Dance to the Music of Time, Nicolas Poussin


Light’s collapsed opposites
advance in lockdown
until crashing into matter.
Waves of cosmic vastness split apart
into caverns of flying moths,
as light and the crushing weight of atoms
converge in the laboratories of leaves.
Dinner plates piled high in the psyche
lead to dangerous pursuits of indelible beauty,
as irrepressible hungers exceed expectation
of historical yields and the lift
of ritual goblets made with gold.
So I’m watching Philadelphia
squeak past Chicago in the doctrine
of time forever running out on the clock,
while people are drawn to new callings
in the music that’s universal speech
expressing what we’ve forgotten
from old communication with animals.
At the core of mystical extrapolation,
a never-before-heard symphony
is being conducted in Israel
shortly after the end of WWII
by Leonard Bernstein.
The cave-wall instant is a wind
that keeps trying to erase lies.
As small as Chicago being plowed
by the blade of night starlight
insinuating cosmic immensity,
Philadelphia completes a fast break
proving it couldn’t be more
at home than it is on the hardwood
where it’s gone flame-high
and leaping into improvisation.
In the flummox of shadows
thrown by blazing light,
they’re fighting for their lives.


Whether anyone does or doesn’t think the transmigration of souls
    is a likely feature of the cosmos linked to space-time,
    astrophysicists have recognized the abject mystery
    surrounding their sense of dark matter and dark energy.
Since no extraordinary time travelers happened to attend the party 
    hosted by Stephen Hawking who only invited them,
    nothing more can be assumed, nothing more not assumed.
If, as some biologists have claimed, this is The Century of Biology,
    a time on the planet in which species will be reclassified
    and the intelligence of each species and every cell
    will be recognized, it’s hard to imagine with the climate.
Who can hear what the leaves have been whispering over the alarm
    when a quietest whale beaching has been shrieking
    while wildfires rip off the ground cover of philosophy?
A progressive symphony resounds on the grounds of its philosophy
    which depends on infinitesimal beings collaborating with cells 
    that heal and replicate in the previously unheard chords 
    built out of intersecting people and ringing transformations.
Concentric rings deliver commutations of spontaneous exploration
    of recitations of loyalty lifting or lowering buoyant slopes 
    in between fresh arrivals of pitch rephrasing the score
    while soloists fly on diagonals into brushes of a lion’s tail.
When snakes baking in sun on the rocks start racing out of C-sharp,
    life-changing weathery atonality liberates the late quartets.
When time-traveling with the new show of 20th century Russian prints,
    viewers may see their mothers preparing a 1960s supper
    in the same room where they mourned her 1990s passing.
It’s good to rest when the day’s done, but it’s still the summer morning
    when the cells are singing, having heard birds waking aloud,
    knowing fish are intoning and plants humming in being alive.

The heart pumps its elephant rumble
at once to tiniest vesicles

in lunar backwaters and stays
its spine’s plumb.

Dylan delivered “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”
to the Pope in 1997.

After the MS hit, my dad kept teaching
by riding to class in a cart.

The heart is muscular, opening and closing
and strongly standing.

In 1902 anthracite fields, workers
struck for fair pay and hours.

Starting in 1848, Stanton
demanded equality.

At one with its own birth,
the heart makes what it reaches.

O’Keeffe drove a Model A and painted
on the ghost ranch.

In the late 1940s, Maestro Bernstein conducted
in Tel Aviv and Prague.

The heart takes its sound to its cells
and maneuvers internal landing of a hawk.

And it is not usually afraid for its life
as the future arrives.


As long-drawn echoes heard far-off and dim
Mingle to one deep sound and fade away;
Vast as the night and brilliant as the day,
Colour and sound and perfume speak to him.
Some perfumes are as fragrant as a child,
Sweet as the sound of hautboys, meadow-green; 
Others, corrupted, rich, exultant, wild…
                                - from “Correspondences” by C. Baudelaire (Ed. James Huneker)

Correspondences resonate between the sun and the psyche,
    between a fresh peach and the received voice 
    of a friend in a changed city, between rumbling 
    a mother elephant sends out underground 
    and tympanic reception through a foot pad.
The red-bursting iron of a distant sun in full collapse circulates
    in the cosmos through root-rounding clashes
    along magnetic corridors and aqueducts built 
    by small labors, branches arcing around curves 
    on routes the blood uses to reach bodily cells.
Water rushing in current, splashing past, shows events improvised 
    out of annihilation and creation within the sun  
    as the way archaic music of the spheres accelerated 
    when heard, the great wheel turning mackerel 
    into a school of planetary circumnavigation.
So wide fields of saturation elevate matter where it’s evaporating
    into draw and repulsion past every edge recombining, 
    hammered in, salt-lick crystal revealed, mollusk 
    calcium, phosphorus flared up in classrooms.
There’s life here with a blue work suit and flame of natural gas,
    an eagle with an octopus hiding, a glass high-rise 
    Lincoln pledge and a government license to spawn.
There are steaming stuffed peppers and smoking wolframite 
    mines yielding tungsten, hot-air prayers offered 
    by lords demanding a king’s ransom, shot green 
    marbles in a circle of survivors who’ve seen 
    deer standing together on an incendiary ridge.
There must be low-hanging air in a lecture hall with ministers 
    singing high on huge construction scaffolding
    for deep-ocean winds blow in hot under mossy
    cold blue eyes of the May Queen as a beetle works
    to hollow out the mud walls down in its cavern
    with its diggers under vegetative King Louis’s smock.
There’s the aging rhinoceros overcoat walking in high-spiked boots
    as the night sky appears over its tin salmon can,
    a seagull divebombing the wig of a woman on the right
    with thunderous thrashing out of slow-motion hysteria
    of an 18th century chained to the stone asylum floor,
    a televised prominence of egomaniacal inferiority
    and material projection of most likely outcomes
    of harnessing 390 horses to a chamber on wheels.
Where many small voices have added up to the one and more
    than one presence, with eusocial ants in bombshelters 
    as crushed convergences separate solar elements
    from water always in the process of rounding off pi,
    which encases conception assembling its newborns.

So brown toads out back climb out of the ground after hibernating.

Fierce salmon leap into the rapids, making it through to die.

Sea otters teach their pups with care, swimming them out gently.


Cosmic salmon that are splashing and leaping into dives
    naturally take to the mother-warm night 
    waters in the canal where they’re pulsed 
    in the direction of scent that draws them in 
    toward the instantaneous union at the origin.
It’s not who you were, but what this is in time, the ancestral
    convergence of stonemasons and keyboardists,
    philosophic long-range gardeners, the soup eaters
    in negotiations on spiral chromosomal strands
    that stream in a gargoyle carve into the new face,
    with choosing of the cheekbones for mother tongue
    licks of sense that penetrate forward thinking.
Unrecognizable as what may have been, a new being emerges
    from blendings of practice and concentration
    into heightened flexibility always beginning to grow.
The first cells undergo iterations of mitosis in which they adapt
    to advances of weather and small refinements 
    with the capacity for sensing shifts in energy
    out of the air, out of breath that signifies intent.
While breath fuels personal integration, it arises from burns
    cooling into shape full as mammal bearings
    while every species stands still unfinished, 
    incompletely conceived, but more than expected.
So utter mitosis continues, differentiating roles, readying
    fractal curves and every long-term rounding
    that quickens with flexibility centering the build.
So gravitational markers will be sitting on entwined gyres
    generating the species and the individual
    while the blood delivers its share of circulation.
So towering trees have become emanations of the whole,
    and light’s the membrane that holds us in.