A Poetic Philosophy of Psychological Freedom
A corral full of selected poems which I hope reflect the state of my soul.
Unless otherwise noted all photographs are by Don Doig, co-founder of the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) and Elias Alias.
All jewelry designs created by and copyright by Don Doig and Elias Alias 2014.
All poetry copyright Elias Alias 2014.
We are given into the fire, are fed to the
flames and made faceless. Our flesh is
lost in smoke. Our souls ascend the
chimney inmixed and hurried, anxious to
escape the firemaker, to join again their
spiritual selves. Where is the old man
with ash on his sleeve? Where the
ash? Wind whips the smoke to waning
wisps as we leap to the heavens unseen.
That to which the mother
whispers the child awake
rings not from yon tower,
but time’s four-tongued stake.
The seasons’ threads, e’er weaving,
reveal the form to take,
and Dreamchild, in its finding,
has found a man to make.
Our days are likened to the sea
and we to a reach of sands
who’d shore up into seven names
what the tides pull through our hands.
From the well of the uncreated
the four who command us have come
to the rim-wavering bubbled assembly
of divers who haven’t a home;
the arch of the arrow of ages
has apexed with lightning our dome,
and mirrors by magic our movement
to worlds where our spirits would roam.
“And I have to wonder
if I saw the light right,
or did I blunder
and miss you last night?”
“How do you mean?”
“I mean, I think you understood me,
and I think that I understood you,
but I wonder if that may be
presumptive… it would be so
easy, so negligible to misinterpret
one another and neither know it…”
“You worry too much.
It’s in the touch.”
“What, oh my, is in the touch?”
“The feeling, the knowing,
“You’ve checked this out?
You understand the issue and
you have studied it through? Do you….”
“Lean here, foolish tired man,
and kiss me…”
It was woven upon a spectral stretch of
the wired science of shape it would assume
around the light’s diffusion.
It had been lowered down around the round lamp light,
defining the light’s activity, directing certain errant rays
which might offend a sensitive eye.
The lampshade was effective.
Having crowned it with my hat, it naturally funneled
down the electric infusions, downward to this paper.
Light on paper.
Darkness in ink.
Form and shadow.
Laboring Logos birthing
Wet lines drying
Into what we might discover
At the conscience
Of penpoint to paper
In light sent down,
Round and perfect,
By a shade.
We see and touch the vine and vein but only find
modality, material metaphorization, and some one thing
more toward which to seek.
The mountain, river, tree and sea
are eloquent, majestic. But Scorpio o’er hot sands crawls
between still rocks. He never sees the summit,
never drinks the living current,
never rests in shadow of fruited bough,
never hears the ancient tongue of the sea.
The scorpion shares not man’s quest for time and life.
He knows the shadow of both as the desert sun pours from
the sky its burning fluids. He knows the timeless movement
which the desert shares with sages, knows the sunlight hot
upon his brittle back,
and knows thereby eternal death.
Hence the scorpion’s pleasure is to see
in the eye of the sun the form of wings falling,
diving from on high, from the perpetual flame itself
crashing earthward in the desert.
It is to see the swift writhing wisdom of life strike vainly at merciless
talons outstretched as the eagle evicts the serpent from the sands.
It is to watch the feathered fracas, the ascent with coiling carcass
back into the sun as blood and feather fall each its course to
the upreached arms of the Joshua Tree.
In a timeless desert death
the dance of life and time
are framed in a scorpion’s eye.
What, oh taster of honeys and essences,
of all sensations heralding form,
did your tongue envision while
licking the length of your life?
Anticipation, that first and fervent blindness,
life’s ever-present reality obscures. The void
beneath any falling current, wet or wane,
seeks something from without to fulfill
its guilty emptiness.
Employee of emploration,
the tongue reveals at length
the vain source of desire;
which, like a mighty woman,
opens outward her hand
to touch the face of man.
is neither in the foot above the stone
which bringeth forth the wreath,
nor in the broken brow-mold,
neither for who buildeth up
nor for who teareth down;
for branch above,
nor root in ground;
for, ever to the weary
this earth shall be a bed,
and fast unto impermanence
shall permanence be wed.
