The Book of a Thousand Eyes [I love says the acrobat]

- 1941-
I love says the acrobat
To read rarely passing
Even torn scraps on the street without stopping
To see what they have 
To say I'm late
Or your car is 
Blocking my driveway
If you don't move it
NOW I'll call
And have it towed, Jim
I'm sorry, I didn't mean what I said, I just thought
I did, we don't have, I need to get
1 lb ground beef, aluminum foil, briquettes
And corn unless it's shriveled, call
Turn left
Under the olive trees where we used to weed
And read 
Or think to read
Since we must oversee our stories and not disparage those who tell those
          that begin
What a genius! I am 
In my mother's room
And end ringing out
Ring out and ring
The fuller reason in
The kitchen where Mom is tossing
The kids
Are crossing
And Dad is washing
Westward, using his ears in place of his hands
To raise the sails that move the canoe out
Into the lake filling a pit made by a glacier
That Time itself was riding so
Slowly they say
Sometimes at night the moon rose and attacked
The very stones that the juggler cast over the hills and caught
On a scrap
Of music in a minor
Key tenderly pressed and audible
It sadly repeats badly repeats gladly
Falling like leaves
Lost from a book about deciduous trees
Whose black branches in winter cast grim shadows across the grand
          monument to history called Innocence
Or Ignorance
Perhaps—it's hard to say—the writing means nothing
Now to William T. Love and he means nothing
To me
But I admit and affirm that he had experiences and thought about them
Somehow holding his head
Around his ideas with his ears as pictures
Of the world held by the world
Marking its course
As something moving something 
To something which cannot be any more
Infinite than all the sands that fall
Through egg timers and hour glasses
Shaped like pears, imperfect pearls
Or globs of dew on the leaves of a weed
That Pythagoras remembered
As himself
Becoming a bug, then frog, then someone
Now who's Pythagoras
Not me
The equestrian in the park, the general in the jeep, the plumber under the
          sink, the actor
In a longish play
From which the thrill of political activism rings out
Rapidly ripples
Rotating clockwise for this is history
And so are the stars at least
For the astronomer and asters
For the botanist are something humans have seen
And savored and sown
In spots destructively
Devoured by the darlingest of goats
On precipitous slopes
For hire held 
By shocking fencing 
And fantasy shepherds
So like absentee landlords we all but expect
A probable leak from the slight smell of gas
And the dirty glass of the jugs of the juggler

More by Lyn Hejinian

The Book of a Thousand Eyes [To achieve reality]

To achieve reality (where objects thrive on people's passions), enormous effort
and continuous social interactions are required, and I can't get started
without you. Not here—over there's a better place to begin a funny story.
History with its dead all shot through with regularities in the woods
and following what looks like a cow-path
is part of a creature's sexual magic. Its recorded words
now are just a small memento meant to trigger memories
which will give us energy when the right time comes.
Every afternoon high in a tree
the forest vagabond naps while time hangs
like a swarm of midges, trembling on. It might be female
but it has a phallus's tendency to jump up. How lonely it is
to think that I can only think what I think even while he is thinking—our
just our respective working body's hum. And while the warlords of Mycenae
          were storming
Troy the foundations of their own societies were crumbling, too.

The Book of a Thousand Eyes [A dream, still clinging like light to the dark, rounding]

A dream, still clinging like light to the dark, rounding
The gap left by things which have already happened
Leaving nothing in their place, may have nothing to do
But that. Dreams are like ghosts achieving ghosts' perennial goal
Of revoking the sensation of repose. It's terrible
To think we write these things for them, to tell them
Of our life—that is, our whole life. Along comes a dream
Of a machine. Why? What is being sold there? How is the product
It must have been sparked by a noise, the way the very word "spark"
emits a brief picture. Is it original? Inevitable?
We seem to sleep so as to draw the picture
Of events that have already happened so we can picture
Them. A dream for example of a procession to an execution site.
How many strangers could circle the space while speaking of nostalgia
And of wolves in the hills? We find them
Thinking of nothing instead—there's no one to impersonate, nothing
To foresee. It's logical that prophesies would be emitted
Through the gaps left by previous things, or by the dead
Refusing conversation and contemplating beauty instead.
But isn’t that the problem with beauty—that it's apt in retrospect
To seem preordained? The dawn birds are trilling
A new day—it has the psychical quality of "pastness"  and they are trailing
It. The day breaks in an imperfectly continuous course
Of life. Sleep is immediate and memory nothing.