Saturday, March 01, 2008

Bruce Stater

from Shaman-Machine

Systems Collapse in the Face of the Real

Day One

A pattern is running through my mind
I have thought that it stands
on its own two feet regardless of twists & turns
pushing towards new outcomes of fate
new separations between inside & out
locus solus & societas
the expansion or reduction of circles
eyes fixed forward on that tree
which blossoms on the horizon
in the summer encrusted with dark memories
of cold skies, of lesions which separate us from
you from me from the sensation of light
from the miraculous union of the seasons
from sensation from depth from the playfulness
of memory from life itself

To repeat it & repeat it again
as if any reparation were adequate practice
& training for the fantasy of winning that race
finally arriving there alone or with others
beyond the line in that moment or event
where anguish & bitterness
emptiness & despair
wave their final farewells
bleak & teary eyed
filled with the sentimentality of departing trains

It is as if day one does not know
the meaning of first day
of dawn, horizon, of feather & caress

I waste more time writing these words
they are not mine
they belong to my mind
as alcove belongs to cave
or guardian to gate
as muse belongs to the impoverished poet
as magic helper belongs to frightened child
as aphasia belongs to word
the arc traced around the invisible center
the skin of the apple or the peach
which protects the ripe flesh within
ready to burst in the season of new beginnings
in which eyes open to the orange and pink rays
of dawn to the morning flight of pigeons & doves
to the excess of beauty of my beloved's skin,
the curve of her waist, the softness of her thigh,
the weight of her breasts, of the pain & beauty of growing old

When the trains departed we thought of the sky
when the sky fell we thought of a place beyond time
practically unfathomable, resistant & impervious to harm
to war & sickness & the darts of the angry angels
the frightened ones who would whisper their horrible
names & desires in our ears
for we had ears & were forced to listen
though we stopped them up
with wax & hope & even wisdom
projected into the push-pull of our dreams of utopia
of lion & lamb
of the absence of goods
where the idea & abstraction of what was possible
replaced the materiality of excess imposed upon us
from the outside

At night we sleep
that is my vision my dream
I enter the bed before you do
you stay up late & read through the darkness
the emptiness of memory the hopelessness of future
the refusal of fatality
each night I wish that you were there with me
from the outset & invent excuses & lies to achieve this end
sometimes it is a sore back that needs the affection
of your hands
sometimes a fear or need to complete the distracting
conversation complete the task or come to terminus
though both of us know in our unspeaking that end
is illusion that we are given what we make that the beyond
is now & that beyond the sense of nothing in now
which we struggle endlessly against & into
there is a greater & more infinite emptiness
which touches & somehow inexplicably kisses the process
of dancing atoms, of thoughts formed from spiral galaxies,
of actions taken in those universes whose geometric configurations
& metaphysical self-awarenesses lie beyond our capacity to conceive

Invariably I startle within the hour
& lie awake awaiting some miracle
demanding from sleep the capacity to dream
within my own necessity for freedom
in the direction that I would take the dream
always dreaming of that beautiful dream
I would call breakthrough & meaning
the feeling of feeling unnamed
resolute, inspired, sincere, purposeful, & mine

You enter the bed & sleep disturbed
by my wakefulness, my obsessive disruptions,
the distance between my unbridgeable now & walled off then,
my gray is & my blue could be
my nameless desire & impossible contentment

40 milligrams of temazapan
dissolves on my tongue
its bitterness
covers our eyes with the sand of forgetting
protracts the discussion of what is missing
& what happened
what we never speak of
so that this excess of the unbearable
leaks onto my pillow in the form of sweat
& exudes from my stomach
as vomit & bile
though I do sleep I sleep through it
forming lesions inside that we hush
with maternal words, comforted in darkness
because what moves within light we know
will blind us with the madness of its unbearable truth

Because I have failed you once, twice, over a dozen times
each night I fail you again in the decisive moment
which determines who I am

It is as if, worse than choosing flight over courage
I simply do not exist
or choose to fade into self-protected nothingness

In a crowded room I will point at you
& you will point at me
words are unnecessary
this means
"you make me who I am"
if you return the gesture I will know
that you feel the same
it is not that we are one
we are more than that
it is not that we are two
we are more than that also
we know that the others cannot understand
the depths of what it is to be through the lover's
eyes, ears, lips & skin,
through the thought completed before it is uttered
through the completion fragmented so that it can be
completed again
through the memory of the storm weathered without fear,
through the burning heat at the heart of the sun,
through the sleep of bears, through the company of wolves,
in the face of contagion and irreparable loss, of dandelions in
spring, the startling rose which blossoms in winter, the absence of
the confines & vicissitudes of what cannot be,
of the tools that are available & those which we invent,
of the knowing & the yet to be known

A pattern is running through my mind
that is the nature of the instillation of society's dreams
that is the nature of unresolved doubt
of the fear before becoming what one means to be
that is the nature of the paranoid creature
ever watchful & wary of the escape routes & openings
to his burrow
that is the nature of the wall
of the flight from demons one has not yet learned expel with a word
with the power of one's own breath,
in the communion of the ten thousand fists
raised against the tyranny of power,
of the joy of laughter at the swarm of locusts
which one crushes into bread,
of the barbed wire we use to cut the ropes from our wrists,
of the prisons whose walls we enter in order to teach those who need
our teaching most,
of the silence which emerges through our deepest being,
which cannot be thought, expressed, or uttered
except in that silence which resides beyond the silence of words

