Mushroom cloud dawn
in my head,
cotton boles and stuffing
like a cloud in a birdcage.
Describe the arc.
This is all mathematical,
scribbles under a four-year-old hand,
now say you’re sorry.
I’ve been waiting for my apology
but sitting against the cliff
there is a morning glory
a vortex of specific gravity
drawing me to the center
of the molting forest
and it’s said nothing relieves anxiety
like touching earth,
the fact your hand upon the grains
will behave as that line
in high school math
that gets infinitely
closer to the graph bar but never
and what exists
in that space I often wonder.
The welling in the head,
spray of straw under my hat--
Sitting against the wall before dawn,
moonlight lighting the blinds
on glass doors,
how they cast shadows of scaffolding.
the hundreds of robins singing.
How interesting, one thinks.
Francine says to do this, a meditation in itself.
Self-talk is all,
self-talk is spinning plates upon the table,
self-talk keeps them
Self-talk says, oh look
self is depressed, self feels head swelling, self is cloud
and today cloudy,
self loves moonlight in scaffolding and singing birds,
self knows birds don’t sing,
self itself is shadow and moonlight and scaffolding
Animals in the attic.
Was Daniel Boone ever depressed?
I’m wandering over the gap
into deeper forests,
no bottom to the mountain lakes,
Self is self-obliterated, self-annihilating, rest assured
devouring the white light energy of the body
animals in the attic.
Self is High Rock
on the Pine Mountain Trail I never made
Self is nightfall and also day in night.
Self is arched
over the precipices and indices of the world’s end,
the world’s Eden,
the world’s endemic.
Self is French doors, insulated glass, covered
self my shield, my bulwark, self my irony,
my nested hurt, my winter nest a cup of snow.
Self is that which I have not forgiven,
does not forgive,
must be taught to forgive and forgo,
so far gone.
So far, self, we are here, you and I,
I and I,
on the mountain looking west, long ridge
of history omnipresent at once,
I and I traversing
looking for shelters and bear poles,
elk cross the self’s gaps,
thirteen thousand trees
that hide grouse in self’s underbrush and understory,
the story under self
is the wish for India, is the guru where incarnate
means made flesh, is self descended into flesh,
is Son of Man, is the sun as much
as Son of God
or if God doesn’t work, mere Divinity
bow your head to that which is
sacred within you.
Self will hurt from here on out.
Set traps for the animals in the crawlspace,
a cage on the carapace,
bait it with what the brain likes most to devour,
bait it with sex,
with bourbon and books, with Polaroids of sunrises
snapped on the eyelids,
tell the brain it’s all real and it’s self the master of the chariot,
driver of car.
Lure brain out.
Snag brain in its own spindly web and make brain
If every candle burns down
why so sad.
Everything gutters, I say.
I, which of you is speaking?
I will return again to lick up my engines,
to build a bed by the fire,
to find a monument of alabaster trees
and I will pray
to the little eyes that grow on the ends of stems there.
Where Mary manifests herself in dancing saplings
and dances her sorrow.
Where we might eat mushrooms and quiet Mind.
There is a meal before you escaping.
The room teems with eating Minds.
Mind fresh from war, fresh from rape and revelation,
Mind sliced to ribbons, sinning happily,
Mind, sit down.
The moment is at hand, Mind.
The heater has kicked on
and the house is breathing.
The cardinals are exercising the capacities of air.
The sun is burnishing some contrails
scribbled over the morning,
and Mind you do not know what color that sky is.
There is no telling.
Mind, look at that house smoking over there.
Mind, everything is breathing.
Mind, you are breathing.
Mind, thou art that and that is hard to grapple but
Mind, stop climbing.
Hang my face on the wall.
It is concrete, use a heavy nail.
Glue my money to glass and watch the rooms decay.
I will decay
in the ground, in a coffin fashioned of cushioned wood,
I will swell when the lid closes,
the body will suffocate the bit of air
the body will rot, will liquefy, will putrefy Mind,
all my life will be a puddle
will be bones bled out, will dry, will be a handful of ashes
for the eyes, will be dust,
will be done.
Sixteen mules in the top of the tree,
Sixteen mules in the top of the tree.
Fold your thumbs over your sternum and rest there.
Be still, self-talk.
Believe in nothing out there in the waving holly.
Believe no bird singing.
Know there is chatter fixed in the little brains of birds.
Know they are as much machinery as you,
as much alive as you,
as responsive to dawn as you, as particular to temperature
as your own skin, Mind:
cease your suffering, please:
no skin, no air, no cold, no no.
Patrick Hill is the author of Hibernaculum (Slash Pine Press, 2013) and two full-length books of poetry, Interstitial and The Imagined Field. Poems appear or are forthcoming in TYPO, Spork, The Equalizer, The Blueshift Journal, Country Music, and Forklift, Ohio. He is the curator and editor of Green Fuse Press in Louisville, Kentucky.