Half Moon Epigrams

A Very Brief History of Eternity

piero scaruffi


Other collections: Apophenia | Synesthesia - Haikus | Symbiosis - Ghazals
Triptyc - Odes | Osmosis - Cantos | Mottos of the Afterlife - Epigrams | The Distance - Romance


The sky is breathing: first receding,
then swelling; rippling into my retina.
Deep into the furry fog, the drifting
jigsaw puzzle of a phantom city
shrouds the crown of the bluff
only to vanish the minute the sun
thaws the tiny suspended drops,
each engraving an item of the mirage,
and lays the groundwork for the inevitable
ending: a savage gust that restores the less
intimate reality of a graceless mound of rock,
with all the irregular pieces of the puzzle
scattered and glittering in the ocean,
and their arcane meaning lost forever
in the faint, indifferent lapping of the waves.

Half Moon Bay, 11 April 2014


(Towards a Theory of Ambiguity)

Certainly this is not the real ending,
certainly the last scene will make sense
of the beginning, of the shocking episode
after which our life only felt like a flashback;

certainly the audience is the audience
and not the actors,
certainly the curtain hides the stage
from the ascending rows of seats
and not viceversa,
although we play our roles on both sides,
both actors reciting the script that was bestowed on us
and spectators laughing and crying at that very script

(whether i also wrote the script
or you wrote it for me,
or someone else wrote it for both of us,
or it existed immutable since the Big Bang
will prove to be irrelevant
when we realize that the script
is the same for everybody,
for the young who think of it
as a blessing
as well as for the old
who at last see it as a curse);

a non-linear fractal script
that fans out in all directions,
a labyrinth of interactive pages
that accounts for the multiplicity
of destinies and revelations;

that stokes our feeling of insecurity
populating an already unstable timewarp
with imminent eventualities never occurring;

that callously reenacts as words and gestures
the infinite loneliness of the dimension-less point
surrounded by an infinite multitude of points;
any depth so shallow, any wholeness so crippled,
like a sinkhole swallowing clumps of truth
before you can even glimpse their neon signs;

that raises more questions than it answers,
more questions, in fact, than can fit
inside a brain during a lifetime;

and because the real ending still eludes us
we turn to the millenarian sphinx that held our hand
when we entered blindfolded the dark tunnel of backstage,
hopeful that she might know what is coming next,

the pregnant Moon, mirror image of the egg, that never gives birth;
the weightless Moon that always hovers and never lands;
the leafless rootless Moon that quaffs darkness and inhales stars;
the childish Moon surfing dancing curling but never spinning;

not a blazing totem for nomads lost
in the empty silent desert of self-delusion
but a plain signpost for neophytes
to navigate the overcrowded sky
of knowledge and meaning.

Half Moon Bay, 27 December 2013


(Our nameless moon,
the primordial engine of poetry.
programmed to fuel our enigmas,
sleeps when we are awake,
like a repressed memory,
and thus we can leave notes
but not interrogate it).

The brighter the moon, the darker your shadow.
An intricate puzzle is guarding the correct answer,
the relentless pursuit faces a dead end.
Reality collapses under the weight of the night sky.
A maneuver to control the center of the chessboard:
not all players are playing the same game,
and not all are playing to win because a loss
is sometimes a win.
There is another life beneath the waves that cloud the earth.
I scan the stars like the spines of books on a library shelf,
each one a different novel but all written in the same language
(that the reflection in the water can translate for me).
(Time is the sandy skeleton of a footprint;
a flower made of mist, that i can almost inhale).

I am the current, not the swimmer.
I am the trail, not the hiker.
I am the reader, not the writer.
(If there were two moons in the sky,
we would have to name them).

Playing chess with the waves (masked or blindfolded?);
the naked brevity of human life challenging
the throbbing transparency of immortal winds.
Death glitters,
sentient and menstrual,
where the ceiling of the sky
becomes the floor of the sea,
where the closing curtain of the night
becomes the triumphal arch of the day.

Nature questions me again: there is no moon in the sky, perhaps
there never was. Checkmate.

Half Moon Bay, 23 September 2013


On mountains that only speak to heavens i have seen rivers born out of barren rock - how and why i puzzled for many years until i glanced at myself reflected not in the water but in the rock and became addictively aware that these very words are born out of sterile brain matter, not a miracle that science can explain away but rather a manifestation of the principle (as your brain expands and absorbs more of the environment, do you become more or less yourself? who is the gentle being who emerges from the arrogant egotism of childhood?) that only in the light can consciousness be; that a trail lost not in the night's opacity but in the night's transparency is often a found truth, or in a sense depleted guilt, an arrow pointing in the right direction from a glittering jungle of identical arrows pointing in all directions; that there is no entrance, only exits, and the joke is on us, i.e. you can only quit and never join (scribbled in the indelible ink of geography, the lines and curves of the "Exit" sign linger for a while on a retina trained by erratic phosphenes to accept even the most unlikely objects as real); that, eluding the chasms and boundaries that millions of years of geological toiling painstakingly chiseled on the back of the world, entombed between two eternities (the spring and the sea), the untitled stillborn monologue of the pregnant hemorrhaging river, as heard down in the valley, is more than was (and perhaps it is before it was); a principle that can hardly stand on its own unless... there is nobody here (nor elsewhere) living the lives we think we live; unless we live to think that we live (quote unquote).

