Song of the Ephemeral

August 19, 2016

Over the verdant hillock,

starry with daffodils:

empty cerulean skies

if not for a cloud,

Northerly lining aglow–

dissipating.

 

The brush caught fire too

beneath the sinking daylight

as it grew red-hot,

Heavens and Earth both consumed.

 

Indeed, that burning edge still flickers

while all the world around me withers.

Perpetual Motion

June 23, 2016

My eyes are always fixed
ahead of me

Running my whole life,
late for work,
needing to be somewhere else.

For once I look up–
above me,
buildings rushing past the sky.

A woman is paused
on the balcony,
clinging to the handrails

As the Earth is spinning
in the still, eternal sky.

 

The Uncertain Hour

May 27, 2016

The burning twilight
Blunted by the weight of heaven,
Condensed — a curtain

Now turned sepia
Dragging itself across the globe;
Fate so indistinct.

The angel of death
Hangs around these streets corners,
A poisonous gas.

Under a sun-dial
I haven’t seen its visage,
Features indistinct.

 

Continuation of Life

May 18, 2016

I spat on a shriveling worm

to lubricate it;

convulsing, it dove into

a flower-bed.

Resolved

March 9, 2015

I am but a child.

When the angel of death takes me to

her breast, I will recall like a cassette

an all-consuming void at the heart of the memory

And this is what I wanted to touch:

the burgeoning tendrils erupting from my stomach

And I will know forgiveness

Without a God

Without an image

Nothing but the recognition, conceived

In shimmering  tapestry.

A Layman’s Thought on Death

September 5, 2014

Death is a baffling phenomenon, like a doorway people enter and never come out of. In their otherworldly imaginings, ancient mythologies and spiritualists of all stripes have tried to make sense of it with their unearthly explanations for what happens when a person ‘goes away’–explanations of where they went to. But perhaps the most haunting conclusion to the mystery of death is that one has gone nowhere at all. That there is nothing true or false to be said about a person at that time, because all propositions are meaningless in reference to nonexistent individuals.

Whenever we are speaking of persons in a way that implies that they are entities-in-themselves and not merely a collection of physical and psychical events which happen to be related, we attribute to them not only a special metaphysical status but intrinsic worth (this happens in the context of anything of moral concern; it is the reason people regard it objectively wrong to kill or rape someone, and not merely a convention or an naturally-selected for instinct). The intrinsic worth of persons is a premise that, whether it is a longstanding ideology or an innate conviction, underlies so many of our beliefs by which we guide ourselves and yet cannot be validly argued for–at least not on grounds everyone would accept.

I am inclined to think this premise is in fact a comforting, self-affirming ideology, and that if we look to the observations of biology, psychology, neurology, etc, personhood comes out as a practical but artificial construct. Followed to its conclusions, a thoroughly scientific understanding of our selves eliminates persons from our worldviews. And if we are honest with ourselves, it might be that we should come to such conclusions, one of them being: that we are machines; we are not “real” in the sense we think we are.

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Mannequin

March 11, 2014

At a table of burnished wood;
The lifeless flesh of an organism
Beneath my paper
Lies,
Held for a slower decay.

And at the moment she, to catch an eye
Lifts a smoothed ash arm,
Leaning to catch the light to
Capture an eye
In the bend of her side
I feel justified for my solipsism.

In her being–prior to sensation
And herself without desire–:
A great agency
Has grown somehow self-cognizant.
Its motive is pure.
It knows that it

Must never reach finality.
In every form assumed it diminishes
And halts.
In every form assumed.
But the agency is realized in the form of an  imperative
To carry forth and transfer its momentum.
Rolling through organisms, it spreads.

So the body hangs its weight on a burnished shoulder
As she leans,
A mannequin.

And I have also felt it at work in me.

“The chief enem…

February 16, 2014

“The chief enemy of excellence in morality(and also in art) is personal fantasy: the tissue if self-aggrandizing and consoling wishes and dreams which prevents one from seeing what there is outside one. Rilke said of Cézanne that he did not paint ‘I like it’, he painted ‘There it is’…One might say here that art is an excellent analogy of morals, or indeed that it is in this respect a case of morals. We cease to be in order to attend to the existence of something else…We can see in mediocre art, where perhaps it is even more clearly seen than in mediocre conduct, the intrusion of fantasy, the assertion of self, the dimming of any reflection of the real world.”

–Iris Murdoch, The Sovereignty of Good

Metaphysical Givens

December 21, 2013

Trying to get acquainted with the
Meaning of these givens
Like a hidden hand,
The architect of silence, forged
of emptiness.

Somehow embedded with it still
Like an axiom.
But no, zeros cannot be multiplied.

Baffled by this self-induced pseudo-mysticism
Getting high as hell
And dumb as unnamed terror demands
Washing oneself with unclean hands.