Starfall, Live -- Mojave Desert
I am standing
somewhere in the desert, clothed
in layers. Swaying. Letting my eyes
Letting my breathing
Letting my head
Breathe. (To burning sage
and dust and sparks from our dancing.)
Breathe. (To integrate the beating
heart beat heart beat heart beat.) Breathe.
(To darkness interrupted,
less than something absolute.)
Breathe, in unison. Move,
And then the world collides with specks of dust.
I would set my refracting telescope
on a table, in the snow.
To see more clearly, I exhaled,
then held my
so lenses wouldn't frost.
To keep my focus sharp.
To steady the fumble of my hands.
I practised this asymptotic breathing
when staring at stars;
as a marksman;
when I was beaten;
the first time
I made love (remember
the muffle and hush of
snowfall, like ash).
The colours have meaning,
not answers, nor wisdom,
nor absolute truth.
We want to know
(we think we need to know) about the dust,
but the colours are often
of ionized dust,
the colours of our particular sky,
we would make,
should the world run, headlong,
They are beautiful, startling, familiar,
We need to know.
We dance. We watch. We try to understand.
I can tell, by the absences of stars,
that we are surrounded by a circle of peaks,
where we dance. (The torrent of stars!)
Turn as you dance.
Watch the immolation of dust,
consumed by air that you consume.
Imagine the rain of ashes, all around you.
Turn as you dance.
Breathe deep as you turn.
You are alive, breathing smoke and ashes, spinning,
I can observe,
has always been a curl of smoke, a darting spark,
a lattice of shadows in the dirt,
a twisting, phosphorescent trail in the sky.
I search for patterns.
In the throbbing.
In a kiss.
The flickering faces.
Embraces. Footfalls. Food. The
wandering darkness. An outstretched
hand. Ideas. Words. Warmth.
A thief crept through my home, last night, but
I have nothing to steal.
Tomorrow, the light will be too bright
but the air will taste like magic.
I prove beauty
again and again, by force of habit, and
neither will crack.
Why do I remember the smell of cold,
the silence after the breath,
the gunmetal ache of that telescope
against the socket of my eye?
The meteors stab at the mountainous dark
and all around us dust is rising, mixing
with the smoke and ash.
From where I dance, each meteor splash
creates another dancer,
and the dust from her feet
and the dust from his feet
is like reluctant smoke and the dust,
and the smoke, and the sparks from the smouldering
sage, is one
thing, shouldered upward, elbowed upward,
catapulted upward by the newborn,
dancing in the rain of embers,
dancing in the web of movement,
dancing in the tangle of histories and light.
A fire-ball meanders away from our dance,
away from growing twilight,
heading deeper into purple western skies.
When I open my mouth, to breathe,
the music resonates in my throat and in my lungs.
My breath has sound. My breathing
The shimmering dawn comes crawling
over the ring of mountains, into sudden, clinging cloud.
Copyright John D Porter © 2001
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