Patrick White (September l5, l948 / Campbell River, British Columbia, Canada)
You Take It In Like A Black Hole
You take it in like a black hole
and you let it out on the other side,
new, white, and shining just the way
the night transforms the light of the stars
into the insights of a mind so radiantly efflorescent
even the fireflies are blinding.
Why is it the next burning bridge
you’re about to cross is the one
that’s going to give you a chance
to make a new world of it
on the other side, on the other side,
mahaprajnaparamita, gone, gone, gone,
altogether gone beyond to the other side
of this river of life that has none?
Seven come eleven in the casino of your genes
is a lot more exciting than playing the lottery
week after week like a calendar with
an astronomically expanded vocabulary
that remedially assists you in apotheosizing yourself
by cowing your friends and detractors
in the shadows of your imaginary wealth.
Go for broke. Or don’t go at all.
In a desert of windows that have clarified
the universe in a grain of sand, sometimes
even to taste an echo of water on the lips of mirage
is enough to replenish the seas with golden fish.
It’s not wisdom to mythically deflate your delusions
or underestimate your distinctions. I’m grateful
for the mistakes that made me who I am today.
This is the way, that’s the way to the abyss,
the void, the reservoir, the silo, the watershed,
the saline aquifer in the third eye of a dead sea
that knows what it’s like to burn when you cry
as if someone just threw acid in your face
like a spitting cobra with a reptilian grin
on the locket of its skull the moment it opens its mouth.
This is the intimate emptiness when all that’s left
to feel affectionate about, is friendless, boundless space.
Look for a teacher among the pupils
who never attained enlightenment
and apprentice yourself to the liberation
of your ignorance and when your aspirations
of breathing in and out for yourself
have been thoroughly defeated in their turn
like the flashflood of a waterclock that ran out
in a salt flat before it could make its way to the sea,
exalt like a master in the crazy wisdom
of the blazing failure you’ve become in the eyes
of a world it’s impossible to imagine without you.
Sooner die in a bad dream you’re the hero of
or be the princess who rescues a dragon
like a black rhino from the poachers
pimping a bestiary of sexual aids
like the horns of unicorns and black bear livers
to superstitiously impotent totemistic nerds,
than live fictitiously in the shadows of your own shining.
Even if, as I hereby do concede, when you read this,
you’re either too bright to understand me,
or you’re not dark enough to see it immediately
for what it is, a star in daylight, or the lantern
of a new moonrise guiding an eyeless eclipse
through a labyrinth of copulating wavelengths
redshifting like a sunset through a colour wheel,
the precession of the vernal equinox
through an underworld of occult zodiacs
flowering like jewels in the eyes of cosmic root fires.
Trouble begins the moment you stop taking
your life so seriously like the imagination of a child
on the moon grown so intense in the face
of its eventful immensities, she learned
to play with it in defense of its draconian innocence.
Comments about this poem (You Take It In Like A Black Hole by Patrick White )
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