Patrick White (September l5, l948 / Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada)
It Isn't Resignation So Much As Half An Assent
It isn’t resignation so much as half an assent
to the inevitable I know so little about
as I’m becoming it, living it like a lamp in my hand
shining in the dark to illuminate what’s there,
not by reflecting it, but creating it on the fly.
My eyes are bubbles on the mindstream.
The jewels of an animal in the shadows of the woods.
The star makes the eye it wants me to see it with.
Not just retinally with my iris like a moondog,
but interiorly in the heart of my imagination
where sight is a kind of love, and seeing
is dusty with stars clinging to the windows
the mercy of the rain cleans off when it’s time
to let the world see me anew as the light turns around
to look at me from the inside out, not two, not two, not two.
Music from the cover band across the street.
Apocalyptic hilarity of drunken ordinariness
extraordinarily trying to sing along to the lyrics
of the chantreuse who makes them feel special
about having everything in common with everyone else.
We can sing about pain. We can sing about joy.
And by the way we cry and laugh, know what we mean.
An apartment away, a man is endearing himself
to his own solitude without any separation in the tone
of the farewell he’s preparing, and nothing perennial
about the sacred syllables of that imaginary first hello.
He watches people’s voices rise like incense into the night air,
mystic paths of smoke disappearing down a road
into the intimate distances that deepen the darkness within
with the afterglow of humanity lingering among the half-cut stars.
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