Arguing with Something Plato Said

A

(for Phil Garrison and Peter Lamborn Wilson)


As ashes are the shadow of smoke,
panic is the shadow of light,
beef the shadow of grass,
love the shadow of attention,
psychology the shadow of plastic
the shadow of oil the shadow
of giant ferns the shadow of
bacteria the shadow of light’s grandmother,
rosy finch the shadow of loon,
jealousy & myth twin shadows of desire,
Europe shadow of a desert river,
idea the shadow of pain,
sleep the shadow of bread,
liquid the shadow of lust,
time the shadow of
et cetera,
logos is the shadow of what happens.

Take some broad-shouldered little fart, at las-
t, fresh from the 5 o’clock (morn) shadow of barbarism,
squatting over barley-paste, hot goat, dried fig
(meal the shadow —
since the shadows were removed
from rocky Grecian hills, trees cut away,
soil reduced to olive grounds —
down to shadow of surroundings —
of Homeric
heaps of meat that cast deadanimal-shaped shadows
by the tents on the sandy shores of Ilium)
squatting over his shapeless shadow in the shadow of the Parthenon —
itself
shadow form from wood, “in the light of”
stone. Well now, there’s been some
organized ruckus in his medium, rare town, which,
God knows, nobody there “thought” would
survive, a golden paradigm, for thousands of
Apollonian twirls. Who knows what they thought
of what they thought? It must’ve
been intensely local; that
the universe crept into
valley code was just
brain refreshment. Dirt was all
around. Some bright body shambled
the streets — in mud & heat — barely
shook his bald, Why is the sky
blues into registration, virgin
ears & experienced buttholes,
as the shadow of estrangement from
a bloody dream’s red tape, & got chemicaled,
but Mr. Broad Wit seized
evaporation from the street to isolate
spirit of
spearmint from what had always gone before.
Summer was a-comin’ in still (Lawdy!
sing coo-coo!), facts & symbols
be-danced & babblin’
beat of a million bovine feet
upon the tender luxury
sidewinding from the brain.
So he thought “Thought!” Why not?
Natural! in a sense. Never before
had such perfect innocence been explored
like new property.
Well, such a new idea as “idea”
looks pretty good till you can check out how it settles into the ground.
Blood’s biodegradable but logos
piled up like a plastic eyesore, fore-
shadowed a bloodless dry reign,
precipitation of pedestrain pedantry,
pedestrian mind for millenia, postulating
its pustulations of post- & pre-, professing
everything, subjugating us all in the tick-tech
burned-out success of a nob objectivity,
turning babble to a soapy
bubble up up & away until pop!
goes the wizard.

Aw c’mon, the alchemy that pilfers
from golden sundance volumes of German silver
sucks tongue of essence —
ah yes, essence, with its can-do incandescence,
like “Lovelight’s our leverage to spring some uptight average
from alla this quotidian sewage
& italicize it, boot it through the uprights
to an airy footnote.”

So anyway this guy imagined up God outa the play-dough
of his panicked exclusions
& then compounded the felony by trying to imitate the damn thing,
double-indemnity solipsism in the fool’s guise of cool & wise
utopian Republic! Razional! Sozialismus!
Computerized zoosphere! Hologram rain forest — a more direct
use of light.
But despite all right & crystal wings, thinking
that — “The-variability-of-the-world-has-no-more-reality-than-the-shadows-on-a-cave-wall”—
has no more reality than
Plato’s reflection in the waters
of a Theater-of-Dionysus Port-O-Let.

Well, he thought he was correting a mess
& left a mess of
shadows for our meat.
If unity really strung out from above,
not shot up from below, we’d have
no babies to throw out with
anybody’s rationalized bathwater.

Islands in the stream
of biosphere placidly gavotte
drinking play-tonic sprinkled geo-
metrically, until the teleology
becomes archaic — & eats it too.
The world pole-flips one more time, mechanically geo-
mantric, shakes the pants off of objective
dance to reveal gradual chance, just
numbers having a ball, as the rationale
of it all.

