Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 3/3/ 06, Chennei, India

Oblivious, the taxi driver stands ankle-deep
In pouring rain, stows bags possessing
What he never shall, then threads his little vehicle
Through the motliest herd of conveyances —
Busses, mopeds, bicycles, tricycles, tankers,
Carts pulled by lumbering oxen with painted horns —
Each one lurching forward at its own speed,
While he, the taxi driver, constantly caresses
His staccato horn, as if its harmless bird-chirp
Were actually the force which displaced
The careening tonnage of jerry-rigged lorries
For that critical hair’s breadth which affords us
A sighing safe passage.
Here is filth already millennia old before the birth of Christ,
Shining on a ground which reeks of petroleum,
Feces, garbage and sanctity.

Inside what remains of our minds,
The usual whirl of thoughts,
Even in the midst of this crowded, streaming, steaming bustle,
Floats down corridors of cloud-smudged stars
To someplace were starlight and moonlight and sunlight
Are one. India. Now her immemorial potencies
Of passion and silk and marble
Rises from that deep well which has birthed
And enriched and impoverished billions of souls —
Tiger and elephant and lowly rat and human —
All writhing together with clashing bracelets and anklets
In that love-making which never starts nor ends,
But where we, in our insulated bed,
Meet in a mating which falls like sun-soaked rain.

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 3/20 06, Ananda Loka 3, India

The dawn uncoils her peace with a silent,
A breathless ferocity, pouring streams of white
Down the igneous orchard rows, while she,
Lean, four-footed mother, stands patiently,
As her biting brood clamors beneath her.
Her pups know only their own convulsive hungers,
Their desires for food, for sex, their desire to give birth
To themselves, which she, as the milk-maker,
Gives first to one leaf, then another,
Then, in an orgy of uterine trembling,
As torch to driest tinder, she copiously feeds
Her whitest of white fires to all the children of the day.
The mountains stand sentinel to her tenderness,
As we, all fire ourselves, burn with the self-same ardor,
Living and dying our ten billion dramas
As if this divine conflagration were the most
Mundane of occurrences — which it is.
Now as the mother and child, the one fire in innumerable flames,
Fall sweetly down to ashes, the coil uncoiling,
The pups collapse into sleep,
And her ocean of flames becomes an ocean of honey.

Swan Song
Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 8/21/01, Golden City Campus One, India

On the last day of the world, the remnants
Of the true believers will suddenly, and a little
Sadly, realize that the temple was never devised
To be completed, that the great marble edifice
With its cupolas and minarets, its impressive arches
And spiraling ziggurats, will be home only
To a few feral dogs, its porticoes echoing
With the clatter of pigeon wings. Amidst
The construction debris, these ghosts will be
Ascending the concrete stairs, viewing
What is left of the last day, golden sheets
Of tropical squalls slanting rain across
Green lines of small, hysterical trees
That will never grow large enough to shade
The boulevards, and the sky, its vast dome
Shattered with the incomplete grandeur
Of trying to express too many things, will be
An enormous hovel of broken rainbows,
Of massive thunderheads, purple and orange
And white, of the sinking last day sun,
And of the final, never to be full, half-moon,
Silvered and set against the foil of an impossible cerulean.
On the last day, the revenants, not wholly sincere,
Will realize they were actors who had forgotten
Their lines, and each one, each devotee, will be
The one speaker of a tongue shared by no other.
They will gather, these ghosts, of the primeval, dying mind,
In a last stand of flesh against the onslaught
Of eternity, holding hands in a circle beneath
The darkening dome, and they will chant, forlornly,
Happily, words they do not understand.

Maternal Caress
By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 12/4/09

The full moon begins to wane,
Not for lack of sustenance,
But because of a desire
For darkness coincident
With the season. Winter:
The dry snow filling the cracks
In the parched earth,
Where even the wild doe
Steps sensitively, not wanting,
With her soft, long ears,
To hear the breakage
Of frozen, summer herbage.

What is it about the victory of cold
That makes us shudder,
And deny it its due honor,
That dark general’s mother,
Moving armorless through the fields,
Gathering the sad relics of spent armies,
And holding high council only with solitude?

The night is still amazingly luminous,
And as the frost touches her enormous presence,
The winds that lashed the day lie motionless,
The crisp breath silvering the clear air,
And birthing, for a moment, a ragged comfort.
Yes, even in desolation, she offers rest,
A place of warmth, where this vast frigidness,
Shrinks down to the small circumference of her arms.
Fierce Gardener
By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 2/10/11

It is a long, long trek over rugged country,
And to make it there,
You will have to portage much that is burdensome,
Though returning, you will, you must be naked.
But there you will confront,
In the remnants of an old, old forest,
The ancient, burned-out stump of a once-great tree.
The stump, though only a stump,
Will be gigantic,
And its force will revolve above you
In the green, blue lights
Of an intense,
But strangely impersonal
It is that thing
Buried or burrowing,
Deep, in the body’s tissues,
Like a rogue oppressor,
Vigilant, ruthless,
Almost untouchable —
And as you stand before this Titan,
So like a planet observed from outer-space,
It is anything but dead,
Though its mass is all burns and scars and terrible splinters.
Yet still, so still,
There is a potency interred in its harsh corpse,
Hostile to every pretence of human conscience,
And steeped in the throes of a tragic martyrdom,
So different than that of saints or would-be saints.
And when you have seen this, felt this,
Touched this inner, almost-untouchable thing,
The tissue in which its hunger has been buried
Begins to bleed,
Not blood,
But something brighter.
You may leave The Presence,
And journey home,
Feeding on your desires along the way.
And you will seem the same to those you live with,
The same, perhaps, even to yourself,
But you will be growing,
Deep inside your body,
The seed of one
Who knows the life
In death.

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