Known by the names of its successive owners
An oilwork is handed down through generations:
The Whitney, the Phillippe, the Cascarel, the Muldaney
From an eighteenth century easel, amid the dust and palette dabs
To the offices of state and drawing rooms of aristocracy, gentility
Further on to reside in corporate vaults behind the monikers of note
Yet who receives the poet's words?
Are they handed down from mouth to ear?
From lisp of tongue to tavern brogue
From silent scrutiny and contemplation
To decades outside the world of the living
Bound within a dark aisle
Held inside an out-of-print volume
Waiting to smile when exposed to the light
The eye receives the poet's words
Translated through motes, brilliant travelers
On a ninety-three million mile run
Silently passing through panes
Striking the Helvetica typeset
Ricocheting off the page
To enter the retina
Engaging the divinely created prism
The mirrors of lens, of tissue, of angles and mathematics
The OS is a DNA helix, beneath this operandi
It is the orchestra pit, lending ambiance, lending skill and tone
To the passage of ink-turned-light into electrical impulses
Interconnecting with the spinal drive
Direct transmission to the master control above
Through fluid which carries more energy than the Hoover Dam
A biological turbine, carrying the red letter signals of verse, of line, of form, and rhythm
To enter the grand hall of the mind
That nexus, that nave of spiraling angels, that cathedral of perception and seat of the soul
Entering the machine pit, the engine room, entering in amongst the sweat-drenched coal stokers
Whose linear musculature, the chiaroscuro of their exertions against the shadowed walls
Their souls thrown into Brueghel-relief by the fires they feed, by the furnaces ignited
By the breath of Almighty God
Pausing to lean on their shovels, mopping their brows, the one named Lucien
Grinning, his teeth like ivory staves in the jaws of eternity, eyeing you, appraising you, calling out:
"Say boy! What brings a jacksnap like you to this den of thieves?
What have you brought us this day, that we might be persuaded to feed the devouring furnace of Avarice?
And the light responds with simple strength and dignity...
Today I live within these walls, today I rise to the chambers crafted by the hands of God
Today I carry these orphan words to the banks of memory, to the river that floweth evermore
In the depths of the heart:
Today the verse of another's heart, of another's sight, of another's prejudice and love, of another's struggle
With Jacob's angel, with the cold mornings, with the weariness of their constitution, with The cold reflection of a man's visage in a medicine cabinet mirror,
As he nods at Death, and bids the Reaper his due, and takes his clothes set out for him.
By the nightmares he rides, by the roads he trods in strange lands, with beautiful faceless women, with sunsets against atmospheric
Cliffs, with plunging falls beyond suicide, beyond fear...because he has agreed to have tea with Death to talk of fleeting things...
Today I ascend to the headwaters, where the arteries begin, where the lightning drives down into the ventricles, the arteries, the aorta, the carotid.
Today I carry music and song and life distilled into parchment, then distilled back into life
And Lucien strokes his chin, and his piercing green eyes bore into you, colliding with truth, they seek to tunnel in and are struck by the reverberations of adamantine, and malachite, and terrazzo, and burundium, and chrysoprase, and diamond, and silver...
And he respects you and nods definitively, gladly,
"Carry on, young master! May you go forth into the aura of the throne."
The words from the lowly page have now arrived at the banks of memory
To the eagle eye of a neurosurgeon, they appear as minute folds of tissue, gray and foreign, alive yet repulsive
But here...here inside where the action takes place...
The memory banks are a citadel
Soaring ramparts, massive as Everest
The poet's words are received within
Transformed into electrical currents
Flashing between synaptic breakers
No longer recognizable to the eye as words
They have passed into the mind...