The Weight of Being Eden

Ran into Ben Henry Howard, 

In the black of the hotel cellar a few hours back.

He had only a short time to spare and spoke

Full of confidence and consequence, 

With his dromedary bottom lip,

And that speck of know-it-all worn by cosmic gurus.

The moths swarmed the solitary condemned glow

Like constellations in motion; peering, swirling, 

Eyeballs gazing back from the mirrored walls

Smeared with interstellar dust 

Painted in pigments of love and lust.

He suggested I kill my imagination

And count my chickens before they hatch

And begin to scratch at their shells and beg for food.

To do this would unhook the clasp of mystery's cloak

And send it floating rumpled to the floor beneath the hat rack,

Until it climbs again to weave golden thread as it did before.

You can feel the Spice Islands' tradewinds 

Warm your face before they pale upon the backs of whales

Across the shorn spring lambs skin

Of the bleating North Atlantic toward a battered bowing inn on the shore.

The torches light the drooping tropic night

That sags beneath the weight of its own perfume

And the weight of being Eden in each extreme.

It is always day where it snows.

Always white with perpetual light and fleshful of pumping blood,

Adieu, Adieu.

The last kiss before boarding a train 

Lies frozen beneath the slow drifts 

That creep motionless across artifice of day.

Look, there, another plump thigh

In purple garters warbling the songbird's goodbye to night,

Adieu, Adieu.

And I simply wait and hope the telephone rings

For a conversation about the evening's mundane trials

With the inevitable farewell, awkward and sterile

As it always is across the lines, across the miles.  

And I simply wait and ventilate the balmy breath

That blows unseen between the wiry veins of all things.

See that wall there. It never whispers

Or cracks its toes or masks its intent

To become the universe in miniature.

Best as anyone knows it bears its load

And waits like a curious turtle in repose.

A thousand sermons dangle 

Condemned sprung jacks in their boxes

They bounce and cackle from the tree's unsteady arms.

Each one naked knowledge,

A singular original sin to pluck and bite 

And with delight begin another lapsarian lineage,

Rise, line of Cain, Rise, line of Eve

We are all fallen here,

Get up and breathe.

An empty urn black with tarnish

Greets the tongueless thirsty traveler

Beneath the neon's flinty flickers 

And the maypole's sundered wreath.

We are the spring sprung children

Spinning, spin, spin

Spin with your nectar-ripe ribbons

So that we all may be born again and again.

My head is full of numbers

Manipulated and constantly recogitated in an endless algebra

To push aside the regret and all that is lost with it.

This time I hear the drums

Pound and drum beneath the Banyan tree

And between the fixed wooden wings 

Of the samurai city's soaring gates.

All Hail a little sprig of jasmine, dazzling,

And placed in her hair, just behind the curve of the ear,

Or a wedge of lemon in the blue iris of her stare,

Come, Rise, Hail, Spin, Adieu- and again.

A deposed simple primeval emperor 

Marches across the cold vast silver 

Folds of the budding rose

As it sways in the infinite fileds

On an ordinary day,

And now it's best I be on my way.


look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, 

and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed.

2 Maccabees 7: 28.

Lotus sutra, 

gong-slow breath 

gradual, imperceptibly paused 

between the birth and death

fashion and reason,

rota fortuna and geometry lessons.

pondspawned empyrean blosom

Latinate and elegant


oh keeper of deep blown rhythms

Unnoticed and infinite.

Chronos sets his clock

to your tidal-pulse

moonlit and latticed.

To your big bang in miniature,

this lightspeed in slow-motion strobe,

  Yama boils water for his morning egg

In autumn, always autumn,

Empty feuilletons, scribed in an ageless age,

shipwrecked and shorestrewn,

Gasping to the rhythm of retreat, always retreat,

perhaps only once scarcely imagined,

but retreat nonetheless.

Wet with emptinessand with broad-shouldered despair,

One brother upon the next, 

like the sun and other stars

Dying defiantly in distant filaments;

They do little but rustle and hope for memory

With a jig

Self-enclosed, self-circling.


Impounding the physical,

Matter and matter of fact not,

Tortures and metatortures,

Cosmic pendulums, bad spelling

And all the things from which 

Genius is shaped. 

Quelquefois, peut-être, 

but neither necessarily

The reigns of Pegasus nor the bricks that buttress

unsleeping towers on Alexandria’s shore.

“Danse, Death, Danse,”

if the music suits thee. 

In a tempo

of ivory and velvet,

dance your sunfractured one after another waltz, 

we make believe, 

and deny three times, 

When similarities so inconveniently surface

And the pharmacy is closed-

And betray, 

oh how expertly we betray! 

Walk, amble and jalan-  

    As all the while

We pretend to do otherwise:

That folly

which constitutes the better part of existence.

Oh, I saw your reign,

I saw your false temple- and

Asunder and into ribbonshards and rivulets

Of what was once one source

Unfractured by time, wind, gravity and the whimsy of the lotus

Blinking unaware as a 

newborn locust  

- I did tear it

and divine its both bleak and brilliant fortune

in charybdian diotomes

and cosmologies of celestial coordinates  

and rutted orbitals.

In long, sleepcast

shadows of barbarian scaled walls,

By the banks where women wash, hunched and crouched,

Like Arachne spinning to mock Minerva,

all our speech and deeds: blasphemy blessed blasphemy,

fated and damned, 

watch there

Astride vast horizons of shifting sand

good and evil walk together,

One warmed by sun, 

the other soothed by shade,

  Entwined and twinward, sepulchers 

Side by side, sharing the selfsame soil.


diametric, poured forth into the same vessel from one vein.

In both battle and embrace- 

About the Author

When Matthew isn't writing, he's a highwayman.

Make a Free Website with Yola.