Half Moon Bay, 21 July 2013, 16:45


(The birthplace of the George Creek on the Sierra Nevada)


(Hiking from the Lowest to the Highest Point in Death Valley)

A dizzy wind had risen from all sides
and its pangs kept us awake all night.
At first we didn't read it as a key
to decipher the inexplicable order
of the desert.
After all, we knew where we were and why we had come;
the wind didn't. It collided and fought
with swarms of wingless grains of sand,
a spiral of spirals shouting to itself
relentlessly, a vertigo of vertigoes shaping
dunes and oases while shattering the trail.
What contrast
was that impassive Moon, deaf and mute,
rising high over the mountain, a wandering stain
in the fictional landscape of the unfinished sky,
pointing the way through the flaming canyon,
mixing light and darkness like an alchemist,
its shadow slipping silently past my steps,
indifferent to the shivering spiderweb of moments and places
that nails our scattered reality to a persistent memory,
stalling as if time and space finally coincided;
like a divine compass; a direction without reverse;
a geometry not of distances but of proximities;
an irrefutable theorem.
Someone else's mirror reflected a multitude
of eyeless beasts, with roots in the crumbling edifice
of a cathartic dream, galloping into the dead-end of life;
relieving humanity of one enigma.
Land flung before and after me, i reply without replying,
just like i have asked without asking, to an echo's echo,
an utterance that is neither an answer nor a question:
it is only the Sun playing with my mortality,
mocking life's failure to colonize the dunes,
revealing an avalanche of lustful vampire horizons
where i thought that nothing had ever existed,
and behind them, nestled in countless concentric halos,
the gloomy face of the summit stretched to infinite
amid the rambling colors of this timeless dawn.

Death Valley, 26 May 2013, 08:30


(A Dialog between the Self and the Other)

"It is always night"
"I can see the Sun"
"Trust me: here it is night - always - we left the Sun behind"
"Forever?"
"Forever"
"I'd like to go back"
"Too late"
"Too late for what?"
"To make sense of the present"
"How senseless that is"
"No: it was"
"When?"
"Here"
"It is so easy to confuse when and where"
"When is here and where is now"
"I am here and now"
"No: I is here and now"
"I am not a person, i am a place - there are many people inside me"
"Life is a place"
"Death is a time"
"I wonder if, overall, there are more living people or more dead people"
"It is easy to confuse life and death"
"You cannot die if you are not alive"
"Can you be alive if you have never been dead?"
"Can it be day if it has never been night?"
"It is always night"

Half Moon Bay, 19 May 2013, 14:24



In the old days
our shadows followed us
wherever we went
instead of us
following our shadows
blindly and cowardly
as we do now.

I watch the Sun's slow descent into the waters
as it stores the day's events
(time that reads itself)
into a shrinking region of the sky
until everything is reduced to a dot
swallowed by the vast horizon of hours;
until it seems that nothing
has any meaning anymore,
all voices have been silenced
and all wings have been retracted;
when the mind becomes
an expanding labyrinth of thoughts
(time that dissolves in stillness),
and one of them the paradox of itself,
of one giant swelling thought
inside a tiny clump of matter
(transparent time? masked time?),
an instant of eternities,
time that thinks
itself.

In the old days
our shadows did not
have a shadow.
Now they do, and their
shadows too.

Ventana Wilderness, 27 April 2013, Sunset


We step out of the mirror: the wave, breathing in the narrow space between the glowing fangs of the sea stacks, and my own breath, flowing from my body into the sky and back, at each pulse flooding the brain with knowledge that is both exhilarating and terrifying of stars immutable and darkness impenetrable above the faceless dome overwhelmed by a myriad twilights of living beings hushed and blinded and jailed in their spent firefly shells;

we step into reality: both the inaudible invisible inscrutable powers lurching in the unbridled gallop of the shimmering surf and the ebbing fever of my consciousness clinging to each instant of time;

for a brief interlude we are notes in the metallic machine music of the firmament, sheltered by the truth that floats all around us like a warm ether, awestruck witnesses to the atavistic soul of the sky rising steadily proprio motu, but doomed (by knowledge that the future is unsearchable) to repeat the neurotic habits of an aging loner proud of his illness;

and soon we step back into the inscrutable physics of the mirror: i set myself on fire, spread my wings and fly away, while the night within the wave, the song of the sea singing itself, burrows the first fissure in the collective euphoria of dancing drops that have sewn the shadow of the moon in the shape of a wavering rose; but will this moment remain forever not in my perishable memory but in some other indelible memory encompassing the whole universe, forever a record in a library that winds and tides will consult when searching for answers to their scholarly research on the nature of mutable objects? i raise my hands to slow down the world that is slipping so fast under my feet, so indifferent to the struggle and sufferings of the seven billion daydreamers who think they own it, but the wave has already redrawn a new constellation of allegories within the cracked mirror of the sea.

