Dark Poetry
Canopy of the Night
    by Don Coorough


Incomprehensible magic filled
The perpetually glittering
Canopy of the night
As it winked and blinked –  

A three year old boy nuzzled snugly in
His mother’s lap, staring up
Into the clear, Los Angeles, November
Night. Her warmth warded
Off the sleek, shiny indifference
Of a brand new ‘55 Thunderbird
Convertible. The boy sighed
And squirmed for a better view.

He tuned out his mommy
And Ann, their neighbor, as
They laughed and chatted through
The movie passing on the drive-in screen.    

“I’ve never been in a car
With no top
Before,” he thought. In a sudden rush,
The expanse of night tickled
The boy’s mind. He giggled
As he drifted away, hovering
Amid the darkness and twinkling.  
He cooed contentedly when
His inner ear heard a whisper:  

    “In a place that has no center
    Everywhere and each moment
    Are equally at the crux and core.”

The whispering touched his mind, wordlessly
Conveying impressions. Authenticity arises from resonance
Between observation and intuition. The child
Gazed upon the expanse, while inarticulate expression
Engulfed him in playful giddiness.

Wide eyes gaped; the stars winked.  
In the stillness, each orb
Of the night sang a note. Upon that
Note, orbs spun in pirouettes.  

                    The Unity of
                    The universe performed an
                    Eternal ballet.

    “The stage has been set, little one. Play
    The role you write for yourself
    Well. Every living being is cast
    To play the lead. Move
    Through all roles in different
    Moments. You and the Universe,
    Together –
    Perpetual improvisation machines.”  

(Somewhere, someone winked, it seemed.)

The more limitlessly
One conceives, the more
Insignificant individuality becomes.  

    That he could not fathom infinity,  
                    The child had never been told.
            Mentally unshackled
                                    By conventional wisdom,  
                            The three-year old groked
                    How infinitesimally microscopic
                                                    He was
                    In relation
                                                            To the cosmos.    

The child’s mind focused on a memory.  
He sat in the sand at the beach. Hot
Sun felt good spelling wafts of cool,
Salty air. The boy ran his fingers through
The sand. He picked up
A handful; then watched,
Rapt, as grains of sand
Carried off by the breeze
Slowly slipped
Through his fingers.

    “You are one of the sand grains,
    Child; fate is the breeze.  
    Meaning floats on the wind.”  

The voice never stops
Counseling, never stops
Inventing, never stops
Reminding…

At the center of nowhere, he hung
Suspended. The cosmic juxtaposition –
Being both a star and grain of sand –
Overwhelmed the child. He migrated
From undifferentiated Unity
Into dissociated Multiplicity.  
The liquid impression “caught” him
“Like quicksand,” he cried
Out in his mother’s lap…
To read other short stories,
click one of the titles below.
Shadows of the Night
            by Don Coorough

Given a moment
Without an instant more
Allowed a taste
From inside a morsel’s core
Supplied a scent
That fragrant roses wore
Offered a glimpse
Of whatever came before
Soothed with the touch
That lovers’ caresses bore
While shadows of the night
Creep across subconscious’ floor

Shadows
Of the night
Forever inching
Unnoticed
Lurking
Around every corner
Grazing lightly
Upon the ocean’s deepest depths
Shuttering
Through neurons
So deeply hidden
They etch no memories
Of the ever-present
Upon shadows of the night

The rainbow in the mist
Of a woodland waterfall
Reveals the same colors
As sunshine through rain
The kiss from your beloved
Is not sweeter to the taste
Than the ripest strawberry
Whose juice my lips will stain
If I grasp to hold this moment
It will fleetingly slip by
While shadows of the night
Create links of the universal chain
Climate Changed
            by Don Coorough

Eagle soars through a cloudless sky,
Plants so dry to unblinking eye;

Skulls, skeletons, dry riverbeds;
Unraveled, dread erodes homesteads.

Long, lawless war: a human blight
Of water rights and oil’s might;

Withering, fatal, green-eyed lust,
Shriveling leaves gust past charred crust;

A faint memory of iced tea;
A dead, reefless sea, leafless trees…

Hot dry winds rain acid on land;
Soil is sand – at wealth’s command.
Floating
by Don Coorough

Seated like a lotus floats,
Upon a meditating pond.
Jack also there in his fall
Of 1971 reality. Wispy
Strands of incense charred the languid
Night air between clicks
From the gas heater heard through closed
Eyes: clicking, over and over, as if constantly
Ticking; insisting… a hypnotizing pattern.  

