Burden of Light

(Inspired by Munch’s Sun painting series, in which he stared directly at the sun. He later experienced retinal damage. I don’t know if there’s a connection, but I was inspired by the idea of someone burning out their eyes while paying homage to the sun).


The strangest pain is too much joy—
I stagger under its weight.
Born too bright,
I crave shadow,
my face fading
in the burning light.

There is no skeleton,
only skin—
There is only pleasure,
never sin.
I levitate easily into the sun:
in dreams I float right in,
atom by atom
in its permanent grin.

The worst pain is having known and seen

and living in the green afterglow
of the burnt-in cornea,
hearing the roar of eternity
in my blown cochlea
but when I look in my backpack,
it’s empty
and I feel suddenly so alone

and knowing I’m supposed to find it again
somewhere under a bush
and share it with you
and then when I look,
it hides, laughing, and flits behind me
Sometimes I dig something out of my pocket
and it blinds me,
a post-it note from G-d—

rapture is a switch
that, once pulled,
stays forever turned on
so, burning and electric,
I fight the urge to dance
at odd moments
and cloak myself in clouds
so I won’t be noticed—

maybe if I seek the night,
the stars will oblige
one by one, to share their light
divulging subtleties
in their constellations
without the side effects
of ultraviolet radiation

Or maybe I’ve missed the point
and didn’t realize
that all along,
the bush itself was burning
and so am I
and everything that dances
in my wake—

ecstasy is no currency
in a world of corners
if anything,
it is a weakness
so use it accordingly
and guard it preciously
but distribute it freely
and realize there are no dualities
paradox is orthodox

and syntax is the substitute
semantics are gymnastics
understanding is confining
to a prison of the past
Don’t try to make this last
Don’t try to explain,
just close your eyes
and notice the patterns
on the backs of your lids
that form a landscape
if you look long enough
an inner city
within easy commuting distance

I know I am awake
and that my eyes are superfluous
but until I learn to see through the blindness,
it’s so hard to burn alone,
living in this secret place
where joy and sorrow are one.

© Psyche Marks 2007

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top