In the sun hot afternoon of a late spring gathering
among wildflower fields and bramble paths enroute
to friendships and new acquaintances with whom
my skin fits like an oversized ego shored up by
the fallen timbres of my ever doubtful inner voice,
I know I am not alone: the mixed bag certainties of others
become discussions of art, music, meaning,
the people that humanity itself should become if only we would.
I feel like rearranged rubble, sliding down scree,
avalanches of emotions from too many times and places
cross-thatched into a straw man with wine-stained lips;
I think with polar opposites and magnetic repulsions,
keen to hear and understand, to speak and be understood, but also,
to befuddle and mumble and distract lest I be known too well,
lest people spook and vanish aboard unfinished sentences bound for other rooms.
In every subject I hear echoes of the same in others:
the uneasy peace of self acceptance and self insufficiency.
And in this state of eager anxiety, the warm, wandering breezes
of the sun-borne arrival of evening bathes grace-infused stillness
through drifting cloud breaks. We listen with one ear to insect orchestras
from wildflower meadows and former farm fields alive with bird song improvisations.
The old stone house creaks with shifting arches and doorways that settle around
piano laughter, couched conversations upholstered in quilted patterns of art and politics and
the peculiarities and insights of absent others, male and female voices parabolic with their
prismatic opinions diffusing across the ceiling to the clinking of bottles and glasses
and deep dog sighs huffed above dust, displaced like tumbleweed across throw-rug prairies:
a straggle of friends upon a hillside in the decaying orbit of human trajectory.
I escape in the midst of someone else's mid-sentence. The need to be outside:
outside myself, outside the party, the drinks, the human condition itself,
deposits me on the patio while the unseen river, veiled in greenery, ruminates
on its ancient banks down the hillside falling away from where I stand.
The scent of crushed tansy mingles with the waft of soup, bread and cheese.
The cicada rhythms of transformers hum like a drone to the percussive talk from within.
The beer and wine does not help the cause of balanced uncertainty, however much it
loosens the flow of associative communion; it pulls up short, an almost there,
always fled down falling shadows of continuous doubt, a jazz brew gumbo
of gratitude and regret carried on the wind to the sound of commuter traffic
and the cross valley sandpit trucks in pastel shades of dusk plume silence
as inescapable as an angel with a sword on guard outside Eden, re-entry denied:
redemption blocked by the mechanical erosion of beauty clocking off for the day,
the separation at the heart of the despair that raises the glass to my lips,
the impossibility of being alive without the grace imbued in nature.
The harmony and alienation of the human creature hoping to speak
the ecstatic whole of sensory and spiritual experience breathes its living dayfall:
inhales eternal belonging; exhales solitude as sadness personified while the planet
of this day continues turning from the sun until starlight rises into sacred night
and the anguished gale of longing shatters the glass
and all the dark grief of being finds voice:
hears, smells, tastes and feels
the broken world groaning for the regeneration
of the prodigal species at the top of the food chain.