We, not trained to the language of the dead,
speak the language of the dying, but the language
that we try in vain to reconstruct, aware
that we will be speaking it for eternity,
is really the language of the dead,
whose grammatical rules belong
to the realm not of linguistics
but of mathematics,

although, aware of how senseless wisdom is
(wisdom is the thoughts that we choose
for our own epigraph),
we plan for our afterlife a fast absolute
("fast" as in "fast food")
that is affordable if not healthy
and whose reality is inversely proportional
to the number of people
who want to attain it,

as if life were a reckless departure
from the constant state of non-existence
and death was meant to reconnect us
to the eternal now of unanswered questions
via the vocabulary of cosmology,

instead of facing the inescapable fate,
that as long as you are alive,
you are incomplete, unfinished, the task
of knowing being merely a prelude
to the must higher and harder task of unknowing,
that life is but a futile defiant
postponement of the inevitable nothingness,
of the utter ignorance
that life is to gain all knowledge
up to the knowledge that knowledge
is meaningless and pointless;

and so, if you believe that the dignity
of the end can redeem the shamefulness
of the beginning, that the most powerful
music is to listen to the noise of the dying
as it mutates into the silence of the dead,
let us practice together the sudden
emptiness after the surf crashed
reenacting all deaths of all time,
and nurture and grow
the seed of death
that was planted in us
the day we were
born.

Half Moon Bay, 16 March 2013 22:23


you are growing inside her like an abstruse word that one cannot remember but some day will effortlessly sprout in the middle of a sentence, you are the thought that will mature independently with no need for a tutor and some day will transform spontaneously like a chrysalis into a splendid butterfly, and you are the simple seed from which a giant forest will come into existence despite the prevailing winds of drought and fire:

the castaway of the shipwreck hums his perpetuum mobile song while waiting to experiment with infinity to numb the organ of fear:

there will be no ships in the place of your birth, and no harbors to mark the route and supply the bonds, an anchor on your ankle the journey of the soul, the swelling sea itself a gift withdrawn from us:

you will visit the land of your forefathers, turning the arid mountains into idylls of rose gardens and spring rains;

you will recognize your grandfather as the bearded stranger surprised in the photograph of the inauguration of the well that relieved the village from the whim of the shallow river, an apparition that will mark your trespassing the borders of your upbringing;

you will raise your hand and command the millions to rise and march but you will not disclose the destination until it is revealed to you in the most difficult language, the language of silence;

the promiscuous enemies will tumble down into extinction, the wrecked selves that we were will finally disappear along an interminable orbit of uphill staircases, and the new selves will locate their resurrection between two universes, one the detailed map of the other, each forced to mirror itself in order to navigate the other;

you will impersonate the daydreaming prostitute who is aiming at the perfectly V-shaped flock of migrating birds that floods the firmament from all directions and is thereby exorcising the hoarse omens shouted by the fortune teller at the throngs of the market after reading animal bones:

you will impersonate the whale hunter that orbits the foggy island, lost in a lagoon of second thoughts, brandishing his harpoon to magnified ambiguities that emit incomprehensible mermaid songs:

you will impersonate the wax figure that terrorizes the children in the fiery dome of the freak show, where ghoulish shadows trickle in like giant sweat drops from goofy mathematical fabrics:

you will impersonate the miraculous healer of blind people, who will find the proverbial needle in the haystack on a straight line through the peephole of your prison cell:

you will lead them and be led by them as you pursue your destiny and fulfill their prophecy, chanting with them the wordless incantation, the ninety-nine names of yourself:

you will follow them underground as they travel on clattering trains towards the pitiful future of their home:

you will make your way out of the stream of hysterical well-combed white-collar workers erupting from the revolving doors of the skyscrapers:

you will rout the emptiness that for centuries was filled by the blood of enslaved people to the farthest corner of the planet:

your nomadic deeds will spread like thunder over the fever-consumed planet, hailed by the guttural throat fanfares of a million godless women across the universe, from the slums of Saturn to the oases of APM08279+5255:

you, an invisible symbol in the ecstatic flow of the sacred scroll, will forgive and redeem with necklaces of words in booming vaults the staggering ravenous vampires with neither future salvation nor present meaning who mocked your arrival and forever banished your kind:

you will nourish them, transform them into mirrors of themselves, lift them from the earth that chains them and send them spinning in the distant skies of other planets:

you will, your image blurred by the sun's haze, be crucified on top of the mountain after pledging to forgive them, after playing the game of truth with the executioner and declining to answer his trick question:

you will thus avenge all the prophets who were imprisoned, tortured and killed when they returned to save their gods from the human race:

soon the pangs will begin and, sloughing my old skin like a snake, you will leap into the verbal structure of this sentence, into the nervous system of this book, foretold from the first word, hidden in every paragraph, shaped by every punctuation mark;

a new being free of homo sapiens' impudent burden of obscene utopias, converted to the faith of all faiths, you will descend upon us, pure will, pure essence, pure future, self-subjugating to the eternally vacated throne, a captive of captives in a world of free people, leaving behind you the unbridled vestiges of the most distant mosque, of the everywhere that is nowhere, of the somewhere that is not a place;

you will question all knowledge, and return all the answers: leading an army that will invade not a space but a time:

you will turn walls into bridges:

a new force of gravity:

life:

you.

