Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Out of Amnesia

© Steve King
All rights reserved

It surprises so:
the very thought
of capturing the thought—
as when unseen winds
purge heavy clouds
to bare the sky;
all sudden,
all surprise.

Like working through a kind of amnesia—
a something from a nothing,
rising like dumb luck,
too quick a moment
to have planned it all.
What once was void
at last a place
to cultivate the fruit
of one’s un-axiomed conjectures.

As if the air has substance,
a dream weight.

The stubborn blank,
now with full character revealed,
even by the heavy lines
and crude designs
my vanity would scribe.

Bit by bit arriving at a state
that must have always been a destiny;
not just evolving emptiness,
not just a thing unstructured
in its order and command,
but real forever,
biding for its time,
submerged within the interstices,
laced among the things we think we know;
waiting for a moment, just so;
vamping in that offstage blackout,
ready for a cue light to show.

Like lifting amnesia:
reaching through the thin air
of an empty height
to stir a stew of myth
from teeming shadows far below;
a nothing rising to a surety,
desires fulfilled
in the act of desiring,
drawing out the faint shade of a hope,
finally, the outline of a thing
that must at least be called
the stepchild of a dream.

Out of that amnesia,
that emptiness alike to death,
where this strange thing must wait,
for the one right moment,
to gather in a kind of puzzling light,
hovering like one’s own shadow,
yet poised there quite alone,
now whispering old secrets
that you are so surprised
to call your own.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fast Dancin'

© Steve King
All rights reserved

The thumping of the bass-man
speaks a-common with my heart:
I am but a pair of anxious feet
milling in the rhythmic stampede
just waiting for the rock and roll to start...

The face of my enraptured partner
bends in the mix of sight and sound and smoke.
It is the blessed imagery
of the creed of the almighty flesh,
in an ionized cathedral
where twelve-bar hymns are spoke.

I will forgive the critics
of this sometimes less-than-art.
I leave to them the objects
that bemuse their higher powers,
those subtler fantasies
fit for idling daylight hours.

But for now there is a wonder
and a powerful delight
in mimicking the thunder
of this strange and wild night.
And until the night is over
and those critics make me see,
this devil with the blue dress on  **
is good enough for me.

** With a 'thank you' to Shorty Long and Mitch Ryder

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Rm w/ Vu

I turn from where I stand at the window.
The pane is double frozen with the rime
of hard December.  Outside falls the shade
that marks the fullness and the fast limit
of these diminished days: the stunted light
that traps my vision and denies my gaze.

There is a fire to draw the spirits close,
and here in welcome silence have I paused
to call the murmurs of another world
that breaks its slumber when the sun subsides.
The gathered shadows whisper, and the flame
becomes a mirror for the soul's own light,
reflecting bold and bringing now to life
the shuttered vision of a heart's delight.
I have but to wish, and then to see,
catching each fleeting vapor at its dance;
and yet, how often fails my busy eye
to linger in this dreaming panoply.

There are hard limits to the use of words,
and in the silence that surrounds each thought
I play both sorcerer and crystal glass.
I am what shall, and what shall never, pass;
what soon will once have been, yet always is.
The memory of an echo of a song
tolls to proclaim an hour longtime gone:
the music of some quaint antiquity,
soft prelude to the chorus of regret;
it is all of me and all I know,
the silence and the song and the regret.
There will be song; there will be silence yet.

All this little world is still twilight,
and in the dizzy moments that lead me
to the ascent from daylight into dreams,
I rejoice to sing delights like these,
if only for a moment to assure
that I have grasped them ever as they are;
that something of the quaint eternal stays,
to salve the grind of intervening days;
that in the shapes of a receding past,
there might be found a moment set to last
more than this instant.

What secrets have we,
if such things reach the limits of their spell
with cooling embers, come the morning knell?
What memories of wonder have I kept
secure from scrutiny, thinking others slept?
Must it be vanity to wrest desire
out from the ashes of the midnight fire,
to wait, to see, to hear as I would do,
and trace a vision I might render true?

I woke to find full daylight on the world.
A backdraft from the empty hearth proclaims
the morning's greeting and dispels all dreams
that might have lingered to enchant a dawn.
The brittle music of the winter wind
sifts through the lapses in my dark redoubt.
Outside, a frozen light grips on the air,
one that would foster fear were I in need,
but there is kindling left to conjure dreams,
and last a season more against despair.

I am not fit for dreams or dreaming now,
and know not when nor where my waking leads,
for now the empty echoes only haunt.
There are others stirring in the house,
caught in the coda of their own silence,
fit music for the morning's overture—
though I have kept some few imaginings
to whisper bright reminders to the soul.

A challenge for the vision that endures:
the empty window frames a lifeless scene,
a fast and unrelenting monochrome,
a hieroglyph inscribed in ice and grit.
I shall find lingering charms
to caption it.