Wasser Fleisch

She smells the rosemary as she rubs

her hands gently over the soft

needles of leaves knowing

 

it’s time to water the plants.  She smudges

the air with a bundle of white sage: a variety

she wishes was growing

 

in this brightly lit house.  Before filling the watering

can, she does a sequence of movements

opening her shoulders and hips

 

releasing all of the worldly tension from her

bones, standing behind the giant front-

room windows.   A car passes

 

by, trying to maneuver around

chunks of ice and the whipping

snow filled wind, the driver

 

almost notices, through the window of a house

so lit up that it seems to make all

the other houses seem vacant, a woman

 

balancing on her hands with a body the shape of

a crane, muttering, “Huh?!” The car continues

moving as if there were nothing

 

noticed in the night. Her hands get watered

regularly, while all the plants around her

wilt, even the herbs she grew

 

from seed.  She walks naked through the house

turning on each light she passes as it grows

dimmer and darker just outside

 

the pane of windows lining every wall.  Sometimes

this non-distinct existence can only be

seen out of the corners of eyes

while you aren’t really looking.

Audience of None

Why have you come here, in the shadow

abyss of these cliffs, to this

precipice?  Tell me why you are

 

here, since I’ve been waiting

for you to lumber by for quite

some time, and I only

 

just realized.  Strange how thoughts

can scale a mountain side showing you

 

the unknown tablet-like plateaus of Mount Sinai

never revealing any real intention

other than floating like water

 

molecules in the air, the movement

of breath.  Be careful dear, the path—though surely

treacherous—is delicate like the membrane of skin

 

and it’s wounds can sometime feel

insurmountable, so stay lithe with your language

 

since your body can be burdensome.  I am

the unseen hand holding up

the puppet of my skin, that

 

subtle gesture of touching the back

for reassurance of it being

time to breathe.  When I fall out of view, don’t

 

worry, I am that dark thing

inside the puppet.  You’ve reminded me, in this

 

dramatic landscape, I shine the only light in

the spectacle of wind singing like music.  My obfuscated

dance is no less clearly seen out here, I don’t amble

 

in shadow because you and I both know destination

just has to be discovered through the journey.  We don’t know

the contours of what we feel.  We only know what erodes it

 

from within carving out the sculpture of some God

maybe.  All you’ll ever see are just glimpses of me,

 

be assured that I’m here in the fully awakened empty

space: a work of art balancing

in a state of constant curiosity

 

because beauty is so demanding.

Soliloquy for One

When one has to avoid

negativity to just exist isolated

from the entire world around,

 

is that living?  Struggles are for

the living.  To live is to blaze

with energy.  The Buddha told us

 

that life is suffering, but a productive

discourse about your struggles can help

you find every positive.  Sometimes, that

 

dialogue is just with myself, so maybe I can

articulate to you more accurately.  To find the words

to tell you—because of my burning

 

fear of warbling wrong— I open the hips and release

arms wide open to the great expanse of sky to let all

the anxiety out of my love, my love for you.  And I’m free

 

from all fury from within, I postulate my own

posture.  I don’t want to be remembered as a shadow

in a drawer that no one looks in, so I make my words

 

breathe clearly.  The flame flickers to focus for a different

final thought.  My name, my sign, my symbol: Shadow

Dancer, Schattentänzer comes to define

 

delightful.  The snaps of the coals awaken a seer’s soul.

Superficial Exposition of Schattentänzer

The things we’ve gifted to each

other just lay around the place

occupying shadows, some of them

crumpled on the floor, others kept in

a drawer.  The thought counts as much as

the time took to be a token of love.  There is so much

depth in the shadows, so much lurking

in the dark, at most you can only ever

see half, assuming any of it is visible at all.

Schattentänzer Cannot Be Made Light of

 

If I cried out

            who would hear me up there

                                among the angelic orders?

And suppose one suddenly

             took me to his heart

                               I would shrivel

I couldn’t survive

            next to his

                           greater existence.

                        ~Rilke trans. by David Young

 

 

Just another empty cage stands alone

in the comfort of a dark

 

cliff.  Schattentänzer can feel

the closest distance—how it grows

 

and grows till there is so much space

in the work of breathing.  I’ve got to have

 

my suffering, so I can

withstand the weight of that

 

cross that is solely mine to bear.  It’s funny

how distance learns to grow.  In a terrible act

 

of courage, I did cry out, seducing

a treacherous thing to come to me.  It defined

 

beautiful love.  Maybe it was an angel or some God

made of man.  Indeed, I did shrivel just like

 

the poem had warned.  This human flesh is

always rejected that greater existence.  Beauty knows

 

its destructive nature—it only resides in moments

that pass the hand as little grains of sand

 

too small to notice by the naked eye.  God, sometimes

you just don’t come through.  I have

 

stitched the fabric of my existence sometimes

where the wind blows, moans, shrieks in the darkest

 

landscape.  Tell me, someone out there, of crazy

and maybe I will understand.  Gods and angels work

 

in league to disassemble all that’s mortal, yet it’s

the wind and water which erode any of the Earth’s

 

permanence.  Nothing lasts, so I cry

out on the wailing cliffs at Duino

 

where the wind keeps me from falling

while I lean out ailing to hear myself more completely

 

in the fissures of my skull.  The words come

to me.  Every letter later written on a tattered notebook exists

 

from the coursing blood just below my finger’s skin,

all while—as a life—I become less living

 

with every deep breath guiding the strokes

of my pen: that tap, tap, tapping on the keys

 

to the rhythm of my heart pounding out a battle

march.  If instead of wind, should I stand in fire

 

being the quick flicker of a dying flame, the Shadow

Dancer can only be seen the instant darkness licks the ether

 

making me no less a shadow, even as I balance

posed as the Lord

 

of Dance, Natarajasana, with the searing wisdom of rocks

ablaze under my footing, I am

 

still what I am, until I am no more.

“The Moon is Quiet and Holy,” Says the Shadow Dancer

Love resists metaphor because it is too

powerful to be so easily contained—let alone

understood.  My touch

 

makes your body revolt when I’m not

touching it.  You’re sick for days

 

from the guilt of touching me

like I am something to feel guilty for

wanting, a disgusting shame like original

 

sin.  What does that make me? I become

an image on a screen, some text you find

yourself reading on some manmade

 

device making my flesh and bone

purely superficial.  It makes me

not real any longer.

Spotlight on Schattentänzer

To operate without touch is walking

through life as a rose pressed long dead

between the pages of Canto XVII in the Divine

 

Comedy, Schattentänzer says obliquely.  Now,

serious as a heart attack, she directs, If you don’t know

what that means, then you better figure

 

that shit out, cause it could shave years

off your life.  It cannot be avoided  It’s always

lonely wherever you are,

 

you just have to understand your

loneliness.  A hole in the ground,

 

a hawk overhead, or the croaking of some frog

that guides you to knowing the moment you’re face to

face with, it’s the story they will tell of a life

 

worth living.  Come running, swooning as great angels

would with all their terrible tendencies, cause if nothing

touches you, your myth will surely be a tragic story.  That hole

 

in the dirt. Morosely she touches her hair so the glow of her

homochromatic eyes seem to speak

for her, I no longer want to dance in

 

shadows: a cat-burglar leaving the security system

 

video feed on, so they can witness her descent from the sky

to steal the beautiful object below that puzzle of red

lasers.  I can’t change my name but I can change

 

its meaning.  A flightless bird dancing among the corner

shadows making the dance seem like it defies the ground

all while I embrace myself to slip past any tripping.

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