PREVIOUS NEXT FIRST ODE ON THE MOMENT, Yes: we have passed this Way before...
CLXVII

ODE

ON THE MOMENT

To come upon a button
sewn on The Infinite (the One
Singular Item of Existence)...

Le Brun's Adoration of The Shepherds

Yes: we have passed this Way before,
picking our path through th'thorny

souls always (th'Winter working its tears) to
a Spring, the Summer with its sighs sewing

th'Fall's leaving pall, Silence
at its simplest, gowned in the benign,

How will we understand it...?

peeking through the transparent,
our voices like a rug:

Illustrious One, allow
th'Future, Past & Present be!...

Out of your wrath (Eternity's
brisk basement) has a substance-fire
sprung into Being

even now blistering with the hushed squalls
of the whistling While (with going back over it):

the arbitrary stars, th'hills, trees, rivers &
all kinds of herbs & grass

             ... upon
Summer's transfiguring furnace:

The Quiet & The Active universes
being reduced to ashes!

          ... O how
often (amidst Mind's self-sketching

shadows & praisings beyond tongue,
at the sad Evermore's blithe beginnings)

I have heard men speaking of th'horror
& emptiness of things!
         

       ... when what we are doing
is taking Realization's thwarting Shock apart
until Nothingness ... & then wondering were it went,

feelings flying th'Freak, seaward sweeping
in a life so rich with ironies it's a wonder
we don't rust faster) yet
--We have not learned of the integrity of anything!
We do not trust our minds--only

our fingers! the carrion birds,
mad in the stomach, by the desolation

undone in a world of shadows
where it always seems as if

we have seen This before, no matter how pristine:
smoke lingering across The Afternoon,

we: God's magnified maggots,

feeling only the sharpness,
we are only aware of the basic lines,

so full of room, we awake only at the corners,
at the definite breaks (of Night and Day)

having slept the long part of the ride,
across The Afternoon of Sun baking an afterthought

to a thousand self-bending beginnings
out on our way (to being's immediate home)

through corridors of rows of rows
(of houses that have all been designed
for one express purpose, where we are all alike,

fascination's pickles), smirching the rookeries
(of Seals the never-varying, identical compacts of

Mankind) O Illustrious One,
th'floor-plan of Man set-off against
The Roof of Th'Skies          

          ... lit! in pragmatic
(no less than prismatic) ticking! ...

Pissarro's Red Roofs
childhood like some shock, O God, why & why

maketh Thou th'shit to stinketh so foul?...
Becauseth, me child, there're enough shit-eaters
in the world as it is, and that's

it: Swab! the Dust's theologies scratching at
th'fog lingering upon our watercolored

clouds floating over all influences, too lazy
to be set (in the magic oils of too human a

which's brew) still at its junked dreams [sic]
devout in a Sigh of implausible sparks (fire's

dinky cardinals caged ) in the clutter
or the clustering, toys of life's tantrums

jagged just enough, and menials in Th'None,
a washout in the hush: How will we ever come to understand
a washout ... in the cold chaos of even the warmest
heart: fizzled though lacquered

like its own resurrection stirs The Tragic part,

and blooming & crumbling, demonic moments staggering
through stanzas his poetical try at morning's high

mutiny: Beauty, that most ultimate of Imagination's
pseudonyms, full of arrows without go amidst

life's magical abundance: Death,
peppered with resolutions in the smoky Anon

(understand): If you would live a happy life:
stay away from people who are demanding
--or will ever yet demand: Justice! ...

"Live not by Justice but by Love:"

It is by Love that we venture into Heaven,
it is by Justice we are made eternal citizens of
the Hells below          
              

        ... wearing ice for socks,
stay your distance from the demons of Justice:

Whom you will know by th'baggage they are carrying
--On the left arm they'll hold a balance
to weigh all things received & given--On the right hand:

A Sword! to even out everything
that exceeds The Balance.

And, snow at its antics, understand:
they will always be found hacking away at Things
in the balance --That must ultimately, inevitably

include you,so muddy & bleak
under the leaves,
abandoned, by Sanctification's slaying rhymes,

shaking to feel Gratitude's invisible ghosts
passing, or jubilant, eager to collect
th'rich legacy of the leech,

ever unfinished in the diminishing,
Renoir's Pont Neuf, Paris
trying to pile up drunkenly Greatness' (too) moldy
grapes, now & then, to a rare vintage: Kindness

like creatures coolly collected
in their frozen-for-centuries civilizations

... nudely huddling against the naked Cold
daydreaming of Summer's countless

pants, under the qualms above the calm
taxing the stillness in Pleasure's dimpled leaps,
romping rips, wheeling up the hills impossible
like camera clowns & grasshopper doubts
trying to raise a plague, ye men so lately raked
into being from the flames (aroused,

nearly always) pigs striking against the sty
of impossible longings, bitterly uneasy

