Sunday, October 11, 2015

Riddles for the Now & Not Yet

Stills from 新少林寺 (Shaolin), 2011


It is pain in the needle in the corner of the hall.
The ether of some vision that once stung you
with hope, the kind that brings fever.

It is the fire escape nobody knows of
so that you can hang tender plants in
glass baubles from the iron rungs.

The tree in the middle of the tenement city whose
tiny lights pierce the fog every night with a glittering
code of love notes for ships passing by, lonely, each one.


Holy city of flames beneath the log in the campfire.
The great carved wall behind the unreachable waterfall in the mountains.
That music box built into the innards of an old piano in a storage locker.

Places you hide your heart; places no one looks, and if they look, no one sees.
Places I only find, eyes closed, all else forgotten, fingers on fire.
Places worth climbing to, ascending inch by inch.


Now. No—then.
The night before.
A day later.

Your name was
written for you
in the book of life.

We sat in silence,
we left in silence,
we aged in silence.

Not now. Yes—then.
Another year later.
Another second before.


You tell me.

I tell you fragments of the
story that surely you know in full.

Mystery loves me madly, and these vows
are a wearying thing, wearing thin.
I wonder that nothing is found.

I wonder that you still appear only to wander
when I know you battle by night; that you feel
the pain of this want even as you march forward,
straight-backed. As I crawl toward this sliver of light.


The only truth:
we are to become.

And love for this becoming
is only grasped by fools who wait.
And wait. And­—

You are; this substance
is held in cherished suspension, a notch
in history pulsing blue fire.

I am, and we
are pulled from the river mud with
joy, with pride. Even in the dregs of our slumber.

Put aside these thoughts of ruin;
you are here.

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