Come follow me into the wooded hills
Away from all the jargon, nonsense, noise
And re-use old forgotten paths with me
Past beer cans, past junk food wrappers, past gum,
Past dead cigarette butts that could have sparked
A fire here where lightning needs no help:
The forest outskirts are dry—dry as sex
With a virgin who doesn’t want to lose
That title yet…or not to you. The trees
Aren’t interested in us; they’ve been too scarred
Too many times before, so don’t touch them
Not even gently; let them heal awhile.
This is our wilderness, each year a line;
Climb on, up, always up to where converts
Of lore were made: on mountain peaks where noise
Is different. I can hear the city’s hum
From here, so on, up, always up. The rocks
You can touch; they’ll support us in our quest.
Like the trees they were hurt, but long ago
And they have hardened over time. I doubt
They feel us…but let us not be compelled
To dwell on stones; it’s on, up, always up…
I want to rest, but it’s close; something’s close.
Can you feel it? Not in the wind…Can you
Feel? Feel or is it hear? The senses mix
At altitude—I’m seeing magpie’s songs
And tasting prisms, but I do feel—hear—
A music not of birds, but sung by men;
It’s chanted loudly, chanted lowly, sprung
From the shallow stream we cross, keeping time.
We’ve found a hidden hermitage where monks
Are tending to their garden, planting seeds
Of some sort—I am not skilled with such things.
They fetch water and chant, ignoring us
And our uninvited arrival here,
But neither do they look at us with scorn.
I’m still afraid to ask for water, pest
That I might seem, so I silence my thirst
And with it stops their song. I cannot feel
The city’s hum. The noise is different. Hear.
Silence the swarms of sounds to which you cling
And let the emptiness absorb the space;
Without a voice or music feel and sing
And every high romantic symbol trace
In darkness. Focus on the alarm clock
Light and blot it out, draw the shadows round
Until what you know is there is gone, lock
Reality away, be free of sound.
But eyes shift, light returns, you never try
Again because you know the light is real
And proving wrong a truth leaves much to fear
When textbook answer keys are asking “Why?”:
Not stating “Yes, it’s 4” but asking “Feel,”
Or worse, in silence, prompting you to Hear.
Because the filter of silence is dead.
No pause to edit that e-mail, no glance
To check a fact before responding with
A comment of attack. I cannot have
Opinions unless I oppose someone
And prove that they are wrong, that there is light;
That they’re in darkness, I am right; and times
When I have no idea, I slander, rail,
And maim to take my victory—to prove
That I have voice that can and does make noise.
Who is the loudest? Let me vote for him.
Which news network casts the tastiest bait?
Give me their hooks to swallow like the scripts
Of famed Reality TV shows; let
Me eat their politics, claim their buzzwords
Because only the Philosopher’s Spoon
Can turn a phrase to gold. But shouldn’t news
Be the only reality TV?
If I want poorly crafted insults, can’t
I just examine my own daily life
Or read a few more comments on Youtube
To reach my racist quotient of the day?
“No,” the media yells from megaphones,
“Because the filter of silence is dead.”
But on our mountain with orange-robed monks
The filter is strong, clean and actively
Sorting my musings, finding the gold flakes
Rather than capsizing the ship with junk:
Key chains, statuettes, souvenirs beyond
What memory decides to keep for me.
Let it all go: prostrate, be Zen, be Seon,
Be caught in a cherry blossom snow storm,
Step off the stone, join the koi in the pond,
Cut yourself free but obsess over form,
Pull back the trigger but don’t draw the gun,
Be… ah, who am I kidding. I’m a fake.
Because I am the Numb,
I am the binging drunk.
I’m the winding down sum
Of every gold-pan sunk.
I am 420 high
And never—as no monk—
Paint poems in the sky,
Write paintings in a tree.
I never have to try
To define by memory.
All that thought-stuff for me.
So when this website bores,
Click here for the new meme.
ftw highest score,
Or Epic Fail for the team.
Because we are the Numb
Who killed the epic—so it seems.
April 28th, 2010 at 11:25
This is based on a journal entry I wrote on 4/20 which I decided against posting last week. I was going for my daily run down by the river and every park was full of teens and 20-somethings smoking weed. I have nothing against their practice – I should have liked to have joined them – but it got me thinking about how numb this Age of “Information” is. The binge drinking, the pot, the Reality TV. I have also been reading a book of Dharma sayings and one of them was about how we should filter our words through silence. Blog comments are rushed like this (although I must say, the ones on my site have been excellent), especially because we can remain anonymous and held unaccountable.
I’d also like to thank 105, for the poetic response to my first daily poem: Persiflage. You can read the poem in the comments of that post here: