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August 2016
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POETRY - Vade-Mecum Angelon

 Bethesda Fountain 


Proem: Anima Mundi


On Earth we never got higher 

than Machu Pichu, lower than 

that cataract of the Blue Nile,


unless you count your recesses

Grand Canyons of God as I did,

your hostile eyes Everest heights.


Now that there is nowhere to go,

we stare apart at the same sea.

When we traded one another


for partners in slow caravans,

we knew it was for good, that we

could go no further in bodies


that had drained themselves of secrets

inscripted in red and white,

parchments a god had torn in half.


I hear you still recalling me

as you stare at that cold ocean,

not Indian or Pacific.


Know that I have already passed

into the angel I mistook

you for and am alive in her


about to start the last voyage

we once began but could not end,

mistaking one for another.



The First lesson



First the stellar cloud

in butterfly folds

of blue, gold, magenta--

a double torus rotation

of a perfect hypersphere.



I understood this to be

the colorful plasma

from which you stirred,

alert to the clay wet

fingers of dark matter

that shaped you

from the radiant death

of exhausted stars.



Then a Saturn ring

around a fast 

rotating neutron star

that in its orbit

hummed two notes

of decreasing pitch

as the longer 

elliptical wing

swung round—

a ballet dancer's

Fouetté en tournant,

or an angel 

with extended wings.

Was this your history--

the Pleiades' lost star--

or our common ancestry

and former clouds of glory?



Carboniferous ferns 

compressed to coal,

I burn and run

on millions of years

of animal sex


to pistoned heat

in an iron age.

What am I

paired to you? 



The Second Lesson



At seventy

it is not morbid

to think of death, 

anymore than it is 

to dream of birth 

inside the womb.



The body registers

the aftershock 

when you're alone 

in someone else

you cannot see 

but can conjure

and  configure 

with other organs 

of perception--

not sight exactly, 

vision certainly.

The spine becomes 

the axis of a torus,

body's other architecture,

its three dimensions.

doubled by spiraled wings. 



In lucid dreams

 it's all upside down again--

the sky a sea above

as you swim up

into a second sky 

where sight is not

so object bound 

but a fluid medium.



The body is embedded 

in realms of desire

that got us here, 

voyeurs of lovers

who parented us. 

The bed takes the stamp

of curving forms, 

valleys we stream into,

caught by sexual dreams. 



At first the angel

takes the form 

of  loved wives, 

then madder loves; 

you replay the moves

and parts of love, 

but the body

starts to break up—

pixels of thought--

thighs become clouds, 

the vulva apart

in golden light 

of sky not bed.



If you do not 

follow her up

into abundance 

but linger attached

to the parts, she returns 

in a swirl of cloud 

that becomes her face,

smiling and saying:

"I keep losing you."

If you follow her, 

she lifts you up

from going down 

on her in folds 

that shift to clouds,

then a stellar cloud 

of gold, red, magenta,

and intense sapphire blue.



How did they know 

to call Marlene Dietrich 

Der Blaue Engel,

whose wide full 

Brünhildic thighs

invite being born? 



Conscious birth,

conscious death, 

if you hold on, 

attached to the old body,

the delta becomes mud, 

the piss and shit

and rotting brain 

of old age caught

in hospitals 

and nursing homes,

bound in tubes 

and drugged in order 

to keep angels out.



Why do I always go back 

to where I have been,

seeking to repeat 

the vision of last night?

Each night is new. 

If I seek to go

to hypnagogic states, 

she'll hold me

to the waking mind, 

showing it's closer

to spirit than soul, 

as air is to light,

and water is to mud.




Awake, "now" becomes,

not successive thoughts

backed up by the beat,

but the spaces between

heartbeat and thought—

the background mind

on which thoughts float,

surface waves on a sea.



Held in Indra's jeweled net 

of sapphire stars, 

I see in the opening

of the third eye, 

she 's keeping me 

from the astral world 

of indulgent desire,

revealing I am 

actually in her,

as I was once

inside the womb.



What others will see 

as the body's death

will actually be 

me coming not going.



To be born you leave 

the womb in a birth

that is like being blown 

along the entire shaft

of your finally extended body.



Inside this angel's body 

of 3-sphered light,

I learn that I too 

have her stellar form,

and that my life has 

more than its years.



In reversing time,

you become your parents

before you were conceived,

then realize they're symbols

and you end 

in your Daimon

with your Angel 

becoming one again. 



The Third Lesson



In hypnagogic trance 

of lucid dream,

you conjure a woman

built out of pure

desire—the one

you never had;

but now you've got her--

her thighs around you,

breasts against your chest,

her wet lower lips

anointed in pure lust.

You look into her eyes

and realize

she's an automaton,

little better than a coin 

operated blow job

or a blown-up plastic doll.



So how long

do you wish

to linger here?

Your angel watches,

above the hypnagogic

tranced erection.

She has more time

than you have,

better learn

how to spin 

the flax of sex

into the linen

of your own

light shroud.



The Fourth Lesson



The trick is to recall

the other life  refracted

in image garbled dreams,

to see virtual worlds

equally playing us.

In lucid dreams we make

the plot up as we go,

then wake to find that life's

another laptop game

in which we've cast ourselves.



