Canto IV

               [34]

Our charade crawls on dimensionally
Stretched over time like a fraying carpet
Ridden with skin shedding replicas
Guise of Ouroboros out of space
Into outwardly entitled apparently distinguished
Entities expressive all of one infinite aspect
Considering itself within separate channels of thought
Various reflections conferring individualism
On a loose confederacy of particles
Refracted and rippling waves of energy
Enough current bouncing around prisms
Takes on the appearance of solidity
Yet at once pulled out from under our feet
Established a fanatic dependence on illusion
Thought ultimately to vanish into nothingness and thus
Thoroughly convinced this deceptive construct
Exists so we shall consent to endless tyrannies
Unable to denounce them as such
Cross dressing as they do in Liberty’s robes
Ridiculously unable to pass were not the bulk of us
Complicit in kowtowing to this lewd, lascivious Empire.

               [35]

Fall, some ten odd years ago,
Marked an important transition in this life of mine
When first I left home in New Mexico
To attend school in Ohio
Pretentious enough to be studying poetry
Which one does not just do
Unless coming from some degree of wealth as I did
The wannabe scholar has no need to contend with debt
While those without such means however
Despite any natural talents on their part
Exceptional vision or sensitivity let’s say
Nevertheless would commit some egregious error
Involving themselves in the usurious game of loans
Slaves to the financial system
Necessity from then dictates their life path
Barricading the way towards personal growth
Aligning their productivity ever discreetly
Only with what serves established power
Unpopular opinion never entering into mind
What, with too much contrived reality to contend with,
Ignorance is always closer to bliss
Than any step towards enlightenment
Not to mention that rebellion
Far more than villainy even
Brings ruin disproportionate to reward.

               [36]

Might we come to realize love of wisdom
Doesn’t correlate well
               with strivings for academic status?
Dare we suggest all hierarchical structures
               dependent on lip service from below
Ease of power application from above
Operate according to interconnected
               principles that taken as one
Serve interests antithetical to σοφία?
Questing for status serves not ego alone
But what ego establishes within the pyramid’s capstone—
Separation of component entities into individualities serving
Selves serving the dominant individual in a conglomerate
A revolving pinhead dictating eternal terms
Opposed to the nature of cosmic assembly
Conducting torrential waves of those
               crazed with ambitions to power
Scrambling all over each other’s shoulders and heads
Mashing the ever growing
               ever sinking mass of flesh in perpetuity
Like stewed carrots on a stick
Raised in brief apotheosis
To power vanishing quicker than next mounts the next
Scratching at the ceiling floor beneath
               what above expands ad nauseam
Panopticon within panopticon like Matryoshka dolls
At the absolute center of which an actually
               transcendent object exists
However bound within a chamber of mirrors,
Inversion of that object, perceptual manipulations are cast,
Forming the bricks and bars that inform
               our mortar and pedestal ground.

               [37]

If I can recall, just exactly the way I first met him,
Memories on the lead up to Halloween
               swirl around like the fallen leaves
And inexplicably we almost gravitate
               towards each other
Both flying solo inside a crowd of revelers,
Unstuck from time, or so dangerously becoming.
Val was a tall, skinny bloke, blonde and beat,
               in torn jeans and a blue bandana
Who seemed a relative somehow by soul virtue
               or else significantly
Not of this mundane world of tapping kegs
Bombing exams and trying to get laid.
I would find out later that rather than attend university
               the guy was a dumpster diving
Environmental activist who had been to jail
               more than a couple of times
Although not just from instances of civil disobedience
And was part of a circle of poets
               that revolved around the Camel Café.
Had we not met so inexplicably I reckon
Connections existing between us were such that
Would have guaranteed our continued acquaintance
Across many lifetimes, I suspect—
All branched out of a common stalk which
Coils around itself while itself unravels,
Novelty increasing exponentially
               the points of resonance
Where we had met, and would continue to meet,
               again and again.

               [38]

These memories continue to swirl around
In the windy mind, kaleidoscopic almost,
And there I am on Halloween, just dropped acid—
Dressed as John Lennon with roundish
               spectacles and shaggy hair
In plain changshan evoking Sergeant Peppers
Probing quite the peculiar mental space
And peaking somewhere in the guts
               of crowded festivities—
Suddenly starring me straight on
               were two circular frames
My own reflection swirling around
               with prisms of light
Inside shrinking back into the void
To face my psychedelic Queen.
               “Pearl” to those who knew,
Taken for gospel truth
               on the instance she spoke
In that husky voice which resounded through
               the sinewy waves of my soul,
Rippling over groves etched into
               our fibrous being like vinyl,
At precisely then, like time had folded inwards,
Sucked to the center of its origin, I realized;
We exist simultaneously within
               the future and the past,
And presently further all happenings not
               by some grand, prefigured purpose
But simply from the nondualistic
               mechanism of causality,
Acting effectively as a result of the forces
               one enacts upon one’s self.

               [39]

In the middle of all of this
Beginning and ending
               as inverse qualities
Therein unable to deny as such
What seemed the convergence
               of every
Significant milestone in my life
               like points along a stream
Flowing to and from the same
               bottomless source
This pearl stroked her lips
               with two fingers,
Words being still some alien
               concept within our minds,
While around the starry image
               she almost
Burrowed into my retina,
               along the edges of perception
Melting away like film caught in
               an antique projector
Eternity beyond swirling like a
               perpetual, blossoming
External interiority, astonishing
               not simply to behold
As distinctions between subject
               and object disintegrated,
At a view from this process
               of being viewed
With one drawn in by some
               kind of contrived
Magnetism. ‘Oh, hi, John.’ Unable
               to tear the eyes away
From the horrifically round,
               inanimately kinetic,
Petrifying image of Moon.
Suddenly feeling the searing
               imprint of a ring in
Between the eyes, just above the
               nose, practically boring in.

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