Some Angels


Some Angels

She flies easily.
And loves her young;
Of the earth, yet borne by spring.

I am vast apeiron’s death!
And legged sisters’ whisper
Bends dread illusion’s web.

In the marsh you’ll find me;
In twilight’s verdant glow;
Tailed bullfrog secrets shows.



My Friend (poem)

I will dream of ice.
Freezing, smooth.
Inhuman process.
Cracking like glass.
Slashing the dirt.

Ice in frightful blackness.
Not pure.
Not even alone.
The rain is cold.
No story heard to tell.

(C) 2017 Emma Gabriel

Sri Sri (poem)

Sri Sri

The simple words crossed my lips:
Sri Sri, and I saw you in our temple,
Dancing through the suns of eternity!
No, but greater, and all within,
For the parabola and root,
Negated and quantified by
Inferential ecstasy,
Creep hither ever,
Splendid and munificent,
And dreadful, destroyer–
Virus, web, strand, rhythm,
Smile, sneer, humility and vanity;

Yea, your cold mountain was in me!
Unreachable annihilator—
Intractable harbinger!
Dreaming swapna enveloped truth,
And ritual mind took me,
So I died to myself, in you,
Nothing but dust,
I say nothing at all, Lord almighty.
For your ways know justice;
Mercy is your dominion;
Who then would take the sword?
Who would deny the sanctity
Of your blood and your chicanery?
Even Mother lay before heaven,
Resplendent inversion!
What have we known?
What have we measured, o Illusion?
But our faults, a division cutting itself,
Forever, and delineating
The space of two magnitudes
Among modal vertices.

Where and when, Sri
The strategist bowed to
A golden age, plenary—
And so human, bridled with extortion,
As Athens shined before she crumbled,
While her sons and daughters huddled,
Fore Persepolis was razed.
I dance, but am mortal,
Always to step as my own
Fulfillment and imagination.
But on the precipice of all that is,
And all that ever was and can be—
You breathe easy joy and music.

What are you?
Who knows beginnings and ends,
All the oceans,
Enceladus’s brewing,
Jupiter’s eye,
Juno’s black lens,
And Cassini’s demise?

Put me to shudders, Lord Sri!
What risis knelt
Reverent, obsequious;
And theologians pranced
On a pin’s head;
Small life to grasp
Time before all ages:
Without constant or equal!
Without light or dark!
Without good or evil!
Pure tantra,
Know me—no, take me:
I never was!
Why shower me with jnana?
Who approaches, but a heretic—
A rider on the waves of an unfathomable sea—
I know you!
Yes, I know you!
Do not forget me.
I was born of your love,
And your might—
Like Hector and shining Achilles—
And the hominids, variation’s
Conceited species—
For all of life’s a stage, Sri.
Why do you call me, histrionic?
Princely slave,
Advisor of royalty?

What were we, and with what precision,
Before the blight of war’s machine,
Coming again?
Intruding finitude,
Blade to the heavens, o Monolith:
We cannot help but love you.


Vae Victus et Vae Vivus (poem)

Come through, again!
For nothingness, o Kraken,
heaven’s adversary,
known truth of every “not,”
eluder and end of all things,
shadow of the righteous Lord,
permeates the threads and spaces
of being and negation:
A voice that usurped wisdom
out of that unfathomable abyss,
the collapse of totality,
and even as it’s heard,
under the wall of brief mortality.

So rain down sugar-frosted bull jumpers,
those dreamed servants at the feast, beloved—
vaulting and bowing in holy angels’ fire;
Mystic soma, poured softly along crested thunderbolts
that splash light, and tear dread, granules,
skipping through the baleen of our wild sojourn.

While high bells chime, ringing out another exaltation–
wherein every one and all together,
know a safe and delicate smile.

I’ve been lost. What we’ve seen—
I’ve been lost to them, and quit their hollow lands.
Their hearts hope for justice, but their eyes look for power.
I’ve known every weight, every measure, and every inclination.
Their lives are meaningless to me! All their thoughts, their senses,
their hidden feelings—those, I can smell, like entrails on the altar.
Then we took to bitter exile.

I stood above all perfection!
Atop creation, I saw glassy dust under my feet,
and crystalline towers rising past eternity.
At the apex, I bled such endlessness
that Brahma gasped Aum—

And cellular matrices hovered about ethereal strings,
swirling in death throes—
the primordial stuff of unlimited mind,
mentalism, being as implication, triumphant!

Yet a stirring in my celestial breast
saw me woven to you by the strands of destiny—
a tattered cloth of desperation, and filth—
splayed across a deadened world.

See the skies, mortals,
where storm clouds ever gather,
where Sol sets upon the horizon,
and Saturn rages, devouring
the order of beleaguered symmetry,

My fortress was never assailed.
It was empty, the very death of music.
So, the lighted angles of your monoliths
cannot bind me, cannot know me,
and will never set you free.

(c) 2017 Emma Gabriel



De Anemone (Poem)

In prayer, I laugh. No sacrilege.
I feel you, like I would bathe in the tub,
seeing water circle right around the drain,
and dreaming cosmic panoplies and dying ages,
like Atlantis, sinking, and her people
begging not to go under and cold,
and not to have the last poured out of them.

