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exodus 31. A View of Metaphysics 2. Beginnings When you pressed the "r" key to reply to my poetry, you engaged in a mythos of what had always been, what will now always be. Your face became embedded in the context of my landscape, a form molded in hot wax, a presence felt through cloth. It doesn't matter what language you used, what method. In the past, you would have written a letter by hand, or sent smoke signals to the neighboring tribe, or painted a red figure on the cave wall. In the future, you would have spoken to the house computer, or sent satellite signals to my implant, or breathed through the ether. Now, in every formation, there exists your enigma. 1. Refraction You see half a light, a sort of rounded wedge, when in fact illumination bends towards several directions at once, sometimes wending like a flow. I could place my hand in the dark vacated by this line, and you would think my hand blocked the path. It is not so -- every event in your life led to this moment and leads to others, this web spun in swirls we can barely trace. By travelling back and forth, the flickering deceives you, and you abandon faith by lingering in the gloom. In the darkest void, an infinite energy still remains. 4. Nature Peace surrounds us when we join, in acts so simple as sitting in the same room, or napping in bed, a meal shared in the evening. As ever, we have been here, and will be here. In the other realm, I know you through the ocean- blown waves, which drown out the sound of human keening. In the material world, we weep at the passing of bodies, the distance of footsteps, the loss of voices. But your contours blend into mine, in this version of the grasslands with dotted trees. We are two shades of the many green, which waver in the breeze. You won't escape this shared existence by leaving, so many times. 12. Transcendence In Christianity, God exists as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In biology, each cell makes our body, yet they remain unaware of the whole. In Buddhism, we are reborn into the various parts of this world: the cattle, the flies, the grass, and even the stones. In quantum mechanics, an atom is likely to be somewhere, but we cannot measure its exact location. In Zoroastrianism, the world and all of its creations are composed of light and darkness. In physics, matter is neither created nor destroyed; we exist as a form of energy. 3. Coupling In the mornings, when you wake early, I startle from sleep. During the day, when you breathe in smoke, I crave a cigarette. At night, when you drink and eat, I feel a tickle in my throat. If you died, I would know when. 9. Divination The four of pentacles, the want of possessions, falls from the pack. In this moment of desperation, the night before a holiday and battered from our inept conversation, I pray for guidance. The cards gain a connection and lay out in a Celtic spread. Glancing at the positions, I note strength behind me, the reversed star as myself, and the final outcome: signals. Signals -- a card which says nothing about what how the cosmos will drift, which says You'll find out, wait and learn. I stare in amazement. Of all the times I never cherished the outcome, now I am clear as a crystal in the sun. My course of action lies in not knowing. 6. Directions We are stranded, in a maze of dressing mirrors, shutters, gates, and glass panels. You insist on following the logic of compass directions, N-W-E-S. By this method, you end up about ten turns from where we started, but you are certain that we are one corner from eternity. Laughter almost nips me, but I know that I do not know where the exit is, or if we are meant to find one. Looking closely, I notice the sinuous flux of the corridors, shifting with every step. Discovering an underlying pattern is harder than scanning reflections. Besides, familiar directions don't work here, where one must learn to move N and S at the same time, W and E, and in directions that have no cardinal points. 5. Visions Dreaming, we cross from stones into clouds. What you try to mask in the waking world becomes so apparent here, blood vessels just under the skin. You want eternal love, but have no offerings to burn. Awake, you speak only half the truth, that you cannot stay with me, empty-handed. The distance grows; a small path from the front door into the garden becomes a journey from a pebbled path into a rock-strewn foreign country. In the metal works of a clock, you conceal the rest of the truth, the deep longing that makes you draw ice into your organs. Seeing existence in the sun of this world damages inner sight, which we regain when freed of our senses, in dreams. 8. Transduction Experiments in laboratories, clinics, and hospitals have tested for distant healing effects, in which a healer prays for the well-being of another. More than half of these studies have produced statistically significant results. Because they employ double-blind standards, these results are not easily attributable to expectation, suggestion, or other such placebo effects. In addition, some of these studies have involved simpler life forms -- bacteria, fungi, yeast, cells, seeds and plants -- which supposedly do not have sentience. 0. Affinities These last two months since you left, I've met more friends than in the last two years we were together. By chance, it seems, they write about my writing, or encounter me on a train to San Francisco, or want to rent an apartment for the summer. It's reassuring to think that when we were knifing each other with words over politics, ethics, philosophy, work, and anything deeper than the pastime, that these strangers were reaching out to me. Timely, they drag me from the edges of schizo- phrenia or from cutting skin with primitive designs. I imagine each as a center, drawing energy in circles, like an eddy in a stream. 10. Nonlocal Two electrons, once in contact with one another, form an inextricable bond. Although separated by great distances, they still flux in energy at the same time. Physicists and other scientists have yet to formulate a decent explanation of this phenomenon. 7. Synchronicity The house where I lived held the soul of a dead poetess. She made herself known through my housemate's meeting with an old neighbor. I read the journals she once read, still kept by the fireplace, before her husband shot her to death. In the city library, looking for her writings, I met an old friend of hers, afraid of desire. Newspapers recorded every detail but her essence, how she tended the roses in her gardens, how she watched sandpipers by the shore. In a dream, I met her in an attic room, surrounded by paperbacks, ceramic roses, and a stained glass lamp. She glowed with generosity, a mother's spirit. I wanted her unfinished work to be found and read, completed. With her presence, I began searching in patience, layered with moments of intense magnetism. The sea crashes on more than one shore at once, and through this, I know the presence of others.

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