The Gaze

“That which is light looks at me,
and by means of that light in the depths of my eye,
something is painted.”
– Jacques Lacan

The gaze contains a curse & a gift, it
turns us into an object yet
confirms that we exist.

The vision of the other can either
become a prison, a figment
of our imagination, or
the one & only means of escape:

take your pick, because either way
it's not what you think;

the light decides
between a painting or a stain,
between pleasure or pain…

everywhere & nowhere but
                    always outside,
it will eat us alive
from the inside:

thoughts of what the other thinks,
                    a black hole
into which we sink
as comprehending apperception
twists the thread
again & again…

                …until the light fights back,
& unties the knots: there is not (yet)
an answer, only the fantasy of two dancers
moving slowly then faster,
both tragic & absurd,
as an audience laughs
& cries as they turn.

Here in the Light

Here in the light
that forever fights the darkness,
we exist. Incomplete
                    objects;

nothing more than sentient flesh, yet
there’s always a surplus,
haunting us &
always finding ways to evade our gaze.

We call this thing our Self.

We can never have it; never know it,
not by demanding
                    or calmly asking

but we can see it,
                    sometimes,
in other eyes.

Mi fea, eres una castaña despeinada*

For S

Far above us

the Sun burns
                
fierce & uncaring;

a soundless scream of light
in infinite darkness….

but down here,
                        where we’re hiding,
the firmament of our world
is the bedroom window
& the Sun has become
lambent limbs of gold,
                        reaching out
to garland us
                        with sepia tones…

…but then
biology disrupts this reverie:

you need to piss.
                           
If, in this poem
I wanted to make you a goddess;
                        an image
that could represent everything from blue
                        to red,
I wouldn’t include your need to piss,

but I did it anyway because you
asked me to, in your humble &
                        beautiful way,
try not to make you
poetic & perfect
but instead
write about you as you really are,
complete with all your flaws.

This is the best that I could accomplish.

Do you like it?

 

*Sonnet XX – Pablo Neruda

“When night comes black”*

Tattered feathers matted with carrion,
poisonous blood & a gland beneath the
                                    tongue
containing venom waiting to be sprayed
into the face of innocent creatures:

a hideous specimen, we should not
refrain from judgment; look & see
what it really is:

                a mistake.

Let it die unmourned, like morning worms
                            without the worth;
nothing can be birthed from this thing.

Watch it’s shaking skull cage, let the taloned
brain starve in it’s rage & let the last blood –
drop of it’s heart fall from self-inflicted
wounds into the dark,

                        unnoticed…

…& stop reading:

                stop writing,

just

stop.

*The Shrike Sylvia Plath

Our Silences

For S

“The moment exists only in silence…” – Søren Kierkegaard

I like our silences,
        those shared moments
beyond the hungry gaze, into
a simple but absolute
                    attention.

I like it when we’re quiet
        because then, when
our eyes meet & I see you seeing me,
I can believe
        in the existence
            of what you see.

Your silence is still & speaks to me
like star-light speaks of intense heat;
defined by distance & perspective,
        a secret
            revealed in concealment,
traverses immense distance
to bring warmth,
        colour
            & life.

In silence, as in soil,
slow roots grow strong,
& the dilation of every second
            endures beyond
the depraved authority of time: we
cease to be a complex pattern
            woven from
                a fabric of neurons
& electrostatic dreaming,
                    
to become

something more,
something I am only sure exists when
we twist together beneath the sheets,
sharing our body heat,
giving the prayer of our attention*
seeing beyond the iris reflection,
to where it lays waiting

                in the silence.

* Attention and Will – Simone Weil

Lost Futures

For S

Today gave me a vision
of what could have been; I saw
between all the mistakes
I’ve made,
there in your home where
you & your children live:

an echo of
hauntology;
the lost future that could have been
if only

life had treated us differently,
if only

we’d received

what we really wanted.

King Panic

With so many questions lacking answers
& too many others
            lacking comfort,
& the days slipping past us
                faster & faster,

once again King Panic* wins:

thin layer of foil beneath the skin**,
            & as if in a dream
wind contributes to the scene:

the rain hard & wild against the window,
& the Sun fleeing the grey sky
as tired eyes
            shrink from the fading light.

Sullen shudders of self-awareness &
            the contemplation
                
            of desperate measures.

Sensing this,
            the tachhyonic voltage
running between us
            prompts you to ask
“What’s wrong?” & though
I fail to convey it to you
through speech,
language is not all that we need
for us both to believe
that the other understands:

the calm of your hand against my neck
            slowly
                    returns me,
& the questions no longer matter:

without an answer
there can be no question to begin with;
in silence, there is peace

                    in silence

there is the strength to start again.

* Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams – Sylvia Plath
** Leaving the Atocha Station – Ben Lerner

The Days Flow Away…

The days flow away & through me;
body submerged completely
in the river,
                where the light bends
& quivers
bringing with it
                a vision,
a form of seeing
beyond deceiving perception,
                & choosing
not just appearance,
                but essence:

                the nothingness
which only seems to have being.

                & as such
is not so much a nothingness
as the presence of an absence:

that which lives in me is only a dream.

The tragedy lies only in what I
cannot describe:

the rest is a beautiful,
        hideous
                mess.

The rest
                
            is life.

The Self

“We possess nothing in this world […] except the power to say ‘I’.
That is what we have to give to God – in other words, to destroy.
There absolutely no free act which it is given us to accomplish
– only the destruction of the ‘I’.” – Simone Weil

Our concrete existence
must suffer; though it gives pleasure
the flesh decays,
the mind feels pain
           & must endure
thoughts that crawl like worms through the dirt
        of the mind,

to where the “I” resides
& rejects its transience,
    insisting
on a permanence
that could only become
a state of affliction
    without hope
        of redemption.
       
Everything of value,
    without exception,
doesn’t derive from the “I” but arrives from
outside,
    as a gift
        in the form of
            pure & perfect
                attention.

We posses nothing else except the “I”
& the one who writes this
    wants to give you
        something better
            as compensation for
every twisted time it relents
        to temptation & attempts
to see you suffer,
which is really only a hand trying to cover
the mouth that wants to cry:

        “Why have you not forsaken me?”

because the “I” knows it is undeserving,
when it is only self-serving:

        we cannot live alone.
        
So
to destroy the “I” we must release it;
allowing
    the evanescence
        of instinct
to detach itself & so accept death
    as a gentle friend,
wanting only to welcome us
at the end that comes to catch us all,
        as we fall.

& this is why we must
        destroy the “I”:

So that we can leave behind deception,
        believe in impossible perfection,

& finally become human.
 

Sheltered & Protected

We are all nothing more than a movement
within a motion of water
forming currents in the ocean;

we are
insignificant.

Thrown into consciousness,
left alone with this ancient

        incomprehension,

& the glacial erasure of indifference;
the unutterable excess & erosion
    of existence.

Each
        confrontation
with the void,
        inside & beyond
             time & space;
every spin of the wheel
depletes a small piece…

                    …but I am not alone:
you are here too,
& as the opalescent light of your eyes,
        open wide,
all I see
        is this moment;

all that exists
is the two of us together,
        laying here
beneath my bedroom window,

sheltered & protected
            by rainfall music…