O'KEEFE AND MELVILLE
The desert once a sea-bed, her seed-bed, Georgia on my mind. Her flowers large
and flowing beyond those of the desert, the petals as still-waves. Still life. Flowers as her subjects, because they're cheaper than models and they don't move, said Georgia.
And Herman said, Meditation and water are wedded forever. Imagining he met Georgia drying waves on sand...a bleached skull becoming the leviathan of their pursuit, what then? White clouds? Clouds tend.
There is the equivalent in weight of 100 elephants in a small cumulus cloud. There are whales small as elephants in pursuit of an ivory leg. Some flowers drift
past each other with the velocity of a coffin. Call them Ishmaels and be done.
Ah, well, to know all the avifauna is not to know the sea.
Even Late Pleistocene human population bottlenecks needed relief. Although
most individuals leapt forward, there is evidence that occasionally one jumped
from the cliff edge while facing backwards and thus may have watched the rush of rockface while falling for a new twist of view in that early world. Ah, the furred
Today, among these remains at the base of the cliff, we set the bones of his neck on the ground next to the ossified gossip of jaws, the aegis of ribs, no shadow to the slender arms, just bone jolly absorption tease, skull gone to charred granite from the fire pit.
He might have been a first artist listening to the forebears of those wings in the
cave behind you and learning to tune the wind with his hair.
He landed flat.
His heart vanished on that stone in your hand.
In a canyon, a sound was very hungry, as hungry as a puma, so it went looking for ears.
Finding no ears among the canyon walls, the sound didn’t know it was also an
echo. In fact, it didn’t know what sort of sound it was at all. It lived in hope of
more, it shifted in the drift of again.
All echo could do was to hope while feeling its waves growing shorter and shorter
in the shadowy air, in the starve of its search, in the bounce from rock, until echo
began to decay in its hunger.
Echo, barely existing now, felt the canyon walls touch back with all their history of silence and sun and rain and wind, almost as a friend.
Within the last of its waves echo understood for the first time that hope is a fling with weathers, and that beyond hope there is only rock, that momentary alibi for sound ever unable to tell the origin of.
To stand under the night sky
and sense your face is the last place
your body will feature you—one breath
and another—breezes crossing space…
that Poetry lives between your expression
and the stars, and beyond the stars, where
infinity is the last of its kind.
Copyright © David Giannini, 2013