the trees lie in wait.
the trees lie vertically against the rain.
the rain plummets toward your cheeks
which are turned toward the white delirium of the sky.
henry miller muses on a platter piled with shit,
people picking through it to look for the roses.
i am a botanist. i see the roses growing out of the defecation.
i see the symbiotic, dependent unity between waste and creation.
i see the roses. i see the platter of shit symbolically
glowing with the possibility of growth. trees grow out of the dirt.
they stretch vertically toward the impregnable,
swelling sun while we practice self-immolation
beneath their canopy of leaves.
how can i explain the swelling of my own chest
as my clarity heightened on wyandotte street,
with the students and the construction workers in orange hard hats
and the fuming traffic and the consistent thrumming of tools
and the dried mud and the side walks decorated with litter and dirt
and footsteps? how can i explain that i was gazing
at the contents inside of the platter
and whatever it was that i seen, i found it beautiful?
so beautiful that the feeling expounded in my throat
and i struggled to translate it into language, into thought,
and instead i smiled and beamed and radiated
the purest form of happiness: the happiness without cause.
seized by the collar and dragged through the streets
by some irresistible attraction to life, vibrantly and violently
looking for some sympathetic vibration
through open-mouthed wonder.
and the men with briefcases walking briskly
and the girls with black backpacks slung over one shoulder
furrowed their eyebrows in a sort of dissolution of faith.
and the sun flits through the raindrops.
and life dangles itself in front of me like a surma woman -
mockingly nude and proactive. such clarity
and i am vertically lying against bewilderment.
limbs stretch languidly toward the ebb of sunlight.
rain pinches paunched cheeks.
the sky itself mimics contradictions.
i emerge into a hellenic dream.
poor eve was in an ignorant form of nirvana: pleasantness
of unconcerned bliss. i will not make the same mistake eve made.
i will devour the fruits of knowledge, the ripe plums of mortality,
the gleaming apples of morality, the tantalizing pears of clarity.
i will beckon the serpent forward, i will consult him in his malignant
cleverness, i will absorb his malevolent curiosity.
and afterwards, i will not hide my nakedness.
i will stand firm and futile and flowering in the awareness
of my own existence. i will embrace my naked flesh,
my naked consciousness manifested, my vulnerable humanity.
i will know. and i will not be ashamed of this knowledge. poor eve,
poor adam. didn’t they realize they were only
a step closer to naked nirvana?
the sky like watered-down milk, like snow turned to sludge,
like smoke. the sky knows nirvana, even in it’s sullied whiteness.
i see the nakedness parading silently through the streets,
the nakedness of the men getting out of cars with smoke flooding
out of the passenger door - dense as water.
i see it in the power-walking women animately confessing
their bowel movements to dull-eyed companions.
i see it in the pigeons, in the gutters, in the matted hair
of sickly-looking youth, in the tall buildings being built higher,
in the glass offices of mannequins, in the transparency of the
long-boned, bright-eyed, jaw-clenched.
i just mean: shit’s relative.
botanists rejoice in manure; it fertilizes ideas, possibilities, fantasies.
and all the while, blossoming right out of the shit are the roses.
and the fruit is bursting and the sky is bursting
and the foreheads of strangers are bursting.
and the girls with the black backpacks look pleadingly at me,
saying with their great big brown sorrowful eyes - don’t be dependent
on dissolution: your other identities will only last so long. i know,
for though i have been abject and mute, i have been under
the impression that my aurelian metamorphosis has occurred twice,
three times, a myriad of times. in all truth, there is no metamorphosis.
we are naked, always, without a single cocoon,
no matter how we try to cloth ourselves. and, like eve,
we are naked despite how desperately we try to forget
our initial desire for the truth greater than ourselves, which in the end
seems to only elucidate the brittleness of our fallible skin.
the sky tries to clothe itself, too, but it realizes that rain
is only another extension of itself.
the mask does not always melt into the face it hides. perhaps
there is not even a mask. perhaps there is nothing inside of the platter.
or perhaps there is everything: shit, roses, perverse tribal rituals,
nirvana, vulnerability, dostoevsky’s white nights, trees ripe with eternal
fruit, rivers of smoke, skyscrapers, suitcases, smog, furrowed eyebrows,
naked limbs, grey skies, black backpacks, great sorrowful eyes.
it’s all there. the plate’s teeming with it all.
and the rain erupts on your pale cheek and
the trees fall against the rain and the platter
extends throughout the streets and the skies and all of time and
the question then, i guess, isn’t really what’s on it.
the question, rather, is this:
what the hell are you gonna do with it all?