The fleetingness of it all.
The non-reproducibility of moments,
their entirely specific confluence of contingencies.
Yet patterns, recognizability,
What is it but this ever-changing sameness?
The slight perturbations, the infinitesimal
metamorphosing of some ineffable totality?
And to be part of it, for a time—
a briefly sentient consequence of that unfolding,
that spontaneous architecture
that can never be still.
And of the spirit of it all—
the almost imperceptible, entirely sufficient
fact that things shine.
To know this, if inconsistently—
to know it tangibly like the cracking of fallen leaves
or a particularly momentous kiss,
To savor, to revel.
To absolutely sink in and inhabit one’s bones,
doomed as they are to death and dust.
To love it anyway,
to say yes to the irrepressibility,
to just finally have lost all cunning.
These are moments holy and few—
they too die—
and can’t be relied upon.
Faint gospel music is always in the wind,
but the duende only arrests and annihilates
now and again—
its timeliness shatters clocks
and drains the blood of discourse.
Planets die, too.
Ecosystems, social systems,
civilizations, oceans and religions, ideas, cherished truths—
these things perish as readily as bugs and dreams and epiphanies.
Don’t grasp for stability in the bigger things.
The long game is still a game.
What great sadness heaves within the collective heart,
having begun to bear witness to the fact that the human is
inevitably a tragic hero.
Our optimism might itself be the flaw.
We’re not forever, and we’re not whole, and
we have immense power within a certain domain
that is but a bubble girded on all sides by death.
The voice of the eternal youth,
the one who would save the earth by unwinding tragedy,
is seductive in the way that only naiveté can be.
Do what you will to make it all better but know
that the real wound persists.
There is always a remainder,
there is never completion,
the brokenness that chaos births
is the only habitat we will ever have.
We trumpet births, though death surrounds us,
because what else is there to do.
The whole wounded totality arises and expires
in death’s shadow—
earths and heavens in innumerable universes
relenting before the sweep of emptiness.
How much less is the passing of a mammal
on one of these spinning rocks
out in the vast dark?
It’s light, this life, and best lightly held.
Take up the cross of fleetingness, and wear
bewilderment like a coat of arms.
Engage in endless leavetaking with love and
you might achieve a dignity, a flourishing,
And if you can persuade yourself to want nothing more
than the blooming of an instant,
you might be granted a bittersweet contentment,
something by which you may bless the other frightened travelers.
Night is no enemy—
night is not alien. It is the return.
Lights and lamps and stars will all be extinguished
Befriend night; study its language.
Take death upon you with each breath,
transmute the mundane, crack the vessel
and let the nectar out.
Give that sweetness indiscriminately—
Don’t guard the best within you,
even if it enchants you.