Chamber Suite "The End"

The Trailhead


The darkness under my feet
had its own will and destination.
Daylight came to pillage my mind,
receding stars peeking through me
as if i had turned transparent.

Each and every sunrise transforms
the mathematical order of the universe
into an extravagant multiplication
of optical illusions and eclipses,
which hijacks our brief journey
from one senseless nothingness
to another senseless nothingness.

I close my eyes,
and a pool of images,
drawn from a place
that is not memory
but feels like it,
begins to ripple and
shape into a story.




Race Track, Death Valley


Each stone a god, unbuilt,
brimming with premonitions,
and shining unreflected light,
each stone a marker, a pointer,
that both orients and disorients,
a one-word summary of the meaningful
impossibilities that shape our lives;
each stone a sepulchral monument
erected by an extinct race of thinkers
in a cemetery of crystallized mud,
their ancient thoughts nesting into
the labyrinthine invisibility
of these incoherent grooves;
each stone a totem of immobility
along the path cut by our nomadic zeal;
each stone an unborn embryo.

Viewed by a bird, this breed of stones
on a fluorescent blank canvas
must resemble an oversize folio
of musical notes, an antiphonary,
intentionally left open on the lectern
of the combed valley floor, illuminated
in brass and ivory, bound by tortuous
clasps of hills, for singing chorally
to the stately rhythm of daylight.




The Route


The route, emptied of both people
and things, did the thinking for us.

It is the orbit, not the planet,
that wanders and returns.

It is the path, not the hiker,
that strays into the unknown.




You/ Part 1


I keep writing poems to you
in a language that i don't understand
not knowing what i wrote, nor why;
but knowing that you can read them
and noone else can; and that you
know why; and that you will reply,
in the same alien language, for me
to marvel at the enigmatic signs
and to continue walking and writing.




Grapevine Canyon, Death Valley


We wade the peacock's tail
of the crumpled color map.
A hecatomb of shades
greets our spidery shadows
among the alabaster cliffs
of the seared canyon bends.
We downclimb fossil
waterfalls as if leaking
into somebody else's dream.

We share our fate with the handful
of dead people who are following us,
whose footsteps stop when we stop,
whose laughter stops when ours stops -
the echoes that have inhabited
this canyon since sound had echo -
and with the torrent of generations
to come, unwilling torch bearers,
for which we populate these spaces
with our footsteps and laughter...

...the past reflecting the future,
and viceversa, in an endless
self-inflating vertigo, a parody
of big bangs spinning out of control
until blindness spreads its wings
over all the visible and beyond.




Empty Space


Sometimes i walk into the world
like a sheep looking for the puma
that will chase and maul it to death.
Flickering behind every corner
is the obscene aching silhouette
of the martyr who will kill me.

The Sun dipped its wattled beak
into the fat belly of the sky
like a dead vulture devouring
its own curled carcass.
Our shadows swam up
the dusty desert road
like gravity-defying flotsam,
the pass a domed wreck
of inscrutable embers.
Sand dunes lined the valley
like caravaning coaches
pulled by draft sunbeams.

Fate is a carefully worded taboo,
an enigma that rhymes with death,
a will tantamount to blasphemy.
No wonder that most of the time
we feel out of context,
kidnapped, doped and hypnotized,
the painstakingly chiseled desert
morphing into the scorched corpse
of the earth inside the glass
sarcophagus of the sky.

We had already lost count
of the many rapidly unfolding
nonspatial dimensions beyond time,
but a saline breath from the dry sea
restored a sense of impunity
to our futile amnesia.

Sometimes i drift, towards a mythical
dwelling that might or might not exist,
like a periscope lulled by calm waves
longing for the mirage that will lure it
into troubled depths.

It is not the going but the coming back
that defines who you are and will be.




You/ Part 2


I became a hiker
hoping to find you
in those remote places
where the farther you gaze
the nearer you see,
where air is not air
and water is not water,
where topomaps are sky
and compasses are wind,
where time probs space
and space undoes time,
where tides of horizons
wash out all focal points,
where misty ponds are keyholes
to creep into other cosmologies,
where stately granite transmutes
into graceful clouds, and clouds
are scraps of a jigsaw puzzle
that no hand has ever solved,
where the line between here
and there is made of mind,
both past and future are present,
and "will" stands for "surrender",
where silence turns into words,
and words into echoes,
and echoes into dreams
that last forever.

I became a poet
to practice alone
what i would tell you
when i finally met you.

I played dice
with destiny,
and always won.

Then why is it
that i can see your eyes
in every flower
and hear your voice
in every breeze
but i can never
hold your hand?




The Dunes, Death Valley


Whose wrinkles
shape the sand
into dunes? The face
of which faceless
god is reflected
in this desert?

The Moon, scampering off
the fractal maze of slopes,
the Moon, munching silently
the margin of our daydream,
feels like a stage of the trip,
a milestone, an achievement of sorts,
to be documented and reproduced,
or to be caged and exhibited.

Exiled from a world in which
the unknown keeps shrinking,
we search for the mandala
that only the blind can see.

Unspeaking monks,
fearful of sunset,
we round the dunes;
pitiful argonauts,
pinned like butteflies
onto a trail-less map,
and doomed to oblivion
when a rambling gust
incinerates our footprints,
the caption of our journey.

We venture, like oracles,
into a cave of enigmas
that we are unable to solve.
The formulas embossed in the sand
by tumbleweeds or arachnids
redraw the boundaries of the soul.
We emerge omens to be divined.

The desert is a marvelous storyteller
of tales that have never been told;
masked, incognito and perhaps senile;
a fertile field of signs.
Here winds coined a vocabulary
to silence language itself.
Here lie the mutilated fangs
of dead suns, occasionally
resurrected by a transfusion
of unanswerable questions.

No trace will remain on this sand
of the operation that has been,
through an infinite period of time,
the sole purpose of our lives.

We wish we were the mirror
from which we are powerless
to look away.




Arriving, Death Valley


I am
not alone,
certainly,
but who else
is here,
and what
are they?

Behind us the Moon whispers:
"Don't be fooled again,
you finished reading
a book of blank pages".

The childless mountains
that we have crossed will
stain the canvas of sunset.
One by one the stars will
come out of their hiding places
like boomerangs bouncing back
to hit their throwers.

"You are someone else's memory".
But then what does it mean
that i ask all these questions?

I dwell on a crumbling galaxy
clad in zombie comets.
Waiting for the cool hush
of the night that will redeem
the hissing heat of the day,
I dream of just being myself.




You/ Part 3



"From which direction
will you be coming?"

Silence everywhere.

"Is it your heart
that is ticking
beyond the clouds?"

"No, it is yours".




Corollary


It will be argued by some
that the meaning of science
lies entirely in its method,
not in its polysemic discoveries;
that the searching is more relevant,
and uniquely human, than the finding.

Choice precedes and directs.

The world is flat and timeless,
written by, and acted upon, organisms
until deconstructed into histories.

Time is seamless,
space unbound,
you an i.




Home


As i walk alone on the beach
seeking to devise a plan,
a song from a corner of the gulf
reminds me that the waves
will betray me and sail
to other shores, a song
erased with quixotic zeal
by the swelling winds before
it can alarm the bathers,
a feeble song that nonetheless
dwarfs the grinding of the cogwheel
and the pounding of the pistons;
but, who knows, perhaps it was only
the mocking chatter of the pebbles
under my feet, amplified by the sea,
as i walk alone on the beach.




You/ Part 4


Sometimes, now,
at night, alone,
i see you.