Restless Nights

‘Yellow Clouds’ – Wendy Farrow
See more of her work at 
“No more mermaids to sing this song
No seaweed noose to ensnare 
Only more uncertainty 
From this fool’s eyes
Does bleakly stare”
— yamabuki
So Let us begin
With an evening’s dawning
For on some restless night
We will surely begin again
Hopelessly wandering 
Half-deserted streets
That will lead us 
To that that final door
Where visiting is not 
A place we can visit
But you can still see the yellow fog 
rubbing its back upon the window panes       
And the yellow smoke 
Rubbing its muzzle 
Upon the reflected seas
Licking its tongue 
Into the corners of the evening
Lingering upon the pools 
Slipping by shadows 
Making its sudden leap  
Into the lonely night
Curling once around the house 
And then back into a dream
There will be time
For that yellow smoke 
With its eyes drifting past
Our salty window panes
There will be time 
To prepare a face 
To meet the faces unknown
There will be time 
To murder and create
And time for all the days
That lift and fall 
Still unfettered by the night
A time for you 
And a time for me
And time yet again
For our indecisions 
And our visions 
Before we head out to sea
And there will be time
Time to wander 
Time to wonder
Time to turn back 
And descend 
Into the depths
Of that restless sea
And do I dare        
Disturb the universe
Is there yet time
Before decisions disappear
And return once again 
To that time foretold
When our days will end
And thus have I known them 
And having known them all
The evenings
The mornings 
The afternoons        
So too have I measured my life 
And still I would say
That the dying will fall
Beneath the music 
Of death’s uncertainty
And I too have known those eyes
The eyes that call us in 
The eyes that know
That when I am falling
When I am pinned 
To broken shadows
Passing the past
In returning uncertainty
Then will I know
How to begin anew
To live out my days 
Finding ways around
All my uncertainties

And the afternoons 
And the evenings
So peacefully spent 
Soothed by long fingers
Moved to dreamless motion
Asleep … tired … and longing
Stretched out on the floor 
Here beside my uncertain dreams
Should I, after death’s calling
Force the moment to its ending  
But though I have wept and prayed
Though I have seen my head 
Brought in upon a platter
Like John the Baptist
I am no prophet
I have seen the moments flicker
I have seen the eternal guardian’s frown
And in short
I was afraid
Yet in uncertainty
I knew not why
And would it have been worth it
After the drinking
For us to talk of little things
Would it have been worth it  
To have bitten off the bitter longings 
To have compressed the universe
Toward some overwhelming place
Or does uncertainty still rule our day
And would it have been worth it
To find those lost days and dreams
After the sunsets and faded streets 
After the novels and arguments
After the clothes left along the way
Would it have been worth it
To know what my words mean
In this uncertain light
It’s impossible to say 
But if uncertain magic 
Drew patterns of light and dark
Capturing a vision of time
Would it have been time enough
To rest upon a pillow 
Or throw off a ragged life
And turning slowly
Towards the light 
Should I say instead
That I knew not what it meant
In this uncertain hour

I am not the one you seek
Nor would I do you harm
Do you smell a nightmare coming
Do you seek the moon’s advice 
Do you doubt these broken words
That tumble from my pen
Are you too
Lost in uncertainty
In these restless nights
Are you glad of hidden darkness
So poetically cautious and meticulous 
Full of high sentences 
But a bit obscure
At times almost ridiculous
Almost at times foolish
Drunken shades slip by
Sometimes glimpsed
In the folded shadows
That drift in yellow fogs
That dream of truth
And lie in uncertainty
And always arrive unbidden
With half closed eyes

Can you forgive me this imposition
These changing words 
Like waves receding
A song made old
And begin anew 
For I have come back again
Come back to tell you all
Of my dread uncertainties
Would you have me say more
Even as yellow smoke lingers
On your eyes and hands
Is there anything more
For me to say
On this restless night
With thanks to
T.S. Eliot’s shade
March 2011

Who Owns the Poetry of Clouds

‘Who Owns the Night?’ – yamabuki
“Uncertainty and Necessity
That compelling duet
Resonate endlessly
Between light and darkness
Until we make our choices”
— The Oracle 
Who owns the waves on the Ocean
Who owns the dreams of the dead
Or of the restless bodies
In sleep’s embrace
Who owns the stars
Or the emptiness of nothing
Or the poetry of clouds
That brings us rain
Who owns the oldest poetry
The Odyssey
The Ramayana
The Chinese Shi Jing
Who owns them
Or any other poetry
However old or new
To say I own a poem
Seems to me purest arrogance
And insulting to the Muses

So it is that I choose
Choose to make changes
I change the poems I have written
Though they are not mine
I change other poems as well
Nor are they mine either
For poems belong to no one
Yet I change them at the muses call
Not because they need to change
But because of an inner feeling
From that place within
Where dreams arise
Where day turns to night
Where uncertainty reigns
Where the muses softly speak
And I must of necessity write their words
March 2011

Could you live with uncertainty?

