Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Labyrinth (2004)

Shine a light in here and
you’ll find a formerly
gearless Hell churning now
in a labyrinth tooled to
proceed to the always
next and never final shore:
A shire of beds and deep
blue wells where she smiled
and turned away: A viaduct
or proscenium inlaid
with skulls and hooves
and the gilded gossamer
of verbal wings: A siege
machine of oak and
hide on infernal wheels
bruting forth a ram
resembling the Cerne
Giant’s 40-foot cock:
A vault stuffed with
drawn pussies and asses
warded by monster models
I built at seven: A work
table piled high with drafts
of poems, designs for transit
and a bounty of shells
-- conches and whelks
and a cunningly wrought nautilus:
A gullet of fire which
consumes all this and
belches the next eager flame:
Roads carved in basalt
totems, circuits and
cul-de-sacs, spiral staircases
and oubliettes: Labial doors
and keyed to spermatic
oars: Dragon ships by the
thousand, each with green
plundering eyes: Missals
of gold hidden behind
a blue baptismal font, their
pages scribed in the
blood of Oran buried
further down: A room
stuffed with all the guitars
I once strapped on and flew:
A bar (now under lock and key)
where I sat rooted to a
stool milking dread
infinity: Gardens of richly
manured furrows and distant
hilltops where Uffington
wilds: Cups of exquisitely
fashioned silver and inlaid
with red gems, filled with
ink, sea-waves, mare’s blood,
well-waters cold as the Pole:
The Gundestrup Cauldron
and the Book of Kells and
the Willendorf Venus, each
in a room with a scholar
and a poet enlarging their
charms: A library older
than Alexandria filled with
well-thumbed volumes filled
with shore-lined marginalia:
A bone scriptorium where
sixth-century hands
ink all the texts that were
and are or could be:
Merry beds of bobulous
boobery slickplunging
derricks of blue oh so
blue tarrying joys: A cafe
where Rilke Joyce
Melville Jack Gilbert
James Hillman and Tom
Pynchon ululate all night
about the women who
matter and the materia
they write: A ripening
kitchen where Jung
pens his alchemy, tending
a vat of imagined
soul: Dante and Shakespeare
like titans of stone
or iron standing in the
sea looking over my head:
A restroom where someone
shits mightily what can’t
be used: A tank for Moby
Dick larger than any sea
& nursing a port for
the errant moon: A green-
leaf esplumoir which
towered Merlin’s mad
molting spell: Three
beaches -- Sandymount,
raw as spring where
the bird-woman first
flew; Iona’s Beach of
the Coracles, brutal,
wild; and Cocoa, so
dazzlingly white and
south of every dreamed
love: A bog further
out where all of this
cerebration bloats
and slows: Still further
out a bald strand where
all my bad ends click their
teeth like Norns: over
every crest Manannan’s
gray-blue island where every
voyage aims: Circe’s
rock too, delicious as
peach brandy-sticky
nipples: A pale table in
a bare room on which
the head of Orpheus
dreams of Eurydice
in the wedding bed of song:
A real-time ballast
lifting these keels -- cold
again this morning, wife
now in the shower,
news on TV of a bomb
in Jerusalem ripping
open a bus like bloody fruit:
A cave behind and under
the labyrinth with its whole
story painted on the walls
thirty thousand years
before you never read these
words: All of that you’ll find
between these lines,
west of first light
and east of the the tide:
And all of it muscles
and fins this pale hand
as it moves margin to
margin like a ravening mouth,
devouring the next promise,
the next voluptuous way in
to Your blue brassiered
bower where tomorrow
I begin: Every time I
enter here I ramp that
spinning wheel which
cycles through the ages
to bring God to view:
A vantage on a motion
which repeats the ocean’s,
waves of verbal blue
which fill the well with You:


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