Returning to the Temple ©

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written May 8th, 2007


We awakened before dawn, when the sky was still
That rosy dove-feather grey, and began to notice
A presence, which — or should we say who? —
Despite our grogginess, began spreading her light
From the center of our heads, her voice mouthlessly
Whispering: “The soul is simultaneous with the sky.”
Then sleep overtook us, but not the usual sleep,
This was a graduating trip to another realm
Where we sensed completion, although we were
Still trying to gather useless relics for our journey
When the day surprised us, and we awakened
To that vigorous blue ubiquity and heard the voice
Again, but now distinctly round, and masculine:
“The sky is simultaneous with time.”
Our skin turned gold and the light inside our heads
Became the sun. Everywhere within our bodies, now,
We could feel them, be them: the birds,
The trees, the houses, the moving waters,
The people in their ceaseless conflagrations.
The rosebuds exploded into roses and blanketed
Runways of petals beneath our steps,
While herds of animals migrated through our bones.
And now — oh word of origin, word of flagrant bliss —
Her voice and his, in sonorous unison,
Sang with a single tone, that strange word: “Home.”


Premonition ©

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written February 20th, 2009

Listen here for my reading of “Premonition.”


Because our houses stand on tremulous fill
Atop the dormant body of a swamp
Once forested by cypress and by fir,
Sometimes the resinous odors start to seep
Though our too-porous floors,
And waken us with the unsettling breath
Of thwarted ancientness.
Time is displaced, and we feel the loneliness
Of that forest taking us from our beds,
Like the gush of an early tide, our small
Skiff lifted by an inexorable force.

Our fate, on such nights, is both dreadful
And wonderful, as the skiff  floats, not only
On brackish serpents, their strong backs
Made muscular by the mysteries of the sea,
But also on our own bright brackish blood,
In the way that animal images flood our dreams.

Now we stagger through the dark house,
And stare out the window at a sky, where,
There and here, disturbing smears of clouds
Reflect the city’s red undying glare, where
Clearings, like plush cloth, sprout tears of stars,
Where listening is a feeling in the skin,
And skin is scent and sweat and exultation.

A voice from nowhere says: “I never sleep.”
And hearing that bruised, huge strength pulse through our feet,
We smell, with lizard fear, the word “begin”.

Reunion ©

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written January 6th, 2009

Listen here for my reading of “Reunion.”


“During this time be blind, and cut away all desire of knowing, for this
will hinder you more than it will help you.  It is enough that you feel moved .”

The Cloud of Unknowing

 After the storm has passed over, the whole
Saturated earth heaves, and the cold stars,
And the sinking, wounded moon, withdraw
Again behind rising, silken vapors.  Slow.
That is the experience.  A motion like a vagueness
That says: “Slow”.  We know that something
Momentous is underway, that the emergence
Of something ancient in ourselves,
Whose cravings, after four-billion years
Of evolution, are inexorably dissolving
The simulacra of a quantifiable identity
To reveal the rugged primitive of what we are.
Slow.  And yet, even in the midst of our fetish
For surfaces, these timeless mists remake
Nothingness into a vast being, a being
Alert to the ceremonies of this most potent darkness,
Which extends infinitely in all directions at once.
Slow.  Space.  Gone.  And yet here, just here,
In the slow, in the space, in the absolute stop,
At the extreme edge of disintegration,
Beyond the fears of the contemporaneous,
We meet our twin, the forever incomplete vagueness,
Who erases the last vestiges of our skin,
And makes us one with starlight and with night.