Celebrations of Being By Matthew Blevins
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critiques Copyright 2004 © Matthew Blevins
I have seen the immense light around you. I have thought about it every day since I was born. What does the light whisper? What does it mean?
Throughout a lifetime, we rarely have occasion to present our "real" selves. Rarer still, are opportunities to display the private, reserved, complex, and sufficient inner-self. In this collection, I present the real man. I give you the wandering unripe boy, the rough manly prime, and the reflective later years. Through my book I hope to give you, the reader, an opportunity to meet me, walk with me, and in the end, celebrate life with me. I write always in joyous celebration of those things beautiful, amazing, claimed, and unclaimed. To this celebration, I invite all people, beginning with you.
In a lifetime we each make a path, a long road stretching from a beginning to an end. On this journey we stand beneath burning red sunrises, seek higher truths, kiss our loves, and step into the awaiting earth. Along this road are the beautiful souls, the grand sojourners that walk beside us. I have walked my road. I have walked it beside you. I have witnessed the immense glory and have fallen in love with it.
Now, learn what it was to be Matthew Blevins. Know, as you read, that I wrote as much for you as for myself. Know that I exist somewhere forever, celebrating.
Celebrations of Being
By Matthew Blevins
Click here to send comments
Click here if you'd like to exchange critiques
Copyright 2004 © Matthew Blevins
Come closer. Drink this. A single drop of the ocean that is me.
There is so much that remains to be said. I have not told you why the oak and the elm refuse to grow in each other’s light. I have not commented on the distance a man must travel before he finds his own portrait in the locket of God. I have yet to confide to you that the missing fragments of Life’s shattered heart have never really been lost (you are proof of that). But this rough voice was crafted for more beautiful revelations. Let me confess to you the truth of the sacred fire that consumes and the growing presence that creates. Give me time to explain the wide arms that plentifully hug the continents and solar systems. Let me knead you lovingly with my hands and press you with my feet. From your body I will bake good bread and draw good wine. But from your soul I will distill a far sweeter sustenance.
That evening we spent together, making love in the firetower atop Mount Camarer – I have not forgotten it. I have returned to pick you out and dance until the evermore fades and the last awe-struck spectator retires. Out onto the streets and highways of the world I go, mad, in lusty passion with tonight. Myself, a beggar and a king. My love, a seedling and a galaxy. Gather round, my midnight friends, I have seen the best of times; now I offer them to you. I will carry your soul into the hills, so you too may see the city lights.
And the gorgeous people huddled round the bar; and the drinks were poured; the mystery of the song related to all. What fabulous girl did you meet tonight? What remarkable secrets did she have to tell? Is the story of the young man true? Was he killed while struggling with the demons that surrounded you; raising his torch in the night; his torch-soul himself, swallowing his last breath freely? I will dispel the rumors; yes - it was my laughter coming from your bedroom last night. Keep searching for me at the festival. On the topmost balcony; screaming at the sky; mad to be, like everyone who has ever thrown beads or passed by topless in the parade.
The creek flows, the morning comes; the great people raise their beautiful heads from the pillow. Nothing is that is not beautiful; as no leaf grows that is not determined by some greater fate. I am the end of the end, and the beginning of the beginning. I become what can be. I become what has faded from grace. I justify the night, and its darkness justifies the day inside me. Precious beach, precious ocean, precious people gone inside the waters, I have never doubted you. I have, in the final hours, believed in you, as the night believes in day, as assuredly the Great Souls will come, as all fear, sadness, and weakness will be forgotten, as the boy in the cancer ward will one day stand and disappear, as the father, forgotten by his child, will find solace in a penitent voice. And everything that ever was and will be has found a friend in me. I will never be the driving rain on the road, holding back travelers. I cannot fathom a tomorrow without the adventuresome souls, without the sound of feet against pavement.
I see a million amazing minds; burning, burning like prophets laughing in the furnace. In the distance I see it growing; the conflagration that will end the earth. But one man comes; the warrior of the dawn. Dousing flame with flame, his soul set against the blaze.
My love; kiss me. Hold me as the tree clenches the fertile ground. Incredible you are, as the trillion gemstones above my nighttime head. I am so small in the arrangement of the world. I go. I come. Transient; wandering; free. I should be angry at my poverty; I should denounce the politicians; I should watch the time; but instead, I cry at the sight of dew on the tender petal of the posy; I fall, powerless, at the thought of choruses signing anthems in the park. I have seen the immense light around you. I have thought about it every day since I was born. What does the light whisper? What does it mean? Sit beside me. I love you. I will never doubt, or second-guess, or fail you. I will stay with you through the longest painful death. I am yours forever. My life – take it now; there will never be a finer moment to clutch my neck and plant a final kiss.
But even the greatest memories are only early scenes in the passion play of the earth. Amazing people everywhere falling in love, being noble, lifting spirits, catching and riding the wave, hoping it will never end; all of it. From early in the morning, when the yoke of nature bursts; to late in the day, when the sun passes beneath its zenith – I will sing to the flowers; and dance in the rain; I will chart unknown lands like the day they were raised up from the sea; I will clap at your dancing feet and stare at your beauty. For indeed, the best souls have yet to come; but even now, I faintly hear their footsteps on the wandering paths, and in the awakening horizon. Never has someone so amazing been born. My gorgeous love; you are truly incredible. What you will someday do is beyond the greatest words. My hope is renewed, my faith restored; the day has yet to dawn on this land.
I have sat on the highest hill and wondered about you; have thought about your name. Reader - there was once an old man who saw the northern lights; who thought they were the premonition of some coming messiah. He has been told of the simple men and women that sit beside the river, drinking beer and remarking on the way of things. Why me, if you? I would gladly cut down myself to give you a chance to thrive in the light. I am the shadow of the eclipse; you are the fireworks above the children’s heads. And yet I have explained nothing with these poor, hollow words of mine. I wish to tell you of my experiment; to give you some slight hint of what the endless holds in its palm. I have lived and died. I have wrote and thought. I have loved deeply and immensely, taking the hand of the ugly, and the rebuked; his or her soul cast back into the waters. Give up everything you have so courageously gained, I will turn the spoils over to the young girl in the cemetery; today she has lost her parents. There has never been a boy or girl I have not applauded with unfettered excitement. Now take up my journal and my pack; what miles they have seen will inspire you.
And you think that all the poets are gone. You believe that you will save the earth. But everything you have heard is false, only the unknown, tragic souls have any effect. And you think you are the most beautiful; the most blest; the bravest. But even now, there are a few who drink at the fountain of truth from its ever-flowing source. A few who have journeyed from this dawn till that to find where it comes trickling from the headwaters of God. Let me be in that company, making congress with the whisperers. There has never been a man who sees truly and purely. The only Men were killed in the war between life and death; their souls smelted spectacularly in the crucible of fallen heroes; their flesh reformed.
You are the storied warrior of an oppressed people; I have been told of your coming. I will hold your breastplate, and fit your scabbard. The hoard is gathering outside the castle gates; there is no more time for prayers. Let loose the doors, I will charge to my death to defend you! Let my story be written in the halls of the ancients, and painted on the ceilings of the lovers’ chapels. All blood eventually flows to the grass, and all grass is in turn fashioned into tears, and men, and planets. My last stand will become the stories told to your children beside the firelight. I will become the hailed hero and the pitied corpse. And I do this all for you.
Remove yourself from the cacophony. The screaming bigots, the raging dissenters, the unfaithful. All you have to do is believe in the power of your own unrelenting self. Walk without fear. Venture into the woods, cross the range, and return by unmapped passages in your mind. Nothing can bend a man who has made the hardest journey, treading through dangerous wildernesses within himself.
All the rain in this world. All the fire in hell. And yet there are those who still fall in love and dream. Let me stand beside them. Our collective mind against the gathering mob; lantern held high for the few stragglers who, at last, have found their way back home.
Why do you forget who you are and question how long you will live? What is a thousand years of tomorrow compared to one second of today? You are the greatest culmination of the chapters of man, yet you are still a hollow approximation of what you could be. The earth has flourished only for you; the vines have grown and the mountains peaked, the rivers swelled, and the fruits ripened. And how have you repaid them?
I told you everything about me in the early morning, when our friends had gone and the silence seemed right. You said the world is a bedroom and all touches everywhere are proof of God. I admitted that I love and love and love until I am consumed by it. Perhaps my lips on yours will convert a few new believers. I said that eternity was designed to give people time to meet and collapse atop the wide wings of Love. But you misunderstood me as a profound liar who sells colors of the sunset to would-be poets.
To accept what has come to pass. To know your only job is to navigate nature with courage. To not be embarrassed by yesterday or afraid of tomorrow. To meet the next moment handsomely with a knotted brow and a firm-set jaw. To know that a thousand other people, faced with the same challenge, would not have been so courageous.
I tell you there is no eternity but that you dwell there and no petal white enough to honor itself better. And I reckon no longer what beauty means or disbelieve that a portrait of God still exists. Your hair is a shroud mystifying undreamt relics. Your eyes are dangerous nights pebbly with desire. You laugh easily but cannot explain why you smile. And you love easily but dare not follow it down. The beginning and end are inside you, but you want them not. The answer is obvious, but it never troubled you. You think all handsome men are only boys who steal hearts. There is no fate large enough to compass your direction or soul creative enough to track your footfalls. But when the others leave, you will remain with your uncommon perfections. And when the troubled waters part you will be standing on the opposite shore.
Everywhere I look I see men in their fetal state. A hand, an ear, an eye – but never a man. Some just beginning to mature, and others, sadly, yet to be conceived. But there is more evolution to come. Before setting out for a warmer, more exotic clime, man must first develop his wings. But when the proper time arrives, the shell will be cracked, a first breath will be taken, and a new and more stunning creature, never before seen, will soar across this land.
No. I cannot sit idle on the porch, watching as my fellows steady themselves beneath Newton’s feet. I too will stand up, and with these swarthy, scored hands, proudly raise any barn or brace any beam.
Attend to your life like a watchmaker. Perfect your own tiny gear. Watch it carefully contribute to the mighty clockwork of the universe.
Your life will change when you see every person as a companion rather than a stranger; when old age appears warm and welcome, when tomorrow becomes a beautiful rebirth. Dispatch with anger, jealousy, hate, and pride. These emotions are unfit for you. Think differently; reinvent yourself; summit the mountain, and set foot on sacred, unexplored shrines. Practice seeing people as amazing extensions of the One Soul. Float atop the currents, plunge into the swells, and circle the eddies of life. Become an immense lidless eye, unencumbered, a vessel for all of things real, absorbing the vast array of wonderful sights about you.
Nothing owed, nothing paid in this world. But in another place, my freedom bought. The coin coming from a higher, richer, and more trusted authority.
I hasten toward your bedroom, in search. There you lie, twisted and spent; nearly lost. But no. My kiss is fast coming. My arms, rough, strong, embrace you; pluck you from widening places, dark and noiseless, from solitary travels, bleak crossings, denying Charon. You shall not go hence tonight! My men have their positions behind braced arms, shuttered windows, vigilant eyes. The One is being questioned at the door. We shall resist together!
See nothing but the best in people. Their weaknesses and failures – beauty. Their resentment and treachery – beauty. How great their love and simplicity then appears. What is beyond our vision is darkness to us. Beauty alone can perceive beauty, for the nature inside all divine things communes with a tongue we cannot speak.
Carpet of my endless sonnet. Soft white sheets of my total solitude. Sitting beside the woodsmen, discussing Homer, questioning the new fictions. On the final day, will you display your sadness to the earth; dropping tears, like jewels, from glistening cheeks? Hearing the whisper of pleasant coffins covered in mums. Drinking the uncharted seas beneath a billion feet. Lying with my wife on the luscious cover of ancient kings, kissing her as the moonrise paints it with figures. The grass that was once lovers and poets. The grass that was once me.
