I do not need a miracle.
I have a dragonfly,
With multi-facetedeyes and a wingspan as wide as my hand,
Who has whispered the secrets of the morning to my ear.
I have a yellow leaf who has danced befor my eyes as beautifully as a butterfly,
And, brought to me a golden, sun lit afternoon when she landed in my lap.
I have a purple, heart shaped pod,
Which has falling off of the vine, into my outstretched hand,
And, has promised a moonflower for my hair will be born tonight.
I have a root which has been an intimate friend of the earth,
And, a rainbow which has enclosed the entire sky.
I have a cloud to lay my head upon.
I have a star.
I have a dream.
I have a songbird and a child.
The Everglades do not want us,
We who would be kings,
We who would be scientists,
Would be magicians,
Or, even poets,
We who would crack the genetic code,
And, understand quantum mechanics,
We who would walk in the dusts of the moon,
And, on the rings of Saturn,
We who would build pyramids and bridges,
Conquering empires and devouring the earth,
We who would have the weather under our control,
And, the wind under our command,
With robotic slaves and computational miracles,
Clones and the keys to unlock the secrets of immortality.
We are out of place.
We are not really welcome here.
Only the changelings are welcome,
The fairies raised as humans,
The humans raised as fairies,
But, you know, the changelings are part of the past,
There are no changelings now.
What the Everglades really want,
Is for the dragon souls of its trees,
To be free and unfettered,
To slip beyond the confines of their bark into the clouds,
To sing with the mud and to soar with the eagles,
To celebrate snakes and snails,
To creep out of the darkness,
Into the bodies of beetles and the tongues of the tortoise,
Into the breeze and the alligator’s souls,
Into the panther’s eyes and the wings of heron,
To keep the worlds quick shadows,
And, the green heartbeats,
All in tune with one another,
And, in harmony with the rains and sunshine.
They only want time to pass the way the breezes pass,
And, sunlight to continue caressing the ripples under the grasses.
They want the air to feed the trees,
And, the mud to feed the insects.
They would have the simplicity of chaos,
Excite the complexity of nature,
And, keep the universe expanding.
They would nurture every form of life,
Without limitation, without gradation,
Keep wanting. Reproduce.
Dancing to music we cannot hear.
Laughing with hurricanes.
But, the spirits can no longer do that,
Because they know we are coming,
Instead they are holding hands,
Holding tight to their dreams,
Holding their breath,
Hiding inside the leaves.
They know who we are.
They hear us, almost upon them,
Surveying equipment in hand,
Trampling through and shouting,
Singing of our accomplishments,
And, ready to take over,
Ready to change,
If you stopped trampling about so much,
Could you be as quiet as the blue-black beetle,
As calm as a cypress tree,
As graceful as a ghost orchid,
As insubstantial as a rainbow?
If you could, you might hear the thoughts,
Of the lizards and the leaves,
The Spanish moss,
The sap inside of the twigs.
They are whispering into the spaces,
Inside of one another’s minds,
Where the winds neither enter nor interface.
Wary of every step we take,
They have been around a long time,
And, they have seen a lot.
“Go away! Go away! Go away!” they say.
“Go back by the road on which you came.
“Go away and shut the door,
“Behind you when you leave.”
But, we, who do not believe in spirits,
We don’t hear a thing.
Like the toys in your childhood bedroom,
Who came to life only when you were asleep,
They are keeping their secrets.
And, what are we doing here anyway?
Did we just come to play with Peter Pan?
Did we come here to find the Fountain of Youth?
To make our fortune?
To gain our fame?
Did we come hungry for knowledge?
Did we come for vision to grant us power?
Did we come to break everything apart,
Or to steal the gold egg?
What did we come to change?
Why do we want to change it?
What are the plans we have here,
For our logic and laws and our rational minds?
The Everglades never were intellect’s minions.
They are not challenging the heavens,
Reaching for the stars.
They are not trying to conquer anything.
They are not burdened with the need for evidence, or analysis,
For facts and information,
Statistics or probabilities,
Or, even a personal vision of truth.
They live by the strength of their hunger,
And, the beat of their hearts.
They only want what is, and care not for what if.
The Everglades’ spirits are getting to know us,
And, the wind has begun to shift.
“Aren’t you ready to leave yet?”
“Aren’t you ready to leave?”
We are just like the Everglades.
We can only be what we are.
It seems that none of us have a choice.
What can we learn from one another,
Moving in different directions?
Will we meet at the end of the circle,
Or, will I go on and on until I am dizzy?
Will I follow myself until I’m lost?
After we are gone, of course,
The Everglades will take everything back.
The landscape will reassemble itself.
The leaves will abandon their camouflage.
The birds will grow a thousand wings,
And, the bodies of beasts will manifest,
In multiple additional dimensions.
The lizards will dance for the wild anhingas.
The heron will sing to the strangler figs.
Tonight the Everglades will be in my dreams,
But, I think it will forget about me,
As quickly as they can.
Years and years,
Of escape and consideration,
Piecing together an improbable paradise.
A decision at every corner,
Sometimes into the desert,
Into the jungle,
Onto a mesa,
Into no man’s land.
It is important,
Not just where you are going,
But, the direction from which you have come.
I am seeking answers. I am seeking contentment,
The lullabies of the breeze,
The heartbeat of the trees,
The wings of a dragonfly reflecting a rainbow,
In a puddle of mud.
I find nothing but evening falling,
Orange skies on the horizon,
An early owl,
Eager to hunt,
Before the moonrise shadows,
Stars obscured by clouds,
Hidden under the smoke,
And, not reflected in mirrors.
I find nothing but fireflies, confused by tricks of lightning,
Drifting in dreams of luminescent mushrooms,
Dancing under the cracked street light,
Down Broadway and Forty Second Street.
I am lighting up billboards and Plato’s Retreat,
Sitting with honkey tonk percussionists and rebels,
At glossy orange painted tables,
Getting drunk with cocaine and plans,
Jazz under my fingernails,
Howling from Grand Central to Soho,
A pigeon on my shoulder,
Grime and cement under foot,
Cold glass and steel in the sky,
A panhandler on each arm,
The bewildering echoes of the beat of Wall Street,
The eye of Cleopatra’s Needle,
Turned in on itself,
Watching the past,
So safe because we already know what is going to happen,
Nothing like espresso and poetry,
Snapping fingers instead of applause,
Everyone exaggerating themselves,
A “Shakespeare in the Park” actor,
Too good for summer stock,
Able to travel in any direction,
Open any door,
Be whoever you want.
Slumming on the Lower East Side,
Central Park South, Needle Park,
Another country around every corner,
From Columbus Circle to Sheridan Square,
Without a single smile,
Finally falling asleep to the rumble of the BMT,
Under the Brooklyn Bridge,
Chinatown over my shoulder,
Choking on air expelled by six million mouths,
Smothered by the dreams of everyone else,
In a hurry,
Rush hour pushing, shoving,
All scrambling to rise,
Or fifteen minutes of fame.
Me, too. Drowning.
“Top of the world, Ma.”
And, snap of the fingers,
Up in smoke.
Street lights out.
Not reflected by mirrors.
The Milky Way retired for the night,
Into the scream of a siren.
Into the silence of a dawn,
Of red wasps in the sun.
Grateful for my life,
And, for an improbable paradise.