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FURTHER READING
Poems by Dana Levin
Ars Poetica (cocoons)
Bardo
Ghosts That Need Reminding
In the Surgical Theatre
Letter to GC
Styx
Zozo-ji
Essays by Dana Levin
Make It New: Originality and the Younger Poet
Transcript: Q&A on Ars Poetica (cocoons)
Where It Breaks: Drama, Silence, Speed, and Accrual
Related Poems
After Reading Tu Fu, I Go Outside to the Dwarf Orchard
by Charles Wright
Our Valley
by Philip Levine
Something Whispered in the Shakuhachi
by Garrett Hongo
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The Gods Are in the Valley

 
by Dana Levin

The mind sports god-extensions.

It's the mountain from which
        the tributaries spring: self, self, self, self—

        rivering up
                on curling plumes
        from his elaborate
                head-piece

                of smoke.

His head's on fire.

Like a paleolithic shaman
        working now in the realm of air, he

        folds his hands—

No more casting bones
        for the consulting seeker, this gesture

        seems to mean.
                Your business, his flaming head suggests,

                is with your thought-machine.

        How it churns and churns.

        Lord Should and Not-Enough,
                Mute the Gigantor, looming dumb

                with her stringy hair—

                Deadalive Mom-n-Dad (in the sarcophagi
                of parentheses

                you've placed them)—

He's a yogi, your man
        with a hat of smoke. Serene, chugging out streams

        of constructed air...

Mind's an accident
        of bio-wiring, is one line of thinking.

We're animals that shit out
        consciousness, is another.

The yogi says:
        you must understand yourself

        as projected vapor.
                Thus achieve your

                superpower.


About this poem:
"The poem was sparked by a drawing accompanying an 8th Century Chinese alchemical text, The Secret of the Golden Flower. To me, the drawing makes an argument for the multiplicity of self, the projected self, the vaporous, ever-changing nature of self: self as smoke. Something of continuous interest to me."

Dana Levin






Copyright 2013 by Dana Levin. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on March 19, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.
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