Think about the world around you. The tall gleaming buildings, vaulting mankind into the clouds. The dim, tree-choked marshlands in the evening, filled with the croaking of frogs. The shelves of the inner-city library, imbuing beautiful young minds with hope. The thatched huts, lined against the wind, the naked hunters returning with the kill. Every sad moment when something was born dead, where life had once been kept, but escaped. (Do not worry, it will return.) The captain rallying the heroic crew, the storm raging, the ship nearly lost. The moment the first breeze spreads across the island, muffling the sound of the banana tree dropping its fruit. The weeping woman on the park bench, her body crumpled; a nameless figure amidst pigeons. The crimson stones of the desert, sacred ground, where the four ancient winds go to die. The rice thrown, the bride and groom running in close precession, planting kisses with their eyes. All of it right in front of you; your world; where your mother and father and their mother and father were raised and died. A tiny speck in the eye of God. A never-known corner in the least of the rooms of the universe. But it is all you have. Dwell in the glory.
Right now. This moment. Begin dealing with yourself like a newfound friend. Help yourself learn; taking account of what is known, and what has yet to be discovered. Dig down to the deepest, richest part of your being and place a seed. Walk hand-in-hand with yourself in the morning, beneath the bluebird and the white oak. Wake up and look at yourself with awe, amazed at what has risen from its slumber. Keep yourself close and defend yourself when you must, there are many who would steal away such beauty. And when you pass from this earth, do not be alarmed or saddened; there are many friends that will remain.
Let me be, but if I cannot be, let me be passionate in the attempt.
The street crowded with beggars and mothers and businessmen
The loath exile setting forth from the tribe forever
Sweet young ladies in the bakery, reciting their orders
The fans roaring unexpectedly inside the tavern
Cigar smoke curled and exposed to the winter sky
The pretty cast taking their proper places
Theaters of people on the stages of the Earth
Beaches of lovers taken back out to sea
You are all like me, whether or not you admit it
And I inform you that what you are looking for is not experience
Not the taste of the fruit, but the age of the tree
Yes; I know you far better than you are comfortable with
I love to hear the complicated poets express the birth of the grass
The throes of the pavement
I sink to the earth and decay – and grow lovelier still
I still hear the voices shout all around me, above me
Trying to unravel me
Nothing has been given to me that I did not already possess. The wildflowers having earlier been offered by a lover, the waterfall sent as a gift, and the vista, reaching to the horizon, devised to me by a wealthy, venerable friend. All mine. To cherish from many angles, to love well and completely, as anything worthwhile must be. But never to hold. To catch and release, until at length, a younger, better, and more perfect soul pulls it proudly forth from the cold spring waters of tomorrow.
Taking only what is good; leaving the rest. I saw the disabled girl smile; saw how she tipped her head as she crossed the finish line. And so I will take it with me. Like a talisman held against the night, like a strong anchor cast in the tempest. Me; the richest possessor of all beautiful thoughts, of all bold events, of all triumphs of the weak over the strong. I would liberate the dandelions if I could, spreading the beginnings of something more glorious into the breeze. When I make passage no one will be left behind, not a single brave soul screaming in the distance; waving frantically from behind the mists (you know of the mists I speak). I will search out the unloved, the sick, and the rejected; will pack their luggage with the best times; will ask them to leave all else behind.
You. Creature of flesh and water. Ash animated. The avatar of mulch and sunlight. Your forefathers – rock, fire, earth, beast. But also something more – something bigger, something I have yet to understand. I saw how you helped the old man who had fallen, saw how you smiled and handed him his cane. Yes. Much more to understand.
Doing what with my time here? Applauding the leaves drifting around walking feet. Singing songs to the gathered creatures, offering my love in a melody they can better understand. Climbing the ancient oak, examining the setting sun, questioning where the path leads and where it began. Filling my pleasant, lonely days with the sounds of the playground, with the voices of the recently arrived, the first-gasped breath of the Creator. Walking up the stairs of the gallows, overjoyed, watching as you are set free. Rolling rocks into the creek, trying to damn up the water; realizing that, like ourselves, the flow can never be subdued. Standing in a noisy room, remembering the dying tree on the hill, all lit up with morning light; deaf to the hum of other, lesser, conversations. Sitting on the edge of the bed, contemplating what has yet to come, and what has passed; wondering what it was carefully designed to mean. Sitting beside you as you read this book, waiting patiently, guessing where you had traveled, and by what path you had returned.
Try harder. Do, because through doing, you develop yourself. Push the outer limits of your lifetime, working to make every day a victory for the human race. Fight for the reason you exist. Fight for the privilege of occupation, of making things happen with your tiny, mortal hands. Make every job a sacrifice for someone else. Strike with your life like a pickaxe against stone, seeking a firmer, surer footing for the climbers below. Even the greatest accomplishments are not immediately seen for what they are; so expect no thanks. Instead, draw your pay from the households of the world, from the men and women that will someday stand upon your tired shoulders. Rejoice; for the completion of every task, no matter how trivial, assures nobler employment for us all.
Because you are also a citizen. There is a community behind every one of us. There we make our roots, and there we make our sky. I was born on a city block filled with hope, a school, and an American dream. Give back what you have taken, sacrificing yourself to perpetuate the children down the block. They will someday become you, do not forget that. Volunteer. Go to your neighbor’s door and recommend yourself for the job.
My elegant girl under the rotunda, posing in the evening. I cannot believe I’m standing here, appraising the jewelry in your eyes. Do not worry; I will be very careful with your porcelain cheeks and gentle with your fragile lashes. Do you know how easy it would be to pour another drink and listen to you talk forever? But even then, I would know nothing of the wilderness that is you. I could happily drink your tongue, gasp, and be drowned by your liquid soul. It would not be the end of me, I swear. Did I tell you how fascinated I am with you; with everything you will one day become? Did I happen to say I would marry you today if you asked? Womanly. Worldly. Beyond my understanding. The fire pouring from your crimson painted lips. Most amazing feathered headdress of my universe. God has gathered up everything that is beautiful and sweet. Yes. And been so generous as to make it human in front of me.
Wake up and begin living with abandon. Let your hubris shine like a spectacular meteor above the speechless doubting masses. Every bad moment or tragedy has already been repaid with unimaginable kindness. For this hastily planned journey you have been equipped with a new body and an ancient soul. They are all the luck you need. Every person met, every word traded – amazing. All the days lost in the wilderness that surrounds you, counting the planets before they disappear, knowing you are their rightful owner. I cannot forget that we shared a single day on the river; that the fish were well-grown and the shores lush. Sitting beside you is justification enough for an entire lifetime; your presence being the ultimate proof of my incredible fortune.
I married you because of the way you resemble Helen in the evening light. I love you for the battles you fought and won, for the struggles you lost but easily laughed away. I wrote all this to explain the way I dream of you and make castles for you in the sand. I have put the utmost most faith in you, my friend. With you at my side I am a harp strung to awaken the living voice of love. With you in my house I become a bastion holding tightly the essence of all things. With you in my soul I am no longer the stale stuff of flesh and years, I am a divine episode written into the autobiography of the universe.
No. It is no lie. I have waited lifetimes for your coming. Now I offer up everything to you. Having heard your laugh, I will happily diminish forever. I cannot in words explain your new role in this fascinating thing called Life. All I know is that your return has been rumored for an eon; that the people round’ the evening fire have already told your legends. Thank you so much for your gentle words and easy smile. I was unsure of divinity before you came. Now I must go and find the child that will one day take your place.
My unforgettable lover, hair flowing wild in the tropical breeze. I was about to ask you to marry me. But even marriage is unfit for what we have between us. Have you ever laughed as the floor burned or got chills at the thought of the concert around midnight? That’s how I feel when we kiss, when I taste the red wine on your lips and wonder what you are thinking. Let’s get a cover, some champagne, and drive into the country. I will hold you under the night sky, letting down your ponytails, pointing out planets and constellations. Because everything beautiful is yours anyway. I will show you that there are also starry nights inside you, that the clearest, crispest, most gorgeous skies are just opening over you.
Leaving everything behind. Leaving life no differently than the front door. Knowing the cemetery is your own Gibraltar to wonderful places. Always listening for the sound of the Archangel’s horn, for church bells, for taps playing in the autumn evening. Unfound but never lost. Pulling back vines to see the ruins of a finer race. Knowing there are vines choking your own best years too. Keeping track of who cannot be trusted, of those who have never wrapped a torch or slung a canteen.
Who forgot that my fascination with you will never end, can never end as long as I draw breath? Who wonders why I cannot sit while the world teems and trembles, while the strip is lit up and mad with people?
My best friends, my trusted allies, my wonderful escorts into the open air. Freeing me with your tireless capacity to burn, burn, burn; like the awakened sun rising over the day I was born. I am the one that brought you flowers, who offered up his best compliment, who ran up to hug you at the station. I would write more if I weren’t so busy remembering the way you looked last night. Come, walk with me. I will tell you how much I love to love you.
No. Not a single moment of despair. Impossible you say, but it is not so irreverent for me to show this machismo. I waited until your heart stopped before I left the hospital. No, I did not look back. You had whispered something before you passed away; but I thought it sounded only like riffles on the passing river, like an unfurled sail in the wind. I will mourn for the people who never fall in love. The ones who, sitting beside your bed, fall asleep just as you awaken.
My lips are rough and worn from praising the sounds of the earth in passing and motion. My agony is dispelled by beds of daisies blowing on the mountain hills. Assuredly, I too would be cured if I could sway in the fragrant breeze. Yesterday you saw me carefully arranging leaves on the sidewalk, but you did not begin to understand my plan. Blowing. Blowing. Us. Them. Me. You. Forever. Each a robust athletic shard in the currents of time.
Lay beside me. Let me tell you all this with my hands and eyes.
I will describe to you what I saw. From far away there was a light around you, as if divinity had taken eternity and forged it into something hotter, purer, and more beautiful. I stood straight and proud as you bowed beneath the sword; I saluted as your heroic deeds were pronounced to the crowd. I saw you handing out meals to the poor; offering up a smile and a laugh like they were something free. But nothing can compare to the sight of you dancing in the evening, giving away what cannot yet be comprehended. I know that you will never believe me. But to believe is not a prerequisite for what I am about to say. I witnessed you in the fiery Absalon that is this world. I never imagined how overwhelmed I would feel when I first recognized your colossal soul. But the light burns even brighter than you thought. The light around you I mean. The light in every second that is you, scorching, a premonition of the spectacular shower that will one day be known as the awakening and the rage. I have sat for a thousand lifetimes considering how I would say this. You Are. My amazing friend that bejewels this life. Question, seek, and wander. Never take time to worry about me; I will be fine; I swear. For long ago I died and was reborn. Yes. I was the first man to trust in the story of the Cycle. I alone shuddered when it was told. I was laughing on the white sand beaches before your parents began. They spoke to me about the moment you were conceived; confided that you were something very necessary in the plan of things. And even now, the plan has just begun to take effect. Now go. I will tell the others about what I have seen here. I will place our last picture on the wall and kiss it daily in my heavens chambers. I will search for another You always.
