Treasure Island

Patrick White

(September l5, l948 / Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada)

I Approach The Anger Of My Inner Child


I approach the anger of my inner child
with the smile of a Buddha and let the squall
blow until it burns itself out like a field fire,
defaulting into my second innocence,
more experienced than the first to fall.
Everything is looping progressively backwards through time.
I do what the stars do. Blue through red, I shine.
I grow huge. I implode. I go supernova.
Then I’m blind as a black dwarf that will come
of all of this. I lay my ashes on the roots
of the roses and say make what you can of me.

Pour a portion of your cup back into the river
you drink from in tribute and gratitude
for what it’s given you. You take. You die.
You receive. You live. But it takes years
of coming back to life to try again
to learn how childishly simple this is
and how enlightening it is to be mentored by the rain.

Bless your ashes as a gift of the flame
that burns in you. Return yourself like dust
to the long road as lost as you were you
firewalked with like a companion who never
said a word, but trusted you to guess
where you were going and followed you
like a shadow as if nothing were left unsaid.

Dead is dead. Whatever death is, even
if it’s more of an is not than anything
we won’t have the imagination to wish for
like eyes of dark matter that keep the light
to themselves, the photonic spheres
of our skulls in blackholes and our femurs
more like firesticks than peacepipes or bird bone flutes.

If you’ve got a soul left worth speaking of,
puts wings on your urn and learn to transmigrate
in the bodies of Pythagorean birds or Iranian angels
as if you had a message written on the wind
that clarified the medium it was encoded in
without any preconditions upon your imagination.
You write it. It writes you. Starmaps and dice.
You’ve got to roll your bones like an avalanche
at least once. Bit by snake-eyes before
you clear the table like a house of Tarot cards.

I’d be nine in the fifth place if I were the I Ching.
I would do it all differently to keep it the same.
I’d be an event instead of a thing. I’d be as obvious
as the sky in my sophistication. More stoutly good,
perhaps, than spiritually uplifting as if that
were the easy path of a godless man’s insistence
upon evil, when it’s more a matter of perceptive error
when you begin to distinguish between mirages and water
and who has access, and who does not, to your housewell.

No heaven to aspire to. No hell to avoid.
No narrow bridge over a dizzying height.
No mystic vertigo at a Sufic crossroads.
The dark shines as fearlessly as the light.
Take a human pride in the night
that has fashioned you out of its own starmud.
The dark mother who knew the colour
of your eyes before you did. The one
you showed her, and the one you hid
like a private life at the back of your head.

And if you’re taken by surprise the way
an osprey seizes a snake and finds it’s
grabbed a dragon by the tail, or an Aztec
takes hold of your heart as a sacrifice
to a plumed serpent, don’t squander
your superlatives on things you didn’t mean to say.

Be diamond. Be aquiline as Al Tair in Aquila.
Don’t waste your eyes on pedestrian jewels.
High in the mountains of the moon, pursue
an earthly excellence like the sport
of a peasant king or queen in exile. But remember,
any valley you might find yourself wandering through
like a nightstream seeking its equilibrium in low places
isn’t a grave plot to overthrow you
as you approach the sea with your eyes wide open
and no summons in your hand you’ve been asked
to answer for. As if your silence weren’t witness enough.

Submitted: Thursday, September 26, 2013
Edited: Friday, September 27, 2013

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