Aside, While Reflecting On The Beingness
A problem of so many sundered segments
of society is the id’s willingness to sell out
for faddish mores. A human who would try to
fit the whole of his Id-entity into a social or
cultural more, by so doing, dispenses with
all other aspects of the being. Decay awaits
dead roots in every forest floor; they are dead souls
whose earthly beings took up stations,
It is best to give no credence to the faces of the void
if one would be more than a name, a number,
a sexuality or a theory. Balance the being
in Nature, who waves fulfillment in
the leaves all about us;
Judge not life’s mercy ‘ere you find
we die for the life of the soul,
In whom there is no death.
A shout of wood to the high sky, the trunk erupts from rock
mountain; limbs shoot upward and outward away from the trunk
like arms wanting the heavens. Like the old trunk, they are pitted
and cracked, brushed barkless, blown white by blue winds.
His roots are driven into granite and dense darkness, immoveable
and staunch. Their power to pierce stone is patterned like the
limbs above, so that heaven and earth are bonded by his
androgynous trunk of conjunction.
An ancient intermediary, he is ethereal; is evolved in sky and
mountainscape. He taunts time, continuing to age even in death,
a nude gnostic, gnarled and noble.
Is he really dead?
Did he send his seed
Before his issue sapped?
Will not another ram rub him?
Shall not an eagle, resting,
Crown him once more?
Tuesday brings no dutiful deacon
nor member of the fold;
the church is ringed about outside
with autumn leaves and cold;
a distant sun with teasing light
dances the window-sill
with shadows made ‘neath the slender bend
of the flower time shall kill.
Old widow Gray on Sunday last
offered the bloom in taste,
placing it with black-gloved hands
upon the sill, envased.
And all who heard the Word of God
that morning saw the act;
black fingers ’round a golden face
for a moment’s timeless pact.
They were invisible entities and their
efforts with me were labored and hard-won. They
told me I had no choice but to choose.
“You must choose, and then return.”
Form was not in question;
sex, a secondary selection. I would be human,
human again and named, like all the times before; yet new,
like each time before. Maybe Alan or Alice, short or tall….
“May I have talent this time?”
“By Grace you may. It is written.”
“May I escape pain?”
“To some degree.”
“Have I not, this time, shown improvement?”
“But not sufficient.”
When they left, they left something standing
like Enoch’s lost scripts on the bridge of conical time
in a cave at Qumran, awaiting time’s funneled-down
transport to reality.
The tall mirrors of periodicity stood mountain-high
above the meadow, converging all image into itself and
into reflections of itself. There was no movement, save a
dive of decision and an ellipse,
a flurry of feathers and a sleeping.
The whirlwind whispered;
the child threw the stone into the cave;
shards shattered, spilling sagery on the earth;
the spiral was begun;
the memory was forgotten.
The choice, submitted, sent the soul in secrecy to
the bone gate, a passenger to be named.
Free flight fixed into form, was held up ingloriously
in hospital hands, up by blue ankles; was whacked, wrapped
warm, and cried.
The beginning of time is neither behind us nor before us,
but above us.
Being but belief, there be no time.
With blunt butterknife,
Finger upon the pod,
A child, having heard he’d find
An Oak in any acorn,
Might investigate the matter.
Deft filing with a toothless blade,
Scientific surgery follows
Throughout, Nature stays silent, suffers
The human abuse of one tortured acorn,
Bears up the child’s innocence
For the acorn as it gives, finally,
Two halves to his blade;
One under his chubby finger like a bug,
The other across the kitchen floor where
It flew upon separation.
Out of doors, beyond the garden,
A childish reaction tossed the remaining
Acorns in the field. I can’t imagine, for
Elements in seasons, whatever happened then;
Like the mountain gods of Ouachita
Good oak burns in
My place of fire.
No way to hold what’s in the eye
nor in labyrinths ‘twixt the ears;
nor hold what days share, wandering by,
nor visions winding through our years.
Orbs orbiting other orbs
await the lens-enlisting eye,
whether penetrating molecules
or plying Empyrean skies.
Those out there are universe,
precocious to our shuttled verse;
those within are just reverse,
gyrostatic Time’s obverse.
Appeals to the Absent Patentor
ascend the platforms of our faiths
as though ’twere we invented Time.
Wanting patents, we’re given Grace.
Christianity, which hangs like a crucifix
on the thread of rhetorical auto-reference,
is static and alludes to the activities of
Jesus of Nazareth by means of
distortive paraphrase from those who
said what He said He said.
