All hearts should beat when Cho Fu’s orchestra plays “Love”
And then all feet should start to move in the dance.
All ankles should be very slim and all calves shapely.
Everyone should be moving around, all hearts beating—
Tip tap tip tap. The heart is actually beating all the time
And mostly with the same intensity. The difference is not in our hearing
Which is also mostly always the same. The difference must be really
Then in our consciousness, which they say is variegated.
Black and white shoes, red dress, an eye of flame,
A teeth of pearl, a hose of true, a life of seethings. Would
You like to dance? The excitement, it is there all the time.
Is human genius there all the time? With the analogy of dreams,
Which supposedly we have every night, one is tempted
To say, The seething is always there, and with it the possibility for
The government is there all the time, or actually the people
Struggle first so the government will be there then so it will not
Be overpowering. When does the art come, and the seething,
And when is the best point for justice, in all these I would like to
be living.The houses come and then the industry and then the people
And the government must control the industry. No smoke in the houses.
And there are people who study this all the time,
Economists, government people, they sit down and walk about
And study these things. And some otherwise indistinguishable boys
And girls become scientists, and complicate these things,
Make them better and worse, and some pale insecure others
Come along and do poems and paintings, and all die
And new ones are born, and there gets to be history and culture
And civilization and the death of civilization and the life of it and
We, who are born in it, walk around in it, and look at these things
And think of these things. Some things are first and some are second.
No one has yet completely figured out our brain
But some are trying. One of the first things is we try to be “all
right,”To do well and to succeed. Whether this is in all human brains
(We think not) or only in our civilization’s, we don’t know
For sure, or much care, but we act by it anyway, just as we act
By the morality we happen to be born with (i.e. not eating our grandparents
As Herodotus said the Egyptians thought it proper to do).
And in the dim, dazzling adolescent ballrooms we start on our way.
Later, much later perhaps, we try to figure it out—
Or sometimes just start working mechanically on one aspect.
Finding ourselves “in love,” we may attach supreme value to that
Or to some crazy religion, finding ourselves in a church at sunset.
What do you think it is really all explainable by, this
Mystery that has been built up by a natural process
And how much of it do we need? The foot of everyone is advancing
And the knees of everyone should be flexing, legs dancing
And lips moving gaily up over the teeth
For the speaking, and hands driven into the pockets, eyes shining, stub-
bed toes forgotten as we walk down the somewhere else saying God Damn
It’s good to see you. But what shall we do? The greatest plan
Is participate, aid, and understand. Every dog should be at the foot
Of every man. What evidence this past gives us! Examples
With which we impregnate today. But the shirt should fit
Over the chest, the light silk panties over the rear.
The sky is shining. The sun is a basket of wash
Let down for our skin, and germs are all around us like cash.
In nature is no explanation. In city is no
Explanation. In language is no
Explanation. Explanation is a dog, is a languishing lad
Lanky with lurid binoculars, dilapidated-looking. I am
Sitting and you are standing. We have a knowledge of good and bad.
I am exploding with doubts and with talent. I look everywhere.
I’m always glad when I find something simple.
Breathing is simple, walking is simple, and dancing, sometimes, moving
A simple way to say that things are simple
Is immensely enjoyable but it is not explanation.
The people should be rushing along. There is in that way no problem
Except there is this problem: How to participate aid and understand
Simultaneously. It seems there is too much. Participating in the wall
You forget to understand the tax reform. And aid no-one.
So what is the ecstasy we are allowed to have in this one life
As everybody says that we are getting on with living here?
Should you devote your life to reform? or to understanding your life?
Are different kinds of people born, some for aiding,
Some for participating in, some for understanding life?
Which one are you and how do you know? You are crazy
And don’t know it, one person says, and another says, You are asleep.
To myself I seem sane and awake, and I go on.
Maybe a fundamental-type solution, “loss in nature” “mystical
religion”Or “sexual explosiveness” is what we need. But dear civilization—
Who would like to give up theatre for climbing up a tree? No one wants
Remember where this meditation began (with Cho Fu’s orchestra).
It is the problem of living and not being the first one
And yet wanting to do as much as that first one, and, because there is
all that train behind one, more.
The people look at all the people they are walking around
One being peaceful or horrid or lonely or bored
Or pleasant and contented the right kind
Of civilization could be good for all these people
And certainly food would be good for the hungry people
And limitations must be placed on the greedy people
And guns must be taken away from the aggressive people
And medicine must be given to the ailing people
And so on and each individual one of the people
Who dreams every night (it is supposed) may be supposed
To have the seething and the golden curiosity. How to organize the thing
So that each of these people
Is happy with it, happy with him, with her, and me
And we also are, and it, and all, with them? That would be the day—
How can it be with everyone feeling he is the main one and the germs
there every day?
Different civilizations simultaneously existing,
Indian in the throes of one, Samurai in the waning of another,
Heck-saying businessman in mine, and little civilizations suggesting
somethingLike farmyard civilization, fishingman and net and boat civilization,
And then back to your own and to my own, all the
Efficiency the good will the weakness and the snobbery
The uncertainty the recovery the rather long life the bursts
Of helpless enthusiasm the sweet reformers in the streets
Today as I just looked out the window and here come the riot police
And the sitting inside and not knowing if I should be outside,
in the midst of this.
The orchestra plays and everyone is growing up and being
One of who are a various number of beings
Simultaneously dreaming of existing
As the civilizations say they are when we speak.
To be a back, which doesn’t break, and to hate what is mysterious
That doesn’t need to be, grant me O Athena
Of the roses and the gamma globulin—however, prayer
Is nothing I can ever be serious about (I think).
The answer is elusive and the work about it goes on
A long time and so we want our lives to go on
Among other things in hope to find an answer. Though we know
That the answer of eighty will not be the answer of eighteen.
En route we give titles to things, we further
Complicate our own situation and that of other persons
And we get wiser, sometimes, and kinder, and probably less exciting
(Certainly so), and grow out of our illusions (sometimes) and so
Can look around and say, Oh! So! but usually without the time
Or power to change anything (sometimes—maybe a fraction—if so, it’s
amazing!) then off we go.
April 28, 1977