I am the guest of a prince. I stay at his palace and share my room with two other talents. The three of us are unique and in demand. We are each 10 stories tall. We do what we do and what no one else does. Our limbs are a hike, folding path over glory. I wake up one morning and look out the window. An ocean has appeared. Its surface, 10 stories above me, the sun just arriving. A reef reaching towards me through clear blue water crystallized by morning's shimmer. A surface broken by shadows, underneath what appear to be cliffs. The ocean bottom, as deep as I am from the surface, 10 stories below. I am 10 stories above. 10 is where we meet. I look down. A horse is swimming into view. Its mane whipped by morning wind-water. The horse is alone for an instant. Free for a few kicks. Then a rider appears on its back. Instantly not free. The rider is a tourist on an underwater swimming tour, where the horse does all the swimming. I turn my head and see more enter the frame. 10 more. 10 signifying more than height, horse or story. Against the blue-green water, the ocean bottom is visible. Horse and rider float. 10 stories above me. In slow-motion, sounds like. But that's because storyteller remains in the story. They swim away. The water clears as if almost to disappear. My eyes adjust and see 10 surfer punks relaxing at the bottom of the ocean. They wear cut-off jeans and shorts. Some have t-shirts some don't. They are relaxing in chaise lounges on the bottom of the floor, getting sun tans through the crystal clear water. Every few seconds, one of them swims up to the surface for a gulp of air and swims back down. The scene is a constant yo-yoing of bodies going up and down. Swimming with hands to sides, long hair flowing behind, air bubbles tracing their destination. Up and down. Up and down. A hypnosis of breath and water. A reward at bottom and at top. A kind of water that lets this happen. A kind of animal doing what nothing else can.
A Most Imperfect Start
Forever the mighty maze inflicts unchangement
a sly wander from the course unchosen.
If once this could have been what reflected continue
what exposed go, what gave most high staring
its relentless give, which all we wish, was a stay of let.
If once this breath-bomb staggered
to show its true stance; then we, collected breathlessly
by time's stammer, would have found reason for change.
The sportsman aligns himself under the object of his catch
his muscles remember the most accurate procedure
The sportsman has a child, a home, a wife he loves but not for long,
a drug addiction behind him, a relapse before him, a diamond ring
waiting to be picked up with the initials of his favorite pet
cast in gold across a wealth of gems. He puts all this
out of his mind, his brain blocks this information as it has been
trained to do when his body reacts to the object, 100 feet in the air.
The object was once a cow hit by a tree unspun by machinery,
a breeze through its branches before twine once decided its future.
The tree meets the diamond ring, the breeze unlocked in the sun
meets the house, the wife catches the object, the child runs the field,
the drugs find the twine, the college scholarship makes contact
with the forest, the sportsman uncaught remains staggered
under the object of his catch.
One day a worm approached a caterpillar, lost on the ground
beneath his tree. That conversation became a butterfly
born of misguided hierarchy. There once was a rainstorm of
repetition showering the trees with apprehension. That raindrop
became an ocean for a country of smaller oceans. Once upon
a time there fell an enormous child who tried to brace himself
on whatever he could catch, he would throw something and
lean against it before it would land.
We each have our function-machines set for body salvation
or emotion-bearers, each of us, in what is laid
for most imperfect starts, most unpounceable hearts.
We are each in the guise of body when least aware of body.
I am continually at wander with the reach of everyone around me.
This motion will cut most unexpected matters
and when most unexpected, what survives will be laid bare.