Once Picasso told me—on an afternoon of bitter, busy snow
in light so confident, so boastful of its home
in the sun, you’d think we would be sweltering,
and so his observation made sense—that everything
and everyone is as faceted as a cubist day at the beach.
That was the same light Einstein lifted for me
in a lesbian bar—we weren’t lesbian, neither of us,
but, after all, we were faceted—and in his hand it appeared
as compact as an apple: indeed, he pared it
using his teeth alone, in a single sinuous spiral
of golden rind, and everybody applauded
as if we were the stage show. “No, that’s wrong, it’s points,
not facets,” said Seurat, “it’s all confetti of light” (the trouble
with friends of genius—those advance scouts
of the mind [is there a “mind”?] and the spirit [the same]
is vision, like these two, in collision) and then, by way
of exemplification, he dipped his right forefinger daintily
into the ocean—we were at the beach, at dusk—and
when he removed it and lifted it up to my inspection, there
in the center of his fingerprint, like some mythic creature
waiting at the center of the maze, was a single
aglow confetto, acting as a nexus for the swift
oncoming night…and when I mentioned this confusion
of at-variance cosmologies to Marie Curie—we were in bed
together (not sexually, I’d like to lay that rumor
to rest), and reading our individual books
by the cool, blue radiation her body cast forth—
she rolled her eyes and said “yes” without listening really,
she was lost in a new collection of poetry by my old friend
David, mesmerized, as if he were the hero (and why not?
isn’t he raising Ben? and didn’t he help Patricia ease
her mother through the final gates? and aren’t these poems
the result of his dangerous visit to the quicksand
of American conspiracy paranoia?), she was wandering
in the thick of his words, their heft and weft (the way
that certain photographs invite our loopy dawdling
in the up-close, weathered texture of a silo’s side),
and so I couldn’t count on her adjudicating anything,
now how will I decide between the test of faith
and the structures of reason, how will I determine insularity
or empire, yes or arbitrate between a quantum-mechanical state
and the “actual,” with my guiding lights themselves
so cattywampus to each other? “And anyway, mostly
it’s all lies,” said the Baron Munchausen, “what the Buddhists
say is maya: illusion. Trust me, I know.”
He was sitting across the room from us—I was there,
a local watering hole, with Galileo and Georgia O’Keeffe.
“You’re listening to him?” and Galileo rose up like a promontory
—in his exacerbation, sloshing the foam
of his Oktoberfest special over our table—and pointed,
apoplectic, at Munchausen with the same finger that once
had pointed through the chill air to the cankered face
of the moon in a time when nobody else would admit
the truth of the sky, “That man is a fiction!”
-Albert Goldbarth ~
Perfect poem for our zone between the Eclipses.
Who you gonna be? Who you gonna believe?
Keep track of reality. There is such a thing, at least in experience.
Praise Allah, but first tie your camel to a post?
That’s it exactly.
~ There is a Tibetan saying: ‘When things are difficult, then let yourself be happy.’ Otherwise, if happiness is relying on others or the environment or your surroundings, it’s not possible. Like an ocean, the waves always go like that but underneath, it always remains calm. So we have that ability as well. On an intellectual level, we may see things as desperate, difficult. But underneath, at the emotional level, you can keep calm.
– Tenzin Gyatso,
The 14th Dalai Lama ~