Anne Waldman: from Structure of the World Compared to a Bubble

Spring '12 TOC

hungry ghost realm (avid on the scent of your own sweet appetite)

She was restless with insatiable desire. Appetite for pleasure food shiny acquisitions.
The more she craved the hungrier she grew. Come into a mouth, feed my swollen belly,
she sang she moaned. Belly that is perpetually starved. Belly of inexplicable greed.
Come things, come external world of things, come inside me to make me exist. Lust
for you . . . I save all my lust for you. Sometimes I see you raw, the flesh of you, the sex of
you, then it disappears inside me, never gratified. Never full. Always empty. Always
searching. Hungry ghost like a demon, like a vampire. Hungry ghost your own sweet
appetite. Hunger is vast. Hunger gnawing upon itself is vast. Neither fully human nor
fully animal a tormented existence is vast. Where do I find myself, mind? Perpetually
haunting, grasping, grabbing, appropriating a thought, appropriating a person, wanting to
buy and acquire all the accoutrements to make myself exist. Wanting to exist, as ever.
Suspended here, caught here, as "preta," one departed, here to haunt us—dead but
hovering, unfulfilled—wanting more. It's never enough. What could you possibly want?
What could ever fill this giant need? What would it take to make you say "enough." My
desire is never satisfied. You make love to me, never enough. I want more of you, never
enough. I want to absorb you, never enough. How to speak of these things? Never
enough. How to find what I need. Never enough food, never enough water. Starving as
one might in Africa, in North Korea, in any pogrom, in all the refugee camps of the
world, in all the inner American cities, in all the diasporas of the world. Long fingers
never take hold of what they reach for. The thing, that thing-to-be-grasped is illusory,
falls through itself. Evanescent yet subtle desire of all kinds tortures the body. Then the
mind inside feeding on itself, eating the brain, how horrible. Searching but unable to find.
Look out, never see. Notice? What? The food is there but throat is so small, and
stomach so large they cannot consume a fraction of what's proffered. Then I hallucinate—
food & drink burst into flames inside them and burn them from within, Sometimes the
food turns into pus, blood, urine. Sometimes food becomes like iron, like straw. My
hunger in my desire unresolved. Avarice, stinginess, meanness. Scrimping, hoarding, do
you know the type? Conspicuous consumption, addictions of all kinds. I never wear the
clothes I have,

beautiful objects I'll hide from your view. Don't come near me with your inquisitiveness.
No longer able to devour sensations with a hungry ghost mind yet avid for that scent,
that flower, that next other person. Fall in love over and over again, never settled never
satisfied never resolved, never at ease. If only … the eternal seeker, the eternal student,
the eternal con artist using people and situations. If only … everything everyone is an
object for consumption. Like the blood-drinking nocturnal rakshasa, like the wraiths on
the fringe of the nuclear holocaust. Like the endless "once upon the world" denizens in
their aftermath of destruction, ghosts hovering confused above the burial ground. If
only. avid for all the reminders of past success of wooing of winning of taking more
things in stride of standing empty handed of being naked in front of him for the first time
of being tongue-tied but mouth open lusting for more of him to swallow, of inching down
the path, ragged, ravenous clawing the ground for sustenance, squeezing plants for water,
catching rain in wretched, bony hands, or going shopping one more endlesstime. How
many more new processed crisp wrapped-up material goods can you handle? How many
more accoutrements to your machines and gadgets to the information highway? How
many things to hoard, shoring up for the dark ages, how much more built in
obsolescence, things that break down, won't work, won't hum won't move won't light up
won't sing won't dance won't do the job won't last won't resolve the panic won't resolve
the difficulty won't be remembered won't disappear but leave traces of stuff of useless
matter of waste that will take thousands of years to decay. She remembered the Hindu
legend of Brahma who embodies the creative energy of desire. He created the first female
—a mind-born daughter—with his tremendous mental powers. But because he was
Brahma, the primordial god of desire, he felt inherent lust for her. He was also good,
true, pure—but was he? Other attributes of poor noble Brahma—so he was conflicted.
Brahma struggled to control his feeling. He yearned, he wanted. Sweat poured and
poured from his body as he fought restrained himself. "Pretas" or ghost, or literally
"departed ones" exited his body . . . you can't have it both ways.

Paid in full or in protracted pain?
Intense radiation
You blame the conflagration of ideology
Of sinister nationalisms
Where are the noble women?
And why are they always interrupted as they start to speak
That Eve you mentioned should be your verb
To remind and castigate to reprimand and placate
Ere she move like any old woman neglected
You have a place for her in your stones?
Any woman desire this
Pilgrim, you are woman!
Step lightly on these stones
Take off your veil now so you breathe
At fixed trine or place
A grand trine in fire guides you
At a rouse from sleep you dream
You were being seduced by a daughter of Mara the Tempter
Always called to account in speech saying "littler"
I was "littler" oh "littler"
Women buried alive for being widowed
With humble gaze
No, stand up to humility she says
Your taciturn nature turned to good account
A kind translation turned in pure amount
And this is not even War
And relish my gunpoint at dream
Enlightenment they speak of enlightenment
Endarkenment its kindly twin
Meant you can't trust? And soonest mended

Tell me, tell me: is the rift ever mended?
Translated it means "go on," keep a steady climb
Spasmodically intermittently who had signs
Who had signs and consigned herself here
Illumined like a wimpled nun? Or the rest of
Us? The greedy us, mollusks of hat and shoulders of need
For approval, need of confirmation
Always another raving observation checking itself or
Galvanized to being epic: what if you aren't so good?
And a gambled deck is driven by speed and drama
A noble machine threshes in prone direction
Circulate clockwise until you spiral the top
Then bend sinister
So by walking there one enters the mind of votary
Paying homage is an artifact made by human beings
To light up their own minds
Reading its walls as moral code
You blame the other predators before yourself
Stupid ignorant mind that needed this one direction
Stupa which is monument of stone
Designed to wake you up to the nature—
I mean details—of self-existing equanimity
Insist on observance of formalities
Bow again to your own hawk-mind here
Its eyes are the eyes of search and destroy
I mean destruction of ego
Or resist this intrusion
Organized research in the
The scholarly way of a buddha
System that thrives on nothing
That seeks nothing that says
You are here to disappear, poet

A bushwacker might respond to a sentence here
Timed to metriculate a first cause
But some say "mandate," didn't Dante mention this?
Are you ready now to climb?
We are errant we are scared so we
Run to hide and reestablish
Rules of engagement
And are you author of such a book?
Risible in "suchness"?
Are you? Ready to examine your own mind?
Softened by love in its heat?
The way a fabric bends
Are you game? Or are you phony?
Are you on a quest?
Are you solvent in your escapades?
Do you eschew money laundering?
Have you maintained accountability?
Well bravo, I can speak to you
Soldiers of the throne
O you say they are stiff, corpses of the enemy
No, the tithing won't tire
A leer a tipsy insight
Round watch straps and manganese
The end of civilization ghosts all take seriously
Shifting their perspectives
Cell phones, it is reported in the dailies,
Are scaring all the ghosts away
Ghosts hungry for more action . . .

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Not Enough Night
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