Love by expecting nothing in return. Love by remembering why it is you are here. Love by looking up at the sky and questioning its importance in a scheme you cannot understand. Love by kneeling before the powerless. Love by showing you are made of undiscovered elemental forces. Love by proving the most beautiful stories true. Love by destroying injustices and righting wrongs. Love by night. Love by day. Love by understanding the way of the Cycle. Love by your dreams and your innocence. Love by the final seconds of your astonishing life. Love by giving everything to the baby that will someday be born. Love by the incense on the kitchen table, surrounded by friends. Love by extremes. Love by courageous principles. Love by a fundamental intuition of the eternal nature of all things. Love by the river-side fire circles and the freshly broken camps. Love by the gravesites. Love by the long untaken paths. Love by exponential powers. Love by the singular effort of your amazing mind. Love by the unfathomable reaches of your uncelebrated soul. Love by the way you look at them. Love because you exist. Love by the children, and fathers, and mothers. Love by holding a ceremony for the rejected and forgotten. Love by not forgetting a single name. Love by kissing the bodies piled high on the pyre. Love by kissinfriends. Love by extremes. Love by courageous principles. Love by a fundamental intuition of the eternal nature of all things. Love by the river-side fire circles and the freshly broken camps. Love by the gravesites. Love by the long untaken paths. Love by exponential powers. Love by the singular effort of your amazing mind. Love by the unfathomable reaches of your uncelebrated soul. Love by the way you look at them. Love because you exist. Love by the children, and fathers, and mothers. Love by holding a ceremony for the rejected and forgotten. Love by not forgetting a single name. Love by kissing the bodies piled high on the pyre. Love by kissing your child and helping her write a poem. Love by leaving no note of explanation in your empty room. Love by writing a guidebook for the souls who will one day come. Love by living passionately and never forgetting the reason it all burns and flows. Love by showing unknown courage in the face of certain death. Love by becoming a mighty enforcer of the unwritten laws. Love by necessity. Love by sheer desire to become something greater. Love simply because you can.
Returning from the fields, a man knelt down and healed you, showed you how to see things freshly with your incomplete eyes. He said your soul was a tender sprout, that he was a gardener, that he had walked from distant places to see you. You and the ragged drunkards, young mothers forgotten, laborers on the roof under the portending suns of this lonely earth. I will kneel beside you too. I also will perform miracles with these tired broken hands. I will appear today brilliant before you all; that you may run to the streets shouting signs of a new hope. Original premonitions have been loosed again, like gospels released from a requiem anciently buried. I arrive garbed not in red or purple, but surrounded by the rugged songs of the woodsman and the rain, swaddled in the stars and scattered brine of the waxing universe, crowned by all history, bravery, and laughter. Under my left arm a mother’s urn and father’s coffin, under my right arm the seed of a colossal tree that will bloom throughout eternity. I know I am nothing more than the hair on the backs of paupers’ necks and the batted feathers on the wings of ravens. But I am also a strand in the fabric of the unseen and the unknowable. I am nothing if I am not you and the rest. I drink from the swelled streams and sup with the plentiful earth. I kiss the celestial forms as they travel ever onward. I am never hungry while they exist. What I consume will one day flow freely, flushed again from this tired undeserving flesh. My rebirth is necessary to perpetuate better dreams that will someday come.
I am limitless cacophony and resounding noise. I take my place at the helm of the band, their wild plums and crashing symbols bode poorly for the disbelievers. I open a place for you in the swelling ranks. There is great rejoicing, for your fellowship has been expected for eras beyond this earth. With a drum and pipe song I lead onward to the distant horizon. Listen, you citizens of a better fate! The sounds of dissipation and death are drowned out by the raging clap of marching feet, by the melodies of a million mad souls rising to crescendo. The moans of the sick are dispelled, and their strength is buoyed. The swarming flies are swept off the bodies, their flesh is remade; the heroes are awakened. And I stand as witness to processions undreamt, to cadres of sound and renaissance in fantastic proclamation of the first march of men.
I am certain there are many more lives to be grown. They are grapes hanging wistfully from the vine of eternity. Lifetimes heaped up and torn down, swept away, the roaring performances of fisherman and governors and poets. I am not the end. No more so than I am the beginning. There can be no terminus unless I make it so. I am a cog in the wheel of Everything. The machine of the universe advances with interminable necessity, propelling me onward. I saw your face as the dust powdered your hands; I wondered what you were thinking. I hasten to inform you the dust is men and woman in a new form, elemental, compact, free.
Grand thinkers, I give you a new redemptive theory of everything. I speak no longer of the old, worn ways of men and their things. The riddles will give way to the inalienable truth. What I am about to say can only be heard by those who never yawn. The kisses lustily planted were not emblematic of this failing murdered world. They were the first opened windows of forever, displaying the permanent design. A virgin glimpse has been given to the martyrs, as tongues of flame consumed their hearts. Now I have gathered flowers to give to the newborn earth. I have filled my coffin with daffodils and tigerlillies and sent a terse word to gravediggers. Taps will no longer be played beneath the setting sun and her parting ramparts. Forever onward speak of me in free verse.
I cannot tell you how at peace I am with Death and God.
The structure of the universe confirms the eternity at the core of my being. Wherever or whatever I may be, I shall be, as I am now, a power in the universal system of powers, a being in inconceivable harmony of some world of God.
Yes. I have been witness to the high tide of the soul. One man eloping romantically with a notion he can never really understand, never really consummate with the flesh and madness given him at the beginning. But the love-making purple moonlit nights did not wash over a corpse. I have taken them like good medicine, made them part of the moonbeam that is me. When the nighttime ends and the sunlight comes, I will be found in the gutter, alone, my shirt off, my mouth agape, my heart still spewing the beautiful stuff of lifetimes. Then, perhaps, the hesitant promenaders and spectators will finally understand. As for me – I will keep believing that I have come and gone before. I will not deny that this existence is the droppings of many better lifetimes and wondrous journeys.
Wayne D. Johnson, 59, Kansas City, MO, passed away July 17, 2003, at St. Joseph Health Center. Mass of Christian Burial will be 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 22, 2003, at Christ the King Church, 8510 Wornall Rd., Kansas City, MO 64114 Friends may call from 6-8 p.m. Monday, July 21, 2003, at the church, where a rosary will be said at 6:30 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to Boy Scout Troop #30, c/o Christ the King Church. Wayne was born November 23, 1943, in Kansas City, MO. He married Linda C. Reams on August 10, 1974. He was a machine operator for Sioux Chief Manufacturing until his retirement due to an illness. He was a member of Christ the King Church, Knights of Columbus, an active member of Boy Scout Troop #30 and the Tribe of Mic-O-Say. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army in the Vietnam War, a lifetime member of V.F.W. and the D.A.V. He was preceded in death by his father, Dewey L. Johnson, mother and stepfather, Alberta M. and Clyde Talley and sister, Linda LaRose. Survivors include his wife, Linda C. Johnson of the home; a son, Eric W. Johnson, Kansas City, MO; sister-in-law, Barbara Bergman and husband, Bill; brother-in-law, Michael Reams and wife, Sandra; six nieces and two nephews.
If I should never meet you in this life – let me feel the lack.
May I be remembered as the only man to have died happily a thousand times before. The sounds of the rasping shovel and coffin lid are more than I can bear, but I am not afraid. Give me forevers, and grass, and the sweat dripping off cold drinks in the summertime. My days are like a thousand ornaments strung fancifully over a fireplace, and my soul is fiery brand pulled from the hottest embers. Time is the best mistletoe I can stand under. Give my regards to the lovers who plunge daggers and die beneath the kissing-trees. I also know how it feels to be the holder of something too wonderful to contain with a simple human heart.
I cannot even begin to tell you how in love I am with this life. My God. The choirs are still singing to me, even as the light fades, as my blood stretches across the alley floor. I never wanted anything but what a deep kiss or friendly conversation could give me. If I were not so alone here, I would have whispered stories of this beautiful secret long ago, but such stories are only rumors to the wrong ears. And what of you autumn leaves who have died before me? And you animals who play games beneath the awakened breeze? You are no better or worse than the intrepid gods that dance inside me. I will never forget you. I can never carry a sad message about my stay here. In this human life, my brain was a tiny kernel, a dimension of undreamt space waiting to unfold. Now I have planted it and left, hopefully, never to return. From it will sprout all the love I have gathered. From it will rise, in time, the leaves of a tree that will cure the world. In my rotting corpse will survive a faint marrow of growing light. A reflection of the immense aura you saw around me the first moment we met. If the grass grows strong where I now die, do not despair; it is a good sign. Kiss me in your dreams. Take my hand one last time on the beach and assure me the nighttime parties will never end. My breath is near. Hold me now.
Toss me aside. I will go without a word. Forget about my crazy unthinkable dreams.
I will not rush to witness the sunrise. Nor will I hasten to find meaning in the rain. I trust all that I see, and I am certain what is hidden is merely beyond the paths which my mind travels. What once cowered has been given courage, what weakened has been restored, what furled has been opened anew – this is all I need to see.
Here I will stay put, my feet planted firmly. Here I will dream bigger spaces. I will close my eyes and become wanderer to the uncharted frontiers of the Cosmos. The seconds of eternity will one day become dust beneath my feet, and the eulogies of the gods will do little to better narrate my journey. But my story does not end here. My attributes are vast and innumerable. I contain multitudes of infinities. My lifeline spans the ages effortlessly, tying anchor to mores beyond the most frightening and beautiful places.
You will never know how much beauty and peace dwell inside you. I have spoken to all the finest men and women, and none can compare to you. I know you will grow and blossom and become a tremendous champion of the truth. I have never doubted that. The truth, you will find in time, is the foundation of all things good. The dawn you have brought with you is only an early sign of the light I have seen for these many years. You are part of a larger movement that cannot be contained or predicted. You are so amazing, so kind in the warm faces you make to the beggars. I knew I was in love when I saw the first signs of God in you. All the poets have tried to describe the way you resemble sunlight pouring through the morning leaves, but their words have failed. Only I can paint you in the proper colors and words. If I go tonight, please know that I am so proud of you and the fascinating forces that have worked to create you. You will never believe the tremendous love I harbor for you. I have saved love up, like a long kiss given at a wedding’s end. When I was very young I remember dreaming the most beautiful things. I remember the first time I fell in love with you and everyone else. The most dejected people whose friends have faltered and died. The mute child who cannot speak, who loves with a smile and courage unknown to the rest. The father aching and sweating beneath the worst summer sun, hoping his family will have something more.
My best moments were spent telling the world how hopelessly infatuated I am with it. But my words are meaningless without an audience of great men and women to hear them. I assure you. I go with the largest smile that ever was. I am the trumpeter of a message far greater than I can know. I am a pebble beneath the cool waters of everything and I place myself carefully in the roaring streams of time. I cannot tell you how happy I am to have one second to lie beside the creek with you and your son. I cannot begin to explain how my mind conjures wild flowers from nothing, why every night I cry at the thought of a world that knows what I know. Sweetest grass I have eaten many meals upon. Tender nieces and nephews who justify my passing. Cherished roads that befriend souls atop long stretches of the universe. I love you all. I am you. I believe in a dream bigger than this petty persona and body. It is my job to dream about the most beautiful moments, to contemplate the origin of all things wonderful and real.
The heart beneath your breast is mine. I can never enjoy the daylight again without its throb and warmth against my cheek. Your faceted eyes are wishing wells of infinite blue, and my soul baths happily in their never-ending waters. Your voice is a drop of honey, your hair a shard of the warmest light.
If I fail you, do not worry. My heart is pure, believe in me. I will return again and again, until the last person is set free. Do not think for a moment you are alone or forgotten. I cannot rest until the amazing things are sung and venerated. I cannot go peacefully until every man and woman has been thanked and given a long farewell.
I wish you could have seen the time I swung out over the river, the time I let loose the rope and fell feet-first, laughing, into the crystal stream. I can tell you the best campfire stories first-hand. I have glorified this life in simple ways. By paddling slowly on the left, weaving artfully through the rapids. By hugging my mother and father, overpowered with reverence for the beginning and end of things. By waiting eagerly outside the library before the sun rose, grinning at the notion of places I have never seen. By entering the darkest places unafraid, knowing I had lived, that living was more than enough.
I America. Powerful vast city streets paving places where new lovers grow. Raging buildings cutting my gray heaven asunder. Never a thought of failure or ending, never a moment of human doubt. Wide Dakota grass hanging loosely amidst blue sky stretching. Grandmothers weaving designs into the fantastic cosmic shawl. The victories and defeats, the dreams of the few. My lovers gone and returned, my beloved dead skeletons of the factory workers raised. Everything shattered and gathered anew; like many faint sounds becoming anthem.
