life and the loud baby

I am sitting in my winter boots,
down in the living room,
worrying about the
sleep in death,
the DEATH
in sleep.

And I recall
the loud baby
on a bus
once
when I slow-rolled
up the Paulson,
the snow coming so hard
it hobbled the old horse
and lofted the windows
in a coat of potato mash.

Even though loud baby
only wept
and screamed a lot
something in the
inarticulate
infant
static
spoke to me.
It was a shabby
number,
a rendition
of
“Hang out the Stars in Indiana”
and went like this:

‘I remember my birth,
the sudden chill,
the dry, irritating blankets–
the incredible explosion
and bursting intensity
of LIGHT
and the bizarre creatures
swimming in this luminosity,
a strange moment,
SLEEP,
swept over me
and I recognized it
for what it was–
the same dark
peacefulness
which formed me,
silent THOUGHT,
rich in the power
of life and LOVE.’

‘I recall a time
before my SELF,
before THOUGHT;
I was not “I”
but part of THE ONE
[ much like a leaf
on a tree
until something happens
–a windstorm–
and the leaf drops…
toward
it-knows-not-where ].’

‘I remember
even before all this…
a distant room,
indistinct voices,
love,
pain,
sorrow…
a death,
“my” death,
my body
–the body of an old woman–
beneath me on the bed,
motionless,
my own eyes
staring up at me.’

‘And then
FALLING AWAY,
a dissolve,
wherein a
sweet forgetfulness
took hold.’

‘i forgot “I”.’

‘i forgot my true love’s name,
his/her face,
i forgot Earth
and all its beauty,
forgot my children’s eyes,
forgot DEATH
and that i had died,
LIFE
and that i had lived it.’

‘i was made pure in this,
this stripping away,
i forgot
SHAME
and GUILT,
i forgot
ENMITY,
JEALOUSY,
LUST.’

‘At last
i was
NO MORE.’

‘Fit to begin.’

And with that
the loud baby
drifted off to sleep,
finally,
for a bus is too small
for screaming infants
even if they are
PHILOSOPHERS.

But just before
total silence
and the storm’s rebuttal,
except for the droning
as the bus neared
Nancy Greene

I am certain
loud baby
gurgled
and in this
song
I heard:

‘All these things
come back to me
are clear as daylight now.
But with each passing night
the memory fades.
By the time
I can walk,
and speak,
am trained to think,
it will all be gone.

It, too, will pass away.’

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