Vision QuestCraig Morgan Teicher
1 I'm sitting here on the top floor while heat rises to envelop me in its warm, wet hair. Though it rises not toward me but toward something above me and toward something even above that, something above the birds' upper limits, a place where whatever goes there dissipates and becomes—when it falls back to earth—the stuff dreams are made of, something human or of human invention, like the new bionic arms described in a recent New Yorker article, something for people to interact with, which makes life more palatable if not easier. We're after an image of something, hunting it like a memory of something that never happened but which would explain everything that came after. When I look into a mirror I see someone looking into a mirror—I don't see the mirror—and that person looks like me looking for something but seeing myself instead. Life is a prolonged vision quest —isn't it?—a trip into the desert for the purpose of interpreting snakes, which were sent down from somewhere above as signals at our feet meant to beckon our eyes to the heavens, like a reflection in a puddle, something that keeps on going. 2 Because it is mysterious and made of disparate elements connected by and unlikely logic, this is beautiful, so beautiful I almost suffer to see it, so brilliant it hurts my eyes and gives me a headache, so powerful I can't sustain my gaze for long. I'm tired —I think it made me tired— and was tired before I began. 3 What am I after? What on earth am I after? Nothing on earth, something from elsewhere that has dissipated and returned transformed, a beautiful phrase reconstituted from gasses and dirt and plants turned to grasses that were atomized and sent up and returned as something new. A beautiful phrase is found in the slag heap of what was lost. I want a conclusion to a path that narrows and converges but never ends, two lines paralleling unto eternity. I want to stand at the horizon and report back on what's beyond. I want to have a mystical experience right here in my chair, and without professing the slightest faith in anything particular. I want to be the puppet in the mirror who sees a real boy, the man on the end of a drift to nowhere, the one who is self-aware without being self-conscious or the other way around. I want to tell you, to tell all, to tell it like it is, as if it is this way. If I love it, let it go—if it comes back it was meant to be, or at least it is.
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