You people crossing the bustling streets. You fine daughters of hard working men. You farmers, builders, and thinkers. Nothing will do justice to the first time you contemplated the meaning of forever, nothing can compare to the inspiration you give to the neighborhood children.
I want a quite place to entertain thoughts of this giant existence. A silent place where I can peacefully set my hat and light my pipe. Am I the only favorite son of this cosmos? Are you the most beautiful savior yet to be conceived? I think not. I am only a kernel at the center of the ripening earth. I am a faint noise sent from colossal distant places; as you are a sweet spice carried from exotic lands. You are nothing less then an oracle, reciting unwritten passages from the Tome of Life. What I believe with swelled eyes and rolling tears is not a lie. Come with me. I will take you to where the other believers gather.
Impressive force of the greatest gods. Trident of the invincible lords. Mountainous leviathan of the tempestuous seas. Omnipotent arms of the vast creator. Mighty centurion of the war-marching armies. I stand here against you, unafraid. I will defend the weak and the powerless with my words. I will defeat you with my love and undying transcendental beliefs.
My life is a tale of trade winds and deep-worn roads. My greatest memory must be the time I sat mesmerized, listening to the ebb of the ocean between your valved voice and trembling lips. I can only surmise the amazing times that have yet to be lived. I can only imagine how many great souls have yet to fall in love and find each other under the orange evening moonrise. You cannot believe the swirl and light of the barroom around midnight. You cannot begin to comprehend how the sunshine feels on the flesh of a poet.
Mind; I have grown you from the beginning. Easy friend that kindles inside my head. Courageous historian of battles great and small. Fertile ground from which all thoughts grow, from were all great things muster and pass away.
My son who has yet to be born. My last love. My friends remaining with me from the beginning. My someday wife who can never disappoint. My endless questions driving me to search for what is true and right. Simple days that become long journeys spent collecting samples of the evermore. My gasping soul that runs riot on the mountain trails and roughshod over the hills and valleys of myself.
Pleasant green tree on the fragrant summer hill. Painting my sky with new colors, collecting the earth that supports my journey. Skeletal arm thrust up victoriously from great ancestors gone. Column holding heaven in its place, stairwell of insignificant slaves who clamor for light. Tree that I have loved for all these years. Tree that I was buried beneath a thousand times before.
Trouble stay away from me. I am not the one you want. There is no place for you amidst the shower of light and hope that surrounds me. My power is beyond your recognition, beyond your ability to destroy and consume. I am supported by forces far greater than you can know; buoyed by the steady arms of an elemental Being. I am free to come and go as I please, dancing far from your reach and affect. Nothing bad can befall this mortal husk. I have read the entire Book of Happiness, drank deep from the chalice of beauty, sung loud hymns with children beneath the sycamore tree. The places from where I have returned have made me a passionate believer in the truth; made me a seeker of harmony in the revolution and flux of all things.
Gather up! men and women everywhere
round this wistful wandering heart of man
I offer new, more lustrous adventures and places
sweet affairs, like diamond morning dew-drops
plummeting into a million rough-stretched lips.
I exchange the dazzled beatific American embrace
for a soiled, well-reckoned map of Pangaea;
calling forth the slumberers of the continents
whispering trilled sweet assurances of the road.
I announce from the harvest-moon villages
the aching cities, recruiting all;
the brothers and the sisters, the
lily-topped mothers who suckled them up,
the men perched on stools, spinning
the waitress with stiff liquor’d tongues,
the boy chided “cripple” because he shuffles
oddly on two forgotten feet, two crutches
(he knows not yet the beauty in store for him).
Calling each lover of me, myself loving
them, more than they can imagine
preparing their things, opening drawers, bundling-up,
wondering if a note should be left
(no need I think, it is well known where we have gone)
arranging first a joyous egress
from the silent windowless rooms.
I cannot conceive of the woods or city in a better state, or dream a greater dream than waking up and living each day to the fullest. Leaves. Sound. People walking and talking. A quick glimpse of the light. What generous soul has set me here to thrive? What great lover is sending me flowers, even in the rain?
Dawn of man. Claiming the best days imaginable (the days spent beside you on the deck, watching the waves take the shells out to sea). Opening the sealed door beyond the graveyard. Freeing a secret God who, like a riddle or a thief, makes itself suddenly apparent. I have awaited this renaissance for many ages, an awakening of spirits I always believed in. Great earth rent open, spilling ichor of men and women I have never met. (I wish I had met them the day they drew their children close, when they kept them warm by the hearthside.) Opened container of eternity I am. Poet of cold mountains. Lover of new things growing well beneath a faint shaft of light. Bard I am of lonely places and roaring tables of friends alike. Gorgeous courtier of the average person. Simple monk who has taken stance against an unimaginable evil. Honored soul who was first to the field; who was first to compliment you as he died atop the weeds.
Friend. I thirst for you and need you badly. The thought of you haunts and delights me at once - like a grievous wound and a gemstone. My impression of you was good and pure from the beginning. From now on I will see you everywhere I roam. The One Soul has done well to find you and make you part of the larger skein. You and I were destined to admire the other – I have always known that. You cannot escape my passionate embrace or evade my lusty stare. I want you always.
Come. I have lit the fire and pulled back the covers for you. The bed is warm and inviting, the candles are sweet smelling. You can never deny or forget that our flesh is close, that I stand here naked and defenseless before you.
I still want simple things - to herald a new era of thinking – to pull down all the stars in the sky and kiss them individually – to rage and reconcile – to court everyone with a honeyed voice and inviting smile.
I am arrogant because of the unique way I feel about you. I am not at all ashamed of it. I will not hide the bright strands I have spun into the tapestry of life. Everything beautiful must be sung, and who better to sing than the poet of sand and stars, than the dreamer of wide swaths of the known and unknown? I step up to the task. I extend the spyglass and swing the rudder. Together we sail toward exotic archipelagoes within ourselves.
Everywhere you go there will be those who deserve your compassion and grace, those who enter daily the eye of a storm you could never weather. There will always be someone small and insignificant who deserves to be turned toward the fantastic light. Nothing can be tiny or useless in your presence, for your sight is cast on deeper, purer realms. I tell you all this because I am certain of your miraculous power. Spread joy to the forgotten. Practice your penetrating gaze. And marvel at the auras you will create.
Men and women lining the streets. Proud sweating men hauling boxes from the barge. Lovely ladies gossiping beneath the garden gazebo. Livers of lives unknown to me. I question our common ancestry in the family tree of the universe, and ponder our relation to the ever-growing One Soul. My thoughts of you orbit like a leaf in an eddy, swirling around ideas I confront, but cannot escape. Who has made the smile and bright features on your pretty face? Who has caused the tears to well up in your haunted eyes? I damn all the pleasant days I have lived without you. It seems a strange curse for a man to fall in love with every human being. But my lust is limitless. The continents will never bear enough souls to satiate my want. Bring me the living and the dead, the dreamers and followers, the pitiful and the mighty. I will write their names into my book and clear a place for them with me around the table. Together we will talk of the best and worst moments of every lifetime that ever was. Together we will envision bigger, more heroic, and more perfect lifetimes yet to come.
Think of me and laugh. A strong young body grown from the grass. Wild youthful thoughts of romance and unfailing love. A deep commitment to the sameness of all things. Simple son of hard working good American parents. Knower of beautiful things; like the true sound of a hawk circling the camp at midnight, or the image of gorgeous honeymooners kissing around the firelight. A passionate friend that wants nothing but your unbroken heart. Peasant warrior and strong partisan. Believer in coming and going without complaint; in doing great things while you are here. Sire of ancient grandfathers and newborn babes alike. Proud guardian of profound unborn souls.
You are God’s famous stage-top soliloquy. You are the first-born child sacrificed horribly on the mountain-top. (Do not be afraid, we are all a gift to something greater) You are the moonlight reflected off her almond colored hair. You are the carefully chosen steps of the fabled fire-walker. I am the old man who willed everything to the orphanage. I am the shaken stalk, committing its only fruit to the wind. I am the arcane untranslatable symbols on the unearthed temple door. I am the compassion and the tender wisdom of the battle-field nurse. We are friends working together for the good of the world. We are long lost lovers running up to consecrate a homecoming kiss. You complete me as well as I complete you.
From now on you will never be the same again. You can never return to who you were before. I have poured my sugared words into your ear and enticed you with thoughts of my bold new philosophy. The things you have gained and lost have sculpted you into something new. Something I cannot explain; you must feel it for yourself. As you read further, old unwanted ways will disappear, your past will become fiction (as it has always been), and new, more universal laws will take shape around you.
I was always the first person to strip off my shirt and run howling in the summer sunlight. I was the one who endeared himself to rough men in overalls while they debated the tragic perfection of things.
I was told you are the last grand mariner of the seven deep seas of me. Well met, friend and adventurer. But I cannot let you shove off so easily. I cannot bear to watch the horizon consume your sail and soul in its evening flame. I will tempt you like a siren on the rocks, selfishly summoning you from your mission. With the titanic echo of my sweetest love song, I will crumple the fjord walls and bury your passage. I will frenzy the native tribes until you have no safe port but mine. Come to me strong young men and women of the earth. Explore only me.
You are my pen as well as my audience. You have read nothing in this book that you did not write with your own hands. Your life is plenary and complete. Before you there were no dedications, after you there will be no epilogues.
I died on April 28th, 1975 in America. From then on my travels in the afterlife have been wide and vastly underestimated.
Never forget that my rantings of mortality are only harmless ironies to your bigger, more important life. Rest assured - death cannot ruin our wedding night or wipe away my smile on the day you had my first baby.
You have been given the chance to do something. Take it. You are right in being filled with hope and doubt, but do not forget that even your hands can change the world. A man with a mission is the most powerful force in nature. Go on. Be brave in following an untried path. Never forget that to dream is to create something from nothing.
No quarter for my own weakness or despair. Never a sad thought for the things I cannot affect. Not crying for another day or a second chance – knowing that it was very good to be around, if only for a little while. Simply letting go. Not feeling overwhelmed at the gravesite; knowing the chill of the moist earth is purely ornamental. Turning myself into something supernatural by forgetting my body and placing faith in my manifold mind.
Where are the complex, roaring, tempted, real people – the ones who are rogues and scholars at once – more soul than can be explained - the ones who let the bonfires burn out of control – who see bonfires all around them? Who is left to worship the road with naked feet and dive headlong into the raging oceans? Who remains to dare and dream? Have they all gone, or have they been transformed into a different state? The young body broken at the bottom of the cliff. The man in the Garden of the Gods, beating his drum as the day slips to night. The slave in his field. The gentleman in his office. The pretty woman who introduced herself only as Poetry. The infant who died quietly (complex and roaring like a river hidden far beneath the earth). Well grown men and those who will never be beautiful. They are ellipses in the sky and sand - yet to be painted upon the proper easel – yet to be seen for what they truly are.
I question what it is to be alive, what it means to be the ultimate offspring of some deeper source. I am an old surveyor of days; I am a ready scholar of the history of all moments. Nothing has been lost in my translation – I assure you. My every step and word are a token salute to the masses that have fallen so that I might be lifted. Alone I have won smoke - championed dirt. I am nothing by myself. All mothers have a right over this fledgling soul and finite shell. My bones are made of stardust and mountain air. I am a construct of time – an experiment in the lab of the universe.
I cannot believe you are gone and we are alone now. You said I loved you too little – but perhaps you loved me too much. Perhaps this tired cracked heart can no longer be trusted with the love you deserve. I think of you – walking beside me on the trail – holding your son with that big smile you saved for the best times – tossing your freshly curled hair for me to compliment. But I am sure now it is better to have loved and lost you. Better to have touched the face of the sun and been consumed by its flame.