Since Christ himself could not or would not
afford a pencil, we are heirs to hearsay
accountings of parabolic presumption from
biased witnesses who left to mankind,
for ensuing centuries of cross-cultured Christians,
the problem of interpretation.
But why bother?
If it’s Christianity you want, throw away
the book and learn to love thy neighbor.
In the purity of primal love dwells the Christ
perpetually, who is pleased to skip the distractions
of papal pomp and popular papers.
Frail little bug
symbol of cosmic courage,
who wrapped himself
in silk and slept;
the startlingly passive caterpillar
quietly, nobly, entombed himself.
Did he anticipate the vacuous combustion of
Metamorphosis? Could he foreknow
the etheric depths of a sleep that deep?
Could he know that he will live to fly
Instead of suffocate and die?
Has he any clue for it all,
His begetting the butterfly?
Someday civilized man may become aware of the obvious fact that every thing we eat and
drink and smell and partake by osmosis, as well as psycho-influence consciously
and unconsciously received, is hallucinogenic.
That country-fed organism which operates the tractor in fields of corn and bean
replenishes his driving view ‘twixt a circular horizon which, despite his belief to the contrary,
renders him a physical endomorph.
He is confined by the feel of earth in his fingers and the lug of mud on his dusk-time, front-porch-sittin’ cover-all cuffs.
He eats beans and potatoes for supper for the view.
Mason City Meanderings
Sometimes I sit like a child about his imaginings
searching the plain scene of city streets
with a pencil in my hand and a coughdrop in my
mouth, expecting some recordable event to
explode outside my window. The idea is to capture
in a clever net of lines whichever noteworthy
happening bursts forth.
Such times permit the muse to offer up to
the mind a phenomenon I choose to call
“With nets to catch the birds
they drag them down
for all to see
and change them into words.”
The intrinsic obstacle to this teasing task is the
people drive and are driven below birds on black wires,
or amble the sidewalks between the
hamburger store and the hardware store, their
imaginations exploited by tools for the hand and
beef for the belly—-
as Pittsburgh and Fort Worth collect their tolls
in permissive peace outside my window while the
wheels of Detroit roll out the habits of the heaven-bound
on asphalt threads whose weaves repeat the ways
of boredom in a thousand streets which blanket now for Eden’s heirs
the grounds of our children’s feet,
the grounds once given angels to guard.
Dreams do as they wish and dreamstuff isn’t always logical to purblind minds. It is as though the mind were dimorphic, existing at once as a greater self and a lesser self. It is as if my greater self would instruct the sleep-freed aspect of my lesser self, but for want of the proper language on the part of my lesser self, the greater self instructs with the surrealistic imagery of symbolism. Indeed it causes me to think that my greater self might have a grasp on the infinite, and cannot impart its view through the vehicle of finite terminology. After all, terminology denies the principle of the interminable. It is not eternity’s blame if I delude myself with time and omit insensible dimensions while admitting only sensible things, thereby worshipping only ideas of ignorance. Yet my gentle dreams continue to lure me from the security of what I think. A dream, like pleasure, may demand awareness. A dream might, with a serene lake of blue, pristine waters, seduce my attention into the mood it desires, might lure my lesser self in sleep to an Empyrean visitation, and startle my rationality with a waking and a feeling of having returned from somewhere. Yet even as am I, it is only the stuff of dreams.
Winter Park Swing
(For Melissa, age three, 1974)
I saw in her hands on indifferent cold links
the white-knuckled grasp of her joy,
and hated that season which whitens my own
under nude limbs of winter’s employ.
“Hold tight, little flyer!” I said with a shove
and watched as she walked on the sky;
“‘Tis a cold chain we cling to when flung
at the sky, and briefly, so briefly, we fly.”
Leafless and cold
bent wooden fingers of trees
a nickel sky did clutch
as played on the park swing beneath them
the child beyond winter’s grey touch.
Cognition and Recognition
Speaking to myself:
Notice where you got to this year from
where you started last.
Compare snowfalls, last winter’s and this,
or maybe even a number of snowfalls
from many winters back;
even, maybe, a half-remembered, half imagined
snowfall of your childhood
when snow was the fun stuff of angels,
a special and magical freedom
confirming and gracing a season
Cognition, then recognition;
flurry and drift;
still, silent season
in the heart
in the child
Was it in Indiana drifts,
where the red fox plays
with imaginary mice,
cavorting in sparkling white mounds
with arch-backed pounces
on a snow-mouse he’ll never catch?
