~ Poetry & Prose
Antero Alli


I am going to die. So what? Everyone dies.
True. However, my demise has a schedule.
You know when you will die? Not exactly.
These measures of time are rarely precise.
The body runs on its own time, Body Time.
The mind doesn’t know what to make of time.
I am in the time of priming for Initiation.

Every passing day the symptoms of my dying
Waves of fatigue, a weakening of muscles
The hearing loss, the tightrope between worlds,
Every symptom primes me for the coming Initiation,
Every one essential to the inevitable collapse
And surrender to the mystery and grandeur
Of life folding in on itself and transforming.

All the books explaining, defining this mystery
Written on paper from trees that didn’t have to die
Dusty tomes of lies and metaphysical diagrams
Philosophers doting over their Big Picture minds
Perched high enough above everything
To watch life pass by, experiencing nothing.

Having died and been reborn many times before
Never a one-two punch of death and then, rebirth
No. Multiple stages unfolded within each Initiation,
Dissolution, decay, silence, a stillness of stone
A drifting between worlds that some call bardo
Initiation approaches closer every morning
Rising, I make coffee and toast, enjoy the Sun
As this pulsating soul opens to greater unknowns.

Her Wisdom

I hear her coming up the stairs
She appears behind me, I feel her watching me
I have nothing to hide but I’m still afraid
Of her judgement. She knows too much.

I continue writing as she passes behind me
Drifting into her office where she creates the world
Textiles and fabric dyed with the color of plants
I hear her sewing machine revving up.

I think she might be thinking of me
But in reality, she’s too far away to know me
I’m writing a book about how planetary symbols
Represent autonomous forces with agendas of their own.

She could care less about astrology
One of many things I like about her
She keeps me humble, alert to my folly
I find her wisdom annoying.


The Other Side

Sometimes it feels as if I have already died, many times over in fact,
with a part of me always passing over to the Other Side. And with this
experience comes a sense of being in two worlds -- the daily one and a
netherworld that feeds me strange impressions that sometimes reappear
in my films. There's a kind of corridor connecting these two worlds,
an interzone, a neither here nor there place -- not somewhere I like to
hang out too long. This bardo corridor between worlds is like a tunnel
in an underground subway, allowing safe passage between worlds but
not a place to hang out. I know some who remain there, the tunnelmen,
trying to stay warm in the bardo, wandering aimless, never arriving
anywhere. A few of them are poets, all are lost.


Living with a Sorceress

She is a Sorceress, not something
She’d call herself but she is. A Sorceress.
She conjures, she chants, she sings to herself
And the air around her changes.

Sometimes, she dances ecstatic to music
Only she hears. Rhythms beating hard in her heart.
Other times, she slip slides down a spiral staircase
Of dead flowers and lands in a den of demons.

That’s when I run to the Grimoire to find out
Which demon possesses her now?
Greed? Fear? Guilt? Rage? Timidity?
And what spell must I cast to protect myself?

You see, I am also a Sorcerer.
I don’t call myself that. But I am. A Sorcerer.
Who else could live with a Sorceress?
We know each other in ritual time, the timeless time.

Here we remain unknown to ourselves
Drinking in the mystery of being. Laughing at death.
She is the better cook, I take out the garbage
We have an arrangement. Of opposing Sorceries.

It’s more a quincunx than an opposition
Precise geometry matters with Sorcery.
The elliptical quincunx is a slippery angle
You have to know when to yield and when to push.

If you push when you ought to yield, all hell breaks loose
And those psychic wounds require ritual time to heal.
If you yield when you need to push, nothing happens
And it’s easy to mistake the moment for a failure.

In our elliptical love, I yield more than push
She gets her way more often than me.
In the long run, this gives me more power
Power being a preoccupation of Sorcery.

Not power over her but power to empower
The power it takes to realize shared dreams.
To consolidate the immaterial into materiality
The ongoing work of any Sorcery worth its salt.

When we go out on the town, as we sometimes do
Nobody knows who we are but that is the same for everyone.
Nobody really knows who the others truly are.
They could be Sorcerers and Sorceresses. Just like us.

Watch the VideoPoem


Trick Top Hat

Time, as in, how we got this way
The trick top hat of your disappearing act,
The duration and destruction of clocks,
The moment before us, gone, but not forgotten
The big one that got away, the dream fish!

The girl on the bicycle, her shadow racing
Across the horizon faster than a speeding photon,
Time, you basket of sparrows, you lucky imposter!

Supermodel runaway, grandfather clock-sucker!
You gave so much and now you’re in bed with commerce?!

Time, the eternal one-night stand.
With all the money in the world
Betting the house, coming up snake eyes!
Ravaging the ultraviolet veils between Eden and Babylon
You cleaned up, you cashed in, you ducked out of town
With an embarrassment of riches and a cul de sac smile...
Who knew the deck was stacked with happiness hallucinations?


