Poetry & Songs, by Charles Carreon

For the sake of ornament and illumination.

POETRY

Postby admin » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:18 pm

Walking on the Razor's Edge, by Charles Carreon

Walking on the razor's edge,
Gods and demons fall away on either side
Unable to scale the obsidian peaks.

Appearing ahead,
Suspended in midnight
An ideal realm

Diaphanous, pure
Bathing the waves of rippling glass
In silent silken light.
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POETRY

Postby admin » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:19 pm

We Are Not Alone, by Charles Carreon

It was maybe five years ago, I was sitting on the mattress on the floor of my bedroom, that was plastered in a cool garden green, with the sliding glass door open to the deck where the Oregon weather was wearing its most benign appearance, complete with birdsong, winds soughing through the neighbor's huge poplars, and the sound of an occasional goose or a private plane sputtering into the tiny airport across the road.

"I am ultimately alone in my existence." The thought occurred to me as I was sitting there on my mattress. There seemed to be no way around it. None at all. The box was foolproof. No one could experience what I experience, and I cannot experience what they experience. The whole phenomenon of torture is based on exploiting that separateness of two beings. One in agony, the other not, or not precisely. "A warm man cannot understand a cold man." Solzhenitzyn puts this thought in his protagonist's head in "A Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovich," after a warm man puts him back out into the cold without a qualm. I had accepted the ineluctable logic of this experiment, because I had been a subject in a similar experiment at a Catholic military school run by Benedictine sisters, very Southern in their discipline, that ran to torturing children by forcing them to march and play on a windswept blacktop in freezing cold as "recreation." I noticed the sisters stayed indoors, and shivered the less for it.

This early experiment slammed home the lesson that I was alone. I remember asking Sister Bernadette, who could've been a trucker's wife and loved it, I suspect, if I could please come in since the wind-chill factor was turning every gust, and there was an endless string of them, into an icy razor, and I had no hat or gloves, being the type to lose such winter accoutrements perhaps to theft, but in any event leaving myself without them. She never had much sympathy for me, I realized in that moment, as she simply peered down from her lofty height from under the stiff, starched crown of white linen, about five inches high, holding a stick in her hand, and said no. Her heart didn't come close to melting, and I realized that this lady was as dry as wood inside.

That was one of my early experiments, and certainly it confirmed the supposition that I was alone, but no one had offered me this theory explicitly, and I didn't formulate the thought independently. In fact, through childhood and into my late teens, I would have denied believing in my alone-ness. I took lots of psychedelic drugs, particularly LSD and mescaline, and like lots of other people who took them, I had many experiences of oneness in which I also felt free of desire and rather amused by the notion of holding a particularized identity. I had a problem finding models to fit these experiences, that formed themselves into the core of a religious orientation that I had never felt before as a child, when I was a happy little materialist chocked full of information and excitement about rockets and weapons, a typical cold-war gee-whiz kid. At sixteen I was a serious peyote eater, yoga student, and exfundamentalist Christian, capable of dropping acid and quoting from Matthew in the same afternoon.

Trying to get some advice from my elders in the realm of psychic exploration that I'd unexpectedly flipped into due to Tim Leary's acid initiative, that caused me to realize that LSD was, as Tim said, a substance known to cause insanity in those who had not taken it. The substance had clearly thrown the Establishment for a loop. The Press was frothing, the parents were talking, the Enquirer was enquiring, and eyes were bulging when the topic came 'round to the Beatles and that song, "Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds," an acronym for an illegal drug, hidden in the title of a song! And I was all like "IMAGINE YOURSELF IN A TRAIN ON A STATION WITH PLASTICENE PORTERS WITH LOOKING GLASS EYES," and I knew I knew I knew that this was coming out of somewhere that no one else had come from, to my knowledge, to that day. I had to get some for myself.
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POETRY

Postby admin » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:23 pm

Wedding at Canaa, by Charles Carreon

Image

Fine discovery to make
In a crystal realm --
"Velocity is equal to thought,"
Except when the snow melts to wine.
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POETRY

Postby admin » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:24 pm

What the Eye Wants To See, by Charles Carreon

What the eye wants to see
is curves.
Lines that come around to
meet each other.
What the mind wants to feel
is closure.
The sense that things conclude,
come round,
reach fulfillment.
What the ear wants to hear
is rhythm,
a pattern in time
to pace its passing and
provide assurance of return.
With each beat we return,
coming back to ourselves,
back to here, this space.
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POETRY

