In the dark we disappear, pure being.
Our mirror images, impure being.

Being and becoming (Heidegger), being and
nothingness (Sartre) — which is purer being?

Being alone is no way to be: thus
loneliness is the test of pure being.

Nights in love I fell too far or not quite
far enough — one pure, one impure being.

Clouds, snow, mist, the dragon's breath on water,
smoke from fire — a metaphor's pure being.

Stillness and more stillness and the light locked
deep inside — both pure and impure being.

On Cowee Ridge

John Gordon Boyd
died on the birthday
of three remarkable, and remarkably different, writers:
Heinrich Heine, Kenneth Patchen, Ross McDonald

John, too, was just as remarkable, blessed with an inherent “graciousness”
and with extraordinary eyes & ears…

I think of two texts
on the grievous occasion of his death:

“Religion does not help me.
The faith that others give to what is unseen,
I give to what I can touch, and look at.
My Gods dwell in temples
made with hands.”
— Oscar Wilde, in De Profundis

The Snail

Wise emblem of our politic world,
Sage snail, within thine own self curl’ d;
Instruct me softly to make haste,
Whilst these my feet go slowly fast.

Compendious snail! thou seem’ st to me,
Large Euclid’ s strict epitome;
And in each diagram dost fling
Thee from the point unto the ring;
A figure now triangular,
An oval now, and now a square;
And then a serpentine dost crawl,
Now a straight line, now crook’ d, now all.

The Duffel Bag

God’ s blood beads on the tarmac and something rough is boiling up
just this side of the vanishing point, so it’ s probably time to get

off this stretch of blacktop and into the wayside bar, where every cup
runneth over and you breast a thickening fret

of stogie smoke to get to the dank back room where a high stakes game
turns against you despite your trey of jacks, and soon enough

you’ re in way over your head with nothing and no one to blame
but the luck you’ ve been getting since first you threw your stuff

Self-Portrait at 38

Hair still Titian,
but Botticelli's grip has loosened —

not now Rubenesque,
and probably never;

Ingres approaches,
but Courbet might capture me.

Could I be surreal?
It seems almost likely —

bells in my ears
and fortresses under;

cones have been set on my eyes.
My spring is gone

and summer's upon me,
rude in its ripening.

I'm espaliered, strung wide and tied,
pinioned, and thus can I fly.