a world where there is nothing left to say.

A prosery for Merril’s prompt at dVerse of these words from Sara Teasdale.

“For how can I be sure
I shall see again
The world on the first of May”

The Structure of Night

And if I am also someone else?  Bearing the ship, the fools, the edge of the cliff above the valley, the shadows, the death—acres and acres of endings.  An echo, turning inside out and upside down.

What are my real parameters?  Where is that world located, the one that is opposite, a mirror of this one?  Do I even know anything about navigation, understand what it is?  A moon wrapped in brown paper, perhaps, opening and closing the holes in time.  A compass completely reversed, remattered.

Sometimes I catch a glimpse of that other me, a brief flash on the edge of the dark, invisible, yet fully present.  All at once, nowhere, I become the voyage itself, shored with lunemares, sailing without destination, spinning beyond gravity.

Outside my life remains uneasy, breath held, waiting for the whirling center to draw it in, under.

Brendan at earthweal asks: What then is this wild dark?

Carol Ann Duffy replies, via Bjorn at dVerse: It is a moon wrapped in brown paper

Disguises

My mother loved to wear loud colors, especially red.  Her laugh could be heard above the din of any crowded room.

Not me.  I dress mostly in black, try to fade unnoticed into the background of other peoples’ lives.  I avoid parties.

But my eyes crave color, my hands long to manipulate texture and shape, to form visual ideas that enhance and delight.  I have a hidden closet full of rainbows—painted, embroidered, knitted, woven into intricate arrangements.

All those vivid narratives remain unworn by my own days, the ones I dress in, their stories patterned and purple.

As night surrounds me, only then do I take them out to display, to embellish my own possibilities.  I close my eyes and enter a parallel world, one in which I cover myself with a thousand glittering mirrors, quilted with moonlight, seams stitched with prismatic stars.

For dverse, where Lisa asked us to use a line from Kimberly Blaeser’s poem, “When We Sing of Might,”–I dress in their stories patterned and purple as night–in composing our prosery.

Hibernation

I sleep through the storms, the alarms, the sirens.  I can’t seem to leave the night behind.

Mornings do not touch me. The grey dawn moves around my body, travels somewhere else, into other rooms, other lives.

I am not lost, but I have put myself on hold.  For the time being I follow the thread that has entangled me, in parallel to where the rest of the world awaits.

Darkness knocks at every door.  The wind shivers my bones.  I am bombarded.  Yet I stand resolute at the stilled center, suspended, withdrawn.

I sojourn.  I am filled to overflowing with abiding.

When I return, winter will have receded into a different story, one already told.  A new once upon a time will erase the cold, satisfy my hunger for warmth, birdsong, greenery, light.

Then I can open my eyes.

Then I can breathe.

Merril at dVerse has provided these words from Adrienne Rich for this week’s prosery: I am bombarded yet I stand.

Manifest

Life is difficult.

Well of course it is.  Easy is monotonous.  Uncomplicated is boring.

What is possible must first be imagined.

Am I looking for the Land of Milk and Honey?  Am I waiting for my Ship to Come In?  Do I yearn for Promised Lands?  Do I search for the Pots of Gold at the Ends of Rainbows?

Do I ask to be One of The Chosen Few?

No.  I do not.

Weep at the world.

I am too busy.

Sharpening my oyster knife, so to speak.

Calling to the ocean, sailing on its moontides, seeking kinship on its shore.  Culling only what still contains life, nourishment.

Cutting through the shiny exterior.  Prying open the closed doors.

To see.  What has been kept from me.

Secret, hidden, suppressed, denied.

A pearl or a grain of sand?

You can’t have one without the other.

Jade at dVerse has provided a quote from Zora Neale Hurston from “How Does it Feel to be Colored Me” in World Tomorrow for this week’s prosery: No, I do not weep at the world – I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.

Indeed she was.

Phoenix

There is no drama in most moments, but the accumulation becomes a story.  One day you wake up, or you think you wake up.  But something burns—you can smell it in the air.  Ashes of yesterday are falling from the sky.  You thought the past was dead, but it has only rearranged itself into today, or is it already tomorrow? 

