Drifting through a forest,
between the dark leaves &
chasing fleeting insights
cinders drifting into the night,
from a fire now furiously bright.
Stunned, we wait
for the after-image to fade, uncertain
of what to do when
the light leaves us again.
So we wait
until morning, then
press fingers against our eyelids
try to believe the phosphenes are unique;
we open our eyes again to let them
over familiar scenes
does it seem
as if anything
Are all things still
or have they subtly,
Insistent whispers from distant places,
tease & menace;
the hold is held*,
coils then melds, melts & is gone forever.
Solid & insubstantial, all objects
whole & partial
resist or yield,
or stubbornly reveal futility
to be both the cause & death of meaning:
a more graceful dancer than the question;
tension between existence & being.
It slips away,
within the reach,
of a grip that cannot keep what it holds:
grains of sand in the hands of a creature
who doesn't understand
Behind the eyes,
where multitudes abide,
a mind decides to obey strange instructions:
bloom like fruit & fall, one
return to the earth & become new life
while others, for reasons unknown,
& grow into nothing but waste;
their shape & sound contort
as they fall
onto a dark forest floor &
will beauty persist
when feelings no longer exist?
If I say you have misunderstood me
will you say you know what I mean?
& why write a poem
no one will read?
*Credo – Robinson Jeffers
“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
it will eat us alive
from the inside:
a black hole
into which we sink
as comprehending apperception
& thoughts of what the others think,
twist 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
that forever fights the darkness,
we exist. Incomplete
nothing more than sentience yet
always there’s a surplus;
effervescence of neurological excess,
the contingent biological flesh
by the thoughts that haunt us
always finding ways to evade our gaze.
We call this thing our Self.
We can never own it, never know it,
or calmly asking
but we can find it,
in other eyes.