‘Uncertainty’ – yamabuki
“Could you live with uncertainty, moving shapes and shadows, morning , noon and night, my friend? The Mountains have become the only certain thing in my life. When they disappear, I die.”
“To solve a case you have to put the wind in a jar. For me, life consists of badly limited possibilities, but I know the parts are endlessly rearranged, always shifting, always changing. Nobody puts their foot twice in the same place.”
“I once heard a Westerner say ‘What you see is what you get.’  We laughed for days about that at the office. Nothing is like that. Nobody is like that. But it’s what you people want to believe. Straightforward, direct…It doesn’t exist, not for me.”
“People think instincts should be sharp, they should fly like arrows. I don’t believe that. I think instincts should wander and meander, like streams coming down the mountain. An arrow can miss the target. A stream always knows where it is going, eventually.”
From “A Corpse in the Koryo”
by James Church
I’ve been reading recently
From James Church’s books
His inspector O is a pistol
One could point to where he lives
Or his job as a police inspector
But there’s more to it than that
You could say inspector O
Is speaking poetically
That his way is unrealistic
But I’m inclined to disagree
His way is neither realistic
Nor unrealistic
It’s his way
That’s all
But I find it resonates for me
I too find existence uncertain
Uncertainty seems to be everywhere
Certainty feels to be illusion
A pretty illusion
But still an illusion
More useful seems to be
Making mistakes
As we meander down the mountain
And when the mountain disappears
And death greets us
Uncertainty will show the way
To the next mountain
March 2011

Over the edge

“Live with Art” – @anjkan
“The chief enemy of creativity
Is good taste”
– Pablo Picasso
Perceptions of reality
Reality of perceptions
How can we take
Surrealism at face value
Given its dreamlike transformation
Juxtaposition is not enough
Photoshoping is not enough
Collaging is not enough
Like poetry
The Surreal is revealing
Of Paradox and the ineffable
Surprising us
startling us
Revealing what we know
And don’t know
Melting our perceptions
Melting our conceptions
Opening the drawers
Of our unconscious
To the symbolic meanings
We prefer to ignore
And Sexuality
What a scary place
To expose with art
Say or show the wrong images
And the negative accusations fly
But an artist must be brave
To show us who we are
To show us what we won’t see
What we can’t see
This is where the artist lives
This is where the artist dies
This is where the artist arrives
After exploring deeper and wider
Where we have not been
And mostly don’t want to go
And if there is no criticism
The artist has failed
For going over edges
This is forbidden
This is Taboo
This is the artist’s work
To show us ourselves
In a new way
That takes us too
Over the edge
Back to a new reality
March 2011
Note this was originally posted
As a comment to a posting


“Monkey or Hanuman” – @anjkan

Nomen est Omen
Your name is your Fate

The Oracle at Delphi
Encouraged its visitors
To “Know Thyself”
This knowledge is necessary
For understanding

To stand under
We must look deep 
And deeper
And deeper still
The deepest depths
Can never be fully plumbed
But that is part of the mystery
Of who we really are.

Still, finding out who I am
Who I really am
Deep deep down
At the core of my being
Is perhaps impossible

For the deeper I look
The more I realize
How impossible this task is
Yet it also seems like a Zen koan
Where the answer is not so important

Where the awakening to Self
Our true self of being
Our eternal self 
If you will
Our eternal name
Is the real deal

March 2011

Nama is typically considered 
to refer to the psychological elements 
while Rupa refers to
the physical elements
of the human person

Wheel of the Fates

“In Excélsis Deo Tria Fata” – @anjkan
“What the Fates decree
Even the gods must obey”
– El Collie
The Fate Sisters
Daughters of night
Spinning our life’s thread
On the Great Wheel
Weaving our days and nights
Our dreams and failures
Into the fabric of a lifetime
And for every beginning
An ending awaits
That sharp edge of death
That releases existence
Back to the other shore
Where the mystery awaits
Our return home
March 2011