& drowning in an ocean of sweetest sough, swimming,
as the Goal, th'looming Lost, baubles upon the Void

like some pool spawn (Time's resolute toads
sporting Mankind's mad masks)

like bubbles doting on some anecdote of God
whose madness admits none of Man's apt
(surface fished) Justifications

--only raw meanings made even more memorable
by their starkness, frankness, utter
pureness, unscuffed by Love, drunk

with ever-newer beginnings' deadening liquors,
dead perfection, spotless integrity &

"Nothing's precious but The Journey, malleable &
brewed amber/wrought (with malt) suggestions

of distant golds---What will we make?
... the least bitter beer of all

--What will we do?... drifting so aimless
over the calm surface of Truth

(mythological): What fickle circumstances blow
over the echoing waves of Chance
write The Immutable Will of God upon the human Mind

as if on wet-mud surfaces which so soon
harden into the Memory of Man (How will we ever
come to understand?)...          
             

     ... glittering in our high imperatives
Terrors full of bad timings, let's sit down Here,

the hunt's discarded ducks, Indignation's starlings,
hawks (Imagination's), the tawny ticks
of Time, eternity's static boils, let's sit

down here The Spell a while, smoldering
in our smoke-revenged fires,

trying to shoo Conscience's shameless buzzards
from the stink that always gives us away,

sit down there the while,

counting th'rushed recurrences
of th'flowers from day to day to-

Day: they discovered a new cure for bad breath
When will they cure Old Age? Hell,
I can live with baldness, with tooth-decay,

I can live with backache, with poor eye-sight,
body odour & hemorrhoids, foolish, senile &
certainly with bad breath I can live, but

can I live!? piecemeal & for private profit
(understand this): We are becoming

as God: slowly discovering how to achieve
eventual Immortality!                    
                                    ... We have been
through all this before--Anybody can beat The Sun

to Morning, but there ain't no Morning until
Th'Sun gets there ...
[This is The decision then:

Mortals need Justice as compensation
for their lacking the gods' immortality, then,

Weyden's Altarpiece of The last Judgement
this is the decision:
that a God concerned with Justice
is a self-contradiction,

for eternity need not bite its nails for the taste
of Justice] --Oh, yeah, now I remember

--But, why don't I kill you? O, why couldn't I
kill you?
... immune as are most men (from Justice),

not out of kindness but --because you shall die
a Living death worse than Death
: the last man

will kill God yet. Instead, sit there
in The Dark, O Illustrious One,
and, "not a Soul tell
where You lie," alone and yet alive

Without Th'Last... First is nothing, & yet
First is the Least & Most & All
of its own Self, at once,

O it's the back (that reposes, not
the brain): Brain just keeps thinking in spite

of the pain, Illustrious One:
You can disguise the pain of the back, but

The Pain on Th'Brain disguises You!

... and then, as Winter drips into Spring,
then, after the watering of Truth's
[sic]
powerless laurels, to come upon Eternity

summarized (on A Mount) instead of Christ
a certain Patrick Moneyham saying, "Hell,

if you cannot change Reality,
what's the use of being an American!?"

to a house surrounded by children playing Truth
like a music which does not rudely intrude suf-
ficiently--to dent an ear, and by that pain

reveal the One True House of Man's ...
but Nothing begets only itself,

Something always has only Itself for father,
O Illustrious One, why (of all God's creatures)
is a dog a dog & Why?
admiring the gathering of birds

at the beach, doused in Indifference's fizz: Why
does it all end where it begins?

seldom: where it began (our highest achievements
but the moment's itchings,

our brightest ideas but scratchings
upon the Absolute's impervious

surfaces) although a Wall for some
may rise up to God's beard,

shoreward shifts the dry Progress,
raising Humanity's angry masts (& yet

if it is thin enough
a-Mount for others not to much):

No one has asked: A vehicle or a stop?
--No one really wishes to know

IF we might be living for reason enough
(if at that), it already seems too much
to think WE ARE
not living for the wrong reasons,

rowboats aplenty down th'Evermore, and always
threatening to fall down cliffs of my own calling

I will now put to shore, O Illustrious One,

but only for The Moment--Only until
the Storm at Sea abates (for I will put in again

to sea--immediately thereon--not
even waiting till there be a storm in land,

scared as we are of any possible
revealing bolts of lightning) Ill-
ustrious One... If I am sad you are sad,

if I am happy--You are still sad:
This is not a simple World

             ... adrift in the rift
or stuck in th'Automatic, Compassion
but a distraction             
[ Kid comes over to an Old Geezer
& wants to shake his hand--Yeah? How come?
"I just want to congratulate Your Generation."

