Patrick White

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

Passing Into A Sweeter Solitude As It Gets Older - Poem by Patrick White

Passing into a sweeter solitude as it gets older
the sunset takes one long last look over its shoulder
like the darkening tree line on a wavelength of hills
back at the valley that it's just lived its way through
following its mindstream like a pictographic musical motif
through an ordeal of blessings that maimed my ability to believe
in any cave painting that says it's a found religion.

It isn't any harder to reverence the stars in a parking lot
than it is in the woods. They can burn inside me
like candles at a black mass, or righteous cherubim
with flaming swords like two nightwatchmen
on either side of the gate that exiles me
from the garden of my heart, and leaves me
with the cornerstone of my skull
to enshrine my homelessness in like an open door
without an entrance or an exit; either way
I've never been the poster boy of anyone's morality play.

One Perseid, my meteor shower on a Saturday night
because I'm sitting on the patio at the Imperial,
with Simon, Johnny, Joe, Sheldon, James
and a jumping bean of a girl whose name I forgot
but who was the house dj checking out the quality
of ipads that were looking up the constellations
that shone so virtually in their hand-held eyes
but had been culled to near extinction like buffalo
by the light pollution smudging the view
of the seventh magnitude sky overhead
that is used to being ignored for its brilliance
by blind star-nosed moles chewing through
the white canes of their electronic roots and nervous systems.

It's good the watchers are handing out
integrated third eyes of what they want you to see
like Pax genes in the Pre-Cambrian,
a Cyclops enamoured of an observatory,
a Dajal, the one-eyed, red-haired liar,
or those so mesmerized by a tv or computer screen
it's moot whether it was Perseus or the Medusa
who turned who to stone. Bread and circuses,
the watchers are watching the eyes of those
who are watching them like an iris scan
of the same old documentaries that ran yesterday
when the mystery of the light emerging from the darkness
was still camera shy, and the history
of human insight into matters of moment
such as the death of a comet in the upper atmosphere
wasn't just the photo op of a warning
no one's listening to, throwing a wild-eyed tantrum
across the sky for the paparazzi mesmerized
like a frenzy of insects around a celebrity lamp post.

I spy with my little eye, like a small refracting telescope
among the technologically mesmerized,
the deconstruction of holistic ways of seeing
into the programmatic focus of billions of pixels
replacing the cells of our eyes with a visual white noise
of spectacular cataracts milking the homogeneity
of a perilous point of view that will turn on itself
like a retrograde wavelength with the fangs of a new ice age
in the eye of this storm of starless foci. As if
someone took Michelangelo down from his seance
on the Sistine Chapel Roof, and photo-shopped it
on the template wings of a million distracted butterflies,
trying to reconfigure with the IP address
of the wildflowers that have gone offline in a chat room
where nothing, however trivial, gets said
that isn't indelibly impressed into the cuneiform
of suggestible starmud in the library of Ashurbanipal
keeping an eye on things like an exorcism
of those who don't believe the medium is the message
with a mute button, texting, the internet, spellcheck and redial.

That said and overheard, I still ping what I write
and feel and think and see, in wonder, bliss and tears,
even if it be so little as one of a hundred meteors an hour
off the stars, knowing the eye by which I see them
is the eye by which they see me synched to the light
like intelligence resonating on the same frequency,
not as an app that can be applied like hindsight to the blind.


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Poem Submitted: Sunday, August 12, 2012

Poem Edited: Monday, August 13, 2012


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