“Leaved with hair are the trees of magic.”
“to thy mystic’s memory awake and Lethe’s fetters break.”
i see her rising up through me, no legs, a twisting column of light, white above, greying into the void below, she stretches her hands up, speaks, she speaks through me her jagged image.
—”i john testify.”
that when you open, they speak through you. they say as today, “give sacrifice of earlier poem, press delete, give it to us and we will weave through you.” they leave us as artifacts these words:
“hair from Yam, from Ymir and Tiamat. They are a part of the great beginning.”
and we are left with a mystery, a kind of ghost. h.d. behind her writing. they weave a fractal image of the act, a thought, a deep current that for a moment intones that this pattern is the same as time’s, that this image of broken pottery, revealed by the wind in the sands, is its own maker/owner, sacrifice to time.
it is something slightly beyond words, like the dreams that they give and the sensations in the chest when we finish the book they have selected, driving us to a bookcase not our own, or a store, telling us what we can and cannot not read and when.
they’ll trace the words, relate the passage that they reveal in that time to the question we begged for the night before. they’ll arrange the story to be our lesson, they’ll weave it with our recent conversations, our friends and lovers. they’ll embed it with memories old and new that have just now started to haunt us. they’ll connect it to the other works they told us to read, and in it, they’ll give us a vision, some lost god’s memory.
i see her there, she breaks through, her words break through the cracking fissures, through the boulders and earthquakes tearing the real. when you call out, the visitors break through what you thought was real, and they say, they’ll say if they wish to, “testify.”
and i must say, i must say because i have to say that yesterday, that when the thought came upon me, i wanted to. wanted to tell you, that if you would listen, perhaps you will hear the visitors in the trees, you’ll see Isis in the black cat’s eyes.
but perhaps my hesitation came from the thought last night that philip has seen the same things, or his own version of it, and h.d., artaud, van gogh, they all see their own worlds of it, not always, but sometimes the same:
“we know each other
by secret symbols
“though remote, speechless,
we pass each other on the pavement,
“at the turn of the stair,
though no word pass between us,
“there is subtle appraisement;
even if we snarl a brief greeting
“or do not speak at all,
we know our Name,
“we nameless initiates,
born of one mother,
of the flame.”
they are not just words, they are visitations. i feel her here, she’s holding a cigarette, and when i used to smoke she’d smoke through me, but now a thought, something comes through, “h.d. h.d. you always saw it so clearly, you always spoke so clearly, the best of us,” but she and them, they all ended up in the madhouse, my fear since childhood, the madhouse.
not me, not me, the doctor said they couldn’t keep me. and not philip, though he strikes me as most off, his view of the world more abstracted by his mind than his soul, and jung,
jung made it through, saw it through,made it whole.
and so he tells me now to tell you my experience, that when you receive the visitors, you’ll look through your dreams and notice you’ve dreamt of this day for the last five years, all on the same day, the same date.
and when you listen for the visitors they’ll come through in your friend’s words, late at night, and you’ll know these aren’t just words, your friend’s words, they are the visitors.
but i warn you, be weary, because when they want you, when they ask you to go within to their realms of images, they’ll drive away your loved ones, they’ll banish your distractions. it’s not all late night conversations, the visitors are friends and slavers.
but as i, i testify, i must say, i must say it’s all worth it.
because they’ll come to you in your breath and you’ll be able to taste and breathe in the light of the sun, or a green of blade of grass, a leaf, the moss on a stone.
they’ll give you warnings of when your friends are about to arrive, and when you go home for the last three years in a row, they’ll send raccoons and possums to find you, even in the middle of the city, reminding you to wear masks and play dead, begging you not to rise and fight
and if you ignore them, as i sometimes do, you’ll waste away the energy that they give you. you’ll burn it out, something you’ll regret.
but if you listen, they’ll teach you.
they’ll tell you how to write, what trees to touch as you pass, and trust me, you must touch them, the trees, for if you pass them by the whole world goes slanted, it feels unhooked, cut through somehow diagonal, and it won’t be set right again until you brush the tree with your fingertips, kiss it with your lips, feel your softness against its valleyed bark, rough and whole.
when you listen to the visitors, you’ll know a name without asking. you’ll sing songs you do not know and see their weavings in the hours that come.
when you listen to the visitors, and you must absolutely find something, your keys, or your friend, a lover you do not know, or a thought buried deep inside, they’ll take you there. they’ll show you.
but i can not say that they make life easier. it does not seem easier, it is fuller, encoded in shells of meaning that never wind down but always grow. it is valley and mountain peak, it is not easier.
if you want easier, perhaps translated as happier, then study the philosophies of the Buddha, theravada. but if you want to talk to the moon, to feel her silver pull in your chest. if you want to breathe in the spring and summer, feeling their fire and vines crawling up your spine, your skull opening like a bloom.
if you want the leaves of magic and samson’s hair, then listen for the visitors, they will come when you call them