Or was it in the Adirondacks,
which heap flurry upon flurry
‘til the accumulation lifts up
the bough of
the tree of
Or maybe your child was in
the pure presence of Pike’s Peak,
where immaculate drifts are placed
at their feet
in the garden of the gods;
Or in the delirious deluges
of Montana blizzard,
where the world howls itself inside out
and where only immeasurable snows can
muffle and soften
the elemental rage;
Or in the faces of snow-bound cattle,
blank and unknowing
as winds across Kansas;
Wherever it was,
snow in a childhood memory
seasons the soul in a man.
In all designs of Nature
dwells her presence, her essence;
and the life in one
is better known by another–
cognition and recognition,
flurry and drift, while
stars twirl o’er a child’s world
ashine with wintry snow.
And where is the man this year
from where the child started last?
What lies covered in new snow
or in the snows of years we’ve known?
fleck of white
crystalline and cold,
what will you cover
for us all tonight
when to the earth you fall?
What can you show us
of a season in which we
can only be– only are —
cognition and recognition,
flurry and drift?
He decided he should ascertain everything. This predicted his absence from the society of men for sustained periods.
That absence introduced the dissociative fracture in the realization of man.
That dissociative fracture in the realization of man allowed for a theory of an hypothesized unknown.
The concept of the unknown heralded doubt, which seemed to render his decision unattainable.
This he construed to imply the manifest need of divine imagination. He required a re-appraisal of the primal so that the primal might live in the present
and predict the uncreated in time.
This devised physics and philosophy by its implication of direction in time, which itself necessitated the movement and the observer of the movement in mind and matter.
Absorbed in this discovery, he forgot to question the ontology of his intrinsic ability to decide.
The rapturous oblivion of this absorption was his ascertainment of everything, and bliss.
Sandy, Twelve And Freckled
Sandy, twelve and freckled,
beside her summer window lay in sheets and starshine
one sparkling night in Utah.
As children often will she watched for sleep
with wide soft eyes
a dream-sprite sat in a silvery shape
(draw-kneed and elbow-hugged)
with spirited chin supposing its still still face
and its bronze, bent back bookending the jamb where
her windowsill junctured the world.
Like a moon on her pillow the clear night paled
round her prone petition to sleep.
The dream-sprite waited without a wink
while her memory unraveled, wound down her day,
expunged and exhausted her play……
She retouched the breakfast that morning `ere her
father departed for work;
the ride on her pony in the bleak brush which boasted
and hid an abundance of life;
the snake by the clothes line and her mother’s
quick fear as she ran for the hoe;
the giving of a bath to her mixture-bred dog;
the calm feel of perfect pleasure when, before dinner,
her mother revealed how a big girl
might, sitting this way, manicure nails;
and other events of rural routine.
She did not see the dream-sprite waiting.
She was not really
watching for sleep. It was nice and pleasing to, still on a pillow,
let her feelings for memories play lazily and freely
among stars in the satin night sky.
School would start next month in Green River and
she would become another year older
in the ocherous landscapes of autumnal Utah.
Terry would be there; Terry who
helped his father hunt coyotes for bounty; Terry, thirteen and
thrilling in bone-white teeth and black hair.
Terry, whose awkward profile struck her like lightning
on Soldier’s Summit at the church outing last week
when the world lay all and forever around them;
Terry, above far-below valleys which
back-dropped their innocence,
throwing stones down the mountain with boys….
She did not think to herself as sleep waited,
“I am thinking of Terry and his image is giving me pleasure.”
She did not know how the
metamulch of mentality engages the orbits of glands.
She did not know the questions of adulthood
about diet, blood chemistry, powers of will. She simply felt
with the invisible fingers of her soul
her excitement in knowing Terry while starshine splashed
through the window, and sleep grew
weary in waiting.
When she awakened she knew she had been somewhere,
somewhere even farther away
and more magical
than Salt Lake City or San Francisco.
For Rob Lethart
When muscadines are sprinkled
on shadeless forest floors
and meadows boast of goldenrods
behind the general store,
when berry vines by railroad tracks
are robbed of all their fruit
and trees along the riverbank
give naked-limbed salute
to cooler currents swirling
with their catch of autumn leaves,
I’ll be walking in the country
of my golden memories.
