No Second Face

None of the many images of action and entity
make the Actor multiple in any way
So whoever rises above every vanishing thing
will be shown existence without duality
— Shaykh Muhammad ibn al-Habib

Push aside the sauce they say
and there’s the pudding or

push aside the consequences and
there’s the intention

Push aside the subterfuge and there’s the
psychology that engineered the

masquerade intended to
put us off the trail so carefully


That behind all appearances lies a
single source in multifarious

manifestations if only our momentary
discernment might pick apart the

distracting details enough to find
true causes

But it isn’t all analytical or
philosophical or even psychological

A dancer moves to the center of a

stage to perform meticulous contortions and
flights of purest grace and harmony

hours or even years having perfected each
beat between each click of action

frozen in time as well as each
before and each continuous after

the dance master counting them out at the
side in scruffy clothes and the

dancer starting and stopping before a
room-wide mirror

And behind the dance-master’s meticulous
directions lie ages of expertise

that know of no imperfection

And behind each slide and
sparkle of things or each

collision and resolution domestic or
international are ticks and increments of

perfectly faceted jewel-like eternities

seamlessly bound together between
the flow of befores and afters

a kind of continuous hum almost
audible in our hearts’ ears

a kind of bobbing in the same waters by
moonlight or daylight

never a dull moment as each wave
ripples or crashes by on the

same sea
hiding precarious and mysterious


And there is Allah in all this
each Name divinely aglow as if on a

visible clock face whose energies
almost speak themselves in the

midst of confusion that’s really a
profusion of clear articulation

made by the Single Source
from His ever


placid place

1/20/2012 (from The Match That Becomes a Conflagration, unpublished)

Categories: Poems