who lives in the woods
told me there’s
a silence there
he’s never heard before.
he’s lived in the woods
for nearly twenty years
and while he’s heard
plenty of quiet,
volumes and volumes
that he’s now hearing
is something new,
a rare species
announcing its presence
like a changed vocabulary of air.
Which made me wonder—
Has the famously golden silence
many monks and mystics
have waxed poetic,
has that silence
begun its infectious creeping
to a next level of pervasiveness
its singular voice
growing stronger and stronger
in vying for the claims
of our deeper attention?
Are we, the humans,
being forced via paradigm shift
into becoming less,
so much wonderfully less
than we thought we were
or voiced ourselves to be?
There was a writer,
a German one,
who called for
and prayed at the altar
of the god of slowness,
and I like to imagine
that this man’s god would,
in matching pace to tone,
speak softly, a silky pulsing hush
gentling its way into
the hearts of those who listened,
as if eavesdropping at the edge of a dream,
where memory pooled to silver,
in thrall to tenderest wake.
. . .
To The Lighthouse
Here it is, finally.
A séance for the living,
real-time cinema for possessed bones
and sad visionless ghosts,
who are on the cusp of claiming
their spacious reams of empty,
and time-locked vagrancy.
The door behind the door has never existed.
It is a shadow, a tease, a mirage,
a trick of the light.
The way in, doorless, immeasurable.
In this chapter in the book that has gone unread for millennia
(we’re meaning between the lines),
there will appear an ancient-new breed of sorcerers, magicians, mystics, pagans, and witches,
and a summons for the renaissance of the psychic lighthouses
which are seeded in the green-fire country of our hearts.
Do not let the packaging fool you.
Your glyphic bones have flown long distances,
and played dateless concerts in the sky.
When opening your mouth, like so,
you will taste impossibly blue flowers falling out
to anoint secret ceremonies attended
by the world’s lovers and dreamers
of which we have plenty.
And you, you are living mythology,
a blessed paradox
of tensions aligned
to swing and sync
in music never-ending.
This is not a test.
Do yourself a favor:
Burn your old exam papers,
take a hissing blowtorch to the edifices
which falsely coronated the importance of these exams,
or better yet, forget the blowtorch,
the burning, the exams,
forget all of it
and just walk away,
going gently into that good new dawn,
its spawning membered
by your devotion
to the heart’s sired calling.
In this séance for the living,
dream love’s lighted labor
into your breath, and pauses,
and as you approach whatever necessary death awaits,
know that are you not alone,
and your life beyond the flirting veils
is one which demands the tenderest of braveries.
. . .
The New Romantics
We need visionaries, now, more than ever.
Those in tenderest thrall
to the lore of zeal and trespass,
this side of dreaming.
We barker for the rise and call
of the New Romantics who,
in their shedding of scales and sundering of veils,
are preparing to open up to the ceremony of new skin.
We need beginners
to enter into the folds of Mystery,
which, unlike plot, thins
into the respiring air of wonder,
and flagless expansion.
We need those who are inspired
to vision sideways,
to model the unilateral tango of crabs
who move upon this earth with fluent mobility;
We are combing near and distant shores
for those willing to humbly
assume the mantle of guests,
while abdicating, like outworn appendages,
the petrified rod and spite of mastery.
Rest assured, watchtowers will collapse,
birthday cakes of ash and symmetry
will be spawned from the crisped rainbow plumage
of Phoenixes duly resurrected;
Dusk, in its celluloid gauze,
will coerce us into becoming surfers of gloam,
initiates of the in-between and unknown.
We need visionaries, now, more than ever.
Those willing to approach the doorstep of the Muse
as orphans with manna-starved eyes, where we are treated
to a marvelous bounty of gifts, previously undreamed, untried.
We need diggers willing to trade in rusty spades
for dancing threads, blood-dark roads
for ones that are impossibly red,
sterile spats of data
for innate feelizations.
is that old reliable bucket
bound to the rope
lowered into the well
from which ancient-new
seeds, moist and dark,
are drawn up into the light.
We need humanly wrapped beacons,
pooling to source
the cellular strife
of warring selves within;
We need to unlearn,
a new season of vocabulary,
and no longer be afraid of
or so quick to ridicule, belittle or dismiss
words such as
soul, mystic, witch, alchemy, wonder and why-not.
It was long ago prophesized
by one of those new-old Romantics,
Mister Arthur Rimbaud—
armed with burning patience,
we shall enter the splendid cities.”
which milk sunrise
from that timeless place,
do not age or wrinkle
or grow outdated,
they are, and remain,
the sound glimmering basis
for a renewable scape of dreaming,
feral seeds popping and sputtering
like homesick newborns
in the heart’s greenest drifts
There has been a bugled call
to bless your broken softly,
to become as aria and chorus,
brimming seismic yawps
in Whitman’s electric circus,
and at the liminal edges,
where torn veils
flutter like green wind,
and soul-speak meets felt-sense,
that is where you can hear
the whispers and echoes,
repeating in a continuum—
We need visionaries, now, more than ever,
those willing to marvel dumbly,
hopelessly in love
with Wonder’s wheeling gist.
. . .
Into the Mystic
I became a bird,
just for a little while.
It wasn’t sorcery,
it was need, a whirling imperative
from or into the unknown,
or perhaps the broken skin
of a bared dream.
I became a bird
and flew up to gather clouds,
something in my tiny beating heart
compelled me to snip and collect
tufts of cloud and store them
in the sudden heart of winter,
or the balmy green crotch of summer,
it didn’t matter,
any season, as a storehouse, would do.
I pecked at clouds, scissored
my way through fibrous threads
of dream-spun cotton;
I collected with the savvy and hunger
of a living omen, a feathered portent,
and then I came back down to earth
and it was over.
I was human again.
All that was left as evidence
of my bird-life were several scattered feathers,
I picked one up
and used its inky edge
to scrawl a single word
on the singed pink of my forearm—
I looked up at the sky, the clouds.
Waited. And waited.
The rain didn’t come,
at least not right away.
When it did, it was accompanied
by peals of thunder
and blonde veins of lightning.
Then, the rain, a torrential squall
pouring down upon my head,
and the feather in my hand,
recalling with lucid vividness
the time I had become a bird
for a little while
and left behind my forlorn humanity
to gather clouds
and store them
in seasons yet to come.
John Biscello is Riot Material Literary Critic. Originally from Brooklyn, writer, poet, playwright and performer, Mr. Biscello has called Taos NM home since 2001. He is the author of three novels, a short story collection, and poetry collection. He will be directing a short film he wrote, Ballad of the Cuckoos, with more info to be found here: Indiegogo/BalladoftheCuckoos