Instructions for the Labyrinth

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

                                             Abandoned in that maze, raised by those walls.

Quarry must be, from the start, to hunt
the raw block you seek, the translucent
skin, the span without fault, the clear
milk-white eye of myth. Stone that will hold
and keep. Trace the fissure and pound it
with iron wedges jammed between iron splints
hammered with iron-headed mallets. Follow
the spreading fissure as if you tracked
the story of your birth. Open it
for the levers and with so many hands
as can be found, push. You will not
want the story, you will want sleep.
Split it from the parent rock. Finally
the deep-throated crack, the massive release. 

Cut away the excess and flip it
for leveling. A river rises now
in the mountains of your birthplace
from a dark cavern in a vast chain
of underground streams and caves.
You have been told. Save the polishing
for later; there may be damage
along the route. Ropes, pulleys, winches.
Levers, beams, and rollers. Muscle it.
It must be raised from the hole. 

The uncle who tried to strangle you
to silence was no uncle at all,
not even friend, but stranger.
Even now you talk too much,
using words to grease the skids. 

Maneuver it from the sledge
onto the heavy wagon with the tall
wheels. Hitch up the mules. 

Again you travel to the reputed house
of your birth. The rooms unfold
into other rooms. No one knows you there. 

Hoist the load up the incline,
sending down the mules yoked
to the empty wagon as the other wagon
rises. Set the chocks. Again. 

You were sent away at birth
to be raised by strangers.
Mother and father, in the spill of time.
That procession of hidden stars. 

Cast sand over the marble face and rub
down with the smoothing plate.
Grind for days. It will take two of you,
more if they can be found. 

And when you find your way back again
your birth mother at last will deny you. 

The assembly must be seamless
and follow the plan of the double
axe, the seed pattern refined.
Set your mystery in its navel. 

Then will come the sacrifices,
the bull leaping, the bull fights.
The dancing. The woven mosaics underfoot.
The wine. The king on his throne.
The quake and flood. The erosion.
The mirrors and confusions of blank
moonlight, the statues that walk.
The genius free or merely lost in the tumble,
black water flowing out over the land.
The broken gate swinging wide
onto the sizzle of emptiness, where there is
center everywhere, no circumference at all.
The scream of its hinge to ride in your eye
torn from the stone, torn from the sun.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015