DARK LOTUS, BLACK NOISE Ryu Ando We don’t need other worlds. We need mirrors.” — Stanisław Lem The infinite, dark lotus that haunts our waking dreams, Lurks just below the surface of these frozen seas, Reminds us that we are old men now, wrenched from time; The euphoric ouroboros, it says, will swallow us whole; Gorged full on remembering, we are destined to bottom Out, like echoes from dead wells, seven generations Into the heart of the pale spiral and elide into black noise. The oceans of our youth are not the same seas That cover us now; they were never the same Anyway, so they say. Every time you slid Into them they were new, reborn; just like You were never the same each time you stepped Back into yourself, bringing with you (as you awakened From slumber) that spark of consciousness, Cupped in your hands like a firefly with its wings torn off To keep it still, to keep it safe; but the spark will fade, As always, muted and smeared, and you are erased By the eternal sleep, until you reappear again awakened And lit by some divine phosphorescence. The pearls that were mine eyes are not pearls Of wisdom, merely the decorations of false gods; And the alien sun recedes from us, As if it would break upon contact, To the arctic edge where shadows encroach Upon this outer world’s perfect circle; And winter comes early (or maybe it never left), Building a living architecture in crystalline Composed only of ourselves. The auroras spit light upon our failing eyes: Beaten rods, broken reeds Cones of silence, staffs of wonder; But we are no closer to you (As we analyze and split you Consume you and extrapolate you, Hammer you into the thin, golden God-like mask we wish to wear) No closer to that lurking dream-like lotus And our last chance sinks beneath the surface.