Monday, November 17, 2014

Ivan Arguelles

r o c h e s t e r     43.

“There is no possibility of remembering what has been found and understood,
 and later repeating it to oneself. It disappears as a dream disappears.
Perhaps it is all nothing but a dream.” 
― P.D. Ouspensky

a sole crow flying across the horizon
November grey clouds shot through with light
argent twilight sifted from the Olympian mansions
what is the augury here what fatal presentiment
lamentations kyrie eleisons requiescat in pace
you name it like the time stumbling you realized
the immensity of the tragedy the size of alcohol
spreading the veneer of sleep across the lawn
already anesthetized by evening’s Italy
and where the fossil fish are so are the mummies
and the underground world of arches and tombs
inscriptions in long hand Latin grieving losses
waterways of invisible ink moonlight lexicons
echolalia of the damned how is it to sleep
forgetting where the button holes are
we’re going to be in high school forever
Sanskrit books arrive in the mail almost daily
a dictionary of Old Marathi Greek through reading
colloquial Sinhalese Joe, what’s the secret
you can’t just hide behind the willow tree
Janey’s Latin third and fourth year revised ed.
a formula for aging without superseding yourself
editions of Thucydides Suetonius and Tacitus
with Italian translation on facing pages
the dusty alley between 7th and 8th streets
where the world mapped in 1903 was discovered
Indian Territory the Yukon frozen in its radio
the Green Hornet the crepuscular nowhere
Joe, get that look off your face you’re going to faint
what’s in your eye you’ve got another nose bleed
lie back on the grass and let the clouds take over
sky is just an inch away and we’re There
in Ouspensky’s fourth dimension eternity
where everything that has been named cannot
be remembered for what it was not even you,
Joe, sitting there inside a camera eye developing
Light and the fractions that compose the universe
of Number and Sound trying to understand that
falling asleep in the elbow of inebriated angels
Nepalese shaman oral texts Śri Guru Granth Sahib
the lamp has turned to stone the leaves are sere
it’s all transitory, man, the coming the going
the Avestan hymn to Mithra the garden myth
and the story about the lost finger and other
aerial feats promised in lapis lazuli sky writing
it’s in your eyes in the blurred vision nuages
floating across the thin volume of early verse
smatterings of everything borrowed from time
immemorial and still wondering how can it be,
Joe, the verisimilitudes of mask and persona
solitary crow lost in the November horizon
pilot lights on in an otherwise empty chamber
who is coming home and who isn’t coming home
a book opened to the part where it says
from now on you’re on your own, ashes
what bitters near the end a frustration memory
faded the gold of absent sunsets a legend
paling in the wan of a house of 13 moons
madness etched in each vanishing dream girl
what else but the Sarvāngī of Gopāldās
or the Gadyarāja to peruse of a future time

is it the powder blue car whose winter has come
is it Nathan Milstein performing Mendelssohn
is it Peter Thomas pounding the drums like Gene Krupa
you tell me, Joe, whether it’s Mel Tormé singing
Moonlight in Vermont or just another dead evening
counting the headlights that double the corner
bearing away phantoms of remembrances things
caught unawares in the drain pipe of oblivion
small envelopes of hair darkened windows snowflakes
a part of the mind where no light can enter
is it to leave home once and for all vomiting
over the map guide of the Etruscan necropolis
and a deep voice ascends resonating from a depth
bearing in its tremolo the resined violin bow
which is nothing more than the faint echo of cherubim
who have been hung out to dry in the Mayo Clinic’s
top floor where the x-rays of years past fade
exhibiting your tiny lungs, Joe, your ancient breath
fossil light chiaroscuro of a soul fleeting
fleeing in a delicate fugue into the airy Unknown


oblong excursions through early summer nights
to find the dead freshly interred beneath the skin

evening on the banks of the Jamuna
                 when the sands cool off
and from afar the muezzin's dying voice
a prayer a summons a curse in the dark

Nur-Jahan! it's the last time I'll speak to you
red ink secures posterity in the symbol of your name
a scrawl in the insect world of scripts
your face buried in the pillow of desire forever

is it possible that such secrets are etched
like fire in the heart for a whole lifetime
do we ever come back to find ourselves
void as empty balloons floating in the Bay

Light of the World! what is conscious
what is unconscious wherein lies the difference
a sheet wrapped around remembrance of grass
lying alone in the endless dark of no recovery

thirty two years after the fact I am filled with you
the Ganges evaporates and elephants in hordes
pass into the torpid mists of oblivion
Rajputs and Sikhs put to the sword daily

it is eternity in the empty vial of Opium
it is never because you are brought to mind again
an Unfortunate Woman a photograph of light
just as it evolves into something even brighter

aeroliths bamboo groves the invention of Spain
bodas de sangre flamenco witless speech acts
the entre'acte called les Pleurs d'Orphée
an ovarian tragedy to be complete in 4 years

what was sleeping in the stone if not the child
who is the water of the memory of everything
I appeal to the Hare Krishna of the ants
who have long since devoured your mouth

I appeal to Vertumnus god of gardens
I appeal to the goddamned Wheel of Fortune
that took you away almost unawares
still puzzled over the scars of your becoming

from the Himalayas to Sri Lanka's verdant lush
from the folds of the Deccan to harsh neon Mumbai
Empress of Hindustan it was all in the palms
of your vertiginously painted and dancing hands

the clouds that redden suffused with human blood
the practice of planting irises in the sleeping eye
hamadryads and centaurs mythically composed
to sing the evanescent the incandescent chord

the one that bound you invisibly to fate's cart
and pulled you under in a storm of dust
ancient animals came to peer with dead eyes
at the pond which was the depth of your own skin

goddess I thought you were a yellow swirl
a flaming hibiscus caught in a tangle of black hair
a brilliant thread running through blue lotus
tying it to the seven heavens of silk incarnadine

does language matter do words decompose
only to form newer unknown words of ether
what does sense mean in the window's silenced ear
where is the painting with the billowing trousers

what is the fragrance that defines the edge of time
is it the shampoo that washed your miles of hair
is it the drug that rocked through your paltry veins
trying to stop the rushing engine of the cosmos

in the immensity of night does anyone have a home
or is it just the crazy wandering of constellations
blowing out the finite screw that holds in place
the igneous moment of undying love

goddess you seemed to be for a golden instant
smothered in the circular embrace of your heat
I took in all the worlds embedded in sweat and sperm
myself became transformed for you a divine fuck

today is nowhere a vapor an instamatic flash
nobody is coming or going trees are powdery shade
sky is nothing an aggregate of azure swarming
distance is consummate with its tempest of bees

evening by the banks of the Jamuna's cooling sands
architecture of time crystallizes in the remote vedic vowel
unseen the entities we used to be renew the steps
that lead to the burning ghats and smoking disappear

                                           for nikki arai in memoriam


© Ivan Arguelles


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