Saturday, December 5, 2009

Where to Begin


Two concrete rectangles, steel and wood
Call one bed, the other, living room
A door in or out, a middle partition
White walls breathe and bend
The black and white floors tiles flex to feet,
The large windows let in light
A turquoise chair is married to a red desk
A white telephone has divorced a black stand
A computer is running out to shop
There is nothing but what days bring
They bring little for weeks.
One day, the visions ease
Into a pleasant unawareness and rising
One sage morning sitting with tea
Time unravels your head like a ball of twine:
A black tile lifts from the floor
Floats slowly round the room and another
A white one, begins to ascend, joining
Yet another and another, black and white tiles
Moving 'round to a secret order, a song

Fascinating, fantastic, hypnotic

A white tile holds an eye socket and one eye
Rolls out your head to fill it
A black tile has a nose pulsing and you note
One missing from your face
Ears are wings flapping in another
Fingers detached from hands
Slither into black and white,
Your body like always but lighter
Limb by limb, organ by organ
Bone upon bone coming apart without pain
The entire network of nerve, flesh, feces,
Fingernail, brain, heart, genitals
Circles the room, turning in slow motion
A wind-chime of body parts
United yet distinctly unique and alone—and then
A window to the world opens
Everything sucked out into the air, into sky, vanishes.
There is no one now where the lights burn
And the air-conditioning runs day and night, no one
To say where to look; nor where to even begin



Rayn Roberts 09

8 comments:

Sharnanigans said...

not sure what to say. imagery strong - feeling strange - like my head has been unravelled like a ball of twine

Marilyn said...

Rayn, I love this...it could be a room, a person, things that try to be a person...
totally open for individual interpretation.

Katherine Jenkins said...

Rayn-love the parts separating and circling the room and then vanishing. It had a Salvador Dali kind of feeling to me with touches of Buddhist mooooooooo. Peace!

Lille Diane said...

I read it three times.... It reads like what an out of body experience feels like. I'm curious what inspired the words, and the song they sing. Thank you for painting a surreal portrait. I'd love to hear your thoughts behind this~

Heather Conroy said...

The first stanza I can relate to sitting at my desk writing - the second is frightening as I imagine myself coming undone.

Rayn Roberts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rayn Roberts said...

To respond to Lille Diane and Heather, I can say that the poem was meant to be a bit frightening. Disintegration can be scary, but we are undergoing that all the time, you know.

The body is coming together and falling apart. That is human existence, life in slow motion.

We often lose sight of that and get caught up in a notion of a changeless identity, but one only needs to look at the body and how it changes over time to understand an important aspect of reality: integration and disintegration, being and becoming, living and dying happening at the same time, all the time.

From a Buddhist view, one place to begin to understand ultimate reality, is to start with an understanding that all beings and events happen when conditions allow them to form and they fall apart when those conditions end.

The body is such an event. It rises out of conditions and falls apart when those conditions no longer support it.

When the body ceases to exist, what is there?

The poem asks one to reflect on and ask such questions. And yes, it's surreal, on the surface and in dramatic presentation, but in it's essential truth, it's very real.

The last thing I can say about it is that when Buddha attained enlightenment, he looked into existence and said he saw "No self, no soul".

That is basically where the poem ends, which is, another place to begin asking questions on the nature of human life and reality.

Heather Conroy said...

Yes, these questions are important to ask and many of us seldom do. I think it is fear that holds me back from contemplating the nature of human life. I believe that reality would be too much for many of us to process without a gradual unravelling of what we have built up over a lifetime. Thank you for following up on our questions and reactions to your beautiful poem Rayn.