A double line of meditators sits on mats, each one a human triangle. Evacuate your mind of clutter now. I do my best, squeezing the static and the agony into a straight flat line, but soon it soars and dips until my mind’s activity looks (you can take the girl...) uncannily like the Manhattan skyline. Observe your thoughts, then gently let them go. I’m watching them all right, unruly dots I not only can’t part from but can’t help transforming into restless bodies -- they’re no sooner being thought than sprouting limbs, no longer motionless but striding proudly, beautiful mental jukeboxes that play their litanies of joy and woe each day beneath the shadow of enormous buildings. Desires are your jailers; set them free and roam the hills, smiling archaically. It’s not a pretty picture, me amid high alpine regions in my urban black, huffing and puffing in the mountain air and saying to myself, I’m trying but it’s hopeless; though the tortures of the damned make waking difficult, they are my tortures; I want them raucous and I want them near, like howling pets I nonetheless adore and holler adamant instructions to— sprint, mad ambition! scavenge, hopeless love that begs requital! —on our evening stroll down Broadway and up West End Avenue.
For once I fought back, answering Oh yes, someday when a restless muse asserted This golden age needs treatment on the page. It was the strangest lesson— all that ink to make me think shadows were real, this silence when one true heart so manifestly was. Time passed. Themes amassed; I scoffed at amber, basked in oxygen. Now in this little cabin where no sightings slake my cravings and my pen gets back its need to conjure, on the ingots I have stored, oh pine, opine.