Half Moon Bay, 28 January 2013, 17:00


I let my mind wander into the feathery mist
from which reality sporadically emerges,
i lie down in the sand as if it were my death bed,
seagulls and seals acting out the comedy of lies
that is customarily performed for the terminally ill,
enigmatically shaped clouds rehearsing my autopsy,
pebbles whirling in the wind like holy water sprinkled on my corpse,
each a tiny world unto its own, unwinding time,
each a lengthy metaphysical poem typed over geological times;


i let my mind feed on this inexhaustible unbroken stream of spasms,
of blips on radar screens, of ephemeral traces in camera obscuras,
of prophesies and spells that cannot break loose from the past,
all stringed together in a mirage that is bigger than anything
we can ever comprehend, painfully aware that the horizon is
the hyeroglyph-coated coffin that lulls us into a false sense of security
(a sophistic argument between the castaway and the magician
about the missing question mark at the end of this sentence);


i can think clearly but i'd rather not remember anything
because it is all gone for good and i am to rest here forever,
longing for the monotonous rumble of ordinary lives
while playing solitaire with the drops of the mist;


i can feel the raging fear of the dying, those to be buried
soon into the unknown, who cannot bear themselves to look eternity
straight into the eye: a longer today than i could withstand
boosted the echoes of all the names of the dead
that are still ringing in the crash of the waves
and at the same time washed away by that very physics,
the waters staring deep into the abyss of our agony;


let us walk to the gallows with dignity, without pleading for mercy,
let us march to the wedding tune as if the primordial omniscient bride
was waiting for us in her white dress at the end of this impenetrable darkness.

Half Moon Bay, 15 December 2012, 14:00


An orange sky with twin suns, a world that i can construct and dissolve at will, leaks into a sea of consciousness, a world that i cannot control, this time not so much the colorful carnival of thoughts that i am used to as instead a swarm of shiny mirrors splitting and multiplying infinitely like bacteria, and something else that stares at me, that gentle touch of rolling fog tumbleweeds, the wrinkles of light perspired by the blue canvas through the pores of glittering reflections of nothingness afloat in the same pregnant waters, something that springs eternal from foolish certitudes and willing ambiguities, the nerve-wracking sense of nonsense that comes from debating the meaning of life with the dying and, simultaneously, the meaning of death with the living ("wherever you are now, assuming that you still are, if life is not worth living, are you sure death is worth dying...? this brief life versus the much longer eternity that awaits you...? you don't want to be saved from which one, life or eternity...? and why would I feel bad if you committed suicide? as i write, you may be dying, but so are all of us"), becoming the mindscape in which i am the sea and the sea is a voice inside me (and a trick of phosphenes at best), and sure enough, like a wave, the sound of my consciousness recedes, then draws closer, then grows louder, then dies out (denial), and then morphs into a distant rumble and then into an epigrammatic growl, until the world can only hear an apparently static noise although in its acoustic details still revealing the lucid articulate voice that was there before, like a dusty damaged record that still spins on the turntable while the cartridge has fallen off the plate, and, given enough time (time? a timeless today of timeless tomorrows), i decay into the buzz of bees in a hot summer afternoon (the baffling philosophy of a thermometer is rarely understood), then into the silence of a dead watch (think of the myriad biological clocks that quietly regulate your body as a cross between a cirrus and a sundial), and then back into the beginning, into the waves still crashing against the shore in the same indifferent rhythm and tone, the two suns dancing around the gigantic mirror that divides the universe in two isolated self-standing halves, each an oversimplification of the other, each recursively annihilating the anti-other, both shrinking while the mirror swells, and (no) i am not afraid, and (yes) i am the music when the music stops, and (no) the sudden impossibility of completeness is not ephemeral, and (yes) the void becomes more audible as it empties.

Half Moon Bay, 24 November 2012, 15:31


(In Defense of Solitude)
i have played with the waves at night so many times that it doesn't feel like a game anymore - sometimes it feels like it is the waves playing with me or the night playing with the waves and me or something ever larger, a remote abstraction playing with its own mirror image, a mirror of mirrors, a shadow of shadows, the "it feels like" materializing as us, and we evanescing to a mere feeling, a static eternal feeling of what it feels to be and what it is to feel, the fog the fog, the prison of geography, we are conscious stillness, we are the stillness, the stillness that spills over from invisible depths the sun behind the fog, we are we are we are we are, the straight line of a thought, wrapped into spirals of meaning, the sand of an hourglass, the pulsing heartbeat of a seashell, the fog inside the fog, the eyes that can see but don't see, (we are) the seeing itself that is not inside us, (we are) the seeing of the fog, (we are) the fog's eyes staring at us staring at the fog staring at us, because ultimately it is all us, we are we are the feeling and the seeing, we are the fog and we are the sun, we are, and one last thing - Bach said that he only played the notes and God made the music, but i say that God plays the notes and i make the music.

P.S.
So often the shape of the shadow is more meaningful than the object casting the shadow.

Half Moon Bay, 13 October 2012, 17:31


If nature is an endlessly multiform repetition of maddeningly intricate metaphors for love and hate, a hiker is an insanely messianic poet who occasionally hears them, as foretold, mostly in solitude, but finds them unexpectedly difficult and can only interpret them literally, thus perhaps missing the key point, and then rewrites them into simple stories that everybody can understand; siren songs that anybody can hum along; echoes of the primal call that still lives inside each mind, despite life's methodical project to replace the extraordinary with the ordinary; because that is the ultimate metaphor, of how we heroically transform our food, our sex, our adobes and even our graves into the opposite of what they were meant to be; not metaphorical truths but literate (and disposable) actions; neither love nor hate, merely habits.

