PRAYING FOR FLOW

February 15, 2008

praying-for-flow2

Here are some excerpts from each of the four poems with the overall title Praying for Flow:

from the beginning of Twisting From Within
which tracks the episodic descent of the poem as it falls onto the screen interrupted by mundane flows of daily life, by fears, dreams, stories and memories in an unending desire to question and understand, to settle once and forever the uncatchable flow of events, offering the microcosmic falls or drops which result from bailing with a sieve.

Twisting from within out onto the screen
are swirls of small notions, hopping flies
dotting the white, creating somewhere
to be in, annihilating the great beyond
which is funnelled onto it, pecked and
re-given, a regurgitation of pre-digested
worm into any beaks that are open.

The thread coming out of me is the fall
of rooks at dusk a funnel of thousands
of elements whose order is miraculous
as is the swirling folding flight before
the fall begins, the reluctant awareness
of predators down there, waiting.

I thought I was alone but that is
folly, I have you funnelling nightly
into my body, and rising unsteadily
each morning, flapping out across
the screen forming yourself in
drifts more fabulous than Borges
might have drawn upon, or lived
in, being everything of him and
what came after him, marks rising
as the smoke from crematoria
in static air, then opening into an
imagined nothingness, unseen
but existing here in flecks of
dust, marks to be dusted from
ledges, edges of shelves where
nothing sits, revealed when a cup
is moved, or the light slants in
upon a surface, or on the motes
waiting to flow into our nostrils.

But, this flow varies, there is
some fluctuation in functioning,
power surges or falls in pressure
these seem to come from there
the outer world, as though that were
any different from the inner one,
yet, it seems so.

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From the Middle of Tripidium
which takes its title from the name of an ancient liturgical dance of two steps forward and one back. The poem explores this pattern of dance in relation to the darting back and forth in relation to time, memory, emotion, pulses, tidal flows, cycles of weather, through a series of stories, instructions and conclusions, dictating responsibilities that alternately lull and disturb our awareness.

The pulse is always on, on and off, up
and down, now and then, the beat
though can be changed, emphasis
can be given. The tripidium is an
attitude, a way of counting, changing
the bar frame, and meanwhile,
as it ticks, the bones of my friends
are stacked in tiny coffins,
as on supermarket shelves.
When opened I can gaze at
their remains, similar sets of skeletons
with here and there a bit of moss or twig
adhering, the odd muddied feather.
Their places of rest which shrank from
Taj Mahal sized mausoleums to
something the size of a garden shed,
are dwindling now into eggcups of near
invisible dusty fragments of calcium,
soon to disappear.

Though there are people I search for
on the internet, now that there is one,
wondering if their names have changed
or at the profligate number with the same
one being attached to student blogs and
committee chairmen in Delaware, or
sometimes to the long dead and famed.
Sometimes you find them, leering
from a photograph you can still see them
in, their CVs disguising the chasms
their careens have crossed, enlisting
the help of any claim they have for recognition
or ability, or past success, not knowing that,
by now, promise is an embarrassing commodity,
easily confused with pleading.
I look for Larry from time to time,
an occasional glance across the dance
floor of the fifties, or listen for him when
I see pianos, or remember the horribly wrong
way everything never got started and so
is never ending.

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From the end of Senseless in the Empyrium, an ontological awakening to moments of presence and explores the fiction of separation between inner and outer, self and others. It acknowledges senselessness both as absence of awareness and the inability to make sense of this.

Once there was a successful ladder maker,
who after years practising his craft made
seems unlikely, according to local legend,
his hens and cows as well, and as none

of them ever reappeared, the ladder assumed
great importance.
At first no-one dared to set foot on it,

though they began to believe that
if they climbed it, it would lead them
somewhere wonderful. No one knew

exactly where but rumours suggested
all the usual destinations,
a place of peace and concord,

untold riches,
strange powers to control others,
to fulfil desires without having to define them,

to speak languages, know the future,
even, it was said by a crazy man
a place where anyone could play

the piano immaculately,
though no one believed him.
Gradually the thought of all

the possible benefits unsettled them
and one by one they rested a foot
for a while on the lowest rung,

then growing bolder a small group
began to ascend, followed by others;
young people with a sense of adventure

older people who did not want to loose
touch with their children, the authorities
who feared loosing taxes and pretty soon

the whole country was in the process of
climbing the ladder, there was no one left
on the ground, except for a few

rebellious individuals who had decided
to build a better and less crowded
ladder of their own and as

I am one of them I can not tell you how
the story ends because for years now
we have lived underground deciphering

the structure of roots which one
of our forbears prophesised would
yield all the information we need.

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From the first page of And in my Flesh
which focuses on experiencing the physical body’s functioning in relation to breath and emotions; liminal states between sleep and waking; changes in the body made during the reception of memories; the dance of the body as it seeks flexible, stability of functioning within and amongst these flows of life.

Being still,
only in a sense, that is, when
lying down, I feel as though hearing
them, the sharp chirruping pains in small bones,
at the bridge of my nose, the inside of wrists,
and my sacrum which feels brittle.

My palms
cup my hips, my fingers
find a strong pulse. As muscles soften
fragments of dream form, I seem to fall
into the mind of a friend and then out
of his skull and into his wife’s head.

I am
not practised in listening to my body,
and usually when it speaks loudly it is
telling me to stop doing whatever is hurting
it and usually I refuse, saying, “no, I must
finish this.”

In the sky
the swifts are hurling themselves into
pulsing swerving contractions and expansions
exposing the currents of air, and also their
own mysterious incomprehensible selves
churning separately and together.

My skin
is a tight elastic, pulling my shoulders
to my ears, compacting inner organs
pressing and squeezing the matter of which
I’m made, hobbling and distorting functioning,
how did this happen?