While the city sleeps, it composes an extended fantasy poem in three stanzas. I am embedded within it, but I am also here with you watching as it dreamily fashions itself into words and phrases which seem old but also new. Truly, anyone can be anywhere, can reach out and touch the electric sky with a single finger, feel the surge flow all the way through them, tilt their head back and gasp in pure amazement! This is how I leave the soft embrace of my warm shell and fly above the street lights like a magic brujo with impeccable intent. They wink off and on again as I soar by. Look, I am a slow-motion bullet aimed at the heart of space! I pierce right through the gossamer fabric of identity. Everyone is here, but in their invisible form. Discreetly populating the great expanse, they chant the silent mantra for the sake of all sleeping cities. That ineffable music may be why the good dogs remain with their eyes closed and tails curled, while cats slink about in the shadows cast by street lamps. Some might look up wistfully as I sail over them, quiet as a flying cat, or a sleeping one. The first stanza writes itself between my inhalation and exhalation, though I am already in the middle part.
This is the story that can’t be spoken in rhymes. Rhyming was for the old world, the childhood storybook world which grew up and devoured itself in a sad poem that wanted to be more, wanted more stanzas than it had words for, and this is why the new world is a quiet one which doesn’t adhere to artificial containment. Here on the other side of itself all the pets are happy and carefree, as it should be. Those who have made it this far can relax and let go. There is no reason for the old fear, it spoiled the poem, like a drop of hot bile in a glass of spring water. We are leaving our shoes behind to walk barefoot through the soft moist green fields, and we can barely hold back our mounting euphoria. Someone throws a ball, and we are off and running. Our tail is wagging, each heartbeat an ecstatic poem, each breath full and deep. We forget about the ball, we forget about the past or future, we don’t know what we are, what anything is! God is great! It doesn’t matter that the city sleeps. It doesn’t matter what became of the old thoughts, let them perish like fish bait left out on the pier on a hot summer day, they mingle with the fragrance of creosote and salt water — that indelible perfume — and then the seagulls swoop down to feed, but quietly. If there is going to be any name for this astonishment, this wonder, it must respectfully be designated the middle stanza.
Beloved, although the city sleeps, our eternal conversation continues — a blissful inquiry into the fullness of emptiness, like an anonymous leaf taken by the breeze with no place to land, no end to this falling. We have blended so deeply into each other now that only a flash of radiance persists, our original form before we fell asleep. We’ve cast off the stupor of knowing’s burden with a grateful sigh — all past stories rendered obsolete, the impartial gears of this compassionate totality softly crushing into languorous sync with an impersonal wink from the gracious gods who have borne us through the fire. We’re blessed and sublimed in a destiny duet played out on pink-pillowed dawn, while in the near distance, twin peacocks’ sudden thrilling cries of “Victory!” echo throughout this palace of ashes we’ve made of ourselves in our exquisite incineration. Ashes won’t return to tinder, nor we go back to sleep. The rippling notes from the peacocks’ throats waken heaven and earth with pure joy. This may be the last stanza, though it came before the first. We offer this humble rock medicine to the future ancestors, our tears have washed them clean.