Bishop, 19 August 2012, 14:31


If i am the question, you are the answer; and we neutralize each other, like chemical ingredients of a compound designed by a higher intelligence for a purpose that is incomprehensible to us but whose side effect will be to disintegrate both of us, to drown in a sea of insignificance and oblivion, a fate reflected in the cohesive dissonance of these clouds, etched in blood, sent by omnipotent winds to collide over my head as a portent... of what? a test of fortitude that reverberates among the prostate pines of the cliff as i imagine a dialogue with the beach down there, the same ubiquitous beach littered with rotting kites, charred timber and furrying rubbish that has been a chorus and a witness but not a speaker in all the places that i have left behind, a repeating pattern of bodiless footprints, of orphaned forms, a mandala of mandalas; each beach the entry point to a vast unknown of human throngs; each beach a sign not that they left but that they will come back, and for the purpose not of finding but of looting solitude and silence; but i digress, and isn't every life a digression for something more important, a note scribbled in haste on the margin of a page that we didn't even read, but instead adorned with prescient pseudo-zodiacal maps of the future dignified with obscure formulas culled from fragments of ancient texts; and i digress because there is really nothing else that we can do, this is what we have been genetically programmed to do and be, to be and not to do, to do and not to be, but never the two together, each a negation of the other, and perpetually subject to the explosive force of this lasting sunset, an ephemeral sonnet in a quantum field of bosons, and a daily reminder of the death knell that lurks in every second (behind the curtain there looms the hero who never took the stage): yes, we are the glowing embers after the fleeting bonfire.

Half Moon Bay, 19 July, 20:31


Whichever world you inhabit (whether awake or asleep, which, as any mirror maker knows, is, of course, purely a matter of where you are standing), it has been expecting you ever since, waiting explicitly for you to finally fulfill it (tip: study the color of the sky and you'll determine whether you are the world or the world is you), patiently weaving its spiderweb around the very definitions of existence and of "you" (we observe the universe aware that it knows us a lot better than we know it, but nonetheless certain that what we are prevails over what it is), or so it occurred to me in the tent while waiting for dawn to summon the answers (i had asked "did the mute boundless darkness and the invisible winds that inhabit it allude to the primordial emptiness devoid of all meaning from which all meaning arose? does the flickering lamp that now fills the darkness hint at you?"), painfully aware that in this world the translucent stillness of the lake, the gentle nodding of breeze-bathed pines, the inexplicable anxiety of an eclipsed moon, and the extravagant pomp of a neglected sunset embody the intoxicating loneliness of a marble ball slowly rolling down a sloping polished chessboard, i.e. the route of the apocalypse winding its way through our suddenly obsolete minds like through the rusting machinery of abandoned mines (for now you can peel off the skin of the sky to expose its real color).

P.S.
It was entirely my fault that i lacked the answer: rummaging through my memory (when only the sound of the creek was left to battle the silence of the stars), i oriented myself and rediscovered it (yes, i know: nonetheless there is no sign useful to explain the circumstances of your arrival, how did you get here in the first place, facing a speechless sky whose only function is to reflect your eyes, no logical reason for everything being the way it is and will be, forever and ever, long after you will have stopped wondering whether you are awake or asleep).

Yosemite, 20 may 2012, 15:36



It is not pleasant
to be a footnote
that writes itself
at the bottom of a page
already so cluttered
with similar footnotes
in so many languages
that nobody will ever
read or quote;
but that's the one
and only means
that we have left
to remind ourselves
that we were there
and we contributed
to writing that book
that millions read
and nobody truly
understands.

P.S.

Silence is our shared
vocabulary; not the silence
of our voices, but the silence
of their answers.

Half Moon Bay, 8 april 2012, 18:34


(A dialogue between an island of the Indian Ocean and a mountain of California's Sierra Nevada)

Ink spreading beyond the page,
      sealing a thought never told
      with a thought often retold,
   calligraphy of soliloquies
rippling through the beaches and ravines and forests
         of my treks,
thinking of the mountain from this island,
unsure of which one is the present and which
the memory (the I that i certainly was then
   and
   the I that i might be now share
   the same brain but divided
      by a neurological chasm),

on one hand the fisherman's rant
         ("an atoll is not a shelter, it is
         a black hole on Earth, a gateway
         to an underworld of prophetic magic,
         the origin of everything, where
         the earliest frothy streams
         first gurgled the song
      of life")

and on the other the hissing height
   "you will never reach the real summit,
         the eternal thought
      that endlessly thinks itself,
   but you cannot undo
         your steps either,
         because you are
         the trail you take,
      the granite dirt, the knotty roots,
   the vaulted roof of reeds,
you are the hollow thuds of your boots
under the blue dome the blue silence the blue infinite
(that leaks into every infinitesimal pixel of your retina),
   blinded by a relentless incurable disease,
      undreamt dreams billowing in the mind
      like opalescent morning mist swelling
   up the slopes,
         you look at me without seeing me,
         i am an unchanging monologue
      in front of an ever-changing looking glass,
   i say much more
           than you can hear"

