Dana Levin is the author of Sky Burial (Copper Canyon Press, 2011). She teaches at Santa Fe University of Art and Design and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox
The Gods Are in the Valley
The mind sports god-extensions.
It's the mountain from which
the tributaries spring: self, self, self, self—
on curling plumes
from his elaborate
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
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
|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."