The World is not The Planet

The world is not the planet -- it’s the fuzz on the peach
The static, not the signal - -the culture, not the truth.
The world is a busy busy busy busy place
Busy with the business of survival on the planet.

The world is burning with business, the hot new buzz of fizzness
The fizzy business of saving the planet but the world is not the planet.
The planet is the signal, not the static -- the truth not the culture.
The planet is in the business of saving itself from the world.



If you hear bells
And nectar: if you taste nectar
At the back of your palate
While hearing bells

(Where there are no bells
When there is no nectar)

There's a fair chance
You're about to die
Or, be enlightened.

If you die, there's nothing
You can do about it.
If you are enlightened,
There is nothing you can do about it.

In that split second
Between inhale and exhale
A holy gasp of silence
Spits light from an angel's eye
And you stand there, breathless
When you should run for your life.

The gap widens, dilates and opens
The top of your head, the crown
Touched by heaven, touched
When the angel's arms wrap around
The last sound you see
The light you hear
Before you're gone.


The Anima Shrine

Standing outside your circle, I imagine you
All eyes! Inside unfathomable textures of, is it, light?
Teasing. No…inflaming, all the dreams of what could be.
I step inside your temple and nothing happens
And then, I collapse. Crushed by a hairy chimera
My images. My expectations, my burning house!
Where am I now? Inside these flames, I am laughing
While my house burns down.

The fences pick up their stakes and walk away 
Leaving nothing behind but smoke, ashes. Ashes. 
A carbon-charred crucifix hisses in the steady rain.

Under a shipwrecked moon. Beached crabs, mouths foaming
Over black sands, broken shells, severed claws, foam.
Who died here ? There are tunnels here. And tombs.
Some kind of sleep that grows its own shelter over time.
There are no metaphors for this love of yours, 
Only death and surrender, this love of yours 
Has destroyed everything near and familiar to me.

Have I passed the test? Am I still attractive? 
Do you still want me?
A sudden shyness flushes across the only thing 
I can still call my own, my face, this mask.
The only thing I can still call my own.
Truth be told, it looks much better on you.

Anima, you are not the love of my life.
That burden and joy belongs to another.
A woman, the woman, the real woman.
Anima, you are not the Muse, not my Muse
A messenger, maybe, psychic relay switch
Between here and beyond and back again.
You have your work and I have mine.
The woman, she too, is not the Muse, no…
She is too good for that. She knows what I like.
She carries me in her heart.  



O GOD OF THE END OF THE WORLDI am afraid to take you seriously
Tell me you’re only kidding, blow my cover to expose my true feelings
Make me laugh at death without forgetting my mortality.

I am embarrassed by my need to be right all the time.
Send me your most gorgeous dropdead image, the Mother of All Visions,
The vision that outgrows and destroys all other visions (including itself),
So I can see through myself when I am lying.

I am bored to tears with my intolerances.
Grant me the enchantment to be entertained by the hidden pixie agendas
Behind all dreary, dismal grey-faced warnings so I can stop
Taking myself more seriously than the life I am actually living.

I am utterly and royally confused.
Make me go crazy in the name of Creation, not Destruction,
So I may freely sabotage the literalist virus immobilizing my imagination
And learn to incite riots in the minds asleep to your splendor and your glory.

I am fucked up beyond all recognition.
Trick me into not knowing whether I am really a good person or really a bad person.
Give me the wisdom to never believe my own PR and what other people think of me,
No matter how much money they pay me.
Deepen my gratitude for being a nobody in an UnWorld
Of wannabe somebodies and hungry ghosts, so I can be touched in the head
By your benevolence and tell your truths
Without wanting the credit


Under a Shipwrecked Moon

I am asleep when the first mast snaps with a thunderclap!
A cracking that shakes the skeleton, all bodies bolting upright
Sight suddenly blinded by flashes of lightening speed dancing
Through the portals, calling every detail in the cabin to attention
Until the entire luminous design slowly dissolves, in one piece,
Back to blackness, that sweet blackness, the comfort and terror
Of the Great Mother Sea.

And now, the rushing ? The rushing sounds! I am climbing out the hatch
Onto starboard, there! Two mates screaming, dangling on the grab-rails
Flapping in the squall like shredded sheets, lightening forcing all detail to freeze!
And then, dissolve back to sweet blackness.

We see everything, our faces frozen with astonishment...fifty-foot rollers
Crashing through the gunwhales, flooding the hatches. Now: radio down!
Three men overboard, the dinghies adrift. The hull is bilged.
The vessel flounders and now, finally: capsized.

The terrible sights and sounds of angels, everywhere angels!
Their massive wings battered down by these gails of hell
Swallowed inside the belly of an ungodly tempest.
The lightening bolts! The thunderclaps!

The silence.

The silence, my love, the silence...


(from the 2003 film, "Under a Shipwrecked Moon" )

Other Works, Writings, Films by Antero

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