Postby admin » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:25 pm

What We Are, by Charles Carreon

we are colors fading in the sun
on tattered fabric
we are bones bleaching in the sand
next to old rocks
we are buzzards sailing silently
in high clear blue naked air
we are the waters soaking
an infinity of interbranching roots
while wandering aimlessly in search of stillness
we are the ancient sun,
burning its life away in the throat
of the sky
we are an old piece of string,
frayed and coming undone,
black rocks,
washed with salt for ten million years
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Postby admin » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:26 pm

When I Was Alone At The Edge Of The World, by Charles Carreon

When I was alone at the edge of the world
I listened to the cries of birds sailing
out far beyond the rim.
I gazed at the stars implanted in their
strange geometries,
Out of reach.
 
Now I have listened to the songs of scientists,
Playing their lines and graphs like lute-strings,
Making good guesses with strange methods,
Phrasing their questions in terms my dreaming eyes
would never have conceived.
 
Then again the old mystery swamps me;
Amid the wreckage of torn charts and battered sails,
All destinations suspended,
What I cannot disbelieve yet turns to mist
before my eyes.
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Postby admin » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:27 pm

When You Really Ask Yourself, by Charles Carreon

Not a pity, not a prayer,
Not a regret, not a sigh,
Not a hope,
Not a request for intercession,
Not a plea for benediction,
Not a memory,
Not a response,
Not an accident,
Not a prodigy,
Not this, not that,
Then what?
Just a sterilized brain
Just a scalded tongue
Just a numb fingertip
Just an arrow in flight
Just an empty jug
Just a chair without a backrest
Just a car without nostrils
Just a girlfriend without bitterness
Just an ocean without dead
Just a butterfly floating
over the edge
of the cliff.
 
(1/94, Colestine)
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Postby admin » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:27 pm

Whoa Earth, by Charles Carreon

Whoa, Earth, I want to dismount,
Said the Buddha
and got off,
Letting the orb resume its spinning,
Humanity continue sinning,
Now he's standing there in space
An azure smile upon his face
Which is to say
Without a trace.
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Postby admin » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:29 pm

Windy Weather Sets You To Thinking, by Charles Carreon

Image

Wind-whipped morning,
Steel-gray light.
 
Spring is a sure thing now,
and winter's in a panic,
pulling out all the stops like a cop hoping for a suspect,
whipping up
a river of air that buffets everything and
sprays chilly droplets
against the windows
like buckshot.
Over this rough conduct preside impassive clouds
whose gray faces do not even pass judgment.
The sun like a friendly accomplice trying to lend a hand
probes with slender knives but can't even slip
an edge of daylight through the stuck casement of dawn.
The woods struggle on in the gloom trying to pull off the job.
Individual trees are only as sure of staying in their place
as their trunks and roots are firm.
They cross their branches and hope for the best.
 
Easy to lose your foothold in this world,
and never get it back.
So when we hear strong winds blow
and big branches creaking,
It sets us to thinking.
 
A wind can fell a human
as easy as a tree.
A person's roots aren't so deep.
And like a tree, when a person goes down for real,
We others can't help them up.
 
Do trees mourn fallen brethren
who go down with a crash?
Do they think, "There go I when the next wind blows,"
or "Life is short, make sugar now?"
 
Probably not, and still,
sap is flowing,
and after the difficult wind,
Spring comes for every one still standing.
 
(February, 1998)
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Postby admin » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:33 pm

World Class Buddhist Shopper, by Charles Carreon

How's a man to be happy
When the world won't turn the right way?
How can I be happy
When the wind's always in my face?
How can I accept a situation
That so contradicts my will?

The whole universe insults me
Never asking what I want,
And though I don't get tortured
I still get treated bad,
And if this isn't my worst lifetime
It's the worst one that I've had.

All my wantings unfulfilled,
No provisioning for my needs --
It's such a tragic oversight
And never remedied.

No time to think of others
For my sympathies are otherwise occupied
With brooding over every slight
That life has ever dealt me.

This is my inspiration,
and I hold it to my breast,
To look around at all of life
And know what I detest.

Like a demanding Bergdorf shopper
Or devoted Neiman bargain hunter,
I'll find myself the best of all
This universe provides,

And I'll find it sooner than all of the saps
That shop in sleazy places,
I'm a discerning Buddhist buyer
Of the wisdom of the ages.
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