The Ancient Modern

Wide – Wide /  Joshua Alan Sturgill     

Maybe I’ll try one of those mindfulness exercises the HR department recommended,
if I can concentrate long enough to remember it.  Maybe it will make me like a diver
bursting up to catch a breath of air — that child diver I have never forgotten, that I saw
on television on an old PBS culture program, a boy diving for pearls — a Greek boy
glazed with the green water of his coastal village, acquainted with Orion, unafraid
to be lost at sea.  He knows the histories of his neighbors; he knows the names
of his grandsires for a hundred generations; he’s descended from gods.  I imagine him
born on an indefinable earth, neither land nor sea, child of sand and shipwrecks —
guiltless enough to gaze without impediment into the eyes of seals and gulls:
intelligence reaching into dark intelligence: each wary, each unashamed of shame, each
veiled in the shimmers that dance on the surface of consciousness. Free of logic’s
constraints.  Where is the sea, the purgative violence of the sea?  Sure. Maybe I’ll try
a few of those mindfulness techniques.  Maybe I’ll recall another world within myself,
a Face beneath my face, a Face beyond the fatigued faces of the corporation.  Slow down,
they tell me.  Breathe.  Meditate.  I open my eyes wide — wide, so I can welcome
blindness. I’m exhausted by artificial light.  But I don’t assume blindness would bother
to visit me.  I am an animal of desk and screen.  Anyway, I try the exercise. I sit, thinking
about not thinking. Here is the clutter of my cleared mind. Here is the schedule
standing between myself and my Self. Really though, do I have time to spare
for the unfamiliar? The digital clock is proverbially ticking. Can I risk
being disarmed? Can I risk exposing myself to the violence
of a Sea? How can I make demands of the morning
if I rarely acknowledge the sacred
glory of the dawn?

All poetry and supplementary material: copyright 2022 by Joshua Alan Sturgill. All rights reserved.

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