I am among them
poetry by Dan-Eric Slocum, excerpted and adapted by Eric Banks
These poems remain unfinished, only to be completed by the reader.
I. (from Poetry brain)
Delicious words are always swimming:
just underneath my consciousness,
just below the conversation.
When I notice them in my mouth,
when I begin to talk to myself like a madman,
I find any scrap of paper that I can.
II. (from Moon and Surface tension)
Moon, I see you forever
in that one orange second on the beach.
Not even the Pacific is as blue as your eyes.
Don’t linger over my shoulder
with your premeditated fingers.
Choose each word that you whisper,
and when you pause to breathe: look at me.
III. (from Oasis and Blades)
Pools of you evaporate,
and it rains again and again.
Rivers of you recede,
yet the swollen clouds refuse to move you.
Waves of pain ripple
on the edge of a blue lake.
I think of you,
and I see your reflection.
IV. (from Treasure and Mercury)
across the frozen, anonymous blankness –
ice and ice and ice –
nature keeps an exquisite secret,
away from all human eyes.
Let me see behind the curtain.
Let me be a deep, hidden secret.
For you: an experiment
folded away on some yesterday.
For me: infinite pleasure
in a private, frozen time.
V. (from Vespers)
With seconds to spare,
infinite space, riddled with stars,
rushes to meet night’s release.
VI. (from Starlight)
After spending years
searching the heavens
over and over again,
always wanting answers,
always seeking love
(and lamenting the lack thereof),
the stars have dismissed me and baffled me
until this very moment.
And now the heavens are shifting.
And now the stars are just bright enough
to see the angels talking.
VII. (from Mingling with rock stars)
Why are we forever going
back to the past
for the ultimate answer?
VIII. (from Science fails)
There is no innocence in this night of stars;
their appearance and the truth are contrary.
It is the brutal and beautiful annihilation
of cycles and spirals, of worlds.
Every pulse is violent selfishness –
every single one –
through all of the past worlds
or all of those ever to come,
each without end.
They are parsed by an awkward language,
an enormous sense of entitlement
that transcends any tongue.
We are but mist, or dust.
IX. (from Psychiatric emergency)
The collapse of light into moonless pitch
creates a peaceful invitation:
a call into mystery.
And despite the howls of protest,
one is guided to the other side:
shivering, and only by feel.
X. (from My true voice)
Screaming, in fight or flight through lifetimes,
to arrive at this thrumming pulse:
constant, but too vast
for any calculation, enumeration, description.
Then: ethereal light,
until you are too close to move away.
It’s real. You’re here.
And then you know: eternity, love.
And just in time: truth.
XI. (from Never a last day)
Every traveler is blessed
with abundance, seen or unseen;
and this drama, masquerading as reality,
is a thread to be snipped – in time.
Silence is not an option now,
as we tick into a new rendering.
XII. (from The chase)
Seeing and wanting,
with absolute knowledge of the end,
but denying the passing moments,
or the slowing perception of time.
Can you imagine the joy?
Oh the ecstasy of impending certainty!
It will happen.
Yes, it will happen.
XIII. (from Kiss)
I suppose it is, in part, what a bird feels,
in that very moment when its feet leave the wire,
and its wings carry it into the sky.
(Flying, without knowing that you could fly.)
XIV. (from Mimosa)
Beyond the poppies, you will find a rose tree,
with the whitest buds, in tight and tiny knots.
The dogwood arches over the Japanese maple,
beneath a towering cedar,
with hostas, ferns, and lilies nearby.
Of all of these luscious trees –
the evergreens, oaks, and pines –
the foliage brushes against my face as I rise.
Over there, my beloved pear tree grows;
its leaves are quivering in the breeze.
As the gloaming above me turns inky and dark,
I spy the moon in the clouds.
It is sudden, then.
At this very moment it is clear:
I am not floating at all.
I am only walking in the garden,
in the moonlight, on a cool spring night.
You cross my mind, and I am safe.
XV. (from Mimosa)
When you see the garden butterfly,
know that it is me.
If you see many,
know that I am among them.