Thursday, June 22, 2006

Unpolished And Uncut Stones From “Rocks On Rocks” – #3

I felt like putting my head
on a big rock and letting some

giant pick up a boulder
and smash it down against my skull,

splattering my brain
between the stones and scattering my thoughts,

literally, to the waves and wind,
gulls and fish, flies and crabs.

Looking at the waves, then,
I saw each wave as a word. I saw

the shoreline as a crazy sentence.
And I saw the water

stretching away to the horizon
and breaking back toward shore

as some kind of chant or drone
or chorus of insanity.

I felt the thoughts, the cold water,
rising around me. I felt

the cold drawing heat out of me.
I felt myself stopping, cold,

freezing, turning to some kind
of crazy thought-iceberg, floating

in some kind of bright, unfreezing liquid,
bobbing one-third free,

two-thirds hidden
in this cold stuff of death, dying and the dead.

I sat by the water.
I felt like a bombed-out church. Inside

me, instead of alters, pews
and stained glass, I felt only space

and open spaces inside,
space and open spaces outside.

No priests hung around crying.
No peasants talked of rebuilding.

It occurred to me, however,
that this church inside of me

didn’t depend on priests
or peasants. If I did the crying

then maybe I could handle
the rebuilding, as well. If I

play the priest in me
then I could play the peasant in me, too.


Five thousand years ago
struggling people dying young endured

unimaginable hardships
to arrange choice, giant rocks

on top of other rocks.
Did these people know, believe, that life

meant only an opportunity to do art?
That art meant

just putting together something
that fenced away the nothing?


Deborah spoke, summarizing things,
then read the pages of my

rough draft. She asked me about
this stone business. About rocks on

rocks. About standing stones.
About five thousands years, more, of stones.

“All over the world,” I said, “early man
set stones on end and

set stones on other stones.
Some carved, like the Easter Island stone

faces. Some in significant positions,
like Stonehenge where

an upright slab marks sunrise
on the first day of Midsummer.

But, mostly, around the globe,
just scattered remnants of many

millennia gone by, and all the people gone,
stones stand on end

from Canada to Argentina,
from the South Pacific

to Scotland. Not stone tools,
although many of the peoples who

made standing stones used stone tools.
And not representational,

although many of the peoples who
created standing stones

also created cave paintings.
But in these times, these peoples –

Paleolithic, Neolithic and later –
these peoples

put up stones for reasons
beyond everything but the tall stones.”


Deborah fell asleep on me
and I thought of us like Stonehenge.

I wondered what we pointed to,
what we aligned with, why we

formed the pattern we did.
I felt three or four thousand years old.

I thought of the space around us,
indeterminate in all

directions. Space, and the things in it.
The arrangement of things.


Then, for some reason, I found myself
thinking of thin, green vines.

Vines that creep upward and outward
and all over some large stone.

Vines that flower and seed
and insinuate tendrils into

cracks. Tendrils that pulse and grow in their cracks,
crumbling timeless stone.

* * *

(to be continued)

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