Seems the crispness in the autumn air,
the frost upon the ground,
the crackling leaves beneath the step,
the baying of the hound;
seems the fog above the hidden slough
which disappears by noon,
and calls of geese above bare trees
mean winter’s coming soon,
and I sense a certain urgency
while lighting breakfast’s fire
to get on with why I ventured here
before the day expires.
I am searching in this forest
for the child who, long ago,
had made these woods a home for me,
a place where I could grow.
I search for him each autumn
where he’s certain to be found
and we talk about the good ol’ days
before I moved to town.
He always makes me feel the fool
for leaving him behind,
makes me hate myself a little more
by seeing how I’m blind.
Yet each autumn I return
to paths which criticize,
to childhood days and honest ways,
to the boy who seems so wise.
I beg him to return with me
and try the city life,
though it’s crazy there and crowded too
and full of stress and strife.
But he refuses with a smile
and with shaking head replies:
“Each fall you feel a need for me—
why don’t you find out why?”
the pleasures of summer like driven autumn leaves
are current-swirled along the trafficked curb
and sent to rest collectively on rusted bars of iron,
the leaf-wreathed gutter whispers in the mute language
of the street the benediction of a fallen season.
the thought-wreathed bars of experience entrap
the fallen products of our youth,
and here, gathered to die and crust as offerings
to decomposition, the fruits of our past are
transfigured and returned to the roots of
tomorrow as attitudes of vision.
Deja Vû In Colorado
Deja Vû in Colorado was easily dismissed
like a message to someone else….
But we were there, then, mooded in magic
on a western stage, holding hands warmly,
joined only by Rocky Mountains, whose silence
could be trusted.
The heart of oak afire evokes
a sunrise memory graced by quail and jay, a
memory of standing with you by a mountain
in a sky as big and hard as
the smile of God.
Then and there,
that part of me which dwells in flowers
gave you to that mountain….
and I gave the mountain to you.
In the smell of new snow
on the curve of your neck
I whispered like a canyon breeze
that the mountain was forever yours.
It was Rocky Mountain romance where
eagles flew and secrets twinkled in your hair.
Oh, there was magic enough then as we
gazed at forever
from the Garden of the Gods.
Our love was three weeks old that day
and a split-rail fence on a hill’s bosom lay….
Far below us, like
the sweet pale throat
of Eros gone west,
a farm and a ranch
were a charm at the branch
of two crystalline creeks in the sun…..
And we took each other to touch, and
touch took us both to be one.
New fires to old ash and
a time on a long running road
finds me in Colorado again now.
In Colorado again, alone;
sharing with a summit shadow
that part of you I gave the mountain;
I am as anything I wish and I wish to be as the wind over continents,
an invisible will blowing fiercely through the world, causing things and
occurrences; a great wind on the planes of possibility, a great chooser
of the next being, its thought and its unraveling fulfillment…
I rest above waters like a transmuted cloud; my speech is thunder to
tall mountains; I am innocent and indifferent; my robes are the colors
of dawn as I glide beyond morning light; looking down I see the sap in
trees which sends the magic seed like hulled ethers to
the fountains of the earth…
I move upon all things living, touch your face gently in my
passing, echo the vacuums of galaxies in your ear, tease
indocrinal weaves to patterns in your heart…
Though you seem to me warm and material, I move through
your life unseen……
It is good that you reach up to me, that you try to pull me to
you, that you inbreathe me like ash of an ancient athanor,
that together you and I make life of soil and soul.
ROOT AND BOUGH
It cannot be a metaorganism,
though it seems like one sometimes…….
It cannot really be something metachemical,
yet that is precisely what it is —
this nexus, this dancing gravity,
this impossible vibration of anti-matter atmosphere,
this insensible sensation of being
borne by breath.
Spirit, Soul, and Psyche each arrive in turn
before gravity, before a sensing of the world, like
a few invisible things surrounding and
reflecting and concurring, like
a sunset and its reach of ivory beach sands;
and there stands man…
Can he know the high toll of dimensional dilution?
Are three tenses really enough?
At the very thought of it Psyche recedes into
Soul’s formless extensions,
and Soul withdraws into Spirit
where all are refined;
where matter becomes immaterial…
where, though they bore it together for their pleasure,
neither root nor bough can conceive
the secret in the seed.