my diagnosis

my diagnosis


life is beautiful to me but not for me:
this is my diagnosis, the logic of my wonder,
my sentence.

i first read it on a parchment in a dream,
written by a hand that is not a hand.
later it was spoken into my ear
as a rustle of sound of a fellow creature
not with me in fellowship, and likely
not a creature at all.

the judgment settles on my head as if an ancient wreath,
and pushes me toward the syncope.

life is beautiful to me but not for me:
this is my allotment, my credo, inviting no adherents
and mocking anyone who would guard it.

i am told i owe nothing to the daemonion
who pronounces this verdict—what could i give?—
except that i am to return periodically
to the cave of pronouncement, where inner visions have been scrawled
as dancing animals in carbon blackness,
animal aliveness scratched to granite whiteness
by the claws of those animals themselves,
scratched black and white in an untamed contest
lasting millennia.

it is an abuse of human immediacy
that i should remember my own primordial being
in stories of poems i lack the skill to write.

life will be beautiful to me but not for me:
this is my margin, my fate as a visitor
led bent and bending to the flickering windows
to stare with wandering eyes.

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poem:  salinas, california, 2018 / photographs:  san francisco bay area, 2018