An excellent machine, she knows it well:
At the foot of the lemon tree, bright fruit fell.
Sliding low beneath, she reaches, retrieves—
No question. Possible. But not for the tree.
There are edges, and there are lines, and there are
The reflections of lines and edges—If, say, “Where
The line is, a path lies” (the rat running along the
Power line, the lyric that triggers a memory), then
Edges are openings, the last place to stand when
You are no longer here. The finch lands where the
Rat ran: A line, and then an edge, an indefinite article.
The sun’s scrawling leaf shadows on the grass—
Clapping out a beat to the harmonious wind,
Watching underneath the tree: Me. Delight.
Dead twigs like busted guitar strings twang
Among the living…Grounded in Los Angeles,
With summer coming and an uncertain fate,
Making decisions every second—to breathe,
Even; it’s a mess, this place and Being in it. But
There’s the shadow writing to read, the music
Aeolian, and The Maker Sun to study in the steady
Discipline of Doing Nothing, the way the many
Moments pass without intention, like the Sun
Making leaves (and simulacra leaves) by shining.
The thyme creeps along under the rose
In soil impoverished with use — Early morn,
And clouds are gathering. . .West. Heat rises
From the other side of the Eastern hills
So swiftly. Desert there, Rose / Thyme here;
The systems clash, and the rain vanishes.
Even from such distances can solace be stolen.
The water is a place of edges, silvered Winter sun
Defining distances, an illusion: I am here, yet I stand
Watching the black kites hunt the ring-neck parakeets.
They hide among stories of Gods, high in the gopurum—
The mirror of memory and present tense, also places
Of edges and illusion, distinction and disappearance:
I am no longer here, and This is an event that is now past
For me, and will be for you. All the same, and without us,
The winter sun is shining on the Bay, and the Siva watches
The hawks hunt the parrots as the edges vanish into night.
The machine of meaning turns, and I look
Down the generations of its sense: Word,
Self-making, the thing that meets itself
When it seeks its definition. I look again,
Up into the sycamore branches, bare now,
And lines of shadow cross my face unseen.
It’s not, I suddenly know, knowing anything,
But instead removing what’s not real.
The sycamore, or its shadow; word or word.
Does it matter? This is all I can do, can make.
But what is given me comes in whispers,
The dark markings of the unmanifest.
The limits of understanding are there:
I am in the circumference of my skin.
Mid-morning light on the East side of the branch
Much the same as mid-afternoon on the West—
There’s an equality of time, an ease of motion
In November, like being destinationless while lost.
Even sounds, even shadows pause—and the dew
Lingers late into the morning. The trellis holds
The trumpet vine while it waits, and the harrier
Pauses above the vole’s den, a pendant.
The loss of an hour now seems a little thing
Compared to Spring’s insistence, so I’m
Wasting it, watching nothing
in a willful way.
It’s Autumn’s blessing, a moment of contentment
Cast off from Being like the iridescence
On the blackbird’s back, shining unaware.
The sunlight slips into a more golden range
So imperceptibly—but it slips,
and of a sudden,
There it is. I ask, How
are you feeling?
And I see acceptance in your eyes,
Fine on your lips.
It doesn’t matter at all
That the maple’s red. The starlings
Will stay all Winter, and the water
Of the River will receive the sky’s Image:
It’s the time of year to receive—Such
Sweetness and ease in the shortening day,
The lengthening shadows—you can’t help
But relinquish to the paradigm of the leaves:
The thing that flourishes must attend to its end.
But not yet.
The open ended question of experience keeps
Me on the return path, path of the curving Line
That will meet itself one day, become a circle—
I know this, even though I cannot see its form:
The form of all things: That is me, and for this
I came, to turn my attention the right direction,
And turn so that my attention will return to me.
The Truth is a dim and narrow place
Compared to the expanse of the Uncertain;
The light on Your face allows me to embrace
Opposites. What will I find if I seek Faith?
It, too, is like the location of the horizon: There,
Then it recedes as I approach. Presence
Or Absence, It makes no difference, in the End.