Stillness and quiet. I grew hyper-
Aware of my body functions. Breath
Ceased – not intentionally, but all of its
Own accord. One by one, cessation
Of sensation:
Taste, then smell, then sound, then
Touch, and finally sight…
(Even though my eyes were closed, until
The moment sight left, I retained
A mental visualization of the room.)  

My heart stopped – blood
Un-flowed. A brilliant flash –
Light; consciousness
Escaped my custody. Somehow
I knew I was hovering
Near the ceiling’s center. My lifeless,
Bent, limp, body lay on the floor, witnessing
Overwhelming freedom consume me.  
Liberation!  

                                    Weightless…
Unburdened! Fathoming all
                                            Depths, floating
                    Like a cloud, drifting
Between molecules. No clocks ticked;
                            They had no hands.
Sight – uncomplicated by point of view;
            Revealed utter cohesive harmony.

What if I never return? Immediately,
Consciousness snapped back,
Somersaulting into my body.

Floating like a lotus in the dark, damp
Place: warm and secure, on an unadulterated
Primal pond – the premeditated changeling. Suddenly,
Almost as if a toilet had been flushed, I gushed
From my mother’s womb. I gasped
For air as my heart started pumping acidic
Blood, burning veins. My body tingled
With tactile sensations’ return.  

Sandalwood’s smoky strands tickled my
Nostrils. An acrid taste stung my mouth. The clicking
Sound pricked my ears again. Then, I opened
My eyes. Sight frightened and disoriented. I had
To blink. Reopening encouraged adjustment.   

I unwound my torso into the flowering lotus.

Dizzy, I took a few deep breaths; turning
To Jack. “How long had I been lying
In that position?” He indicated
Ten or fifteen minutes, and smiled.  

Psychedelic silence reined in
Steeds of revelation; from a frozen
Icicle dungeon, reigning in the corridor
Of time. Rain not, suffering,
Upon the Reign of Love sublime.
Love, rein the people in every strained drop
You rain from heavens’ reign!

In a universe where space and time are
Already warped, why not a few minds, too?

I dreamt the same experience over and over that
night.  

Examine the tiniest of molecules and atomic
Particles; somewhere, in the spaces
Between elements, amid pregnant pauses,
Surging through the pungent, electrical impulses
Of synapses, out of space
And timeless, am I to be found.
Barrel OrangeSunshine
                    by Don Coorough

Swallowing a tab of barrel orangesunshine
That May of ’72, I stared at a poster of Jimi Hendrix:  
His face placed amid splashes of color.  
Out of those splashes, a fireworks display!
Boom, oooh; bang, aaah… twinkles
Of incandescence rained all around.  
I reached out and touched it! The sky,
Man, it was a sacred orgasm.

Turned on, after the fireworks, I went looking into a
mirror –
What a zoo! My face loomed huge, as though peering
Into a magnifying glass – discerning
Every pore, every curve and every crease. Features
morphed,
Exaggerated, bizarre, grotesque forms. The mind I
perceived
And thought through shrank to about the size of a
molecule.
Dig it, man, penetrating into my own skin and muscle
tissue webbing…
All that was left was the skull. Images telescoped
Into melting illusions. Consciousness dove deeper.
The skull loomed
Larger and larger until the atoms making up the
structure
Of the bone dwarfed my mind. I traveled in the space
Between the atoms. Electrons zoomed past in all
Directions. “Indeed, I am in allusion.” I realized
I meant, “An illusion.” Or did I? Tuned in? For sure,
dropped out.

I dissolved inside a hungry
Vacuum. Awareness groked one thought, I was
Surrounded by an immense expanse of pure, empty
Blackness as if I floated in a void. From the center of
this vast
Nothingness, a consuming, swirling
Vortex of diffused, gaseous, grey light inhaled:
Cloudy, but still; formless, like an energy
Field. Zzzzzzzapppp! In the middle appeared another
Black, empty void of simplicity.

Everything, including my own consciousness, swirled
Around that inner, black, formless void that Pope’s
once called
The Earth. The speed and force of the swirling
strained my imagination.  

Freak out! A swirling, whirling, turning triad
Beyond time and nowhere in space,
Mindless resident within, alien
The realm of was/is/will-be,
Eleventh dimensional….  

I groked the eternal turbine,
The energy force at the core
Of this circus. What a bizarre bazaar!  

This field or energy-force and I merged, silently,
effortlessly,
Two empty slates converging in a no merging zone to
a single
Point. Fulfillment. Breathe man, stay cool. I awoke
From immaculate comprehension into the illusion of
form.

No time, no space
Just infinite thoughtless grace:
The root of love. Groovy.