"Bodhisattva Mahasattva knows in accordance with truth…"
But somewhere caught inside
the skeined string knots some bulb of decision —
tired crying out knife marks at myself
within footsteps footsteps
move the street
quietly forever — I only speak to myself;
utter fatigue of brain wound
where some animal left the tangled-up ball of cord.
Inside still one solid piece in the middle,
still still? At the end of long long
staring down to this faith of constant
consonance. And all I have ever known
the cardboard boxes my time has given me
dust in layers
between inherent generosity
The curtain of rain that hasn’t come,
because I want it cooler today, to end
heat ending activity —
and this corner I look down on constantly —
I even seize the trees for living wage of syrup
for my palms, for the staring, for the eyes above all
as if I could not hear or taste or feel that
shrank disgust and gave me lightning —
and place the trees …
but place, place: I that move,
starfaced mole pushing, even my leaves
in the gutter — how? That does not yield
salvation — and all the manipulation
even slashing the dead canvases of ancestors
gives nothing to know the blinding milk sugared eyes
to live in the world, in.
And the heat ends activity. I am, still.
The I want I want I want anyone tortures with
in these streets, the hoped for burned up pasts
into everything, futures: to live we have to burn
even one minute to hold on to forever, exist around one
pinhead and a paper of pins stretched out to death.
But I can’t explode even once. No.
Where will I look out? And
all to the death we want to hide. Look away, look away.
It is not crucifixion anymore, no blood to spurt, no world
enduring, no anguishes for anyone, turning the corner.
Everywhere. I look toward the summer
burning even the tonsils, to shout, to urinate into the earth
myself back into myself, the home soil dirtying my own soft hair.
But everywhere: and this too, this poem, a path backwards into
the twisted brush so no one will see —
either to look away,
whether it is brilliant nights alive alive
or fervent union with a private earth,
or sink into ice
at the mind’s center —
I cannot look at death toward the open crest
it is my end, but not my bones, not my mirror, never sweet beard,
never the trickle of happiness.
Ha! that we want to live.
The heavy opaque eyeball weights us down.
I can’t fly. I can’t sink into myself.
And where I turn this street glance up toward my room,
glance outward at the world like yellow birds and landscape on my walls —
the wall, the wall, beyond me like my hands.
25 May 1959 [Cambridge, MA]
Kyle Waugh William J. Harris