and then the ink flowing back into the pen
         ("the miraculous spring
         is not up but down,
         down a white spiral beach
         bristling with giant shells,
         the reverse mirror image of the mountain
         where compass needles and clock hands
      become the same,
      all twirling, all unwinding, and all
   curling up towards the bottomless well
   of gushing light,
      soothed by chants of mermaids as you return
      to the center, the water getting shallower,
      the world spinning like you were
      running inside endless corridors,
         feeling the narrowing walls
            like a wild beast trapped
   in a labyrinth,
      having forgotten who you are and why
      you are here, in fact knowing
      that you are not here at all,
            that you never were anywhere,
   descending to the bottom in order
         to ascend to the top,
   longing for the corals
         that over the centuries
            have been sculpting
            your petrified self
         in the most arcane depths,
      time so irrelevant because
      your chronology is written
   on a Moebius strip"),

still unsure of whether
   i am the gambler or the die,

and with the last glowing
      drop of cosmic ink:
"you defile my landscape
      with your memory's insinuations
         of a doppelganger, i love
         the company of these dull
         speechless million-year old
         boulders, you are never
   the same climber twice,
        a mountain is an island,
         and you are its see",

no date, signed the mountain.

Hanimadhoo, 18 february 2012, 9:34


(Storm at sunrise)

My eyes revolve inside the rippling cramps of the thunderstorm, spying the macabre crosscurrents of the impromptu river as it cuts through the beach's soft smooth flesh and it flows into the ocean and thus into inexistence, its helpless water clawed by crawling foam, and i admire the coordinated somersaults of surfs leaping into the hoop of fire, a thousand times as numerous as the tingling grains of sand in this stainless shore, which is how whatever wrinkles (footprints, shells, bones, seaweeds, flotsam) rumpled this place yesterday are being scientifically ironed out (more existence reverting to inexistence), until, disguised as bundles of caliginous tentacles, the god who lifted the sky from the smelt sea coins a new language of dawn that translates the relentless rhythm of the wreckage into the silence that floods the universe that has stopped contracting, and, as i stand (shivering, barefoot, wading the breeze of icy flakes) where the scarab that never furrows furrows, the giant face of the planet whispers in my ears "how wrong can the answers to all your questions be?"

Half Moon Bay, 23 january 2012, 7:06


None of this is what you wanted to be but this is what you are and will be for eternity, a loose bundle of dreams to be executed at dawn when the cosmic alarm goes off, so that you can parade your own intellectual nudity clad in the tattered garments of sunset as if nothing had happened during the night, your shadow ruthlessly lumbering through mazes of lifeless fossils and cyclopean carcasses, the purity of your selfhood reflected in the mystic copulation of sky and sea, both recast on the stage of the new day as self-immolating acolytes of the earth, an outcast of the socially approved avenues to timeless ecstasy, an actor incapable of conveying his character's last line before the curtain falls, aware of the blinding clarity of time's errant words, of the invulnerable truth of your resurrecting corpse, aware that we have no choice but to choose and i chose to choose a life of regret for the choices i made that have made choice all but unfeasible, that the very wish for less mayhem and less noise ends up making you wish for more mayhem and more noise, that death is not the predestined finale but the dying is like a lover ruminating on the end of a sordid affair, that those who begin the journey are not the ones who complete it, and, before the butterfly's last somersault, you proudly proclaim "i was born everywhere and i want to be buried everywhere" only to discover that you have been reading this poem backwards.

Half Moon Bay, 8 december 2011, 15:23


(The Last Digit of Pi)

This coast is the horizontal mirror-image of the vertical rim that bounded the valley, a mere emulation of the lost coast of the timeless continuum from which we emerged a life form of its own, and these waves echo the thousand voices of the wind speaking in foreign tongues to my shadow as it wound up the crags of the summit, and, unlike there, this is a site that requires no orientation because all routes lead to the same destination, a map that is a point, not a death but a one-instant life span that drains the entire hologram that shaped the world into objects and places, just like from above, higher than the taciturn clouds of the still-nature painting that i inhabited for a few minutes, the creek that i followed to the source through fields of dead grass and cracked granite slabs looked like a withered stalk, a toothless dragon furrowing into the flesh of the gorge, instead here is not a place but a distance that the tide will erase when the moon unfurls its flag, or the number that you obtain when you divide the semicircle of this sunset by the gaze of the sailor, or the clockwise perambulation of the peak by your last gasp, yes, this whole world is just a number, to be slowly discovered one digit at the time, but finally a ray of sunset cleaves a tunnel through the mist and nails me down on the beach like a butterfly crucified in the venerable display case of an antiquarian entomologist, and then i know that i have been mixing the ignorance of the explorer with the blindness of the thinker.

Notes from Yosemite remixed at Half Moon Bay, 27 September 2011 19:15


The riddle is that there are therefore as many worlds as instants in a lifetime, and the explorer is precisely the riddle itself bound to endlessly write itself and multiply itself on the walls of the labyrinth that previous wanderers have drafted on the canvas of each and every world, a shifting target of shifting targets, everything that is knowable about me condensed in a chaotic rune scribbled on an ancient scroll by illiterate barbarians who lived long ago (what else is there? and where?) (what else knowable beyond our knowing it?) (the knowledge of ignorance) (alone at night on the mountain i wondered if a rock knows more than i do) (is ignorance infinite knowledge?), a riddle that will outlast me and that my vain quest will contribute to make even more incomprehensible to future automata.