--Get lost you bum!] Time may have wasted me,
goddammit, but I have NOT wasted time ... et ceteras

(How will we understand) if it all ends
where it begins: then perhaps Existence is

but the memory of having taken the trip,

and then: Who can say with certainty if
it really is a memory?
... trying to make ourselves clean

by but watching the trees' green passions
at their shampoo
                  

    --The Moment proposes
Everything, and that man nimble enough
to snatch things in the running
always walks away
         

with them         

          where there are
no unavoidable points, where
Progress boils down to
merely moving The Rules about a bit,

where The Dead End keeps no immovable Wall
but is only infinite diminuendo:

only Th'Moment crashing down upon us
with a burst of All!
... defeat made an advantage

--Then shall I walk Nutcrackers & Swan Lakes
upon th'phonograph of Youth, read comic books

again eating ice cream, drinking a cool RC
withal, bought with money someone else
sweated to earn,
                  

     O Illustrious One:
the Last Summit sinks! & it's Memory

... the last wing is lost sight of
(at last) over th'hills--although it's Morning
still, whereto it's flown

You can either resign yourself
to Th'Verdict of Th'Stars
or try to change the face of th'Heavens

by Love's spectral leaps--This is the Equation
(Satan the safecracker, was unable to crack):

You can choose to contribute
& you're seldom going to be allowed to detract

... where Man can only cut back against the memories
of Man: the poet then says, "O,

it is so sad to die for no good Purpose!" 67 Yes,
where a lot of troublesome ethical questions remain

(being asked by a lot of ethically questionable
troublesome people): "Is this life?

Is this Death?" --We have certainly passed This Way
before (I'd swear it)... trees in the startled,

brooding to the root--Look over there!

where the wet webs of Sudden
(afternoon) locks up th'twisting/burning

mortal (locks) in Reality's green-
breathing trivialities (that suffocating The Frame
of Th'Midday lights & ankle-deep, lazy

in dew-drops kicked up by the running--feet of
the children playing Truth like a music
wordless, unasking), golden

scoops of Sun transforming The Intensity
of that after-Noon (timeless, without a

Moment) into a Time-lapse
leapt to a calm

Rose closing into Itself... Mind,
that awkward but inevitable

Timetable (Moment already beyond
the noon of Life, at its Highest Aspect

is) waiting patiently at its station,
O Illustrious One, reminding us

(notions observing--from the wrong side
of the tracks) of forms almost forgotten

& half-lost, forgotten amidst
indistinguishable Shadows bathing
Youth in the eternal

showers through the shifting dances
of the sun-baked Same
--O Illustrious One,

"It is so sad to live
for no good Purpose!" screams The Clock

as The balancing Hour stumbles on

... the flat infinite
summarized

^{67} 'Goodness' is of necessity judged on a (grading) curve, so no matter how truly 'evil' a few of us may be, most of us will still be 'good' in every sense of it. But I am much more of an optimist than even this, I believe that fully 99% of us are absolutely 'good' (not just relatively). Take the case of recidivism, as an example (especially the release of mental patients mistakenly believed 'cured'). I'm quite sure that mental health overlords don't release uncured patients because they are 'evil' scientists gambling with all our lives --Most 'good' mental health overlords MUST, if nothing else, feel that justice demands that 'society' take the chance (that their professional judgment that a particular patient is cured... is sound): How sad indeed if 'recovered' patients are unjustly languishing by the scores in the asylums merely because no one dares to offer them the 'chance' to prove they have recovered: The temptation placed upon these inherently 'good' mental health overlords is quite beyond their mere human nature to resist.

Before too harshly criticizing the mental health overlords for too callously risking the lives & limbs of an innocent public merely to test which mental patients are not yet quite entirely cured, put yourself in their place: Consider that faced with, say, an untrustworthy rope bridge across some abyss, 99% of us 'good' people probably wouldn't object to somebody else first testing the bridge --But this is not 'evil' behavior: The truly 'evil' would actually encourage somebody to test the bridge: It's human nature to stand back and let others test the soundness of bridges --Rather than condemn the unfortunate mental health overlords for judgment errors over which they have no control, pass a law under which any patient they wish released into the general population would first have to spend, say, a year living with the mental health overlord's own family, and the number of uncured patients mistakenly released might drop in direct proportion to how drastically the esteem for the science of mental health would then [email protected]

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