Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Revisiting an Older Poem

There are hidden joys in endless notebooks.  As one prowls through one finds the fodder for future writing and thinking.  Such is the case in  today's poem--from some time ago--nearly ten years, but pulled out for reconsideration.

The Four Loves


His erotic core
a deep-down darkandlight
fecund center, a birthplace
of lamia, succubi, incubi,
and long-fingered wraiths
that haunt the nights
of sweat-soaked twisted and bunched
sheets that weigh so heavily
in the dim, dreary hours before dawn,
and of daemons who forge
the ties that bind
and create a cosmic night from moonlight
starlight, porch swings, and frog song,
who stoke fires in youth—the blaze
half savage—and bank fires
of many years.

This core smells of sea-wash and
sandalwood, of ashes
and embers. The
breath of summer in the Sahara
and winter at the poles, and
the zephyrs of an early spring
with shoots and buds and
must-smelling Earth.
The center of his being
it pulsates and rises
hotter than the heat of any heart
and recedes, sometimes with the scent
of jasmine and gardenia,
sometimes with the odor of old moss
on damp tree trunks.

The core is filled
with paths that would make
the devil dizzy, even as
he goes nowhere--with
engines, furnaces, and vast
flames and fires that vent
their steam and drive the rotors
that turn and turn
the spaces within—an
endless kaleidoscope
giving rise to impressions
of new worlds—impossibly ash,
impossibly ember.


His filial heart
is bound in lovely thorns
in briers, weeds, and wildwood,
filled with nursery songs
and the warmth of mother's breasts,
the smell of milk and talcum,
of tangy sweat and sweet perfume;
defined by the grizzle of father's
three o'clock beard,
the specter of transport
through milky moonlight,
the light smell of beer and Old Spice.

His heart takes strength from
pale and lovely smooth-skinned arms
that hold him close,
and iron-band limbs that bear him up
and keep him near.
Those same arms to become
satin ribbons that hold him with the strength
of spider silk, those iron bands to
be bars between this, his heart,
and the world.


His platonic cloak,
a shattered garment, loose
and binding,
calls out, a beacon to all around,
a soundless clarion,
a secret alarm, that charms and lulls
and calls again. 

It shifts its shape,
now an old woman who brings
a covered dish, now a young man
who waits for a friend.

Less a part than core or heart,
and nearer to what he can see and know,
it helps him navigate the world,
and uses all the heat within,
the satin and the iron,
the strength of smells and urges,
and sends him on his way.


His agapic atmosphere,
the obscuring fog
that makes the paths so hard.
The condensing steam of inner fires,
the summation of core and heart and cloak,
making vision difficult,
but calling ever outwards,
ever onwards.

He listens to the voices in the mist,
he heeds the blue fire fairies that
light his way.  His heart is easy,
his clothing light,
his path made simple
by the delight of small things--
roses, lights, the noises of a new-born child,
the sound of waves, the shift of shadow,
the barely seen form
of a long-loved friend,
the familiar curve of yielding,
hoping flesh, all small beacons,
that remind him—beyond this fog
a beacon, a light,
a sun so bright it isn't a sun,
a child and a mother,
an endless delight of discovery
of knowing and of finding,
of knowing and then knowing more,
a love of wisdom, a wisdom of love,
that pulls the cloak tighter,
binds and loosens the heart,
and frees the energies of that core
to sear more than flesh.

Sometimes the thickness of it,
the hardness of the wall before him,
the difficulty of the passage,
combine to make him wish
to stop and push him
on; the heart will have no stillness,
the core cannot know no motion,
the cloak is still tattered and uneven,
and in this obscurity
is where the four become whole.

[ 072810-4//1&2—040398//

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