Back up a hemidemisecond! My better half
says — “In the winter the house is all shadow.”
But the long hot summer of essentialism
“was” a system of no resistance —
& all the psychological shit that makes a
toilet contemplative, inner-directed: a pure good-bye.

Yet it was hard (abstract thought),
difficult to invent, like anything you can’t
immediately step on, phrase or foot —

(& 4 is the shadow of 3 is the shadow of 2 is the shadow of 1
& old is the shadow of Jung
& red is the shadow of orange
& dots the shadow of dot
& hand is the shadow of and
however the shadow of breath
& season the shadow of winter
the step the shadow of the gesture
& soprano is the shadow of the star
& ring’s shadow is “orange”
& window shadow of the shadow.)

—after all, Empedocles
& Anaximander had
illuminated life as shadows of whatever, up from sea-slime,
dissolving to the harmony of a sphere.

Logos, in the light, is only haze,
a honey-head, that the shape
be kept as “beautiful.”

(& the shadow structure
is the real — it’s not being looked at
nor still distorted by leftover rays in the shadowee,
nor in such relation to light as shadowing implies:
once you’ve taken in the light,
you’re artificially simple for good — bedazzled.
Chiaroscuro conjures up dichotomy — Step 1,
then, as it loses all idea to total presence,
becomes invisible enough.
& we’re home.
Lightning strikes — OK.
Half-known moves around the kitchen.
The cereal box is food for thought.
Is it easier to be right when you’re already wrong?
Hmm, cool today; better pull on my dark-blue paradigm.
The quality of nothing is not strained,
but saying so’s tense like a cartoon zebra.
“The variability of the world”
— incidental winks of it start to party into view —
absolutely hot & cool, at the moment,
is, & likely to remain so.)

Eat a fig. Drink some coffee. Went driving
today ’73 bug mid-Sunday plus live-in sweetie
over littered subtle prairie out to Erie where we
coffee smoke four baconstrips & country fries breathed in the
work like hell old dirt streets & east to Firestone Screwball pool coke
& ice Route 52 two dozen silver queen Indian corn
Valmont Road yellow plum tomatoes cloudy light above
Kiowa Peak stoplight bickyard pond by Public Service.
66
Rating:

Comment form:

*Max text - 500. Manual moderation.

Similar Poems:

Bean Spasms by Ted Berrigan
Ted Berrigan
for George Schneeman New York’s lovely weather
hurts my forehead

Read Poem
0
78
Rating:

Kumina by Kamau Brathwaite
Kamau Brathwaite
for DreamChad on the death of her sun Mark - mark this word mark this place + tyme - at Papine Kingston Jamaica - age 29
midnight 28/29 April 2001-1002-0210-0120-0020-0000
rev 29 feb 04

Read Poem
0
77
Rating:

Bald Eagle Count by Jack Collom
Jack Collom
(for the Barteks)
up at 7, dress & cook an egg
Read Poem
0
78
Rating:

Summer by Ronald Johnson
Ronald Johnson
As the morning advanced the sun became bright and warm, cloudless, calm, serene. About nine an appearance very unusual began to demand our attention—a shower of cobwebs falling from very elevated regions, & continuing, without any interruption, till the close of the day . . . There is a natural occurrence to be met with upon the highest part of our down in hot summer days, and that is a loud audible humming of bees in the air, though not one insect is to be seen . . . In a district so diversified as this, so full of hollow vales and hanging woods, it is no wonder that echoes should abound. Many we have discovered that return a tunable ring of bells, or the melody of birds; but we were still at a loss for a polysyllabical, articulate echo, till a young gentleman, who had parted from his company in a summer walk, and was calling after them, stumbled upon a very curious one in a spot where it might least be expected . . . We procured a cuckoo, and cutting open the breastbone and exposing the intestines to sight, found the crop lying as mentioned above. This stomach was large and round, and stuffed hard, like a pincushion, with food, which upon nice examination, we found to consist of various insects, such as small scarabs, spiders, and dragon-flies; the last of which, as they were just emerging out of the aurelia state, we have seen cuckoos catching on the wing. Among this farrago also were to be seen maggots, and many seeds, which belonged either to gooseberries, currants, cranberries, or some such fruit . . .
Read Poem
0
108
Rating:

Eleven Addresses to the Lord by John Berryman
John Berryman
1

Master of beauty, craftsman of the snowflake,
inimitable contriver,
endower of Earth so gorgeous & different from the boring Moon,
thank you for such as it is my gift.

