Below is my Canto
Early on our life’s journey, but for me
What seems near the end, I stumbled. Among tangled trails
The descriptions of which chills me frozen, adrift in briny sea
And thrashing in dark with eyes closed
Against the crack of a rocky, hostile shore. I felt like
Dante, gone beyond now, in his peace, trialed
Tested, then fulfilled. Me, thick in tangle but with
A hope’s light for a trail walked before, all the way
Down and up, so a smile, beneath tears, masking a weather
Of fear: I kept a sharp eye in search of my guide
Though heaviness slumbered on my brow. I shook dew
From plastered hair. Over a branch I pressed my legs for the other side
Where the shock seemed thinner but bushes, like nets, with grips
Of grabbing bramble; while beyond, through and above
Grey and rolling clouds, with green shades, a break of gaps
Of warm light that made dry the wet of me, shone. The Fear
That at night soaked me through, burned now, away, rising
Off me like my shade departing; called there, to the sphere
By mighty Powers. Behind and below me now, the raw
Menace shrank, cowering and curling on itself to find
It’s own coiling gloom. Over this last branch I strove
To now rest myself in the dapple light, for a moment
I pleasured; so then to start again, along the mountain side
Stumbling in uneasiness because of the rough slanting bent.
And suddenly – A Scorpion, felt through frost
Curled, balled up, glowing phosphorus, at the joint
Shoulder and head attach sinewy muscle. Desert
Cold crowding its poison pressing the warm
While I crouch, frightened, at the scrape, like shrapnel
Against metal stars; dim, blinking, and flickering with
Distant Thunder’s rumble. I brushed her off to
Turn back on the trail once again but black beetle bugs
Crunched and cracked, caking, under tan boots, stopping time
For eight months, at dawn of this last decade… I smiled
Now at Wayfarers, the site of Young Lions, The Growth of the Soil
And the taste of chipped teeth. But then, fear spun me blind
With sand in my eyes, browning the air, all-atremble.
Then a dead foot, still farther, on a living man as well, purple
With rot, the skin sloughing with most terrible
Acid, buckling my sinuses and clogging my head
In allergic despondencies; I lost hope of the light.
Like someone sure of his wisdom, instead
Of Despairs, but now stifled by the odorous soup of rotting at
The foot of his farther, so I felt in my rushing heart
As the stench turned me back the way I had come. So I sat
When I reached the blocking branch I had climbed to
Contemplate again the thorny bush, now ripe with fruit, with root twisted
To trip the traveler. Then before me my hoped for guide stood!
I cried in confusion: “Living now or dreadfully dead
From crowning heavens height or bitter hells depths, help me, a lost traveler
On my trail of tears, with no matter to the good or bad or instead
Of your intent.” He replies: “ I was once born
A man, lived a life but one day, woke a bug, then died.
I lived and suffered my safest days under my bed but
Before that, I too once sought the castle like graters gone before. I spoke
With The Word once, from a phone in an inn, called for surveyor.
From a great distance I heard over hum of lines as from a far space
The tinkling musical mountains’ chimes of many children's’ laugh.
But you, why so glum at this struggle between
Light and dark? You, walking in despair on my old paths…”
“Then are you Joseph K.? The voice of letters that sung
The hymns of determined effort against amused indifference?” I
Knew already the answer, so said: “I struggle, wrung
With the questions you made dance and cry and laugh. I too
Cower under tables and cover, avoiding the milk and
Chocolate kicks of those who would sneer at uncertainty. You
Are the despondent teacher, my hoped for guide, who shows the enigmatic
Path. Who strives always for that unachievable
Wonder! Make this spinning chaos a precious metric
Logic and lead me to what, post bug, now in the after, you’ve discovered.”
Said K. “For you to find your way from this feral place
Follow me…” He offered this gently, seeing my discomfort.
“The top you seek is the bottom of something
Much bigger while the swirl you fear is the Gnostismic
Ordering of something larger and more sinister
Still. Look up, the shades, light as air, spinning in the light
Of heavenly bliss, so many there, with Dante and Beatrice at his
Side, his delicate jewel of heaven, a castle in sky’s height.
Like a bubble! A painful opening indeed to be popped, to drown
In soapy film that splits the light and spangles, glorious
Brilliant color, that shifts though, tricking eyes with sound
And Floating beauty. As luminous joy imprisons and binds
Above, with bars of light that blind, so night, at under, leave senses
Void and unfulfilled to wander. But now look below, those tangled
Woods: I crawled and cried amongst that dark in my bug
Years and died a sticky death there as well. My eyes
Crowded with muck and my insect throat choked with garbage sludge.
The roads have danger; therefore I judge it best you make choices
To follow me and I will be your guide
Away from here, down, up, and through the eternal places.
Our journey will take us below to the sorrow of angry
Souls night. This pit of fear, of Hell, and war that makes men
Dream of a perfection of joyful order more sublime than sparkle airy
Radiance afloat in the sun: This dark, we shall first visit
Then to the plastic world and scratch ticket tuckers
These dwellers carry confidences that you and I may never get.
Ascending I’ll hold back, watching, giving your journey to Dante for
The taste of candy lulls me but for him only joy.
Those that dance in that jewel, I must admit, I fear.
Their strength lies in their dream and so makes it
Real. If you go up feet first and by accidents pop the delicate
Orb, rest assured I’ll be waiting below to catch your spirit.
Up there is God’s Kingdome, His city, His seat of awe.
Happy is the soul he welcomes into that intoxicating Realm!”
I: “Voice of enigma, please – by The God in that castle
In the circle in the sky – Take me where you
Will – In the yellow submarine, to below the thermal
Vents, to the first little life, in the sea of chaos, and through.
Then he set out, and I followed where he led, to survey the mysteries.