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Unseen: An Autobiography of Light (Part Two)

2009 April 5
by J. Scott Mosel

260867_small_altar   I do not need an altar.
   Echoes did the dirty work,
   language told my lies,
   desire hid my footsteps.

   There is only one element
   left to find, but I cannot
   remember its name.

   I have no lips. Smile for me.
   It is not too late.

   F. Lystrander (1168-1224) Metaphysical Elements of Praise





I cannot remember the world.

I hear the sounds of a guitar
echo from the walls of houses.

Colors from the market
sift through my body,
smells of coffee and warm
carnations satiate my spirit.

I know the world is not mine.

There are no doorways
I can open. I have nothing
to sell: my thoughts
have no meaning here
without language.

Dust falls on cobblestones
and shadows take flight
into hands the valley
will never touch.

I am lonely without the world.

Dancing, dressed
only in the scarves of memory,
I appear in an open courtyard
fated, fickle, formless.

I show them everything
and change nothing.


I scratch a quill on parchment
that will someday open unborn
flesh. I know you:

instruments where instinct
cannot hide. I see
how so much dust in the air
never reminds you of a final
flicker of breath. I move

hands until they wither
into fingers on new hands
writing old words
on new parchment
in a dead language. A new tongue

is all I need to move rocks
into position

and wait for praise.


I know where echoes sleep.

True, the toil to carry language
is theirs alone: syllables weigh
the most just before they find time
to die.

I know when they are ready.

The air is heavy before rain,
before wind opens her lips
one last time.

I look for the last place on Earth.

Go ahead. Try to find answers.
Look in the hollows,
look in the sadness of my eyes.

If you know where they are born,
you do not need me.

I will understand.

I have patient hands.


I wanted you to continue,
fly through my body,
find your home in my breath.

Our existence is fragile.

Yours is made of tender air, blown kisses
that find a home beneath your wings.

Your shadow on the ground
is all the proof I need,
and now, without you,
I will warm your body,
even in death.


I have certain limits:
I cannot pass through solids.

Imagine the mess inside flesh,
the damage I would do, the unexpected
revelations as cells burn for me.

I mistake each cry for help
as a song. Inspiration is pure
when its origin is forgotten,
taken for praise. Think of a dam,
pools of heat that rise unseen
next to trees, boulders, torsos.

At night I trickle back to nothing,
each particle of my being moves
through blades of grass and up
the trunks of trees that lift me
into the open sky
where I rise
above everything I touch
and call it day.


I sculpted your body.

Each wrinkle felt my lips,
each blemish felt the brush
of my hands.

My fingers made a rosary
of your body.

When they placed you
in the ground, I pressed
my eyes into the soil.

I wanted to see
the hidden language
where flesh is born.

I wanted to hear
my name, where no one
can go,
not even me.


I saw you wash your hands
in the open. You tried not to look
at them. The clouds that day
spelled forever in every tongue.

My happiness was complete.
Today, I could see
through flesh, and nothing
made by human hands
would stop me.

I began to sing
as I passed through clouds,
and I could see every pair
of eyes turn toward heaven.

When metal and blood
came together at last,
I began to hear your words
soak the ground.

I entered the earth
at last, the hidden places
opened up before my name,
and even death smiled.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. jeff permalink
    April 6, 2009

    I really saw the light in the last paragraph of the first part
    “Dancing, dressed only in the scarves of memory . . .” beautiful line of poetry, Scott.

    I’m not sure about the first line, though. Why can’t the light remember the world? Is the first line an awakening?

    And does he hear the guitars and see the colors sifting through his body and does he smell the flowers and coffee for the first time? And will the light be able to remember the world if it gets a new tongue?

    There is a lot of poem here.

  2. April 7, 2009

    Hello Gardner of cuisine, words, vegetables and love. Light is more of a visitor that truly comes from somewhere else. An extraterrestrial in the truest sense. I have not really decided if the first line is authentic or not. Also, I hope you did not miss part one. The strangeness of a chronological blog is the the most recent entry appears to be first, but that is not the case here. Part one is essential.

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