Anxiety Dream: Everywhere I’ve Ever Been
Always it starts in some nameless city’s knot
of narrow lanes with the familiar pang of being lost
where I’ve ventured times before. It’s dawn
or dusk. A cloudbank yawns above the pedestrian rush
of infinite promise. At every turn a vista sprawls,
a skyline rears in jagged splendor like a page
from a pop-up book unfolding the maze
I’m helpless to retrace. Each step toward that district
where I’ve never been returns me far from
where my luggage squats on a cart, a train awaits.
A timetable ticks like a stopwatch in my hand
as all the cabs ignore my frantic hails.
Shiva’s Dance (My Tantric Massage)
Casa del Árbol, Puerto Vallarta
What can I say? My mass became irrelevant; my age,
erased. Both melded in the enveloping mist
of his hands—palm, heal, thumb, forearm, firm
or feathering. I lay like a canvas beneath each touch
of an artist’s brush. What did I know, if anything,
of Tantra’s elaborate tropes for the body’s breaking
into bliss? A sitar played, lotus-pink orchids nodded
from the walls. A banyan encased us in its shade.
Blindfolded, I fell into that state of zero G some might call
transcendence—the viscera’s plexus of neural fires adrift
in liminal dark of an almost sleep. At some point this wiry man,
Yair, had begun moving his breath upon the waters of my body
and become, I imagined, multi-limbed, dancing
a world into creation around me. A wash of pigments flowed
along my spine, then rose . . . red, orange, green . . . each
projected on the screen of my brain before they fused
in a flash of white. —Do words exist that admit the ineffable,
the momentary nothing I felt? Minutes, more?, passed
before I woke. Breathe, Yair was whispering, and I breathed:
the linen’s oily scent, the banyan’s musk, the swirls
from a sandalwood stick that eddied across my skin.
An onshore breeze now carried the hum and rush
hour fumes of Vallarta’s traffic from below. Yair stood
above me, naked, with arms branched in benediction,
the blindfold dangling from his hand in a slash of sun.
His flesh glistened with the effort of his dance. The banyan
chattered in a million demotic tongues. From where had I
returned? —Rubbish, I almost said, when he later explained,
“That rainbow was Shakti imbuing your chakras
with feminine energy, that radiance was your union
with the god.” How does one acquiesce to such faith?
He helped me clamber from the table, and we embraced.
Richard Foerster's ninth collection, With Little Light and Sometimes None at All, is forthcoming from Littoral Books in Fall 2023.