Anne Tardos, 'Beginningless,' a new poem from 'The Camel's Pedestal'

Life is a raw event
I give you roses                         You give me roses
As I speak and as you listen, I feel the traction of my words in the terrain of your mind
We speak of the great emptiness which is ultimately empty of itself (it is not reality either)
We discuss the limits of thought
The paradox of expressibility
The familiar, the habitual, we appropriate
Our mental attitudes then crystallize into instincts
Detached observation of brilliant force fields
Luminous displacements — The ride of a lifetime

The buzz of electricity — The comfort of oblivion

Staring at the ocean
Inhaling heady sea vapors

The fullness of time
An increasing sense of urgency  
Inexplicable in light of a conscious attempt at slowing down
As if deceleration itself suggested friction

Who am I and what do I mean by who am I?

Creative power of the mind amounts to no more than the faculty of compounding
or diminishing the materials afforded us by the senses and experience

The muddy particulars of experience continually give us new material to digest assimilate reject or rearrange in different degrees

Like seaweed, we undulate

We discuss zero, a finite moment fixed within our infinity
We say our infinity as we would say our solar system or our galaxy

We sense that each instant covers the entire world

We know that life doesn’t happen to us
We happen to it

And what we make of all this stuff is up to us
Our inventions tend to be arbitrary
Much is about restraint and mindfulness

Not to give in — not to succumb
Not to wallow not to slouch
Not to slip not to fall
To live to do to give

I have nothing better to do than to be here now.

Delicate gene pool
Glitter kindness
Unexpected chemistry
Thought exists: Rigid necessity

I surge forward, feeling an elastic exhilaration.

This is the current situation as it stands:
Everyone I’ve ever been I am now

All kinds of inspirations and illuminations,
Points of clarity and rays of grace
I don’t know any better point to start from.

NOTE. Anne Tardos’s The Camel’s Pedestal: Poems 2009–2017 was published earlier this year by BlazeVOX Books. Of these poems and of what Gary Snyder has called the “real work of modern man: to uncover the inner structure and actual boundaries of the mind,” John Olson writes: “There is a splendid lucidity to Tardos’s writing, a jesting, inquisitive spirit nimbly examining the relationship between language and reality in inventive articulations that jingle with wit and perceptivity. Lines like ‘I am lost in a desert of my own making’ and ‘Do words work as wood works’ juggle phenomenology, advancing what Tardos observes as ‘the true state of things expressed in phenomena but inexpressible in language.’ Contradiction, paradox, incongruity; it’s all here, the entire caravan of linguistic apparatus crossing the dunes of this enigma, this desolation of self-awareness, this epistemology of dromedaries on the very edge of things. This collection is well-crafted, precise, imaginative, clear. I feel a great intelligence moving among these words. It’s exhilarating. This is the kind of work that inspires me.”