Notes for the photographer

Don’t push too hard for fidelity
because looking at a photograph
you really have no idea
what it felt like to be standing
just this side of that sky,
feet in the mud, those foot-sized
bricks framing your heart.

Avoid the light in polar places
and try to catch the drip, drip, drip
of reality disappearing just off-camera,
those eyes aged into history
while no one was looking.

When you dip roses, even roses
into the frail cold of liquid nitrogen,
“J’accuse!” they shout.
“M’amuse!” we shout back,
sometimes in anguish, sometimes despair,
as they lie shattered around us.

Who can say what we are not

Deep, deeply buried, below seeing or knowing,
lie our secret selves. Thin filaments
of cognition and will alone connect us.
Who’s to say you are not the same as I?

Who can say what we are not?

When you strip meaning of language
what is left but volition?
What mute railing narratives strain
to form themselves?

False idylls

Ah, we say, what a life!
and yet …

We are the heirs of discontent
we carry all colors among us
to their inevitable conclusion

Our eyes are rising swiftly
under an aging sun

What nourished our forebears
we find merely annoying
All those Bible Prophets mute
as sacks of sand

To build dikes against
a flood which never comes
and yet …

here we stand
precisely in their footpads

A minor quartet

The Art of Dreaming I
1. Close your eyes
2. Remember

The Art of Dreaming II
1. Trust your eyes
2. Surrender

The Art of Dreaming III
1. Damn your eyes
2. Carry on

The Art of Dreaming IV
1. Open your eyes
2. Forgive