Notes from Mt Humphreys remixed at Half Moon Bay, 7 September 2011 14:30


The peaks that surround the glacier, clutching at their own shadows as if they feared the avalanche of stars that is about to blur the border between the known and the unknown, instill the suspicion of a cipher that may loom over the natural language of landscapes the way children trade secrets with the invisible spirits of their virtual world, a reflection of that maverick thought which extends beyond the individual mind that originally conceived it into the collective unseen, the thought that is not thought but unthought, and that only at the end will we recognize as our own, and, as i fall asleep in my cosmic cradle, i sense that i am becoming part of an everlasting here, that this world of ours is only real when we dream, and that, ultimately, what we understand is not enough to understand why we understand it.

Evolution Lake, 3 September 2011 19:45


Looking at the world through the prism of one's decoded science is not a simple matter of organizing events in a coherent scheme and certainly not as trustworthy and genuine a way of creating sense as the ancient silence of the peasant, of the shepherd and of the sailor, all of whom stood painfully aware that there is more to the universe than any fragmented monochromatic representation can convey, and that, in fact, the set of all those representations is precisely what the world is not, although that hologram of unconfirmed arbitrary axioms, couched in a theoretical framework which points towards a fundamental shift in the arithmetic of existence, does bear a degree of similarity to the ceaseless movement of the whole and of what lies beyond, to the boundless echo of the remotest time that imparts an objective order to the reckless dance of the stars, and, in the process, triggers a cascade of intimate revelations: that the world is not yours, and that you are living into someone else's reality; that your dying is a process that will lead not to an ending but to a beginning; that, as you are struck by the arresting question, you contemplate your fate into someone else's mind; that you have become a new theory of all things that will outlast you; and that, ultimately, you can't grasp the meaning of your existence because you don't exist.

Half Moon Bay, 11 August 2011 19:45


    Let me park an idea in the vacant lot of your arbitrary illusions while you struggle somewhere between life and death to disentangle yourself from the fishing net that an incomprehensible fate has thrown on you: the sky is a discreet addict, the ocean a boisterous drunkard.
    You examine the disappearing coastline that is like a wedge between reality and desire, aware that you can't change the world overnight although the world does it to you every day just by ticking slowly inside your brain not far from your memories to make room for new ones if any more room can be made in such a cluttered cemetery, and you conclude without tears that it is not worth the trouble.
    Your life is belatedly rescued by the beam that wrinkles the night, exposing again the indented mandibles and arched bellies of the land, and signaling that your friends are dancing their suicidal instincts away while you injected them into a florid blown-glass sculpture encompassing the whole universe.
    Indifferent to the restlessness of the living as they try to make sense of death, you care, however, for the darkness in between and for what it reveals.
    Another sign welcomes you back to the uncharted path of your future: the stars pierce through the clouds, blinking beads of a broken necklace that cast a spell on our collective folly.
    May their tomorrow be your yesterday.

Half Moon Bay, 30 July 2011 07:23 (after chatting with a suicidal girl)


When dawn comes like a pillow to rest my thoughts, and to exorcise the enigmas chiseled in my mind by the spirits that inhabit the forest and its lakes, i.e. to unkink the tentacular mirages kneaded in my brain by a multitude of senses, then it will all sound logical: the waterfalls murdering the echo of our footsteps as we braved the unknown, the wind (how persuasive its harp, the harp of distance) stirring the pestilent fumaroles that know the Earth's secrets from memory, the unquestionable femininity of the unsheltered mountains, the few bleeding snowflakes still beading a twig (each one a perfect atomic recording of its fall from the sky), the glimmering pinnacles of the summit like nails stuck into my eyes, the majesty of nothingness as it unfolded into the universe and us... but when the sheen of dawn (like the eyelashes soaked in mascara of a bashful girl) bathes my noetic bruises, i will feel guilty for the tomorrow that yesterday obliterated and i will amend the geography of this day to include a definition of time that cannot exist independent of us so that my life can sustain the illusion of happening here and now, perhaps only an abbreviated reference to the entire universe... and, lastly, when the tidal wave of dawn crashes on me, i shall turn to the Moon that is calling me: but where to?

Half Moon Bay, 10 July 2011 04:23 (on the way back from the Trinity Alps)


Tonight i can see the lights of the city, dyed by mist and moonlight, shining across the soulless bay like the plumage of a mythical bird, a silent dance of halos that celebrates my reluctant homecoming (do you remember how frightened you were at night by the fireflies glowing in the jungle?), a fact insinuated by the taciturn oracle inside me "between chaos and predestination you draw power from the smiles and debris left behind", but our body and our past are so tangled up that one cannot tell flesh from reverie, especially when my footprints are already lost in the incipient darkness (do you remember how the constellation of canoes dotting the lake at dawn reminded you of a musical score?), in the loom that exacerbates the enigma of what or who are the myopic silhouettes swallowed in the retreating wake of this sunset and what makes them more than snorting naked savages as they uncork their flasks and ignite their weeds, the surfer playing a round of Russian roulette with his shadow, invisible airplanes flapping their wings above us and humming that the whole planet is just one huge raft and we are clinging to it hoping that it will not capsize the way the sky did (do you remember the rain of mosquitoes and the wind of bats between the flaming tentacles of the lagoon and the roaring ashes of the ritual bonfire?), and you cannot tell whether every day you grow younger and the world grows older or viceversa from the clumsy fractal of our lives, a non-computable function that approaches oblivion, Goedel's theorem applied to the city that will soon be dreaming like a vagrant who is camping at the beach amid all those ghosts moaning "i'll be your pillow when you sleep" from the caves that the tide has stripped naked (do you remember how you eavesdropped on the swamp behind the spirit house, the stammering hymns of the crickets and of the frogs...), the breeze that suddenly rises from the petrified foam and climbs the slopes of the shoreline blowing sand like gnats into the nostalgic hollowness of my face (...the sobbing of the banana leaves on the thatched roofs?), until an invisible hand ruffles my hair and a premonition steers my wings towards the halo that i call "home", as if a butterfly net had finally caught the untimely truth tiptoeing across my mind, the moth of a thought (do you remember?), the thought that is never the same after you think it (do you remember?), as lethal as the moon tumbling down the hill that i will have to climb after i turn one last time (do you?) to answer the embers bleeding beyond the horizon "yes i am here i am again i am yes i am" (do you?)

