Lucid Body

by Rich Cronshey

“By criticizing their own society they transcend it. “ Fromm

“Insanity is not being able to find anyone to stand you.” John Rickman

Words and their shadows

Our inventions

remaking us

in their own images

Pieces we leave out

become our histories

Waiting outside

where the bare cry

and the whole wet

invisible night

can find us

By my lost hand's light

in the weed's pretty kingdom

Everything rolling

in every other thing's arms

The true unutterable

world where we have

left ourselves behind

Reflection on a window

shadow in a building

across the street

rummaging through

smoke filled cupboards

in a ghost story

without once noticing

Everything is spinning

wedged apart by images

What shines

on the world

is the world

gentle radiant friend

Despite history

nothing is broken

Nothing leaves

because nothing comes

Sometimes I wear

this life for years pulled down

over my eyes and then

I look at you and see

sunlight on water

and I remember

what I am

You are visible and invisible

the earth seeing you

the air looking through you

the mineral within you

looking through you

into the changing transparency

You are so clear 

I can see all the way

to the bottom of your life

into the same light

the undying

dreaming you

into being

dreaming everything

You your body and your life

like time rising in time

The language erasing itself

so that only space is left

like a question or a prayer

and something walking toward you now

hidden in the sounds

something that is not yourself

an animal or a fire or a song

It climbs into your bride's

left boot

on your wedding day

as if it knows

exactly what it's doing


your broken teeth

and the days together

It lays

its cold thread

across your life

So that now

in everything you touch

your own death

touches you

the same death

that looked at you

over your mother's left shoulder 

one time

when you were a child

and you felt alone for the first time


and your beating heart found you

Crowned now  by that black hat

and shadow

by the power of your

own death and 

the hours of its growth

you talk to me

your voice a swarm

the first sound

and its fire

every time

and the hornet's nest

you carry, full of grace

Decay, failure that doesn't want to be redeemed, advertisements for extinct merchandise and services, abandoned theaters, factories and hospitals, crime scenes, obsolete and inscrutable tools, the prosthesis of the dead and disappeared, exhortations in languages I don't understand. I see you in these things, angel, beholden to nothing that can be bought or sold.

I will be an ark.

Vandalism is a form of prayer

Whispering your own name

over and over

in the dark

room of the world

until it loses all sense

so you don't forget

the question naked

wrapped in the ache of it

To see

the first snow

 of the new year



Crime is a form of prayer

Bleed out

or scab over

Selling the child

back to the child

A thing all brittle and ghostly 

The smoke

you love

comprehends you

If you can't be real

be successful 

Like legless beggars

stationed at the gates

of our own lives

every day a century

of privation and waiting

Behind the iron gates

the splendid white mansion

of our true life 

Look at the war orphans

cast like oracle bones

across the broken cities

that burn inside the promises

we've forgotten how to make

The more what I have learned to believe I am and must be founders the more my faith in this tender lucidity grows, a concerned intelligent exquisitely attuned presence continuing at the very epicenter of this failure. I trust it because I have not invented, but found it, or again and again as I fall from my personal history into reality, into Being, it finds me.

Space cradling space,

a sheltering immensity.

When all else fails,

create beauty.

Because of generations of war and abdicated spirit, because of this circling heritage, because we've forgotten how to hold our children, how to know ourselves immediately, without words or images, as presence; because we've forgotten how to mourn, we can't stand each other, we can't stand ourselves.

Hounded by half starved artifacts, dispossessed energies, chased from peace by the want of it, scared of our own light, the shrapnel crawling back to the bomb.

Never really together and never really alone, the way a fire is not a fire until it's burning, hunger eats us everywhere.

Instead of being with each other, restless and contagious, we feel lived by each other, stealing ourselves back from each other where we never were, so that loneliness becomes more real than we do and we live in a movie about ourselves flickering and ghostly, mesmerized all our lives by our own bullshit storytelling, as if we had never been born.

Miles from home everywhere

learning to love the wire mother

learning to be other

a perpetual stranger

Praise to my angels

the ones who leave me be

who never stop standing me,

holding me

from whatever distance

stirring the daylight I carry

to life, wishing me real; praise

for the rending and intricate ways

you rescue me

by leaving me alone


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Allison Scarpulla

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