Unto Ourselves: to See What’s There

To see what’s there and not already
 
patterned by familiarity— for an unpredicted
 
whole is there, casting a pair of shadows, manipulating
 
its material, advancing, assembling enough
 
kinship that we call it life, our life, what
 
is already many lives, the dimensions of
 
its magnitude veiled to us as we live it––

  
Across the cytoplasm of adjacent cells
 
goes a signal that turns you toward me, turns
 
me into you. We are coupled in quiet
 
tumult, convergent arguments, an alien
 
rhythm becoming familiar. A rhythm
 
of I am here, never to be peeled away.
 
We are become one thing
 
                                                         Listening

  
or what’s there and not. Through the storm,
 
neem trees on the hill stamp wildly
 
in their roots. We have passed through
 
the spring, but what thing has passed
 
through us? Now your laughter
 
transparentizes me. And whose sense
 
of the self doesn’t swerve? Your unconditional
 
foreignness grows conditional, stops
 
being foreign at all. With your nearness,
 
my lens on the world shifts. A peristaltic
 
contraction courses through us as a single
 
wave. No longer can we keep our distance.
 
Our lips brush, or the tips of ourselves.

  
But what language are you whispering to me
 
your teeth stained by nilgiri tea, above the trills
 
and whistles in the high limbs, above the screech
 
of a bulldozer blade shoving rubble
 
up the wounded street, above the silence
 
of an eyeless tick climbing a grass stem? I understand
 
nothing but the lust your voice incites, the
 
declamatory tenderness. How, and who can say
 
what force has cued up this hour for our
 
small voices to merge into a carnality
 
that did not exist before now.

  
Having come to this unforeseen
 
conjunction, we slip
 
into one another, we take hold
 
in a pulse of heat, —in a yes and no—
 
for already we can see
 
we are no longer what we were

  
as I find you within me—not fused, not
 
bonded, but nested. And for you, is it
 
the same?—the intensity of such
 
investment, each of us excited
 
by the volatility of the other which
 
propels us in a rush as something,
 
perhaps our lips brush or
 
the tips of ourselves, stripping
 
away what?—what was before? Was there
 
even anything before?

  
The reconfiguration is instantaneous
 
experience. It is being
 
itself. But whose being now? Was I
 
endowed with some special pliability so
 
that becoming part of you I didn’t pass
 
through my own nihilation? And what
 
does the death of who-you-were mean to me
 
except that now you are present, constantly.

  

Because excess is what it took
 
for us to transform, to effulge. You cast
 
your life beyond itself. Can’t you sense me
 
within your ecstatic openness
 
like rain mingling with red earth?
 
Without you I survived and with you
 
I live again in a radical augmentation
 
of identity because we have
 
effaced our outer limits, because
 
we summoned each other. In you,
 
I cast my life beyond itself.

Eye Against Eye [excerpt]

As if nothing were wrong egrets dip-feed in near shore channels

the human genome reveals chromosomes from parasites

annexed by our DNA long ago

mongrels to the core and tourists

with cameras take the front pews

the enemy blows himself up at Passover dinner

the enemy trembles in a cave starving

the enemy lets go a daisy cutter

a million cubic feet of mud slides down the slope

toward a single bungalow in Laguna Beach

Witness

                     for Jean-Luc Mylayne

Or the vision that holds 

at its razorpoint 

the feathers of a bird 

goes blue. Each sleepless-

ness framed, behind,

by this whine

of insects. So a shutter,

lifted, offers 

to looking

the very oracular

interior of that

openness into which bird 

inserts itself. Its song 

shortening when 

there is wind. Comes

the visible and 

its remainder, a

blur, what? Tittering 

at lower and lower 

luminance. That the 

accompaniment might be

sufficiently responsive.