Wallow in the mud of the five senses and the soul. Protrude your agile mind into the soft underbelly of all four dimensions. Contemplation is not reserved only for clean bedrooms, churches and schools. It is also for rough, ready men on volcanic stellar surfaces.
Ideas become fuel in the furnace of change and change, in turn, perpetuates the Cycle of all Things. It is a comfort to know I am only one infinitesimal synoptic space between some gorgeous racing thought of God.
If I had advice to give, it would be this:
It cannot be good or bad unless you make it so. Nothing can bring you closer to life than living it wildly and uncommonly. Admit to someone your most guarded secrets. Take your family and explore the world – there is more to learn than the living room can teach. Savor the worst bone-chilling winter nights and know that you had truly lived. Never trade a walk-on role in a drama for a lead role in a cage. To some people your wanderlust is absolute foolishness, but to others it is the most heroic thing imaginable. Never worry about what they are thinking – rest assured that God is working in them too. Contribute to charity. Always crawl a mile before you walk it. Salute when you pass every funeral procession (who knows what goodness he or she has done). Never stop questioning why you are here and what that really means. Become so intelligent that you no longer need wealth and power to be happy.
Launch your assault from the breach between time’s dawn and dusk. Set yourself beneath the flag of this broken empire of forever and rally to the cause of the universe.
I have a beautiful predilection for non-linear motion. For perpetual motion. For cycles that turn back onto themselves endlessly. I am a smithy of strong days. I place myself in the furnace of evermore, hammer out a link, and lengthen the smoldering chain of creation.
Let your handful of humble human days be added to the life of the Cosmos. Offer your best moments to the protestor in the jailhouse. Only those who protest injustice can be trusted with the true definition of right and wrong. Divide yourself into seven billion pieces and set them loose with first and last names. Release yourself from the cycle of commerce – from earning and spending perpetually – you can never buy another sunny day or an unconditional friend.
Have I been the only man tricked into love? Am I the laughing stock of the solar system? Who was the woman who crept up and slept with me last night? Is she lust? Is she redemption and virtue? I think she can only be another passing stranger in this labyrinth of tears and laughter called life. But the roads of the world are teeming – I have told you that already. So too your mind is a highway to a place where chaos becomes harmony, where discord bends full circle to create a fragile equilibrium of peace. A widening smile watches over you. It is neither God nor the Cycle. It is the collective rays of light that shine everywhere across this band of hope and reason. I know it by name –
The world immutable. Form and nature and substance. Nothing really dying or being born – only altering its function, changing its momentary design. I gently pick from the air atoms of good Caesars and salesman. You know the game of which I speak. Expecting to die, you are born again. Hopeful of life, you are reminded of the matter from which you spring. Be courageous in life and unlife. Practice today what you did for an eternity before you were born – before the laws of nature had a bold new plan for you. It is only transition – never growth or decay when seen from a higher level. An ecosystem of the universe. But there is something in you that is luckily outside the system. Not of earth or water. Not a strand in this latticework of relationships. An inner power that feeds upon beautiful moments and grows larger still. A force apart and independent of the Cycle. Specific. Unrelated. Complete.
I have loved you from the very beginning
I cried when you were born; indescribably happy
I sat with you when your body died, holding your head gently
Now…let us talk of everything in between.
Love is the greatest attribute of the soul. To love unconditionally and understand the suffering of the world; to fight hatred with love – these actions are divine. Drop your possessions, burn your house, give your jewels to the state. Gather up love, plucking it like vibrant flowers speckling the lush hillside of the earth. Give those away too. You will perish, yet your bouquets will bloom forever.
Savor tomorrow. Know yesterday and today occur only to justify and beautify your next awakening. Your slumbering head was meant for dreaming, do not despair. Your safe passage is assured. A champion walks beside you, sword drawn, ready. Kiss the fragile leaves and know the Cycle flows ever onward. You shall return. You are more beautiful than you can ever know. Get up. Take to the streets of the world with a new gorgeous message of love.
The day I died I brushed my hand across the cosmos. Am I still a boy in the park beneath the Milky Way, or am I nothing now? Lower my coffin into the stars and throw eternities upon its silence. I command the face of the corpse to remember there is still laughter everywhere, and I exhume all the love which is buried alive (there is too much buried, reader.) What is love but death’s coffin? Where does death hide in the morning when the constellations fade? And I know my poems are larger and better than I. For they love easily, like an apostle working miracles for free, and I fear the hands laid upon my blind eyes. I do not disbelieve, but I have beautiful doubts. I know the road is long and there are many travelers upon it. There is so much to see and people to become (always more selves to drink.) There are no continents, only paths; no lifetimes, only journeys. Only outstretched fingers of God on her wedding day. You know I express myself better with howls of glee around the campfire than with a pen and paper. I explain to the sick what it means to be endless and surrounded by nothing. I give encouragement to those who have yet to fall in love – I gently remind them nothing is loveless forever. And the highest spire in heaven becomes a stepping stone to the universe that is Me.
I am certain love and hope cannot be slain (what is a lifetime but love and hope in perfect repose already?) Gather me up, friend. I am plentiful and easily gotten. I will not hide from you or greet you as a stranger. Take me to your bed and be still a while next to me. I will awaken. Even now my silence has beautiful stories to tell. Sing to me as if the hymnal has already been opened and the trumpet blown. I am the eldest of the old, yet today your bed is my cradle. Bring in the doctor and the priest, if you must. Let them announce my illness terminal. (I know nothing can be terminal – life cannot be denied for long.) In the deepness of me rages an undefeatable thing. In the wideness of me soars an uncatchable thing. My soul is like a shaft of light traveling between stars. But I know it is also a broken leaf fallen to the earth collecting rain.
Send home the curious; the blood-letters can do no more! My terminus is not a changing of sheets, a wet cheek, a reading around an open grave. (Reader – I once made love to Brenna and hiked the Appalachian Trail in the springtime.) So stare at the starlight and drink from the leaf. Fear not the wildness I have become or the distance I have left between us. You have only to hope and love and I will awaken.
I effuse myself to you and invite you to sing with me a new chorus of life. Long have I been a ripple spreading forth on the perfect headwaters of eternity. Long have I awaited this existence and desired the beautiful people it would produce.
I am nothing if you do not make me so
For love has no power but to give meaning to its believers
Long have I gathered worlds in my arms and knew no loneliness. Long have I experimented with the remarkable properties of a thing called Life. Long have smiling children come to me with simple questions I cannot begin to answer. Long have I been heartened by the fate of this universe and the universes yet to be conceived. Long have lilies grown where I once died. (But what grows where I once lived?) Long will the sages contemplate what I have written. Long have I lived deeply and immensely and spread my identity with a continental kiss. Long have I dreamt of your coming, reader. I cannot begin to explain my excitement right now. I grow happier by the passing moment. My happiness is daring and audacious.
And this book is my stone tablet for the eons to debate.
And this book is my poem that springs forth from a new passion forever.
I haul man up from the brink of nothingness and whisper something beautiful to him – and he does the same for me. In this love, I know I have discovered a mystery forgotten, a power underestimated. But my song is not that of privilege or influence. It is that of the grass bent beneath the breeze. It is the song of sojourners redeemed by taking the lonelier way. The song of lovers who cannot turn their gaze from the others eyes. The song of the cycle of life and the cycles that comprise its countless eternities. The song of ages upon ages that come to conclusion in you, reader.
Your spirit has awakened. Let nothing but sunshine pour in on you, bathing you in everlasting warmth. Toss your tired form into the diamond skies. Do not be afraid; you can fly. The water reflects the whiteness of the morning clouds. Cry. Can you imagine anything more beautiful or inspiring? How exciting to set to the task of life. The adventure awaits. You, the hero, taking arms against immeasurable odds. Can you see the long roads of gold, winding into the distance? Never return. Fall in love and be gone. Kiss the virgin earth that lies stretched out before you, watching you with expectant, curious eyes. Pound your breast and scream into the night. You will never again live life as well or as deeply as you are now.
Let this be your maxim:
Search for the truth
Strive for perfection
Surround yourself with beauty
Lend a helping hand to someone in need, inspire a dream, and give hope. Reach down and lift with humility. If you cannot conceive, adopt. If you cannot have certainty, have faith. If you cannot relive, remember. Offer yourself up as a living sacrifice to everything you loved when you were a child. Stay fascinated at fireworks, thunderstorms, and bugs. Live your life as an experiment, living it so dearly. Laugh. Make love.
You cannot remain, any more so than the river can refuse to run or the wind refuse to sing. You are in perpetual flux. The human body you hold is but a handful of sand cast into the breeze. The soul ebbs and flows like a shore-line, churning passionately from distant events. The world distorts, nature aligns. But this is natural and good. Nothing will ever befall you that you cannot understand. Nothing occurs that is not a law of nature.
What is man but an effigy of the earth risen and pronounced blessed? What is redemption but a sweet tonic offered to quench his thirst for completeness? I think every lifetime is a totem representing some beautiful new belief. I think every dazzled young dreamer is a shaman throwing bones to interpret the gestures on God’s blushing face. But what is carved into the heart of the dreamless? What fate awaits the lesser part of a man divided against his ether-self? Life is a sleeping dream and a wakening dream that cannot be ended by our hands. Can an idol be crafted to venerate the living more than the dead? Can a mountain be built to raise man into the awakening sphere of his mind?
Together we lay. Our bodies’ warm, soft, surrounded by deep pillows. I kiss you tenderly and whisper my favorite secret to you. My lips rest on your lithe neck. Your body falls, passionate and trembling, into my embrace. How many years have I loved you? I boldly admit it has been not years, but lifetimes; not the life of men, but of worlds.
You doubt my intentions and believe I must be something separate and apart from you. I swear we are part and parcel of the other. Where do you end, and I begin? We are grapes born of the same vine, tied to the same Earth, stretching toward the same heaven. Now, let us loose our suspicions and dissolve our differences. There is no time for them. That I loved a million times before will never brook my desire to court and seduce you.
Be at once a poem and an epitaph. Is not a poem the final powerful blow dealt to death by the living? Is not a single beautiful thought the internment of all the graveyards of the universe? But I tell you also that death is a deepening poem unto itself that cannot be fully written by the living. And death remains a thing I know is lovelier than we think. Perhaps life and death are lovers whose kisses are newborn babes and voices are soft funeral hymns. I also know that life and death are pleasant words poets use when they cannot help but shout hope from high peaks and low valleys. Why should I die for a different reason than I lived? Am I more complete in the end than in the beginning? Reader – what fanfare around my deathbed could begin to outshine one moment of my manhood spent in love with you!
I say you should not fear the gentle sleepfulness of death and the dreams that may come after. The distance spanning life and death is small when seen from a far away vantage. So the sun witnesses no pain and the galaxies are haunted not by an ending. Death! I cast you away; but you are not a net thrown over life! I realize no strong bond can bind the immense hands of the living. And death casts me away and laments why I have returned to taunt and defy it. But I am not here to enslave what cannot be mastered or write poems that cannot be read. Life is a miracle worked by death in its will to preserver. Death is a dove sent to deliver life into new hands forever. Yesterday I dug my own grave deep and sat upon its lip celebrating. It is a great mistake to think dirt can hold me; for long ago I gave my soul to the children playing down the street. Know that in another place, in another time, a women will bear me up - like fields of lilies opening their flowers anew forever. Know that my body may die, but I do not go down with it. As my eyes burn out the better part of me takes flight over ranges of forever and plays in vast fields of heaven’s stars. Know that I search beautiful places always and wait patiently for my moment of return.
Ask yourself this simple question – "What am I."
