It’s been a while, but I’ve been working. Here is something I read at a local gathering a few days ago:
3 April 2017
Without the Lilies’ Leave
Without the lilies’ leave, I could not read these lines to you tonight.
I could not let you set them down in letters for all time; a blight
would have to fall upon your mind and senses, so you’d sleep and fail
to bring back half a syllable. We love you, stupid human male
though you might be, but we must bear our standards well in hand. Please take
up pen and ink, and yes, write down each word you hear, each wound you fake,
each time you interrupt your teacher—then go back, and cross it out.
You went out beyond the lilies’ leave with senses set to shout,
and that’s not proper understanding. Look above, and see the wings
of angels that look just like broad green magic on a stalk that brings
you closer to the very verge of heaven than you’ve ever been
alive before, and then—take notice once again: Your soul’s been seen
in this strange neighborhood before, and had it’s picture taken. Look:
I walked down to the corner store, and reached up and took down a book,
and there it was, the splendid image branded now within my mind.
All the streets I’ve walked and all the miles I’ve danced, and now I find
that I was dreaming all the while, or even rapt in nightmare’s toils.
Something in the place behind my eyes shone bright—a miner’s spoils,
if he could only reach that far behind the female face he dreamed—
but then he saw the deadness that had taken place behind the reamed
embarrassment of untold stories dreamt before he knew his own.
Child, she’ll hold your hand all night, but her vagina’s turned to stone,
the only trace of what she looked like trailing down these walls as light
from outside flickers over them like eyelids finding strange new sight
within your presence. Will you meet her, stand your ground, as it is hers?
When cold air from deep down under shakes your flame, your vision blurs,
and shivers run all through you like a dream recalled that brought real death.
Oh, a corpse can’t feed the lilies here, nor send a dying breath
where it will carry meaning, portent, fertilizer, dreams of smells
that catalyze a million hours of understanding deeper spells—
for underneath the woman’s breath who sang me first through song’s hard ways,
the stone was almost fluid, nigh elastic, light and soft, and praise
accumulates within its presence everywhere it meets our hands,
the human ones who write it down and note its patterns. Happy lands
where lilies rise and bloom in great wild rafts and have so much to say—
If you’re still here, and you’re still male—dear lilies swear—you’ll read our way.