PREVIOUS NEXT FIRST HURTY YOU, Imagist junkies run down the swamp...

Edward Coley Burne-Jones's The Three Graces
Imagist junkies run down the swamp
iguana-like: brushing themselves off

life by their very duration, for
we always reduce ourselves until recognized

by the myopic in huMan, or
bake ourselves under the emotional

tremors of the Sun; cooling ourselves
with needles of the needless: we

sink in the heretofore
like some looping plot, like

athletes of a somber Song
made in the modulations of eternity

into a living Mood, forever wandering
through the wastage, and cringing
at the acrid in the lungs,

heaping th'shades to a hate, milking
th'grime to a mantle of sadness, self-made
in our dreams' moldings, moored

in the Sometimes, guarding an untouched cache
(of Conscience) against... the lobsters of Love

at his dance, against th'September of
Impatience, against the daffodils of Fun

with their hues begging for a future,
against th'Summer's vertigines of Warmth;

stroking th'branches with stillness
we flood the Cosmos to watch other giants

stunned or stunted at their start,
to wonder at our place in Time,

like chasms dislodged out of th'Voids of life,
like festivals of some dark Infinitude,
knocking our cast-iron affections
against wherever we chance

& listening for the bells, which in the still
may stir, poised mindful upon

the limb too far, rummagers
foraging the farthest reaches of trash

(for junk-truths), the lathering velvet dragons
of white... in the blues above, the chipmunks

below: dropping every place their unnoticed mecca- [sic]
Sins like a meager monotone, homespun,

and birds like purpled boats in a sea of phantoms,
cornucopias of forms: unravelling in th'hollow

with the sound of a solution in every one!
every fruity yacht imaginable yet ripening

all around you: a World wolfing down
the pelicans it can, the highest always

lobbing down upon th'low: the boulders of
agony, under th'unconsoling Sun, Wisdom

barely yet sending wrinkles waving
through the human universe... therein

th'disciplined ancient beast of Faith
looming great against our image of grief, we

lump-embraced, we... tangled amongst th'splendors
of a superfluous defense against rhetorical dangers

like carrion birds describing a hawk upstairs,
we ... Th'Keepers of Knowledge

who have not yet even learned to remember,
who jump in panic at the least hint of Fate,

who, in the middle of falling, make a game
out of our brief Mortality & so (trustingly) we

we jump! from the solid earth
just (only) for the sheer pleasure of falling!

falling! O, the rippling joy (of parachuting
beyond the universe, leaping beyond

the arch of Time, sinking sans World
& all, sans life) so trustingly, plunging

even beyond Perhaps, gript threadbare
in th'stirring brimming, framed

in the approving clap of lightning
through which we've cracked into being

do we cling to the shock
yet tingling in smokes

lingering from our primordial furnace
... but freezing & shivering, standing stark

upon so wide a World... swart as a wart of Satan's
come to life, immaculate as Innocence,

and a living art shaped by the foams of Change,
of Circumstance, of mere convenience upon the shores

lapped by dark tides: th'birds singing their lives
like unremembered reverberations

(roaming all around us)... while the occasional visitors
(to the wildlife park) swab down the wild-
ly waving floors of Reality where we walk

with centuries-ancient paths tempting the apes
in the trembling foliages down (into joining
the profiteering crowds below)... taking the bus

away from the bus-driver, their mouths agape
at all the fools like goldfish (spinning

in their own place, each's small, little self-
carved out place, position) drying out in the Sun,

crossing the park in apathy, singing How many steps
does it take to come down the many stairs of steps

... some swami in his psychedelic self-chase
trying to find out how long he can hold out

against his last rope (hanging by the neck
from the air), the stagnant creature Consciousness

nurturing his conclusions (like the contusions
we get from Truth's violent objects

invisible & everywhere): th'immaculate pimp
superimposed upon the white-trimmed garbage collector

(who's a perfectionist, too scrupulous),
the grey-haired old maid that swears she has witnessed

a murderous hairy creature loose somewhere,
the mechanical philosophers that process
all the wisdom of the age like meat grinders,

the monks like months that stand thirty days
unmoved, the drunks with their elixirs of the familiar
in peculiar-looking forms, brown paperbags, unkempt,

undone... children encouraging the scorching Sun,
their tongues hanging down like dogs', addressing

ice-cream cones, how many times have they
been told to keep an eye out when alone (for

that bogy-man who dresses & looks like anyone), who
can hang from a tree by a single arm (just like

all of us did also... sometime back at the dawn of
the morning & some of us still do in our spare time
at noon... when we firmly believe nobody else is
watching us), how many times have we been taunted

by those pitiless falcons (their faults)
striding like clusters of gods above a cloud of
doves, mankind, how many times, cool

in th'cloisters of their mortal gardens:
have they been mauled to a morgue
but by the phantom patterns of Th'Impossible,

how many times have we seen the maniacs
outlined in the storm with a wild fascination,

mild admiration of our own, lurking like Darkness
amongst th'marbles done minute to minute

by moonlight skirting Dawn, packed our ears
with our palms against the inviolate noises

breaking the silence of our souls with human choices,
watching an occasional one of their fellows

knocked over with a heavy blow,

the great wings of retired old things
lounging in their lonely are folded over the numb

face... to protect them from The Overwhelming
sun, complaisant in the urban fellowship of

anonymous Man, the Whom Implied, hanging [sic]
around the afternoon's upside-down fountains

in the park feeding the birds of blindness
gathering their numbers up to an impenetrable

wall about them... upon which to project
their home-movies of God at His family-picnic,

God visiting the Grand Canyon, God teaching Jesus
how to drive the car, Mary taking the treatment,

God in front of His first house, Jesus
with his first bicycle, watering the lawn because

who better to tell you that there are no gods
beyond the human experience... no more pixies

than those crazed poets who trample through
people's manicured lawns... that

everything has a Why to it--that had there ever been
a God: the rivers would flow atop the trees

& the fish would sprout foliages, bears would fly
wingless sky-high & elephants would play canasta

above rooftops to pass the time... while
at the bottom of the ocean: ants would build

civilizations! while snails would slide
between Mars & Jupiter... if there had even been
a God enough to corrupt the logic of life
with His Living Imagination!

--Because THAT would be the creative thing
to do, my man: only a Devil would confuse us
with unnecessary reasons

... but:
Reality opposes Imagination at every step,

everywhere Creativity struggles against Logic
to overwhelm the World with its Miracle,

which when it does: is instantly distinguishable
from the whole of evolved Life!... Man cannot hide

his own handiwork even from himself although
he himself knows enough to tell which of his lies

is beautiful enough to deceive himself with
... and which truths are too convincing to broach,

soaring! ultimately perishing upon the silken
glarings of the mid-Summer eye-glasses staring

everywhere searching for Life's simplicities
amidst the complex mortalities

hanging their tongues burdened with unburied dog-
bones the unmitigated medals of

Success, What is The Truth, approximately
...? "The Answer is very simple. But
if I give it to you straight-off
it shall turn you into a simpleton. So,

for your sake (alone) will I make things tough
and harder, more complex

             ... which, I trust: shall
grow a fine head above your shoulders..." dogpaddling

inside The Self while the Soul capsizes to an unnameable
Sign, tearing the Life-fabric... surface

between the World and the dream walks
himself the still unknowing beast,

fatherless & motherless, still summing himself up
from bits of his summons--Up almost to some self-

owned (least), unwise & brutal, threatening
with a knife: the faint & questionable

stubble of his highest achievements (of
life)... dotting the heretofore with the phantoms

of his victims, sowing the rainbows of Hope
upon spectrums of The Future, rolling into the sudden
college (of life, of love) even while he's
stacking the carcasses with which he bricks

his conscience, from his mistakes mixing its mortars,
making a foundation for his flight from mere feathers

until th'cold hurts of Fall carry him over
to some higher level before the white withal, --Attention!