Earth's our avatar,

a resource colony,

with old empires 

serving as metaphors 

of star systems 

with stark archetypes 

of opposing minds--

Orion's Egyptian

hierarchies versus 

light Pleiadean love.

Science fiction acted out

what we could not recall.



I am the director

and the lead as well

and must be the two

at once, recovering

the mind I had before

I was born for the part.



If I walk off the set,

thinking the director

all important, I fail

to see the star needs me

to be in human time--

the two supporting roles

of wise man and good friend

require that I have

the mind of director

and lead at once: two birds

on the selfsame tree, one

watches, the other tastes

the red ripening fruit.



After the Earth is cleared

and Adam becomes clay

again at the bottom

of a reabundant sea,

these chimeric starlings

will be the new creatures

of Heaven on Earth

in New Jerusalem's

green and pleasant land. 



The Fifth Lesson



I can see them now,

in my mind's eye

can envision

the point ahead.

Marked by the spear

of Celtic Lugh

at the solstice path,

they are moving

to the still point

where we converge.

I have become

my own Stonehenge

winter sacrifice.



I face the South,

Daimon to West,

Angel to East,

and await

the Pleiades.

My time-bound I

will vanish once

all consummate

their light bodies 

of storied earth 

and neutron star

over the crossing stone.



On Iona,

I through Brigid's

forehead star

saw the sacred

gold trifoil knot.

Now three become

one in the point.

I find myself


needing to be

in conscious dying

Daimon and Angel

and not me.



The Sixth Lesson



Often I would see them 

in vatic dreams—

daughter and mother,

and would know 

who they were—

Tara and Quan Yin,

Persephone and Demeter,

the entwined Goddess

of Maid and Mother--

of Ain Ghazal

and Ҫatal Hüyük




In Gobekli Tepe,

in Ҫatal Hüyük,

Malta, Newgrange,


and the hill of Tara,

the year's king 

must die.

The Great Mother

alone endures.

She is not fat,

or some fertility fetish; 

she is vast,

containing everything.

An icon of time,

her lunar womb

is the wound that heals.

It is the phallus

that rises and falls,

vanishing with its 

poignant time.



For most of my life,

I have pursued

the daughter 

as Tara or Shakti,

intent on Tantric 

erotic transfiguration

to  bodily escape 

Holy Mother Church,

or just my Catholic Mom.



In Tiahuanaco,

the Island of the Sun,

and the night shore 

of that vast Andean lake

under unknown 


I lived all that out--

shuddering in her 

in the tantric union

of the red and the white.



Now it is again

the Mother's time,

in death as it was

once in birth.

The yoga shifts

from sight to sound,

from the third eye

to the crown:

the infant's fontanelle

comes out first,

the yogi's crown,

re-enters first--

the prow in the cleft

of parting waves.



So it is time 

I face again

the primal cleft

of worlds

in a new yoga

where the red

and the white

are in the spine--

as taught 

in that ancient

Tibetan art 

of dying alive.




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William Irwin Thompson, Columnist, Thinking Otherwise

William Irwin Thompson

William Irwin Thompson (born July, 1938) is known primarily as a social philosopher and cultural critic, but he has also been writing and publishing poetry throughout his career and received the Oslo International Poetry Festival Award in 1986. He has made significant contributions to cultural history, social criticism, the philosophy of science, and the study of myth. He describes his writing and speaking style as "mind-jazz on ancient texts". He is an astute reader of science, social science, history, and literature. He is the founder of the Lindisfarne Association.

His book, Still Travels: Three Long Poems was published in 2009 by Wild River Books. To order a copy, click here: STILL TRAVELS.

WEBSITE: http://www.williamirwinthompson.org/


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William Irwin Thompson


Robin (not verified) Posted 02:27 AM on Aug 25, 2016

Really beautiful poem, Bill. Thanks for sending it (if you did.) robin

Kelly (not verified) Posted 02:27 AM on Aug 25, 2016

Each night I dream of old loves -- I, the beloved. Each morning the beloved fades into the little old lady I've become -- the loss so profound that future artistic probes beyond the gateway to the galaxy seem out of my reach.
THIS MORNING: I read "Vade-Mecum Angelon" in "Wild River Review". Then read again -- aloud. What a blessing -- the exquisite language -- not language at all -- but
Today because of your angels -- old angels awaken me -- I face the mirror and enter in -- not blocked by an old reflection in a glass and face myself where angels(do not) fear to tread.
"Vade-Mecum Angelon" stirs the dervishes to an inspired fever pitch --
and we dance.
We are blessed that you are here to take us beyond the mirror-images of the sacred-selves and the sacred cows we worship..
How rare. We thank you.

Robert Stahl (not verified) Posted 02:27 AM on Aug 25, 2016

Thank you! Inspired, timely, thoughtful, and alive, not to mention historically unique... One can, hardly, be more fortunate in comparison to others, than to have this point of calibration in humanity you so earnestly challenge for the better, if not fortunate for all the history you leave behind, and for providing such insight as this, plus your general contribution to being part of the resolution of its overall difficulty, a revolution. It is an ultimate Valentine.

Again, thank you.

Anonymous (not verified) Posted 02:27 AM on Aug 25, 2016

Amazing, genius, and inspiring—as is usual with your art; thank you for this.

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