You are a poet, saint, philosopher and redeemer. Summon up the vast powers at your disposal. Ignite the molten fires at the core of the world; they have waited lifetimes for your return. You are man in his most uncommon hour. There are many enemies to face; thank goodness you are here. The time is now. Be courageous and bold; it is expected. Be strong, humble, loving, kind, wise, just, and selfless. Become a being more divine. Yes, I have witnessed you bathed in the brilliant light. I believe in you. Now, gird up your loins and go.
Are you an atheist? Hmm…I was too before I met you. There is more God in you than you can know. Give me your hand, I will show you the drifting boundaries of forever, where all things someday go. I will take you to the battlefield wracked with moans; to shadowy places where despair melts slowly. But I will also take you to places where laughter is a sound gathering like a thunder, where life brims in mighty fountains I cannot begin to describe. Look through and beyond them. More beauty is hidden than is visible to your mortal eyes. God is in the details.
Be a beacon in the darkness. Be a faithful flame in the mist, guiding wavering frightened souls through the perilous way. Know this, adventurer - all life is fleeting and you will not pass this way again.
You are nearly gone. The cancer has found and consumed you. Your voice is drifting far away now. Why do you laugh when I say that life is not a fire quenchable by its own hand? Sit beside me; place your head in my lap. I will gently remind you of the best times. Tell me about the first moment you met me – about our first kiss. Yes…it was your gorgeous brown eyes that drove me mad.
Be a Spirit Warrior. Practice civil disobedience whenever you can. Liberate the oppressed; those innocent souls trapped in dank pits on distant shores. But never forget there are pits in your own home too. Combat hate with love. Profess agape as you are placed on the rack and stretched. Your captors will listen. Outside your window the locust stirs and sloughs off its brittle skin. So to will goodness awaken; though its seed time be many ages of men. You worry that your love will not be remembered or returned, forgetting that someone long ago pulled you out of the primordial mud. You are living proof that all love is returned.
I dream only of origins and first principles. I think the growing soul of a child is the foundation of the cosmos and all tiny saplings are planks supporting the deck of the world. What is a unified theory of everything compared to the enlightened mind of a single person? I have been told the One Soul bleeds rivers of beings forever. But what does your small human spirit bleed into the watershed of life? I have heard you are the mythological boatman over rivers of souls winding their way back home. So perhaps your part in this beautiful romance (this legend of everything) is more important than you know. And the origin of me is everywhere and complete. And the origin of you is vast and indomitable. And what differences we have are easily forgotten when I run my fingers through your hair and rest your head on my pillow. I tell you all differences are dust and shadow. All similarities are truth and ecstasy.
Look people in the face. Be gentle with them. They may yet have something beautiful to say. Listen to their dreams and desires with an open mind. Do not be judgmental. Who are you to criticize the sky’s hue? Do not rush off or be brusque. You may be their only friend. Think about what they are saying. They want to be accepted and understood. This is the powerful truth of all humankind. Treat them as if you are standing beside them at the altar. Never assume an enemy. Be humble, they surely know more than you about many things. Compliment them. Admire them. Invite them. Be genuine.
There are many miles above your mortal head. And in your own few feet of space, there are infinities upon infinities. You are a depthless container dipped into life that pours forth life forever. And God whispers gently into the fullness of you and cries mightily into the empty spaces of your being. You are a heaven into yourself, but you are not an angel. And you are a demon into yourself, but you are not a sinner (I have never met a sinner). The soul in you is not a thing of right or wrong. It is simply that which hopes and loves forever. Reader, hope and love are also in the fullness and emptiness of you. Hope is the liquid filling up your depthless expanses and love is the light dispelling your mysteries. Let your mouth always pour forth a new undying song. Let it be taken in great rivers by the cosmic stream and dropped tenderly into the ears of simple men and women everywhere. Let your eyes be opened to the planets and stars that halo your head. Why do you walk on the ground when so much of you dances in paradise? How can you settle for today when something inside you sees always a more distant unspeakable destination?
Ask yourself if you will live forever. You know the answer. There are more undiscovered places in the universe then there will ever be days to find them, yet you sit idle in your house, ill-content at some triviality. Give up your empire of dirt; let your soul be your crown and castle. Sit in the park on Sundays. Smell your wife’s scented hair in the springtime. Explore the world. Take only what you can carry. The rest will happily be born by your mind, that faithful mighty servant. Set sail for your own exotic inner harbors. Let the crew parish in the gale – it does not matter. On the deck you will remain.
Spin me into your smooth tanned arms. Clap. I will dance with you through the morning; as long as the last person remains. I step higher in the crescendo, swinging my arms toward the sky. Laughter plunges into shadow beyond the fire light. Let’s take the beach back to our honeymoon suite. Here - hold my hand as we go.
Create in everything you do. Everything is meant to be explored and transformed. You are too. The act of creation is both necessary and divine. Can you recall your childhood sandbox? Feel the cold mud clump between your fingers. Realize you are holding the bones of recycled paupers and carpenters and kings.
Learn to discipline yourself, faithfully dedicating your mind to a task. Run, sing, write, or grow flowers. Spend an hour each day narrowing your thoughts, distilling the essence of the art, and refining your perceptions. Do not move quickly. True mastery comes from constant reflection. Remember where you began and imagine where you will someday be. Study. Do not be narrow-minded or short-sighted. As in building a house, you must assimilate many diverse things over time. Master the physical, the mental, and the emotional perspectives. Never love or despise your art. Either will destroy you in the end. Keep to the path. Persevere. When you have created something, appraise it with truthfulness and objectiveness. Most importantly, teach others what you have learned.
Many good philosophers have failed to answer the question, "What am I to do with my life?" Do not trouble yourself with it. Philosophies materialize and dissolve like the morning mists. Society and governments try to dictate how you should live, and why you should die. Always there are those who preach, desperate to change your ways. Look away. Let them babble, filling your funeral procession to the end of the earth if they must. Love is a philosophy unto itself. You hold the astrolabe and the compass; the skies have cleared. All history, foresight, and destiny are within you already. You do not need a guide through the deep waters of your own harbor. You are well armed and prepared. You are necessary and sufficient. That is enough.
You are a universe into yourself when you try to understand the interconnectedness of all things. Unity is a tree with many different leaves in many seasons. Sameness is a seed that sprouts fields of life unending. Love is not a selfish thing that one man can posses. Nothing in this world or the next can lay claim to the totality of Love. Can the ocean be divided by striking it with a hammer? Can a tree be convinced to turn its canopy against its roots? If the earth were a womb your neighbor would be your brother (what is the earth if it is not a womb?). If the universe were a soul even your enemy would be your lover. Love is not kept in your heart. You are kept in the heart of Love. Beauty is not a lesser or greater thing because another can hold it. The truth is that every being is an open outstretched hand. Imagine the strength and beauty of the hands carrying the Cosmos!
Your conscience, your guilt, your intuition; these are all instruments of the One Soul. The One is in you and in me and we cannot divide them, even at the cemetery.
A world on fire. Raging, mad, angry throngs holding the streets. Where will you be? Center yourself and remain neutral amid the smoke. Politics, nations, patriotism, duty – irrelevant to your mission. You have higher orders.
Forget everything you have read or heard – it is hearsay. Go out and do for yourself.
It is shocking that the earth’s soul has chosen my fleeting voice to carry its love poem aloft. Today I am the living wind that bears high the seed and the song. Tomorrow I am the smooth gravestone surface good for contemplation. Grow, men and women - I beg you. Grow strong vines from the hardest ground if you must. Now your water can be drawn from a purer fount and your earth can be opened with the plough of a bold new philosophy.
Look how much further the horizon extends when your pockets are light. Our souls are meant to roam and play. If you must be rich, do not forget those dreams you had when you were poor. They will remind you of who you really are, even in the parlor room. You have gone mad trying to buy this and that. Why? You can never buy what you really need. If given the choice, would you trade your gilded house for a clean conscience? You are so eager sell the fresh air for a full stomach that you never notice you are starving in far worse ways.
The grass on graves are orphaned children of the Central Mind. The plush cover of our wedding night. The outstretched fingers of beautiful brides. The braided hair of the girl I…. The smooth green hips of Father Nature. The luscious thrust tongues of Messiah.
You have learned nothing worthwhile that you did not teach yourself. You are the product of schools and books, and this is good; but you must know more. In your daily life you are comfortably unaware of the magnificent fires that burn around you. You are the spectacular interaction of energy, light, and motion; yet you know nothing of physics. You drink water, but you cannot fathom how it springs from the faucet. Similarly, you are ignorant of your own mind, forgetting it faithfully pours forth even more invigorating stuff.
There are many roads yet untaken, many places of unspeakable beauty that you have yet to reach. Take the longest way home. Explore the rugged rutted trials of your own mind. Do not be so eager to see your doorstep; you know what lies beyond it. You were meant for the highest ground, but you will not find it in the neighborhood. Wind and wander in your life, your love, and in your quest for understanding. Know that not everyone who wanders is lost; I am proof of that. Through Zaire, Calcutta, Cuba, and Corregidor; walk until you understand the way of the road, until your soul walks the road forever, though your body remain warm beside the oven.
I dream an immense dream of creation
of all beauty ever produced, ever lost.
Look! Penumbra of a thousand curious souls, approaching;
sweet valved orators, returning, reclaiming the pulpit
preaching the story of the coming and the going,
of the maggots on the abattoir floor,
of the white fluffed dandelions atop all graves,
of the widowed mother wrapped carefully about her babe.
Yes; there were others under the jagged liquid starlight
half light drawn thin from white vitreous embers
conjuring astral shades, reckoning eternity, revealing;
they had come to witness the conclusory remarks
of this ruddy, earthy terminus; this denouement that is I;
A heavy, long, conversation of eyes;
I stand unafraid
knowing each of their names,
knowing that I had been loved, and had loved in return,
knowing I was rough, unshorn, exquisite, plenary,
knowing the kiss given me in my manly prime
is given delicately elsewhere,
knowing the Day of Judgment is merely ornamental
that I had been adjudged beautiful before the womb,
knowing the bedighted skies wash over me
that the deluge will continue when I am gone,
knowing that bustling within me is more than blood and basal stuff
it is all romantic stares, all careful trysts, all never-forgotten goodbyes,
it is all merry friends gathering up kindling for the bonfires,
all pious stacked forms lining the token churches,
all brittle’d white bones in dark spaces, still arranged pleasantly,
all excellent scholars who debate well the selfish biographies,
all handsome men who fish ruggedly the mighty streams,
all fresh-pressed dancing girls who brandish, and torment, and tame.
All awaiting my passing, awaiting far greater my
return; robust, wild, freshly emerged
from molten furnaced forges before Eden,
from all distant systems, known and unknown
birthed beyond the beyonds, and further yet
expunged, naked, squirming, from tight passages
recast assuredly in affirmation of the cycle
the cycle runs, the cycle flows, I swear.
Brocade of darkness, heavy hands sculpting me freshly;
mortal ripeness achieved, beginning the metamorphosis.
Nature is the mother of the soul but it knows not the pleasure of its conception nor the pain of its birth. Through nature we find ourselves awakening to footfalls of an ancient solitary friend. What is man but a portrait painted across the fields and mountains of eternity? Nature and mind are not one, but they indivisible. Your dreams are a love song sung to nature in its beauty, but your desires are a warcry sounded by your selfish human heart. What is nature but a watchful father who gives us only what we need, and what is time but an instrument of that greater man, used to measure revolutions of the Cycle. The grass is an emerald trove that makes us all wealthy. And the morning light is a stroke of paint dabbed by the artisan of creation. And every mountain-top is a quite chapel of a God that knows us and calls us by name.
Practice indiscriminate giving. What do you own that would not be better served in another’s hands? Why do you insist on carrying so much and for so long? There is a child in your town that has no food or clothes – remember that. Give your money away as easily as you gained it. If you cannot, you have already perished. Know that you have lost nothing, even as you hand over your house keys. In fact, you cannot begin to comprehend how much you gained. Volunteer. Stand up. Collect your money and belongings and go to the shelter. The memory of offering your favorite possession to one penniless child will carry you through many dark nights. Does your messiah dine in a throne room? No. Nor does mine.