Half Moon Bay, 16 June 2011 20:13 (upon returning from New Guinea)


I remember, because i do and i forget because i don't, that everybody is a ghost on the shores of the last ocean at the end of the world, this shoreless ocean, everybody howling in the waning dust of this wind that sounded like a requiem for all living beings when it first darted through the keyhole, as the night is ferried by blind seagulls over the frothy waters of dawn, a single glimmer of which can induce all fires and earthquakes to reverse course, that everybody is not here and the foam under my feet is the calligraphy of absence, the only language that can inscribe the tightrope-walking nature of life in the morbid disease of my mind, like a long-lost nursery rhyme that you used to hum as a child to all the raindrops circling around the window panes that reflected the book you were reading but not quite seeing, the tune that i have hummed to all the people i never met, like the time in the forest when we took shelter under the tent of the spider to withstand the waterfall of colors dropping from the spiderweb's lone dewdrop when it was hit by the first sunrays, except that in our days the sun isn't so much about the progress we're making towards solving the ultimate mystery of why the horizon reflects so much of what does not matter in life but rather the emblem and the stigma of our failure to grasp that the enigma is inside us, the mystery of why we explain mysteries instead of cherishing them, is Blake's grain of sand really larger than my brain, i being the one who scribbled the clouds in the sky and is now incapable of reading his own handwriting, though a voice deep inside keeps asking why are you afraid of darkness but not of light, and another voice echoes that you are afraid of everything, even afraid of being immortal, both voices spiraling out of control, and instead the predictable arc of the constellations as they exit the stage invites me to admire the non-cognitive aspect of reality that moons, birds and shadows have in common, to understand the momentous "No Trespassing" sign that a prankster planted on a dome of algae to challenge the tide, so i wait to scream "good morning world" but don't blame me for this day that could be your last day if the paths of heroes and villains merge into one, i only speak because i listen, and i listen because i speak, i because i and why i? and just then the first sunrise of the universe knocks me to the ground.

Half Moon Bay, 1 May 2011 06:03 (remixed at home May 2-4)

(ideally written in the sand in the form of a spiral and then washed away by the morning tide before anybody can read it)


And while the seashell's stillness and the lighthouse's emptiness reflect the untamed fire of this tide-less night (or perhaps just the frenzied squall of an ordinary life), i'm even more ambivalent than ever about the force that pulls and quarters everything that we can see from our astronomical towers, since even the flickering pebbles that i painstakingly separate from beach sand because they remind me of something else, at least superficially, even they possess the power to unlock terrible secrets about our origins, and i can't shake the feeling that this planet only imitates a vocabulary compiled from a morass conflation of geological and biological contradictions, of historical impossibilities, and for those of you ticking self-imploding clocks who believe that the ebbing and flowing of time provides a fair exit strategy from life, for those of you who are therefore unequivocally a step further up the ladder towards oblivion and eternal darkness, let the sun be subtracted from the sky if that makes you feel safer in your sail-less hulls, yet i will rather explore alone the sheer depths of the sunset that swallows us like supergravity or like an echo that against all odds has returned to the speaker to whisper something that was not said but should have been as if the speaker that i am were only a terrifying nickname for the nameless name of all names, thus, while you the blind dice throwers decide what cannot be decided, i shake the radioactive dirt off my crumbling shoes and i walk.

Half Moon Bay, 16 April 2011 00:23


(Quatour in D-moll for S.)
[Ideally read very slowly while listening to this performance]

You are waving goodbye
from one of the orbits
painted on the seashell
(your voice drowning
in the fossil hiss
of a million storms)
while i probe its hollow,
the mollusk's mausoleum,
drawn ever deeper by
the ventriloquist's echo
into the whirling chasm
of a reverse firmament
(my mind shrinking
as the spiral tightens),
touch-reading the graffiti
on the damp chalky walls,
like a quantum marble ball
thrown by a god's hand,
headed for the pulsing core,
for the untamed fire
that makes both of us
invisible to ourselves;
an endless dialogue
between two mirrors
facing each other.

Half Moon Bay, 16 January 2011 14:00


Apophenia | Synesthesia - Haikus | Symbiosis - Ghazals
Triptyc - Odes | Osmosis - Cantos | Mottos of the Afterlife - Epigrams | The Distance - Romance