Pinned now to a glowing gaze that waits on the bough. Colder air crawls across the balcony, but I’m still held holding these small movements in the barn owl’s stare. Some animals are not regarded: the squirrels shift as background and we shadows lumber beneath their trees. But the owl is a presence. Maybe it’s the mere placement of eyes, a face almost that gleams the intelligence of reach. Even from here I note the subtle adjustments to sight as it ponders and shifts along the branch, seeing me. Maybe it’s mere impatience, waiting for my absence so it can lunge again at the frightened mind shielded by the bush. Maybe there is nothing, just a space floating between two similar, unknown faces that cannot be articulated, at least not yet. One of us disappears, and the other returns to moment.
The wanderer’s gaze once again reaches for taller things; there is sublimation to be had, but all that comes is memory: a teacher who, years ago, claimed that trees could feel. The wanderer was once a student and believed that meant absorbing whatever air surrounds; he believed the old man foolishly, but soon learned other things, such as the fact that trees are not twisted with nerve endings like humans are. The wanderer knows that trees are beyond us, different structures that can be imbued but not totally held. However, the gaze still stretches, becomes shadow among leaves and boughs.
He never told you he was an individual, an eye carrying sky. The grass barely shapes around him, a thought fills with greenness, but the grass receives little, just the smallest thought the sun has already seen.
There was once a sky bound to leaves, violets swimming across the hill, lights gathering dimension for your eye. I’ve done away with myself and the sky. It now drifts by our door grayed into dust or something similar. The leaves paved-over with black, and the hill is distant in the shadow. Will you wait for me to see the face of tomorrow, gather up its eyes and watch as I twist them to ash?
The sky painted with a silence you could almost name, but the sun mutes any kind of diminutive song, a light sifts through the leaves cradled into dust with the buildings and glass and the possessions shaping small histories, now all reconfigured into a flattened mass, strange, frail particulate quivering as your eye begins.
I remember the day when I saw the snake encaged with flame. Frightened teeth jabbing at the dying air, but the fire swelled until the sky slid from the snake’s eye. Now the fire, quietly huddled in another’s valley, has left us, curled-up shadows removed from its being, to where dust reawakens and delegates renewal.
Not too long ago, I was outside and saw within my gaze the swaying of leaves above. A voice came to me. It said, “You need to make a decision.” It was my own, yet, it came from somewhere. There was this need to push my life elsewhere, to build something. I was merely outside, existing. Others, my friends, had careers, some even families. The swaying of leaves, the sun spreading across my skin. They were not for me. They could not be enjoyed. The future sat coldly, a stone gazing out.
You’re expected to enjoy life, to appreciate the warmth. But you can’t be useless. You are not the swaying trees, the sun bending through the leaves. I needed to move, I needed to learn, to gain. The trees, the water, the air, the distant birds: nice, beautiful things, but they are objects. I could have sat there forever, but it would have been meaningless. Meaning. Purpose. Passion…I had been waiting, but the day was almost done, and the silence of this moment had gotten old.
This poem is a bit trash looking back on it now. May rewrite it in the future.
Grey water lapping, empty
sun gazing over.
But the dead man is not considered
by the wave-tossed shells surrounding him.
They are too busy growing
new hands, digging into soft earth.
No eyes, no minds, just an impetus
to be hidden in watery sands.
They do not consider death,
but it’s there, a ghost
in their mucous arms,
a knowing barely known.
The shells soon bury themselves
and the man is left alone, on the beach
unnamed by any feeling.