Someone will come to comfort you,
Someone who sees, no, who knows,
Your pain, someone who will show you
A boulevard, where the sunlight glows,
A wild spot in Canada, where the rapids
And you will heal, and you will feel
Your life under each eyelid.
That is you and me. That is
Everyone, sick with love,
Until our doctor comes, to
Release—taking off each glove--
Our yearnings, to give life to endless
Planets, each with its own bears,
Its own honey badgers, its towns,
Its trees’ globes of glowing pears.
(After all, how far is heaven
From here? Inside my skull, it seems
A jumble. Angels, true, and fences,
I myself have smashed my dreams,)
And there is the soul, straining to
Emerge, and the stuffed river
In the soul, it wants to flow,
Flow, and it can barely shiver.
No one knows. Here come the medicine
Men, I mean they’re really kind,
Instead of showing her her vistas,
Water surging through a blind
Alley, nostrums, formulas,
Donkeys bearing panniers that carry
Stale, flat bread, and there
She is, bereft and solitary.
My spirit sank. (It ignored
My spirit rising, or it was
The other side, or it sat
In Schrodinger’s box, what does
Your cat do?) My spirit sank.
(Wouldn’t Frank Zappa be surprised?
Because) (perhaps) all the tunes
Would somehow be anesthetized,
And swoopingly deodorized.
What if you were given, well, say,
A hybrid motor and headlights that
Could pierce the black in Mandalay?
Believe me, you are so good-looking
That that chopped-up purple hair
And half-lying on the sofa
And the casual way you swear
Your limbs will leap up from the couch,
You’ll say, “Show me the tropical sun!
Take me to the waterfall
Of Lembeh Island!” I’ll say, “Son,
When you rise, I rise. Together, let us
Search for light in the gecko’s
Golden, slitted eyes. Let us
Go to Spain, to those El Grecos
Gloomy on the walls and open
The skylight to see a Jan Miro
Sky, and then up north to see
The blinding light upon the snow.”
Every curse will turn into
A blessing. (Maybe that’s why the deadly
Tropical fish are so alluring,
So psychedelic, such a medley
Of scintillation.) Everything bad
Will turn to good (I’d like the eyes
To see that now. Wouldn’t we all?
From Jupiter, how distant sunrise
Must appear.) Everything streams
From somewhere, the spongy texture of
Galaxies, the sweeping little
Electrons in the foxglove,
It all starts out as good. It all
Carries traces of advice.
The plans from brilliant nudibranchs
Up to Isaac’s sacrifice.
It is all a metaphor.
Yes there is time and there
Are numbers here and there
(And what are they in you? Where
(Is your time and where are your numbers, if
Your fingers are numb?) In heaven, time
Is (a lively creature or
A dye that soaks the curtains. I’m
Sure that I don’t know.) and numbers
Are (silver buttons, perhaps), and what
About you? Are your thoughts here
Here or there? Cold or hot?
That which is hidden in the cosmic brain
Comes out in crooked roads, where trucks
Carry staples to foreign communities,
Ergot in the wheat, an influx
Of tainted milk—they once found a kid
In its mother’s milk—and the exhaust chokes
The town and the people stumble into
Plate-glass windows—what a hoax,
That the trinkets are plated in silver dross
As fresh from the finest silversmith.
It’s because the dispatcher fell asleep
Or worse, his hand slipped, and with
That, the whole array of lights
On the grid changed, and there the trucks go
To Chile or to tribes. Look,
They eat the food, their eyes glow.
But you, even if your mind
Is filled with images of collapsed
Mountains, volcanic rubble, charred
Trunks, where life and sound have lapsed,
Recall, at any rate, Miss Mary
Mack, who had silver buttons all down
Her back, no doubt she strung pearls
Into a necklace and put on a crown.
Because I gave her a piece of my heart
She had my heart and I had a hole
In my heart. But the doctor said fine, I will fix it
Better than ever with a piece of a scroll.
There’s another way to look
At it. The air does not envelop
Mt. Everest. Mt. Everest
Includes the air. Its paths develop,
The paths of sky and earth. And
The stories and the visions, they’re
For far below, for every man
With a paperback on the thoroughfare.
The dreams receive from the neurons, its
The neurons whose lights flash across
Nodes, and then the wind whips
The snow up to scrape and emboss,
Up from the lower flanks of the mountain,
Where the peach and cerise laundry flaps.
Wind and mountain, mountain and wind,
Never-ceasing turmoil, thunderclaps,
Echoes and blessings, churning earth
And raging mudslides, all of them speak,
These are the elemental giants
Drinking from the icy creek.
Stories and rules, blood and bones,
Dreams of images unending
And relays of neurons, these pairs
Blending together, ascending and descending,
Sometimes one is the mother and the other
Is the son, and sometimes the other way
Around. (Oh how my dreams emerge
In the night from the roar of the ocean spray.)
The source of the tremendous river
Is the source of the banks, the oxbow lakes,
The waters give the land new rules,
The forest along the bank slakes
Its deepest need from the deepest
Waters, from the first bubble
From which the river courses, until
All the land, from wheat to rubble,
Align themselves, under the sun
And under the stars, until the land
Is so rich that the dreamer on
Its soil sees visions from Samarkand
To heaven. And sometimes the land itself,
Rises, the hills and their sediments,
So that they themselves are the river,
The dreams themselves and their wonderments.
(”I too” he declared “have pain. I too
Feel a twisted muscle, a creeping
Dissolution in my skull,
My honor wrecked, and I am sleeping
(”As my money is depleted,
I look and see you in the other
Train, we’re running parallel
Your train is clean you do not smother
(”In cigarette smoke. But as for me,
My vision of the moon is blotted
Out, my own image in
The mirror flinches and is clotted.”)
(And since, since in a tenement
The faucet is rusted, the water will not
Run. Maybe you can know
What that’s about, it seems such rot.)
(If I could borrow something from you,
Your eyeglasses, or your angle
Of the view, from here to
A boat where Arctic ice floes tangle
(In the water and the chill
Makes my bones wake up. The black
Rough mountains are softened with snow
And shall we paddle in the kayak?)
All of the clams were controlled by the rhythm
Of the sea. And all of the seas
Were rolled about by the moon.
Of these we’re all facsimiles.
Imagine a raft of seals that is kind
And a cove in Greenland streaming light,
And all of nature is stuffed into
Your veins, and everything is right,
And even the suavity of your spine
Is attuned to a book whose mint taste
Glistens on your tongue. It is
A scarlet sash around your waist,
It is a turban. It is a ship
That sails along a forest shore,
A mountain that rises above all hills,
And a fortress of the emperor.
Yaacov David Shulman