Day Two

Day two says
this is not consciousness at work
this is not consciousness at play
this is the desire to resist necessity
this is the impulse to hide
within the interior recesses of cavern
of darkness, to resist tension
this is the desire to separate water from water
to count out measure in syllable sense
or carve niche in comfort of concrete glyph
to place the inconsequential slide beneath the ridiculous microscope
to contemplate the film on the surface of mirror
this is not the consciousness of hewing stone
this is not the consciousness of letting blood
of erasing the first, second, and third gateway of unknowing

Day two says
this is the mantra of continuous forgetting

Day two wants the poem to end at this moment
will mark a turn in the road
will begin again tomorrow

is forced into the discomfort of remembering
the violence of speech forced upon itself
& against its will

A pattern is fragmenting the lavatory of my mind
a word chosen randomly from the dictionary of memory
a sword or word replacing the phoneme used to hush
or stifle the confused indiscretion of passage into deposition

One finds oneself there
before the jury of outsiders
eyes fixed on the unmoving lips
on the trembling lips
on the sweat which pours from one's brow
internalizing the dream in the image which exudes
from the back of the throat
from the breath which heaps up in pants
from the muffled cries one wishes at once
to hide & inhabit

& so choked thus
day two says
let the beautiful dream enter the poem
express the laughter of communicated meaning,
of resolution & new beginning,
of the absurd expression of that actual moment
in which the deepest fear of those poisonous serpents
kept in glass cages
by the machiavellian corsortionists of imposed desire
is transformed into the gentle acceptance
of giving it all away
at the inception of the secret order of mystical herpetologists

For that is the pattern
that is the dream, the nightmare
for years it slithered into my nights
always of reptiles kept in a cage
& among them those I would have cared for
& loved
were it not for the others
whose fangs and poisons kept me from opening the lid
that would express the purpose of who I am

For that is the pattern
that is the meaning of dream, nightmare, hesitation, & indecision
fear transformed into guilt
inertia before action, love, care, responsibility, & understanding

For two decades I have dreamt of poisonous serpents
kept in cages with beautiful lizards, helpless birds, & beloved cats

For two decades I have dreamt of the paralysis of fear
& the guilt of placing my safety before the needs of beings
crying out for sustenance, deliverance, comfort, & care

& yesterday, which is a figure of speech,
I dreamt that I had given all of my reptiles away
to a man who understood, who knew, who could teach
& show me through demonstration
that the smaller ones could be raised in canopies
above the larger
that the weak & strong could be kept within the same cage
that the powerful & aggressive could be given the run
of the ground floor
while the soft & meek could be cared for above
that even the poisonous serpents could be handled
by one who understood their nature & could substitute caution for fear

& so day two utters its first truth
or interpretation of truth
it is not stupid, careless, or simpleminded
it knows that its words, its stories, its meaning & interpretations
are fragmented & out of order
it knows that it has not yet found its way
on the road of becoming
that it has uttered the letter h without reciting
the alphabet which comes before & after
that a glimpse is not a vision
that a patch of light is no evidence of cloudless sky
that a dream is neither state nor action
that the clarity of desire is not a course unstrewn with stones &

Day Three

Composed of brachae or filligree
constructed of moss, sod, hope, or desire,
I wait inside the waiting gate
despondently tired of waiting for first glimpse
of the origin of universe, light, partition, & departure

In water I turn to you
toward the sea beyond sea
in horizon I interpret you against the venoms of hazard

In ringlet I see you as rhizome of the particulate
in substance you are present in absence you turn to memory
in fire the air
in bread the act of kneading
in etcetera the ellipsis

Day Four

I cannot forget the day I turned away from you
encrusted with the gold leaf of class-envy & ambition
with the barnacles of narcisistic desire
wandering lost with floppish gait
on the road divided by so many misdirections
each with its sign bearing false witness to belonging
each with its siren song of horded treasure & crown
each with its promise of one-eyed kingship & the eternal sleep
imaginary needs

I have read through the journey
what has been written so far & no further
though I would push into the beyond to coalesce & merge
into greater meaning, particulate & sedementary
into fusion metamorphic, metastable, multidimensional

On the road confined by maps
we adhere to the surface seem bound by it
as one is bound by inarticulate gesture & subterfuge
within the prison house of language, Limited Inc.

As I being of fire I bring fire
burn the map & the bound words behind it
as a being of fire I speak of fire
draw burnt signs upon my wrist to mark new direction, twist, & return
as a being of fire I burn fire
against the institutions of lie
against the codes of demise, promise, & compromise

& so without maps we wander, carry on
in daylight under the burning sun
at night by the glow of moons we name according to the beauty & care of

past and future guides
in the night without moons by the embers of certainty
that persist within what cannot yet be said

Since 2002 Bruce Stater has produced several collections of poetry,
each touching in different ways upon the experience of trauma, loss,
abandonment, psychic reintegration, and psychotic semiosis. They
include: Wound Flower Heart and Memory-- Poems for Paul Celan, The
Language of Angels
, A Labyrinth of Visions, Shaman-Machine, and What Happened. Selections from A Labyrinth of Visions have been published in PoetrySZ, Of(f) Course Journal, and Golden Handcuffs Review. This
work was recently published in its entirety as an echapbook and is
available online from Ahadada press at their web site.

Stu Hatton Linda Benninghoff Danielle Adair Mary Kasimor Bobbi Lurie Tim Martin David McFadden Gertrude Halstead Bruce Stater Patrick Mc Manus

No comments: