From Instructions Given To The Royal Examiners In The State Of Chi - Poem by Peter Boyle
Examine the candidate’s state of mind
as he inscribed the answers to all of the above
and estimate the temperature of his brain cells
as he lay awake in the cubicle at night
longing for the raw oysters with calamansi juice of home.
Assess the longevity of his nails
as they quivered lightly over the brushstrokes,
the density of his gaze as he reread the instructions.
Reckon to the nearest decimal place
the honesty of his bones
as he let memory drain into the page.
Calculate according to established formula
the expression of his face, old or young,
as his lips guessed the first hushed sounds of the rhythm
and fix clearly in your mind what lay behind that face,
the trembling moment of pure emptiness.
Identify the direction of the wind
as it hurries the leaves of all the provinces
away from everything known,
brushing them with the fragrance
of unnamed creatures waiting to be born.
Remember for what purpose
you are setting down these dreams
under such limited starlight.
Remember the waves which are forcing you
further and further off all courses into the terrible wilderness
Then forget all of yourself and all your hopes
and write your mark and comments in the correct space
for the perusal of a higher order.
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