Patrick White

Rookie (September l5, l948 / Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada)

Got A Boulder On My Chest Like A Heavy Heart - Poem by Patrick White

Got a boulder on my chest like a heavy heart
someone carried all the way here like a skull
from the river, and I'm buried under the hearth fire
of forty thousand years ago as if somebody
wanted to make sure I never got up again
and did a good job of it despite the grave goods.
Seven times down. Eight times up. Such is life.
I'm as legless as a Bodhidarma doll, a sacred clown.
Pop me in my inflated cherry tomato of a nose
and I bounce right back again because of the way
I'm weighted. I can remember when I had
the footwork of a boxer and I used to duck, weave, and bob.

There's a star still following me through the woods
deeper into the mystery of where I'm going
and what I'll see as if it were ageing right along with me,
shining intermittently through the crowns of the maple trees
as I do these days through the eyelashes
of my intractable third eye, gone, gone, gone, gone,
altogether gone beyond as if my sanity
had lost communication with its expectations
as my subconscious leaves the solar system
like some undirected spacecraft flying solo
into realms it appears I'm witnessing just for myself.

Estranged ways of looking at my life
in the expanding context of the homeless vastness before me
as if a million light years of thresholds had to be crossed
before one door could open as imposing as space
everybody I left behind is growing into meme by meme,
symbol by symbol, as if mind were stepping out
of its shapeshifting sign of the zodiac, trading in
its quicksand cornerstones for a backpack
that will always be on the road like light hereafter.

There's no where to garden, and the further out I get
the less faith I have that anyone is receiving these messages
I keep sending back like broken twigs and snagged rags
so that they can know where I'm at and get a fix on themselves
like a comet gone cold this far from any sun disc, Mayan or otherwise,
trailblazing through a treeless wilderness where
the only wildflowers are the irises of the Pleiades,
bull-vaulting Taurus on the horns of a dilemma
they took into their own hands like the fate of hydrogen.

Used to know what I wanted to be once. Now
I seek the unattainable and it comes to me I'm no one
close to what I'd thought I'd be, looking at it
from the outside before I was wholly dispossessed
on the inside, by the reality of living the vision
of a deeper aspiration that's got nothing to do with me.
But it takes as much to live a mirage as it does an oasis
and I'm as faithful to the one as I am to the other,
and this spaced out, who's going to insist on the distinction?


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Poem Submitted: Saturday, August 25, 2012



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