I wanted to get to the core of the cosmic cauliflower
Or the celestial onion, but kept peeling layers—
With the onion, I cried, weeping to know
That there are only layers, that space
Is all the center it will ever yield us,
Which is somewhat fortunate—space being everywhere.
But how to plumb down to the fundament
Of what space is, of how mind moves in it?
These questions could not be answered alone
In sylvan contemplation—they required
The continual response of silent affection
In another person, which I hadn’t realized.
Contemplating the view from my navel
The world seemed endless gray yet patterned:
Its rhyme was doubled up in loops and hoops:
I kept picking at the tangles, muttering.
Epochs of silence enfolded me, I was dumb
And fetal and suckled whatever dark nectar
Was pumped my way, so when the end came
I was just another orphan, left here—
Abandoned colorless in the bus station.
Your dithering put the whole adventure at risk
stepping away from the spinning plates to smoke a cig.
What could recollect you? Your mind was stately
but diffuse, purple sunset scattering
a partly cloudy evening.
There was a debate on later, they told you,
and something so stupid you just needed to see it—
you did, you watched, you became what you gazed on.
You were one with the blue light, like the blowing clover.
The plates had much earlier fallen, but they
were of an unbreakable plastic, and what did you care?
That was not the adventure. Is this?
“In the Mansion of Many Apartments”
‘The Chamber of Maiden Thought becomes gradually darken’d and at the same time on all sides of it many doors are set open – but all dark – all leading to dark passages – we see not the balance of good and evil. We are in a Mist – we are now in that state – we feel the burden of the Mystery.’ – KEATS
Turning round to peep through the shadow cloth
Spread behind you, and back to the bright blank
Before you—always—you know where you are:
The circumference of your stance is the place.
You remember how quick the strangeness fades,
How the bright powder leaves the helpless wings.
And it’s here again—that power and that flight—
Before you eat shadows in the hall once more.
If you could only hold it up, so light,
A balloon swirling free to keep company
With orange clouds and clear-eyed evening above,
Sharing its sphere with the dim dome and the sun,
Isolation might not seem so dreadful,
Might have its own advantages, at last.