Attention!... The children are striking (out)
against their own images in the walls

with their graffiti of blood! Starving in the under-
nourishing Knowledge of their slums, turning

the Wisdom agonized out of the centuries
to a clever fun--with bloodied cool fingers:

depicting themselves dead & done!
In a dance of the Moment: swirling

an awkward art mad as a mud... not firm enough
to make of itself a wall (mixing itself up

with everything else) and failing
to recognize the ancestral iguana of life

etched in stone, pushing their fingers into
their own eyes (in effigies) to wipe out the tears

like rocks, to tear out the World
like an intruding grain of sand, in vacant lots,

infinite whats that stretch emptily for them,
the children, lost like wandering ghosts

come upon The One True Wall (that separates being
from meaning) that tells them there is a world

in the world & a world outside their one
... standing upon the leveled sand

that stretches unwalled from coast to coast
raising the levelling fist to start the cosmic avalanche

that will even-out the beach in the Dust,
walled out from the justice of Chance,

walled in by their own self-images
they shall stand in awe after the walls

of a thousand ages fall behind their own wall
--the one they built (of lately)

to their own shape & size, the one beautiful image
to their eyes, the one with the childish art

atop to disguise the designs of the timeless
iguana below... until they notice that their Soul, etched

in Beauty upon their Wall: is slowly becoming The Beast
(of their understanding--Meaning!) they had forgotten

... where kindness is scarce, forgiveness
is scarce, food is scarce... except there's always

enough dough for the politicos to fence up
the slum-children's natural sandlots & thoughts

& whats... the centuries since: the news published
upon the faces of the children jumping for joy

to learn the city can't afford after all
to build a playground upon their playground, there's

"never enough All," they tell everyone--scarce
except for the building blocks of humanity itself

gathering into mobs, painting the primitive graffiti
of revolution over the priceless image

of our reptilian Soul, once the slogans of our great
Freedom: become their Wall! we th'privileged
peacocks strutting through a graveyard of reproaches,

we the picky archers that search in vain
for the chameleon amidst the other shades

than his, we... dragging Guilt around
in its gilded chair, we: the always disguised

in costumes that only too-well describe us
anyway... grasping at the apples of th'gods,

starving in our human wonder, wrecked
a rainbow of lies... is our outstanding

legacy: a stupendous extravagance,
a bonfire for the blind, O child of circumstance

cast the outcast, made Man by the Shock
of Chance, weeping the little & small,

laughing upon the pinnacles of Time, O Man
daring to stand upon the dingy of Beginning

tossed in the Alls of Chaos--and plan The Flight
of Right, to judge the tender of the Light, to catch

th'Cosmos in the comma of its height,
only to stop in doubt--But... if God

makes a grab for Man, whatever His true intentions,
would we appreciate His pat? or (much more likely)

... would we not break (with all the mortal Power
of our Might) to bite at Him? like some tiny mite

bites at that man that tries to save it
from The Place of Death upon which it unwittingly alights?

... amongst the unbearable columns that bear Reality
(like so many palm trees scattered in eternity,

unrecognized (by us) for exactly what they are)
trapped in the motley like an Impulse planned, and

staring at Tomorrow's annoying until,
in th'shape of a dream is the World,

and Imagination (that Will which if it doubts
but th'least Forms that seem... to the last stitch

shall the entire universe unravel
until even the Dreamer dreams at last

The Beast made whole in the love of its Maker
for its own Image... and walks, forgiven

and un-walled, out of the limits
of its own utter being: seeking himself

to forgive--Has there ever been such a Garden?
Can there ever be such a Park? through which

Man may stroll forever Th'Unwalled
life) Constancy! and not sense the sinister eye

of th'invisible monster that haunts his insides
trying to oust him, scalding his ticklish flesh

... with looks of ice that freeze him at his stance,
that form out of his doubts & fright: a wall

that separates him from himself (holds off
all contacts & connections between Reality

& his understanding Mind) and thusly stands:
the Soul... waiting to dance under th'Sun

its dance yet a trance th'timeless,
filled with the silence of th'Dark, one day

to melt out of our human utterance this current Wall
of ours that's but a sheet of ice

standing out perilously under the hot Sun!

... But, let a poet tell you:

this confined Whole of life, this little
universe: is yet a Miracle

that marvels ( if for one immeasurable instant
in Th'Timeless), and then not much more matters

cometh Night..
Kiefer's Nigredo