Nova Reeves Poems, Day 4: “The White Field”

                        in dream act see hands
now smudged with sere
frayed ribbon remnants
of puente colgante.
Cut the ties blindly, blindly
forgot what was pursuing.
The great rope bridge, path of living again
and again disintegrating as rapidly as salt in water,
as a child’s tear,
as a summer cloud; forms of moisture risen,
white paths, white absence.

And recalling this cutting,
still here.
Still blinded.
Stumbling across white expanse
of mind desert,
mind swept bare, alkaline flats
Void of even dragonfly flight.

Mind desert
must, must, must travel, repeatedly attempt
reconstruction with the frailest of dusts
back to find memory
find white.

Puente colgante, path forward, swings at a single step
but see you, not me, are walking on a concrete highway,
step after step, solid, received
You, you everyone except me, you
thought yourself vibrant, seamless sinew, imperturbable
hands on the dials of identity, controlling the channel
thought you could live on, without upset.
Everyone besides me–believer in one foot in front of the other,
in making a choice from a sensible place, waiting
for results to list themselves in order, coalesce on the crease of
a cleanly folded life
a neat plan, memories intact carrying you forward
towards your death.
Memory intact; given ingredients,
unsought, come as easily as breath measures,
You for whom recollection is skin surrounding, is what holds you together
without a doubt,
I am not you, am on a blind odyssey, ill equipped to meet
what remains.
If I was replaced by white field,
did not feel it.
Loss is loss of noticing loss
yet still we move in undulating heat waves,
reproducing, reproducing a precious self.
Dreaming doubtlessly filled the white field,
dreaming without cease, of home,
of coming home,
of approaching possible new homes.

This whiteness!
great flattened expanses–
this thing, this blinding field of blanched memory
no order, no more childhood
and forced to cross,
forced to cross

blinded stumbling across white expanses
This whiteness. Childhood, nothing to return to,
what an alkaline shock, what flatness,
to discover whiteness
desiccated, vast field of white dust, foundation of lost moisture.
No tree, no granite, no arroyo. No sign
no leaving, no coming into

This was underneath the puente colgante all along when
I believed I was crossing,
there was no river boiling beneath.
And my feet were on the white expanse
what was collapsing
were my soles, ankle bones, kneecaps, femur, collarbone, hyoid floating and corpus callosum
disintegrating into white–fragments, alkaline chalk
the wind
my memory
saltwort ashes.

but further and further afield, moving and leaving and unable to see over one’s shoulder…
white salt lake bed stretches out before me,
again and before and now.

When did I arrive
when was I crossing?

small footprints of crisscrossing movement
pilgrim, what blanches?
The threshold of pain
surpassed, lets only white through
salt lake bed
of blanched memory
saltwort ashes
even the bones gone
into white atmosphere.

What then, again and before and now when
can I stop crossing?
When?

What choice, but to wander, cross over repeatedly,
begin to move with what whitens me?

Filled and filling white field with black marks, curved letters,
all of my limbs of spirit, verses flailing in the white field
breaking it’s blanketing numb calm.

Desire in my limpid eyes
growing day by day with caution
I peer from under heavy lids,
seducing the world
which owes me color.

My flailing, desirous limbs, heavy eyelids
How many gestures, how many penetrating looks
must it take
to bring color to the white field?
Will my limbs dizzy-with recall?
Emotions coloring this white field, impossibly
stepping back in

Am I coloring this great crossing
in bruise, black to green-yellow
of something able to transform, because it exists
in skin tones, exposed to sun, because it can absorb light and heat,
in audible emotions
ricocheting across old blankness,
the space that believed itself permanent,
home of blanched memory,
saltwort ashes?

Great crosser, pilgrim that I have become,
do I color now?
Do I arch up in a vast white arc of
ashes conquering loss?

Do I let the great white blinding field swallow me,
or spiral me blind–

Do I dance to my delirium,
then fall back gratefully on to bed
of saltwort ashes–

Do I die, returning to, stunning the lightest elements, the receiving stars with my soft cells?Rippling with color of disturbance and with white, the light which contains all colors,
all recalled memory.

This is the fourth and final poem in a four-day series The Opiate is publishing by Nova Reeves. Read Day 1 here, Day 2 here and Day 3 here.

 

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