Patrick White (September l5, l948 / Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada)
Averaging Out the Crucials
Averaging out the crucials, rolling against the odds,
I've worn my bones down like dragon's teeth
grinding starwheat into luminous loaves of bread
that break just like the heart you share with a stranger.
Or a fortune-cookie of fate. Gray seagull of a day,
a deserted beach on Vancouver Island in the morning,
as I recall it from five thousand miles away,
the windows still numb and hungover
from last night's sunset dispensing with protocol
and letting it all hang out oceanically.
Dying flowers mishandled by the wind like old manuscripts
too wet and esoteric to start a fire with.
Sodden mystics expiring like blueweed in the broken grass.
Fifty years I've run before circumstances like a blue fox
being hunted down by crows in the deep snow
but they haven't dipped their nibs
in the inkwells of my eyes yet and I'm
an excellent broken field street runner with the wiles
of someone who's good at who they don't want to be.
Being no one has always been my highest poetic ideal.
Not empty, but full of the world, because
you've got space for it. And ageless,
so there's as much time for everyone as they want.
It's the remnants of self, the rags of blood you tore
on the thorns of the last eclipse hoping to leave a trail
some other lost soul might be able to follow
taking heart from the fact that a stranger's suffering
has already humanized this dark space before his
was called upon for a sacrifice to prove he knows how to give
not just take. I gave my emptiness back to the abyss
that hadn't noticed it was missing, and made
a peaceful transition like a lifeboat drifting in the moonlight
to the other side where the fragrance of the spirit
that still lingers about you, evaporates like a cheap cologne
into the infinite boundlessness of the starless void
that awakens you by an optical sleight of awareness
to the fact that you're the only one that's shining here
by contrast. And for the sake of a greater harmony,
you blow the candle out. You shine without eyes
like the blind prophet of your own demise
and all your foundation stones turn to skulls
and the long journey back isn't strewn
with thorns or rose-petals, but flows intuitively
upstream from the sea against the current creatively
wise as a battered salmon that's frustrated a gauntlet of grizzlies.
Mythologem 1a. for a gray day washed up
on the coasts of my abdicated solitude
like the displaced Polaris of a dead starfish
misguided by its followers into believing
it got lost along the way it meant to guide them.
The lion can lie down with the lamb
but who fears the eagle being
led around on a leash by a jackass?
The light of the spirit is dangerously real
not benignly blind and harmlessly amenable.
You take the edge off the sword
so no one can get hurt;
you take the risk out of the dance
you want to ask it for.
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