To Be Conscious of the Self at the Exact Second It’s Released
Terri Brown-Davidson

The clouds, this morning, in Albuquerque, muscular, sculptural,
so it was easy to imagine myself as Michelangelo
paring away cumulus to arrive at the perfect imploded cloud-core,
the central inner mass of something
I couldn’t help conjuring as art object. Look, I whispered,
and tilted my head back as a black-and-gray contortion,
a Quasimodo launched limping along the sky,
trailed his paralyzed fingers overhead.
And then, I laughed, the disaster-monger projecting her grotesqueries
onto nature, the panoramic Rorschach of my mind
an imagistic counterpointing run amuck, every stark-limbed tree
a gallows, every rain cloud a dark or pathetic or wounded figure
from literature, every squat brick fence encircling soaked emerald grass
an opportunity for mental boundaries to descend, to block
my urge for dissolving. What I crave, finally, is an egoism
in egolessness—but who can ever achieve that?
To be conscious of the self at the exact second it’s released
like fragmented white star matter onto a blackened sky
is to become Van Gogh executing his orange sunflower flares
in continuous fits of hypergraphia, in seizures of a channeled ecstasy
that keeps compelling the hand to whip red oils, to fling violet paint
onto a canvas, the primal urge never satisfied.


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