And what happened yesterday anyway?

I went out to the hazel wood because a fire was in my head.  I walked and walked and walked until I came to a pool of water, still and deep.  I sat beside it, watching my reflection smolder, waiting for something to be revealed.  The light scattered on the liquid surface held me and gave me a different life, turned me inside out.

Now I am only flames, or was that yesterday?  Which side am I on?

For the dVerse Prosery prompt from Kim, some inspiration from Yeats: ‘I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head’.

The art is from a series of constellation poems I did for Pure Haiku. Freya’s current theme is Unfurling–you can submit until February 28.

Warnings

My emotional distances keep expanding.  They measure every room I enter, every landscape that passes through my eyes.  The center swims increasingly away from the edges of my being.  The gap is great and undefined.

Shadowshapes of figures frame the shore.  Hands cast their lines into my depths, searching for a reflection, fishing for a response to their repeated inquiries.

How long can I stay afloat?  The gravity of this world exhausts me. Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy, so incomplete.  I have forgotten it–the one key to survival that is unnecessary but crucial.

I’m trying to recall the images that connect to my lingering feelings of kinship  The light flickers, attempts to enter, but my eyes refuse it.  They look sentient, but they are no longer open for business.  Closed, the sign says.  Can’t you read it?—“CLOSED”.

For the dVerse Prosery, Linda has selected a line from Mary Oliver: Sometimes the great bones of my life feel so heavy, from her poem “Spring Azures”.

Disturbances

Must we pay to travel between dark and light?

I quiet my own voice and listen.  What was not available to me before appears, unembodied, yet fully formed.

This wind.  Its sounds penetrate like sharpened visions, cutting through me with voices in languages I can only sense.  Doors open, my consciousness suddenly blown off its hinges.

I used to think there was an uncrossible chasm between heaven and hell.  But reading what I have just written, I now believe it was just a hole I dug where I should have built a bridge.

I have mingled my breath with forces I cannot control, and the gap is closing in overlap with both sides.

This wind cannot be contained by words.  It shivers me with fingers of fire and ice.  It is both more ravishing and more malevolent than eternity.  

Detached without beginning without end.

Prosery for Lillian at dVerse, with this line from Louise Gluck: “Reading what I have just written, I now believe”

Headlines

The Voice kept trying to turn him back—“there is nothing behind the wall except a space where the wind whistles”—but he refused to believe its repeated lies.

And yet he could not find the source, hidden somewhere within the dimensionless shadows of the vertical, the angled, the edge.

He himself was scrabbled, suspended out of sight, waiting underneath many meaningless layers of illusion.  The indifference did not bother him; neither did the newsprint words strewn carelessly about. 

He considered himself abandoned, lost inside an unwritten story.  Curious strings embedded his thoughts in articles torn from the back page.

But what had happened to his body?  It was a puzzle he could not figure out.  He could see, listen, think.  But his position never changed.

Was his mind an orphan, birthed incompletely, accidentally, a false start left unfinished?

Was he himself the Voice?

I did this collage a few months ago, and I’ve been waiting for the right words to pair with it. Merril’s prosery prompt at dVerse,
“there is nothing behind the wall
except a space where the wind whistles”

from “Drawings By Children” by Lisel Mueller
found its way into an old freewrite page in my notebook that contained the phrase newsprint words strewn carelessly about and gave it some shape.

At the Crossroads

Once we were all earth.  We were only ourselves when we were each other.  Our world had not yet been divided into good and evil, dark and light.

Golems we were, every one of us, raw elements of matter and light, untamed magic.  Cosmic dust animated by water air and fire, rising from the depths of the sea.  Pure energy concentrated into simple patterns over skeletons of increasing complexity.

Our origins shadow us, a mirror containing our destination.  We fear who we are and so we seek to distance ourselves, destroying all reminders of our fragile mortality, our kinship with clay and mud.

We have transformed the golem into a fearful beast.  We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time.  What words can return us to our proper place on the winding wheel?

How do we spell life?

Prosery for dVerse using the poetic line from D.H. Lawrence suggested by Kim: ‘We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time’.

Also for the Earthweal challenge Earth-Masks.