Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ezra Pound Looks Down From Heaven

There is a sixth sense I have exhumed from a jar of peanut butter. There is nothing magisterial about it except sweat and a certain willowy Weltanschauung. It has no discernible structure. It’s like one of those sonnets people compose nowadays that rest on the page like goldfish in sleepy resignation. Or the way a garage imposes a syntax of chaos on the innocent sidewalk. Why even call it a sense? Perhaps it’s not a sense at all but just another nutty dollop of peanut butter. There must be a hotel nearby because I can feel it in my excitement. Hotels excite me. All those rooms. All those beds. All those angles of reference. Ceremonies of the bathroom. Climbing into bed. Reviewing the day’s events. Envisioning jewels of light overflowing the clouds. There are auras. Halations. Presences that make themselves available to us through the mind, rather than the usual channels, those usual five senses, tasting, hearing, seeing, touching, smelling. Things palatable as a bowl of opium with no identifiable coherence. Like the sky cracking open on a mountaintop. A clarity too fleeting to imbue the senses.

Absence can have a sense of presence. Think of a Pollock canvas. Pure energy on a Long Island canvas. Shapes slippery as tuna. Orange flame in a cast iron hibachi. Proposition blinks agreement in the ash. Barbarian drugs yield delicate Tiffany colors. I have a drawer full of letters I never read. Voices that, having expressed the vagaries of an interior life, sleep in darkness. I stumble into the movie of night. I hear the silence of rocks under the singing water of a mountain brook. Life is mostly silence. And attempts to mask that silence with the noise of work and parties and friends and weddings. But there a few who get it. Emily Dickinson sweeping out a New England kitchen. She knew. The voices of old poets in their creaking bones. An entirely new formal possibility entered into the language in the 19th century with Melville and Whitman and Dickinson and the goofy foolish human parade in Cincinnati and Houston and Cedar Rapids.

I spread butter on my waffles and watch it melt into those little square cavities. Words are bubbles hungry for paper. There was a time that I wanted to feel that I was a part of the world but that time has gone. I know one thing the soul of a woman was created for love. And that love itself is a cruel little boy on phosphorescent wings. I remember when plywood was king and oak was a destiny and pine was an exquisite haven of knots in a West Virginia church. Shakespeare in the charged air of London overhearing people in heated exchange. Women have such lovely slender necks. And then one day it is all bone by bone in a bag of dirt.

Heaven in the silver foil of a quiet winter sky. An old dirt road by a river. Here is where peanut butter and the sixth sense come together. A thought of the afterlife inflated to the size of a man’s head is rhymed by the ka-thunk ka-thunk ka-thunk of windshield wipers on a deep blue Tacoma pick up. What else can one do but fall through a hole in the eyes and see the world you are standing in as it truly exists. Cézanne shaking a paintbrush. Sweet Ernest Borgnine bringing a knife down on a slab of Italian meat.

There are so many things that elude description. This in and of itself testifies to a magnitude of existence that transcends that order of language. Muscle hooked to urges that defy understanding. Dark railroads. An atmosphere woven of exile. A rope of honey descending on a bed of pumpernickel. Simple images, but each only a fragment of a larger gestalt.

Here is where the road turns north toward Saskatoon. Ezra Pound looks down from heaven. Same goatee, same grouchy face. Only thing different is that he is at the controls of a Tathagata flying saucer. He is a little numb moment in my palm.

A cube of ice cream on a wooden stick. I just can’t seem to find the right drug. Old age is for real. I’m angry as a cat. Worried as a terrier. Crazy as a bat. A crow is giving a lecture in a nearby evergreen. I can’t understand a single thing he’s saying. The sky topples over in a pink Chablis light and the sharp odor of apple blossom belies the reality of our world hanging in an ocean of cold forever space.

Everybody looks suspicious in a bank. Let us exalt in our wrinkles. We who have them know what they’re worth. We have withdrawn them from our accounts. Our experiences. Our mortgaged garish porches and funny outlandish pumps. Our derricks of oil and soaked prairie visions. We deposit our worries and leave with a note of sorrow. The tugs go out at high tide. The morality of design pleases the diplomats of harmony. A twelve year old girl has sewn my shadow to my body. I’m ready now. Ready to get up and mingle with the sage.

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