January 15, 2009

Caressing Sadness


                                        Don Juan had told me that there is no completeness
                                        without sadness and longing...
                                        —Carlos Castaneda
                                        The Fire From Within


Pills swallowed to keep it down:
that snake writhing in the thigh
or in some dusty vein forgotten since
childhood when a climb to the tops
of cedars meant breathing rarified air.

Hands and arms, all the bodyís
kinetics, moved toward the dancing world
kept it part of the dance, kept
the feet thinking downward
to the earthís breathing and song.

That complete whispered cloak of air
discovered behind the garage
or in swaying grass by the lake.
Back then, even eyes wandered
behind peaks, floated free and hungry
to an unbuilt horizon that had to be known.

Age grows distance
from breathing ground.
Bodies surge downward, forgetting
long summer heat, a tune
on the radio telling us to go on and on

with all that is rich and sad.
Brittle and assured, wallets heavy and unkind,
the old gather under garages in hastily dug
bunkers filled with dry food and silence.
Who can find kindness in this terror, rushing
down to a failing and freakish dream of undying?

Stop, sweep the eyes up,
let the heart take down
on its free and surging slate
the dawn sunís blaze of pink
on scudding clouds.

Take a clear look at the day:
make the eyes and hands constant,
make the breath complete.
In its small pause, take in radiance,

exhale over legs and arms
meticulous blooms
fragrant with affection.
Change the lexicon:
let words deepen with a sadness

as ontological as air.
No matter what anyone says,
keep missing it,
keep coming back,
step from one momentousness to the next

long to speak what is near,
what is looming.


—Mike Burwell

Posted by dwaber at January 15, 2009 01:20 PM