Let your voice boom above the rooftops of the world, stirring the masses to action. Your opinion is a flaming sword in angelic hands. Who can defy it? The strength of the crowd is its ability to judge and disrespect. But truth can never be judged – it is both universal and infallible. Speak out from the highest pulpit. Preach what is unpopular. Preach what is not easily accepted.
Open your eyes, traveler. Look! Why do you sleep as the rhododendron blossom?
I have missed you from the moment you left. I plant a thousand silent kisses on your portrait, but still I sleep alone. My body aches for your embrace. Where are you? Come kiss me, drink from my eyes, and remind me of a dauntless thing called Love.
As you wander the road, go out of your way to meet strangers. For if you fear your neighbor, a part of you becomes a stranger within yourself. Eat with them in their homes. Sit with them beside the fireplace, laugh with them, and explain what it is like where you come from. Let them know that love is an incense you would bring them forever if they were not already a candle and a fragrance unto themselves. If you see an act of kindness, strengthen it with your own hand. If you see evil, strike at it like an avenging angel. If you see sickness, sacrifice yourself to ensure life is not a lengthening shadow thrown by death. If you should perish in your quest, do not despair, there are processions of others following your footsteps.
When you love, love deeply, but do not lust. Let your passions be brief and well-placed. To the wise nothing is sadder than displaying the wrong emotion at the right time. Live life up to your nose, and if you sink into its churning waters, be confident you need only to put a foot down. Celebrate when the time is right. There is nothing wrong with holding a bottle of wine in each hand if you have just killed the despot. You will certainly slay many of them before you set yourself free.
Love is the merging of materiel and spiritual, bearing final witness to the carcass lying amid the flowers. Love translates and explains the deepening meaning of this world, turning its folds out to glimmer in the noon-day sun. It exchanges beauty for certainty, law for nature, and method for truth. Reaching deep into the minds of men, it is the ambassador of unknown magnificent places, heralding the approach of something we cannot comprehend. Love is the worship of God’s subtle imposition into the soul. It is the handmaiden of creation, sacrifice, and respect. It holds you to your celestial roots, reminding you that everywhere about you are apocryphal notions of the sublime. It is the shadow of unexplored planes, each throwing a brilliant facet toward the Central Fire. It is the unending easel of the Creator Mind, offering token glimpses of the passage. Love is the redistribution of God, and the only form of recollection by which you explain things that you have never lived.
Will you do it in your next life? If given a thousand millennia, would you set aside the time? No. What is not begun today will never be accomplished
Let your worries dissolve like night held before the rising sun. From worry, nothing can be gained; except discontent. Enter the eye of the storm with the peace of a Man before his cross. Nothing can assail you that is worth a single wrinkle in your brow. Your Herculean sweat will not rebuild Babylon, any more than your fear will make you a philosopher. What is to be will come to pass, regardless of your best objections. But this is good. Time was meant to pass, recording the creative meanderings of the river of life. You are the culmination of all events in history, and your existence stands unopposed at its brink. Believe in yourself.
Somewhere in the highlands a man collects firewood. His beingness is inseparably bound to yours. He is your soulmate, lover, and friend. He completes you like a the gulf stream completes the beach, misses you like the dry earth misses the dew, longs for you like a prisoner longs for freedom. He will never disappoint you, and in his arms the kisses never cease. Together, you were meant to dance and laugh forever, though around you friends pass away, mountains crumple, and the planets dissolve into dust.
There is only one perfect person in the world for you. You may never meet him or her, though you spend a thousand sleepless nights in search. Does this disappoint you? Reflect on it. At this moment, there is an amazing soul walking somewhere outside your door. Perhaps my wife speaks Hindi and washes her clothes in a river ten thousand miles away. I will not cry. Some souls were never meant to be discovered. They are more beautiful because they exist but cannot be touched. The power of any ideal is the power of hope, and it is a precious fount.
Go search. Never give up.
Somewhere in the distance a shot is fired and a war begins. Your blood is spilt for the institution, for the master’s glory and fame. But you neither have nor need any master. A government of mere men cannot rule the mind of a single Man. Congress would have you burn yourself to dust before the precious flag is singed. So Man is immolated by the fires of progress, and his ashes are sown over his son’s crops. Who fires the rifle in your hands, you or your President? Under orders to take another’s life, the best men drop their gear and return to the woods.
Have faith in the power of your mind - to be sure, it has great faith in you. Nothing has effect unless you make it so. Thought is born to drive action. On the strong shoulders of your mind, knowledge evolves, empires rise, and the collective fate of humanity strides toward its polestar. Let your mind swell and break the levy, let it wash clean the high peaks of your own existence, and deposit your soul atop its fertile delta. Mind is the perfect apparatus of dreaming, faithfully endeavoring to make every man into something worthwhile, no matter the cost. At its finest, it is both irresistible force and immovable object. It was cast forth at the birth of the age and set into motion, animating your frame for the briefest moment before plummeting onward toward the Fountainhead.
My heart shudders and blows in the gale. The thought of love gained and lost becomes drums in the night. I have taken poison and set out for the hillside to die. That two souls should wander the earth alone is tragic; there are so many festivals yet to enjoy. Where has your wonderful voice gone, and why can I still hear it in the distance? Why? Why? My precious girl from the gulf beach, wrapping me in heaven’s embrace. Keep searching for me through the wilderness of starry nights. I lie awake somewhere, waiting for you.
All silently passing away. All drinking and cheering as they run from the frothing bulls. All secretly plotting the demise of the other. Holding a string in the wind, your soul soaring like a kite. Paving roads for the machine of the universe. Carrying rocks that were once the Acropolis, certain of their ancient piety. Talking to her as the night becomes morning, smelling her perfume. Watching the horizon for the first sight of land. Remembering the day you walked back into town, the journey complete. All the handsome men who die face down in the mud. All the gorgeous girls jumping horses in the springtime show. To sweat days and dream light-years, even as you carry the casket.
Know that somewhere a girl is being kissed for the first time. That in a hospital room a young man is watching the sunrise through the window; that he knows it means something more. That the skeletons atop Mt. Everest still clutch their wedding rings. That a house is being built in the ghetto. That somewhere a wife has just been given the news. That all that ever was is no more; that the seconds pass ceaselessly. That right now someone much like yourself feels the same way. That there are never endings, only beginnings. That a million dead people would give anything for what you have right now. That I am watching your every action with limitless expectation and excitement. That your life is a powerful epic and a beautiful poem; that you are its fabled author.
When you wake up, think of everything you have. When you go to bed, think of everything you have. You are richest man in the town if you count the last five seconds. Think about these things and put them in the proper place: health, age, money, family, lovers, friends, two feet, freedom, education, work, belonging, reason.
Long ago I raised anchor and set sail for the distant isles. Have you heard the stories of my voyage? Have you thought long about the greater meaning of my disappearance? What is a man’s voyage but a salute cast blindly into the face of a storm? What is a lifetime but a flute harmony played to tame that tempest inside God’s soul? The stories of my death and awakening are true. There are many deaths and awakenings along any untrod path, along any dangerous way. Fear not my death. Fear only that death is not the beginning of my greater voyage.
There is much beauty to see if you are prepared to open your eyes. Begin by changing your world-view. The sun cannot blind you if you understand its position along the time-line of eternity and its purpose in the ritual of renewal. Your life is a season in the flourishing; are you content to waste it while the weeds overtake the blossoms? Sadness and despondence are not for you. The fireworks have begun. The drinks are being poured. The night is never dark for long. Go out and tell seven billion people that you love them with blood-shot eyes.
Cultivate a deep respect for Love as an ideal. Forget you were wronged, disliked, or sinned against. Live out your life like an artist before the easel; grasping forgiveness from the earth’s outstretched hand. Witness beauty - paint truth.
Your kiss is like morning dew - wet and soft upon my lips. Let me dance behind you and press your hips gently against mine. I do not know from where this Love has been gathered. Perhaps all love is a note I sent to myself a thousand years ago to someday open. How many love letters then have I sent toward today? How many beautiful men and women read my signature now with bated breath? I know our lifetimes must be long midnights spent clasped in each others bosom. I hear the musicians play and wonder if God courted the earth in such a way. Yes. I think that God has authored many letters of her own.
There was always the sound of the earth awakening, even before you could hear it. Before you, there were men who loved, worked, and died. Before them were the souls of warriors, and saints, and farmers. Back until the beginning there were great men and women, picking up and commencing in the face of seasons unknown. The memory of what was will become the outline of what will be. History is the template. Everything that ever existed will return again in embarrassing ways. You have never lived a moment that has not already been enjoyed by some trumpeter, merchant or harlot. Ahead of you are a thousand ready men, each willing to take up where you have left off.
Have you estimated the age of the earth? Or calculated the miles from yourself to the farthest satellite? How long did it take to judge the value of a sparrow? Of a crippled child? Of eternity? Did you reckon the distance from your eye to your soul as easily as your hand to your stomach? Have you forgotten the sound of the growing leaf? Question how the finite becomes the infinite. Search for how you too can take the path. It is said that the song of the universe’s birth may be heard everywhere. Listen for it.
When you are angry think of all the better ways you could be using your time. When you are tired consider how lucky you are to be able to work hard (there are many who do not have the strength to walk). When you are jealous think of what we take with us to the cemetery. When you are happy think of me. When you are in love think of what that is and how it came to be. You will find that love is the final human victory. When you are ready to give up think of what was accomplished by those who did not give up (the earth has not given up on you). When you are scared look in the mirror (there is something powerful there). When you are alone know that there is no such thing as loneliness. You have never been alone. A powerful vanguard surrounds you always, its warriors extending to the farthest horizon.
Cut the ropes, break the bonds, and escape unhindered into the light. Nothing can stop you but the fear you make for yourself. There has never been a crowd that can subdue you or a barrier strong enough to keep you at bay. You are high water rushing over the dam. You cannot be contained or measured by this world or the next. Forget everything except this – you are. Why fear? The sun rises and sets, the lovers die, the ruins of mankind fade into antiquity – you will remain.
Children in the back yard. Mothers and fathers clapping proudly, expressing with smiles the depth of their mysterious union. Summer light pouring over the dogwood, its flowers ablaze in the afternoon breeze. It was there I felt the hand on my shoulder. Holding me like a rescued friend, asking my name. And the seasons pass and the children grow-up. Their beautiful parents fall asleep, never to return. The dogwood blooms for the last time, its tired branches in exquisite denouement. The hand slip from my shoulder - our work complete. I too pass on.
Why are you always masquerading, and so poorly? Do the people who love you know who you really are? If you do nothing else, plumb the depths of the souls that surround you. Treat them as the nobility they are and accept them as unique extensions of the One Soul. Keep their hopes and dreams as close, or closer, than your own - it will help you explore even farther down your own road. In the other room is the future of the race. Think what a few compliments could do for the teenager in the next room. You are so certain that all the kind words were meant for you. Go quickly! – Every soul is on stage today reading its lines. Listen. What is being admitted is cavalier and extraordinary.
Lift with your mind. Wonder with your heart. Dream with your feet.
The job remains incomplete. There is more to be done. Yes; the grass is cut, the papers are filed, and the house is arranged. But you are still in disarray, as you have always been. Throw down your hammer and crawl back into the womb. This time, direct your efforts to more meaningful things. You are not beyond help yet. There is nothing more important a man can do than gather up his own pieces. Like an engineer building a bridge. Two footings – one in this world, one in the next. A mighty span to withstand wind, rain, and time. An angle of gentle repose, arching toward its centerpoint. So a man assembles himself with his own labor. No coin is paid, and no crowd comes to admire. But the masterpiece at last is completed, and the continents are united forever.
