(from Ambiguous Demarcation, 1997)
What more obstruction to thought
than reason? Order or chaos, or
order and chaos. A flowing
like air aquiver with heat.
My finger slides across crystal;
the wine resonates like a heart.
The hum sings from nowhere
and everywhere – – a siren’s allure.
Where are the rocks
the waves crash upon?
Will death pass like a moment
in a dream where you become
conscious of the dream, are certain
that what will occur will occur – –
like the click clack of dominoes – –
but then doesn’t? Another field,
another trail expands like ripples:
no source visible, no pebble
to disturb the virgin lake,
only a vague memory that something
happened somewhere to someone
some other time – – but not sure
if it was you – or a nagging memory
of a story, or a story told by
someone in a story ad infinitum.
The song constructs the noise;
the wave harmonizes cacophony.
The pattern in sequence provides
a continuity, a fluidity like smoke
hanging in an airless room.
Molecules in motion, a continual agitation:
within a stone – – more space than atoms
leaping valance to valance
as infinite within as the stars without:
Copernicus, Newton, Einstein
layer on layer, a filigree of words
decoding the edges of chaos.
No dice, Albert? What of no game?
Without rules there is no game.
A line defines the inside and out.
Chaos defines reason, reason chaos
one without the other dissipates:
the ocean to the ocean
is only the ocean:
ebb wave storm calm
perceived only outside by ourselves
arbitrary definitions, relative relations
allow the order and the chaos.
The Greek asked for a fulcrum,
but there is no place to stand.
If everything is in motion, then everything
is still as well – – motion exists with time
and time reasonably does not exist.
Reason obliterates as easily as chaos.
There. There is where we are.
The vanishing point of oblivion
between reason and chaos.
Eliot’s still point in a turning whirl
breaks across like wave caps
on the verge of collapsing.
The heart thumps its lopsided beat
like a one-legged man stomping
down the street – crying Who – –
who is in charge around here?
Who is in charge? The buildings
echo a reply more resonate
from wet glass and metal –
Yet is the echo his, or yours, or mine:
so many hearts, so many voices
each strangling on its own desperation.
The individual implies order
a difference- – a separation
a clotting – not homogenized.
Aristotle categorizes Linneaus,
infinitely smaller razor cuts
leaving flesh indistinguishable
from the blood streaming into space,
until any separation which remains
returns eviscerated into nothing;
water flows through water.
Lightning converts the air:
the fluidity from one element
into another alchemically terrorizes;
the fear freezes with control,
or shatters consciousness,
like a tree exploding in light,
into the vastness of possibility.
The wide swaths of ocean
surge and swirl – – a wave
slides unnoticed beneath the surface,
finally washing destruction along the shore.
Reason pursued disintegrates;
chaos observed organizes.
“All that is solid melts. . ,”
yet nothing approaches solidity;
nothing dissolves, all is flux:
a pulse, a throb, a vein
on the neck verges on aneurysm,
a mad ascension beyond
the orders of reason or chaos.