I refuse to know you as a quiet ghost,
ethereal string-master of a forgotten play,
and have a certain feeling in my breast,
such a small, warm jiggle,
and feel you alive in me.

Lord, opened vision of every path to be tread,
in every kingdom, from microbe to ant,
to bird, to man, or planet, and heliosphere,
rogue clouds and blaring waves of undoing,
focused life and death in a single ray:
Here you are, as breath along my smooth back,
the sunlight on my legs, and speckled dance
through leaves over a cool summer creek,
clear as perfection–
you are still, the sweet, forlorn taste
of earthly air before a brief kiss,
smile on the lip of haunting youth,
and memory–
smells, coasting off the orchard’s apple blossoms,
and my own feet walking in the gardens,
where my laughter lives, forever, in you.

So I know you in this naiveté,
a simple music of soul
and soft trust of flesh,
remembering what we know
of your promise,
since it never really left us.

(c) 2017 Emma Gabriel

True to Caesar (Poem)

True to Caesar

Caesar lives as monuments–
While architects need only kneel,
Vanity splays over saddened faces
As elegant towers and bulbous foundations
That bear down on the lowly and poor,
Who welcome being full.

And the crier shrieks from atop
At the emptiness of infinity,
An icy twinkle in his eye
That sees crystalline truth as free.

My heron lights by daybreak,
And stalks the open shallows–
Plucking food as river’s gold,
With a gaping maw of lies.

For the architect became cement,
And the harvesters, his grain,
While the crier froze to minaret,
And Caesar coldly laughed again.

Yet the wheat and chaff must not burn.
I’m not the crier or the hopeless.
I’m starved of bread and air.
So I’ll be with the stars, dancing
Once I’m sent up there.

(C) 2017 Emma Gabriel

Mythic Rubble (Poem)

Here’s a poem I wrote in 2015 anticipating the abhorrent racism and division sweeping away good sense in the country. Oddly enough, one of the Charlottesville racial terrorists even had “Deus Vult” on a shield. The poetry club prompt was “rubble.”

Mythic Rubble

Ah, like the crumbling tower
Of my life’s inner narrative!

I’m not deluded or grandiose—
I’m Joseph Campbell reincarnate!

Here’s one out of the record books:
“For he has put everything under his feet.”

Like death, corruption, disintegration—
Of morality and social identity.

Oh no, I’m not having an identity crisis
(I already got my eighteen crises in today).

Cynicism, the battle cry of our crusade
Against wholeness. Remember “Deus vult?”

Whatever happened to the good old days?
Don’t worry, friends, they are fast approaching.

What side will you be standing on?

© 2015 Emma Gabriel

Flowers other than Gold

The naivist from impoverished lands,
like a simple cow, proud and easily tricked,
corralled from her plants and vegetative state,
thrown into a world of manifest profiteering,
is betrayed.

Our beloved architect,
prosaic savior,
enlightened scribe,
gritty American,
watches through the glass,
the melted panes,
spared the shattering
of Krystalnacht,
and presents hefty insights
that he’s made up
from the heated security
of his imagined usefulness.

For what self is in need,
so desperately of its own history,
colored by myopic polish,
exclusion, and exaggerated relevance?

No, self is now, America,
and our past is behind us.
And the chrysanthemums lie,
neither broken nor sown,
a token of the imagined
tragedy that we use
to hide our plainer sight
of the sadder art,
the longer art,
the myriad betrayals
within us.

[Prompted by Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums”]

(c) 2017 Emma Gabriel

The Three Oceans (poem)

Salum et Aequor

The turbulent and smooth oceans lie over a third,
and each in perfect rest of the other;
repose and stasis are just ripples upon the folds,
occluding broader currents, syntactical, gnomic supports,
sine waves twisting in helical intricacy, yet bridged
throughout and within, by shuttered, visionary geometry;

An absolute coextension of “affirmo rescindoque,”
yet lacking architecture to fall short of that hubristic ghost,
while aimed manifold to infinity, but ensnaring itself into itself:

How negations became divided past their modalities,
their constructively probabilistic angularities,
their relevance, divorced from the context
of their reticent incompleteness, their share in nothing,
so still they concretize densely amid absent particularity,
extended and defiant toward any other directionality,
that the miracle of their undoing is more abundant
than the unlimited beyond water’s rest.

And seeking its abnegation into the unknown, karmic mysteries
that show dread Maya’s smiling and Nataraja’s dancing;
and Sri Hari, supine to his primordial Sakti, the vajra is molten
across countless potentiality, resplendent in all excellences,
manifest inversely while diametrically, as multifarious wellspring,
given freely still, so germane enough to a human sense of wisdom,
poured out in due measure to our own nature and stewardship.

Yet being not oceanic, either–for appearance
never satisfied its absence, though visualized in hypotheses,
vainly strung about, and as elaborate denials of their mortality–
the nexus, lonely apex of all knowledge, is one of limitation,
formed up and sifted across cold lenses, borne in the delusion
that principled inspection is not merely its own antipathy,
neurosis, cast in a harsh craft of gross gnashing upon the outskirts,
penumbra to the angels’ song, least dust to burn and expire!

Just seizing on the fires that blaze across open fields of wind, alight and singing,
where every living chord rings fully, symphonic freedom beyond thought,
pulls in embrace, scented memory, all affections, preserved and appreciated,
and known forever, but through us just the mundane.

Priest Rendition [05-04-17]

© 2017 Emma Gabriel

Life and Chances

Early this morning–
I thought sincerely,
about being seen by others,
all for the better, of course,
and of having good things said.
So I thought to myself,
“I got another rep.”
Then I laughed out loud.

I saw myself in my mind, with a lady I don’t get along with. We were talking about her interest in astrophysics, entropy, and the fate of stellar universes. But then my voice interjected matter-of-factly, “She doesn’t want to be friends, Emma.”

I so wanted to leap again to those idyllic heights, assuaged by the dreamy security that none of what was imagined would come to pass, and hover in the delightful realm of possibilities.
Where movement costs no effort, so that things collapse into themselves as readily as they extend defiantly, though shell and schema fold, just like layers to the ocean.
And going back there seizes her higher thoughtfulness,
recalcitrant while entropic, into clutches of deep mystery,
where language speaks itself, fourfold,
interwoven as syntactic directories:
splayed toward higher dimensionality,
operating axioms implying triangularity,
referring always to elliptical logics that
find referents with reference to possibility itself,
coordinated in singular yet formulaic redundancy,
not from depth or reach or even breadth…
or retiary silver emerald webs, or pillars, spiraling minarets,
so elegant, gold and ivory, chryselephantine,
and delicate, too, vastly removed from need and energy.

But a gentler voice told me, and sang with my real beauty, of a gift from God, that dreams have lost whatever hypnotic character had held me outside of the truth, that they invite me into their majesty as readily as some cloudscape under dreaming colors of effulgence and dignity. Pipes, blaring, in united exaltation, elsewhere, completely– and so sad to tell another of this place, this unearthly place, which a poet called heaven, for it can be shown to no one else, because it becomes clearer each time, like an image over a still water on a barely hazy day with lingering saturation…

And I thought of math camp back in summer of third grade, using those green blocks representing decimal value integers. And then of how this “math camp,” as my parents had called it, was pretty engaging and interesting. I think it must have gone well for me not to have had any behavioral problems to memory. In any case, the feeling was one of doing well and enjoying learning about fractions and decimals. The teacher, who, oddly, escapes recollection, told my parents I was “good at story problems,” which is odd since I seemed to have done well in everything we went over. Story problems then were just as they are now, and that is to say, not that easy and not that fun.

Thinking back on this experience demonstrates my love of learning and abstract thinking. I have always loved these things throughout my lifetime. I am also very appreciative toward my parents for having given me this educational opportunity so early on in life. I was often cognizant of how they had started me nearly a year earlier than the other students in the same grade level. In fact, when it came to fifth grade, my parents were even able to arrange it so that I could leave math class early and go across the hall to Ms. Rosemary’s art classroom and hang out there for about thirty minutes or so. This was early afternoon, of course, as any Midwesterner would tell you. She was a well-mannered art teacher, and come to think of it, she had lovely, long blond hair with a hint of copper tones to its brunette and sandy coloring. She usually had it tied back and was a quiet lady.

My project, at which I worked for a at least a few weeks, and while I think on the other weeks of which, I can’t quite give satisfactory account, was to draw a biographical history of Van Gogh in a book I had made. I remember drawing a few pages in it. The book was very fascinating, though, and it is what I based the drawings on. It was a lovely oversize art book on the artist. I so loved his art at that time.

The local art museum was at the University of Michigan’s main campus in Ann Arbor—a fairly quiet and diverse college town (though revelry was widely accepted), with a large population of international students, a history of radical liberalism, and a tolerant pot culture, it was nevertheless a place that I was taken with right away. Stunning, while marble buildings in the neoclassical style, lawns, and bright students graced the campus, and its art museum was full of romantic landscapes on the first floor from painters in Italy, the Netherlands, France, and Germany. Most of these were more generally from the renaissances in those countries and onward through the late Nineteenth. There were two great statues by a French artist in the neoclassical rendition that are still there today.

My father would often take me there because he loved going there with me, and besides, knew by fifth grade, that I was different than the other children. We went to a Picasso exhibit several times. I took my art book and drew the artist’s “Lady with a Green Hat.” The book of colored paper I drew it in was made by my father’s first wife, though I only knew her after their divorce. Maryvonne actually made and bound it from scratch for me at her bindery one afternoon. Actually, it took the whole day, but was hugely exciting for me. I helped her carry out the whole process. At the end, we printed the cover with golden letters in a Roman typeset. The binding was black. Over the years, I drew many sketches in it.

Although my book of art was lost, like so many chances and accomplishments in life, I will not forget the honored memory and work of my parents, who fought for the brightness of their child’s future.