The day I died I dreamed I lay
restless beside you, choking up
deep amorous love through cloudy breathes
gasping, drying my eyes with your scented hair.
I dreamed you pressed your firm,
excruciatingly real, body atop mine
disturbingly slowly…oh God….
the sound of your pony-tail
cascading into pieces.
The day I died, I overheard
a girl with long hair
had given a fine eulogy somewhere,
thinking it untrue, I sat beside
the creek, waiting for you.
In the end, it is for you alone to understand your place in the Cycle - to wonder why the apple tree buds - why you yourself are a bud. To know the shimmering fragrant leaves as people, and lovers, and planets. Then the rumors of the system are true. Its colossal hand holds the galaxy like a pebble in a stream. And every Man is a tributary to the ever-flowing stream; his cool waters pour into the ocean of life; his essence becomes a drop on some distant shore.
I have more faith, you more religion. Pit your own divinity against the church’s cornerstone; struggle with clenched teeth to break it free, collapsing the entire idea. There is no wiser holy book than the one recently discovered inside your head. Truth has many conceptions and presentations in the world of man. Measure its rough pitted edges with the patience of a Lama, endeavoring to get the whole of it, regardless of the season. A Man knows that many beaten paths stretch to the horizon; that all the dogma in Rome cannot pave one step of his own journey. Go to the cities and hills preaching the New Word – that love is unconditional, universal, and free; that to love completely is to become divine. Convert the masses, even as they shut the furnace door. Churches and religions will crumble under the weight of ages, but truth is born with every dawn.
I sometimes dream of a new house; one where the cool breeze rushes in through cracks in the walls, where starlight falls across the dirt floor, painting it with ancient truer colors. A spacious house that gives shelter without having to shut the door or sweep out the rafters. Where tales of adventure spark like cedar in the fireplace, and the sweet spices of a thousand distant ports mingle with the familiar scent of pipe weed. Where men and women gather to rest and converse, travelers from every corner, stepping in from the gathering storm. I welcome them, take their staves, and bring them soup from the kettle.
Why are you are so willing to do as you are told? You remain undecided until you are powerless to do what is right; becoming a mere puppet of the state. The legislature passes a law and your legs dance, the university teaches and your arms extend, the newspaper gossips and your jaws gape. No unjust institution can be allowed to stand. If a single righteous Man is sent to the mines, we are all enslaved. Let the revolt begin. Pull down the temples and halls, stone by stone if you must. Return their despotic foundations to grass, making the air fresh once again. Cut the strings that animate your neighbors, they can remain citizens of a lie no longer. Embrace truth, though it be hidden immediately; for even as we speak, the deadwood is consumed by its flame.
Be gentle with the hearts of others. Think about what you are about to do or say. It may be that the stranger next to you is faced with many great obstacles. A friend and confidant has entrusted you with invaluable things. Your mother and father see a spark in you. I see a many sparks in you.
I hug you tightly, pulling your body into the air, spinning you under the sycamore. I am so glad you have returned. Let me see your pictures…Wait! I forgot to tell you how perfect you are. To be without you, without your reassuring laugh, is for a week to seem like eternity. Come inside, you must be tired; I have your favorite dinner set out for you.
To be a child…
To be assimilated into the One Mind; to bejewel its crown with vitality. To drown all great tragedies in the deep waters of total acceptance; assured by its aura of peace. Measuring your age by the height of the seedling, believing it will grow forever. Trusting the questions more than the answers; knowing that the answers are really unimportant. Holding the dead mouse softly between tiny fingers, stroking it with uncertain expectation. Giving hugs and kisses with wild abandon, offering them purely and without regret. Opening eyes for the first time; having no preconceptions of what lies ahead or behind; seeing no reflections or shadows; never squinting in the light. Never doubting what nature has organized; being newly aware that our lives are very small in the Cycle. Capturing butterflies and setting them free; knowing that each of us has been held and set free. Knowing nothing worthwhile can be kept forever; that to cherish and let go is beautiful and just.
Why does the creek change its course, the fountain bubble, or the leaves die? Begin by thinking with your soul. Condition it to see the fabric of the metaphysical; witnessing that time, space, and matter are but three shafts of light in a multiverse of stars. In your search for truth, press undeterred toward its fount.
Three ways to look at life: As a prison sentence. As a long toil broken briefly by pleasure or pain. As a never-ending celebration of merging and oneness.
And the darkening form of the sun sank
And the purple shroud fell and deepened there
As if the dream world came and went, the new lovers appeared
And romped and frolicked at the trunk of the tree of stars
As so produced were we, precious stones of a
New rift in the seam of things
Vast, undaunted, beautiful like children in the riffles
The cloth cut, the dream taken and kept
Marvel at rejuvenation everywhere. Rains washing away the dirt of the day. Revolutions washing away governments; giving the power once again to the people. Organs flushing waste from the body. Supernovas, crushed under their own weight, casting off their excess. Snakes shedding fragile skin. Man shedding his old, uneducated ways. Trees shaking off their summer leaves. Ancient empires now hidden in ivy. A newborn baby, wrapped in her mother’s arms. A fallen warrior; his brave heart returning only to dust. (He too is wrapped in someone’s arms). Waterfall to stream, stream to river, river to ocean, ocean to sky, and over and over again forever.
You sit once again at the dinner table, hoping to be fed. The fish is cooked and the bread is broken; the meal has been blessed. But nothing natural can sustain you. When you pack your bags, provision them with sweeter, lighter manna. Eat from the festival board of the world. Spread your cover over the continents, picnicking grandly amidst the heavens. Forage fruit from every forest and field; tasting the nectars from Maine to Mozambique. There is a richer, more fulfilling food that man has yet to eat. It cannot be hunted atop the Pyrenees or gathered at the waterfall’s base. It flourishes all around us, its vines, like an umbilical cord, nourishing us with the sweeter ether of life.
I stand at the edge of the universe. I witness its cold void expanding into the dark, its arms outstretched to unknown places. Needing to see more, I travel inward. The solar system spreads out before me. Nine planets and a star in fragile friendship and symmetry. Closer in, the earth appears green, and blue, and bustling; continents and seas, raging storms and dim city lights - the Pangaea of man. Curious, I descend to its warm surface – atop a green hill in a park overlooking a lake surrounded by people. Smiling, I wonder if they know who I am. I fall into the springtime grass; threading myself through tender, moist sheaves, sitting on soft petals; my head amongst the clover. Now a new forest, no less grand than the one above, shades my face. Unconvinced, I journey deeper still, intent to drink at the truth from its source. Resting, I crouch beneath a grain of sand; day-old grasses rise like towers in the sky and a ray of sunlight becomes the vast firmament. Further and further I travel - the world about me always large, complex, and unimpressable by my alien feet. I watch atoms twist and morph, their forms altering to the melody of some unheard cord. I become a visitor to dimensions and spaces anciently founded; mother to the laws of nature, and in turn, the universe herself. But still my journey continues - until at last, the small and the large, the near and the far, the end and the beginning are seen for what they really are – one.
Life cannot break you. It is powerless to affect you, even in the least way. Become so humble, loving, and courageous that it can only observe your actions in silent admiration.
Man Thinking is man in his highest state; the greatest approximation of man to the Central Mind.
I lay your body softly in the grave, remembering everything you said about life. There are no good words for what has happened here. I smooth the cool dirt over your body. It tumbles easily over your lips; your arms, crossed pleasantly, disappear. And here you will remain, until, in a thousand millennia, the grasses will part, the earth will be washed away, and the sunlight will once again dance across your face. This is why I have set you here on the hill, in the sun, where the lilacs and persimmon trees grow. Here you may bless the earth, and it may serenade you forever. Because I am certain that what is hidden from sight is not dead; just as deep inside the ancient poplar tree are stored up a thousand years of heartwood. Nothing has been lost, nothing gained by today’s display. Do you remember the day we were married? Do you remember what I promised you at the altar? But God is a better companion for your new journey, as he has always been, though we often forget. I will make your bed and water the plants; don’t worry about the children. I love you so very much…and…before I go…take this note….
"Today, I promise, I will stand …. forever by your side.
I promise I will love you, cherish and confide
all the hopes and thoughts and fleeting cares
that in our lives we dream or dare.
Today, I promise, in your eyes will shine
my moonlit memories of the sweetest times
the endless days I’d dream awake
that all the moments of my life you’d take.
To grant me your peace, and free my soul
to raise divine, and love bestow.
Atop the highest mountain peaks
where summer sunshine and August meet
to forests green in far off places, and a thousand oceans warm embraces.
I’ll go to tell the world my story, that in my life my only glory
is you my friend my single joy, my hope to come, my way to find
my life to live in happiness, the only one that I have missed.
I love you more each day you see, so listen closely and believe
and walk my way if you will be the only one to carry me, and hold me close
and marry me…..and we’ll never be apart again."
Now is the time to see people in fresh, bold ways. Be a person of great class who sees no class. Hold yourself to a higher standard than you require of others.
Every man is a rock beneath some loftier structure; his own lifetime written as a preface to the Tome of Great Souls. A newer, better, and more noble breed of men will one day come. Courtiers of the earth, truth-seekers, walkers of long roads, sent to fulfill the ancient prophecies; demanding the return of lost loves, an opening of graves, an accounting of journeys taken and untaken. From unsuspected garrisons they muster – the penniless boy, the elated bride, the resigned widow. More begotten of the One Mind than of man, come to liberate and equate; positing their colossal souls against the unopposed order. Warriors of a celestial army, holding the streets of a new enlightened state; surrounded by its cheering populace. Against every injustice a champion will rise; shield poised, sword ready. And the battle will rage across the nations, until the king’s privileges are repaid, the palace finery is torn down, and the riches of the earth are returned to its people.
Now is the time for the old laws to be rewritten, the innocent set free, and society’s favored conceptions forgotten.
No one ever died of overexposure to roses.
Let no one tell you you are not smart, or pretty, or strong. You do not need to be. It is enough that you are who you are.
Sacrifice yourself for a cause. It is necessary that the cause is greater than yourself; do not forget that. What better place for your soul than on the highest cloud, legs trembling, earth far beneath you. If you fall, do not worry. The great hand of fate has been cradling you from the beginning. It will pluck you up and place you back on your feet. So, you see, you cannot parish, even in the greatest tragedy. I know these things because someone long ago caught me.
Be careful with your dreams and the places you take them. Imagine yourself as the apostle of the possible, the warrior of self-actualization. Not despair – determination. Not sorrow – strength. No one has ever been more capable than you are now. What is not done by you will be lost to the ages, a sad artifact of what might have been. Would you rather your descendants uncover your amazing accomplishments or your pitied bones? You are the greatest in a long vanguard of men. There is much to accomplish beneath these distant stars and city lights. Begin by making your way to the deepest core of the most unimagined places within yourself. Throw yourself in. You are the raw materials of a future greatness you cannot comprehend.
The first chapter is now complete, reader, and in it I have told you much about yourself. Now let me tell you more about me, more about the places I have searched in my ever deepening desire to know you. I give you my story in the first-person, as all great stories must be. It is the story of an unbound mind that lives by a higher authority. It is the saga of a life lived and loved to its supreme conclusion. You will see that I celebrate at all graduations and funerals. And I sob at all weddings and christenings. And I cast my self happily into the darkest waters and hope I will bring good luck to fisherman. I think my existence is only kindling for the campfires that will one day awaken the love of the world. My smile and easy acceptance of strangers is a wonderful excuse to set a table for all friends everywhere. And I say to you today – I have wandered all white seashores laced with lovers and secretly wished I were warm inside your arms. I have purchased Love’s gold until I was destitute but could think of no better way to buy my freedom. Their can be no providence except what the human heart creates. There is no right or wrong but what the strong will of Love enjoys.