October 16th, 2008

poetry, exceptindreams

317: Abyss

“Abyss”
Diane Di Prima

It really irks me to think I'm afraid of heights
will probably never hike in the Himalayas
And it's unlikely I'll come to know Singapore
as well as I know Manhattan

There there's the drugs I haven't taken yet
ibogaine, ketamine - who knows what comes next?
Will my aging body stand for it all? Don't think so.

When I think of the alphabets they won't decipher
before I'm outta here - secret geometrical magics
the dharma lore of ancient Africa

I've never laid eyes on the Gobi desert!
Found the last remaining Wends!
Spoken in tongues in a tent on a summer night

So many tropical forests to explore! the birds! the flowers!
The house I grew up in!
The white dog with a hole in his side!
Or was it a whale?
And that reminds me - spear-fishing on the ice
is probably beyond me too
Like life in Chicago w/bodies in the basement

I'll never sing Turandot, play the bass clarinet
or master the art of tatting.
won't live long enough for colloquial Tibetan.

I won't be the abbess of a monastery,
freak out the psychic next door, or walk
in a formal garden. I might not even
learn to belly-dance, or marry a bear
like the girl in that Indian story.

The worst is that I might not tell all the people I love
how much I love them.
Or send them boxes of chocolate.
Or paint my toenails iridescent green
tho there's no excuse
for neglecting that little chore.

I haven't yet eaten croissants in Quebec
Or spent the winter solstice in Iceland
Or woven a tapestry based on the phases
of the moon.

I won't be a Shinto princess in a Kami shrine
on a gloomy shore w/three rocks & one ancient pine
Or an Ainu girl pulling mussels off the rocks
her skirt tucked into her belt.