I Understand It

an illustration by Margaret C. Cook for a 1913 addition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass

A poem by Donny Lee Duke

He did.
He figured it out.
You haven’t seen it.
Oh my God no one has even read it.
What is your name?
A holistic reader.
There’s a lot of censorship
of the ideas that make the world.

The world ran out of culture.
It couldn’t see itself.
It didn’t care.
It couldn’t come up with itself.
It just stayed where it was.
It didn’t know where it was.
It had no means for improvement.
It was small and intimate.
It was huge and dim.
It didn’t know where to begin.
It’s stomped on itself.
It raced ahead.
It lagged behind.
It wore horns no one could grasp.
We sit here and stare at it today,
just confused by what we see.

This was self-taught,
how we reach out and touch the world.
It didn’t come in the papers.
It wasn’t on the Internet.
No course in university taught it.
No book could grasp the whole.
It wasn’t in speech.
You couldn’t find it anywhere.

Everybody was afraid of it.
They thought it would bite them.
How to reach out and touch the whole
came from inner experience.
It was deeper than the world.
It really tested your boundaries,
and you had no choice but to surrender to its process.
It had your very being at heart.
It schooled you,
showed the inside of everything.
You never saw it completely.
You just handled it with care.
It would eat you alive
if you affronted its mission.

You understood it was a Larger you.
You saw it dream
a nation of particulars.
It gave you vision,
spoke to you with the inner voice.
You held it close to you
and processed its thought
into the unknown.
Great the days lay
the seat-point of vision.
You just studied reality
absolved in yourself.

You had no way to communicate this to men,
wherever you came from.
No poem would read it,
no prose spell it out.
The visual arts could not express it,
no drama act it out,
no dance routine show it,
even in its living room.
It was beyond itself.

If you got life that need a poet,
I’m your subject right here.
Now go floss
with the rest of that form.
You’ve left something incomplete.
If I just listen,
I’d find it out numbers me.
I’ve encountered a different verse.

Its form is amplified by common speech.
There is the line.
Give me back my lunch;
I can do nothing with the way it works.
See there
you’ve been taken in.
Now tell me I’m a Great Lake I’m ready to play.
Now tell me I was murdered.
You know I just heard the news and wrote it down.
I’m a five star hotel,
and I’ve got the muse
in poetry form.
I mean inner voices speak.
It’s the divine muse of poetry.

How raw and off the cuff.
It has every name involved.
It won’t leave you alone.
Now say I’m silly
understanding prose.
All is said
to top off the mountain,
to be a governor unto itself,
to let you fly in the word.
How could that be?
I don’t think I got all freaked out about it
as grey mountain.
The poetry of redemption lands here,
the upper money.

I will just let you fuck me,
give in.
I’m about to be homeless.
That death I was telling you about,
they take my sky away from me.
The ground of silence eats me up.
I become a Silent Mind.
Realization proves my calling.
There’s nothing else
to realize:
we’re in love
with the whole thing,
each business and everybody.
We grok this.

It’s standin’ on your shoe.
Great the papers play
in the immediate seat of your room.
Welcome to the lost word.
That’s the sound of silence,
a preface to Enlightenment.

A shortcut,
I can write it down.
What else
can we do?
Headphones surround—
you’re hearin’ the interior music.
You’ve opened up that wide.
Wrap up some milk
left you some poetry.
This is your ticket.

For you it would be nice
right here:
the grinding of the dog.
I’m a farmer.
This is my business.
I keep business spoken.
Pinecones have left to a civilization.
What are you guys?
TikTok
describin’ the universe,
time of missed a keyframe
and causality.
Whether you want to or not,
the movie echo system.
You said what?
Reality in this page.
I’m gonna listen to yah.
Good mornin’.

I’ll loosen poetry I’ll listen.
Find that way offshore.
But Enlightenment seeks.
Ask her about the whole thing.
Did you tell ‘im you’ll take the horses,
make that your team?
Not that saying but keep
outside science,
and never cry wolf.
Read my full exposed.
My hands are tied.
Make me feel better.
Make me feel so much better.
We’re in this cut;
at least our voices aren’t.
He actually science.
Cosmopolitan
I understood it,
no doubt.
He’s right in front of me.
I could sing up here for hours.

I have everything I need to start the revolution.
I’m a purpose.
I want a bigger world.
You can keep me out as long as you can.
I’m not gonna die.
I’m gonna change consciousness.
Look me over.
I’m real.
I am so very real.
You can’t get around me.
It’s reality I’m showin’ you,
all holistically laid out.
You can dance all you want.
Reality’s not goin’ anywhere.
It’s on the way to you,
even if you don’t want it.

Reality’s comin’ for you.
Hold your head up high and embrace it.
A poem with your name on it Marginalian.
Poetry works
I can’t ignore.
She’s busy,
clean up what happened:
showed herself a calloused human being,
with no feelings at all
for the man everybody hates.

There is no Whole behind the whole—
she shows you what that does to you
when you believe that.
You don’t have to love everybody,
and you can pick and choose.
You don’t even have to treat them human.
Your ethics just come from ground zero,
and you make ‘em up on the spot.

Okay Riviera,
let’s see you explore your consciousness.
Can you do that?
Wow, have you blocked things.
You will not be happy with yourself
on the other side.
Maria Popova,
live up to your ideals,
and that intelligence of yours,
taking it
to some encounter on the inside
you see the whole,
you see it all means somethin’.
Put your finger on it,
and let us hear your own source material.

Has the jacket,
a lonely packet,
of quoting the right material.
That’s starfish.
It says more than what you want it to say.
Okay I’m outta here.
I have to let you everything,
be a work in progress
understand human.
I’m reminding myself
of what I’ve been taught.
You can have this.
It’s a seer’s wisdom.
Handle it with care.

They were talking about
y’all are choosing the apartment
you’re gonna let this seer in.
I’ve reached out to so many people
over the years.
A big no they wouldn’t even tell me,
usually.
They just read me and tossed me aside.
Put up his banner,
that’s where we go.
Who stole the cones?
You know it’s not coming.
You’re here for the Rachel Carson.
Write someone back.
You never had more powerful that was the end of the game.

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