Douglas Penick

Blanqui Unknowing Loss

Violence exhausted,

All action past;

Imprisoned deep below the granite dome

Whose high summit is ever unfathomable

In shadow:

A monster to established ways,

Judged, convicted, imprisoned

A Minotaur, he muses:


there may be a way to contact, you,

the other prisoners.

While no physical medium allows.


there are parallels and passages


within the mind where thought flows

to merge boundariless.



Log ago, long after expulsion from the Deiity’s garden, His Eden,

Humanity, ever on the move,

Now amid sparkling waves

Finally discovered a New World!

Europeans, we discovered unexpected living

Lands and shimmering seas of an alien star

And it did not occur to us, didn’t

That we had found Yahweh’s Eden once gain

Our place of origin,

Our point of departure

From which so long ago, we were expelled



We Europeans, ever on the hunt,

Were not inclined to think that we,

Were not extending

The limits of our fallen world,


Might have found

A space undivided,

The innocence of all beginnings


So, amid the silent walls, do I begin to wonder if there is a way to find in our imagining a garden or a palace or a book or music or device in which we, imprisoned everywhere, can meet and share the fact, the mere fact of our task, our awareness.

I begin to find that certain movements of the body cause specific images to arise in mind. If I lie on my back and slow my breathing by consciously relaxing my diaphragm, I am still in Paris. I am crossing a street near a news-stand at the Boulevard St, Michel. It is eleven in the morning, bright, warm. Lying on the floor, as I relax my neck, I see a restaurant near Montmartre. It is a famous place, I think, a place where artists once gathered. Now only tourists go there. Nothing quite comes together.


It did not once occur to us,

Then or now, that

These white beaches, these deep and humid jungles,

These macaws shrieking,

This deep river opening on the shore,

That this, your great discovery.

Is both New and Ancient World.


It is our Eden where


A gracious and merciful God may offer us redemption

From our history of sin, violence, corruption.

The prisoner gives a bitter smile.

Yes, indeed, Columbus, on his 2nd voyage, considered that, yes, when his ship touched the shores of what was later named Venezuela, he might have rediscovered Eden. But that time he had other missions. But he could not put it out of his mind. He returned on a 3rd voyage to explore this possibility even though it stretched the lines of history.


What is awake and what is asleep come to have a very different significance for me now than once they did.

I feel sometimes as if I am perched on the summit of a mountain at the summit of the night and my thoughts and all the images and sensations that pour through my frame radiates through all the universes taking shapes and finishing out as lives of moments I will never see and which I will no longer have to maintain. A kaleidoscope of edges, borders, boundaries, junctures, breakages.


Columbus did not stay.

The exigencies of establishing a slave state in Hispaniola,

The need to temper his brothers’ ill-considered brutality,

Shifted the course of his energies into dark and familiar channels.

New white Americans would follow him.

Thus again we lost a verdant and ample Paradise;

Colonization by genocide and slavery

Became your outer our inner engagement

with the unknown.


Loss, destruction and unknowing now conjoined.


A beam of light of slower frequency than the blue violet range passes through space. Though it cannot be seen by the naked eye and no one has bothered to create an instrument to observe it, it leaves certain traces. Like the faintest of breezes rustling in the high branches of the palms, it strokes the webs and networks that bind matter as visible or auditory or perceptible or graspable or knowable or just beyond knowable. It causes webs of awareness to vibrate subtly. It creates an inaudible music that can sometimes, but not always, move denser and weightier forms. A hissing, a faint laugh, rippling from afar, sometimes causes the rulers of the world to look down in unaccountable shame.


Douglas Penick © 2019