It wasn’t so much that it slipped away this morning, I’ve come to expect that, and I know there is absolutely nothing I could do to stop it. It wasn’t even that I couldn’t recall what it was precisely that was gone, for that is the nature of departure and longing. It was more that I now cannot determine what it was the replaced it, and my mind is supposed to be engaged in a net zero sum memory game, for that is what gives me hope for tomorrow.
It’s all a question of knowing where to look for one, but ask what would you do if you stumbled across it. It’s not a simple decision, nor should it be. The better question still is how you will know when you finally find it, for it is marked only deep within your heart.
Tell me more about death, I said put it into words, that’s your specialty so open your mouth from amid your black jungle of a beard now white, I want a noise, a howl. Why the hell do I hear only silence, I know it’s the sound of one hand clapping, but I demand more than a mere koan Corso would at least bathe me in gasoline but you, who wrote to be immortal so why, now, only old words? So I can complete the circle? But they hit the floor like so may peanut shells washed by the spilt beer. Come on, say something even a simple kaddish for your silence is killing me.
Lao Tse, venerable one you would be pleased as I sit here drawing closer to the center quested for my Buddhahood be not seeking it amid the rain of fire from the hills above the blood congealing in the streets. I know not to ask and am unseen by the child and mother running through the street and untouched by the hail of ammunition biting at their heels. I smell the lotus mixed with the cordite giving scent to the morning and in the clouds see the approach of understanding.
You say you appreciate occasional gifts of symbols of love. You expect me to bring you a rose it’s satin petals gently curling back at the edges, always threatening to suddenly unfold, alluring, drawing in the eye promising warmth and release. I bring you an onion, wrapped tightly, it’s papered skin, the luminescence threatening to break out but always just one more layer down. I help you peel back a layer, it comes off reluctantly, as if letting go of this secret could be painful or exposing. We, both of us, shed tears and I wipe yours with the edge of my thumb, you watch mine roll down my cheek and hang perilously on the edge of my jaw. I bring you an onion and peel it slowly, I lift the bit to your lips. It is sweeter than you anticipated but still it has a fierceness that borders on passion, and it will cling to your lips long after this moment has faded into memory.
There are two keys to it, really the first, and easier, is to make a well with your hands, that would need be not all that deep, just enough to hold your thoughts as you work. The second is to add just the right amount, too little and it is dry and doesn’t hold together, too much and it will refuse to obey your command. Dust it well, and constantly as you work, that is the third key, but we don’t call it a key, for there should only be two keys to everything. And finally, no matter how long you think it will take, it will never take that long, always longer or shorter, never that long, but when you are done, you must savor it while looking for those thoughts you left in the now transmuted well of the making of your hands.
Writing is an art form that very many never see but the unseeing of the work is what elevates it to art. This is what you often hear from the unpublished, or even from the denizens of small press purgatory, the one the Vatican will never acknowledge, for the poets corner of heaven is so deeply hidden away. The words on the page know better, they see the beauty as they tumble from the pen, and need no confirmation.