The Aurora of Past Regards

By David St. John

(Based on “Marking Time” show)
As if memory were the night sky
For weeks I had been living in the auroras
Of past regards
Walking each evening through the expressionistic
Negatives of what had been the album
Of my life
All of those negatives made boldly present
By the rush of colors along the sky–
I’d always held to the propositions of escape
To those theorems of growth & departure
The way new foliage weaves along the trellis of desire
I had always hoped that I would rise like a phoenix
Into the fixed halo of the perfected
Self & now with the patience of an archeologist
Who has discovered the fierce weathers vibrating
Along the pale proscenium of some distant past
I stepped into its cold archway & discovered I was
Able to unfold the crumpled origami of memory
Frame by frame & print by print & canvas by
Canvas to find the articulations of those auroras
To recognize the fragrances of recollection
& the resurrection of each aspect of what God-
The-Animator had to set in motion filling Michelangelo’s
Cartoons with such liquid color pouring into those shapes
All of the force of blood & circumstance
Along those ever-drying frescoes of lost time–
It was as if one day walking through an old second-hand shop
Just off the beach I’d discovered an over-sized pack of cards
In a wooden case raw with age & rain & there within
Lifted out all of the scenes in my life
Each one valued not as Ace or Queen nor Jack nor King
But instead by the gilt borders of what “had been”
Each episode framed by the precise rendering
Of a fence or a street or the edges of an old house
Or the trees rising at the boundary of a farm
& each silver card of that miraculous deck
As lifted it into the light
Reflected not only what had been & whom I’d loved
But also there I could see myself at every age
Released into those shifting mirrors
& I saw not only how I’d once seen the world
But also the many ways my own past regarded me
& how the world when it sees us is also simply seen
As our hopes & in our own auroras of past regards