I have made up a morning prayer to you
containing with precision everything that most matters.
‘According to Thy will’ the thing begins.
Read Poem
0
75
Rating:

Mugging (I) by Allen Ginsberg
Allen Ginsberg
I

Tonite I walked out of my red apartment door on East tenth street’s dusk—
Walked out of my home ten years, walked out in my honking neighborhood
Tonite at seven walked out past garbage cans chained to concrete anchors
Walked under black painted fire escapes, giant castiron plate covering a hole in ground
—Crossed the street, traffic lite red, thirteen bus roaring by liquor store,
past corner pharmacy iron grated, past Coca Cola & Mylai posters fading scraped on brick
Past Chinese Laundry wood door’d, & broken cement stoop steps For Rent hall painted green & purple Puerto Rican style
Read Poem
0
58
Rating:

Sunflower Sutra by Allen Ginsberg
Allen Ginsberg
I walked on the banks of the tincan banana dock and sat down under the huge shade of a Southern Pacific locomotive to look at the sunset over the box house hills and cry.
Jack Kerouac sat beside me on a busted rusty iron pole, companion, we thought the same thoughts of the soul, bleak and blue and sad-eyed, surrounded by the gnarled steel roots of trees of machinery.
The oily water on the river mirrored the red sky, sun sank on top of final Frisco peaks, no fish in that stream, no hermit in those mounts, just ourselves rheumy-eyed and hung-over like old bums on the riverbank, tired and wily.
Look at the Sunflower, he said, there was a dead gray shadow against the sky, big as a man, sitting dry on top of a pile of ancient sawdust—
—I rushed up enchanted—it was my first sunflower, memories of Blake—my visions—Harlem
and Hells of the Eastern rivers, bridges clanking Joes Greasy Sandwiches, dead baby carriages, black treadless tires forgotten and unretreaded, the poem of the riverbank, condoms & pots, steel knives, nothing stainless, only the dank muck and the razor-sharp artifacts passing into the past—
and the gray Sunflower poised against the sunset, crackly bleak and dusty with the smut and smog and smoke of olden locomotives in its eye—
corolla of bleary spikes pushed down and broken like a battered crown, seeds fallen out of its face, soon-to-be-toothless mouth of sunny air, sunrays obliterated on its hairy head like a dried wire spiderweb,
Read Poem
0
52
Rating:

In a London Drawingroom by George Eliot
George Eliot
The sky is cloudy, yellowed by the smoke.
For view there are the houses opposite
Cutting the sky with one long line of wall
Like solid fog: far as the eye can stretch
Monotony of surface & of form
Without a break to hang a guess upon.
No bird can make a shadow as it flies,
For all is shadow, as in ways o'erhung
By thickest canvass, where the golden rays
Are clothed in hemp. No figure lingering
Pauses to feed the hunger of the eye
Or rest a little on the lap of life.
All hurry on & look upon the ground,
Or glance unmarking at the passers by
The wheels are hurrying too, cabs, carriages
Read Poem
0
69
Rating:

The Triumph of Life by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Swift as a spirit hastening to his task
Of glory & of good, the Sun sprang forth
Rejoicing in his splendour, & the mask
Of darkness fell from the awakened Earth.
The smokeless altars of the mountain snows
Flamed above crimson clouds, & at the birth
Of light, the Ocean's orison arose
To which the birds tempered their matin lay,
Read Poem
0
71
Rating: