Sitting by the Hudson at dusk,
on the cusp of summer thunder.
A deep OM sets in over river sky,
as the Jersey shore exhales and swells
deep into my gaze.
Nature knows I am sundered by her.
She is not being watched
and so opens wide
to expose the beautiful entrails
of her surrendered celestial bodies.
As I slip inside her innermost secret,
the leaden stillness of truth draws me in
to an expanding desire for nothing.
This prurient desire to feel more
of this moment
merges with sky.
My heart cries out:
“This is all freedom is!”
Suddenly my breath is freer.
So, this is what it means to breathe…
And I realize,
I’d rather have this.
I’d rather have this
than a river of my own
and be unable to merge with it.
I’d rather have a dilapidated boat,
and mad curiosity to sail,
than anything a stationary home
and stationary mind could offer.
I’d rather be indigent
with the freedom to walk the river
than lack the impulse to wander.
I’d rather have a jail cell-
with a window,
than physical freedom
and psychological bondage.
I’d rather give up the world
than hold onto a life that wasn’t meant for me.
Rather have the freedom
to dance ecstatically,
than give up my wildness
for a contract of fifty Broadway shows.
I’d rather let you really see me,
than define anything about myself.
I’d rather wander the world alone with nothing
but a smile
than never again have the opportunity
to light joy in a stranger’s heart.
I’d rather have my divine lover
once, just once more,
than forsake my wisdom
with an earthly contract.
I’d rather have a mystical void
than avoid the mystical.
Rather feel everyone is my child
than need to birth sweet children of my own.
I’d rather communicate
than have a cell phone.
I’d rather you feel I am learning from you
than know that I am your teacher.
I’d rather be unknown
than give up my joy in the unknown
I’d rather leave this life now,
with not a fear as to what comes next
than be diverted from the path
of truth and love.
Rather love everyone
than love anyone in particular.
I’d rather the ability to control my breath
than control over anyone.
I’d rather stay here
and participate in collective liberation
than transcend anything.
I’d rather give up my illusions
than be happy.
Rather take leave from this life
than have nothing left to give.
Rather free you sexually
than ever have another orgasm myself.
Rather painfully burn,
than painlessly freeze.
I’d rather experience surrender
in every cell of my being
than have the world surrender to me.
I’d rather never sleep again,
than fall back to sleep.
I’d rather be alone for the rest of my life
than give up the chance to love you.
photograph by Gia. Riverside Park.
The chains look quite different now–
Having morphed from a thousand ideas of bondage to actual cuffs.
A choice, another day. Yet chains are still chains.
Passion diffused to specificity, reined to immutable reality.
Desire reduced to just one lone force–
Still it’s the same game
As when the vices were many, centrifugal pursuit.
To say I want you
Would be just another doomsday greeting.
Confirms we’re both standing in the same field, that is, of existence.
It’s no coup, neither understanding nor escape from thingness.
So, is this the same performance you signed up for?
I know I did. But I’ve changed my mind.
Sweet punishment shall follow
As we don’t get to change the patterns set in our minds
From eons before. The now is merely a result of all that.
Yet we reside in the fantasy of immediate creation.
In this revolving mindfuck, we are no different
And so the compassion flows deep.
From within this requiem, I have no firm urging,
No wisdom growling approach or resist.
We must play these rounds all together
Whether with hands of denial and inexcusable bliss–
Exquisite choice or destiny divine.
There we each are.
In perfect stillness, it all disappears.
Save the throb of heart, course of blood and cosmos rushing.
Yet the silence of the in between is only that,
An intermediary until the next flesh thought.
Chains remain links to bodies
To lives and earths of unquestionable flux.
Yet the truth of why we are here is neither fading passion nor logic.
No, this level of desire is the soul begging for goodness
Through atomic revelation of seed and sight–
There where there is no distraction, no sex, no justice, no fight.
Only a love which has no name.
It is false piety and the perversion of confusion which gets in the way
Of wiping and polishing the chains clean
To present our vigorously exposed minds on a string
To wonders which will cease.
There, God is found.
Otherwise you still wait in the abyss,
A shivering masochistic lamb, the nether pawn of self.
You can never build your own light, without the nameless one.
Rebellion is a mere folly of identification; nothing truly courageous there.
Step and sniff.
Bow and obey.
Dissolve into mortal light.
So what, leaves scurry across Madison Square Park’s stoned paths.
Unbending characters as they fall through the air.
Too dead already to leave a cicatrice upon their wombs,
They find themselves again alive in the afterlife
Giving voice to loneliness.
And the wind itself, which kindly aborts leaves
Before their deciduous infects the trees,
Maintaining its cyclic taunting,
As does the external world of interaction-mingling.
In its silence, we’re left to ourselves, to ignore the social.
We do not see nor hear, nor need.
But there, again. It submits to busyness.
With audible leaves who know quite obviously how to behave together.
No time for contemplation where the wind is concerned.
Leaves don’t chatter among themselves about social norms or seasonal etiquette.
And until one becomes its branch’s sole survivor,
not even self-awareness will it have.
No sense of being a leaf, a free mind to enjoy the journey it’s on.
Have you heard a leaf run across the pavement?
An unmistakably desperate scurry toward nothing
Because choice never existed in a life fated for death.
How could it have been sprouted with any greater purpose,
Than to die?
It could never truly be, with any being outside itself,
But only coexist with other pawns for the duration of life before death.
Why is the leaf said to be more alive, or alive at all while on its branch?
Only because it grows, until it doesn’t.
And so death sets in.
Are we as alive as the leaf?
Do you remember when you stopped growing?
Photograph by Mike Gutkin