I WATCH YOU BATHING
To view a spiral galaxy,
I need enormous distance.
To see the fractals in an orchid,
my eye must be very close.
How far do I have to stand
to see all of you? How near
when you weigh as much
as your smile?
It may be impractical on Earth
raised by volcanic violence
and covered two thirds by tears,
but if you care to know my religion,
see through my eyes
when I look at your face in the water.
Architecture of Light
The darkest place in a human body
is inside the skull,
yet, when the world was my putty,
I was a swallow.
I designed fantastic structures
around an illuminated womb.
I molded space and light
like the sculptor’s hand molds clay,
but before I drew a line, all my designs
gelled from the crowded darkness in my head.
The atrium flooded with light at sunrise.
A fig tree cast a shade at noon.
The last rays of a setting sun
played a shadow theater on the limestone chimney.
A flying staircase grew around it like a spine of piano keys.
I added volume, subtracted mass,
composed a fugue with color.
I lay on my back before sleeping,
and watered the orchids in my mind.
The structures lived, because they changed me.
It was fun to play God — until I became one.
I brought a woman to share that space.
I recall the shivering minutes
when I carried our infant daughter
inside the pouch of my jacket, facing the world.
I showed her pear trees, dahlias, blue jays.
Her first words were light and play.
Her eyes changed what mine saw.
Now I design spaces in the temples of our children
drunk with the light their mother radiates.
The hickory above our trampoline
holds a bar swing, a wave slide,
a vine of steps to their nest.
Uranium Cubes and MC Squared
While Vau Zwei bombs exploded the cupboards of London
Churchill asked everyone to close their eyes
when the Big Ben stroke seven, and for one minute
the Isles basked in victory. To Europe draped in Wehrmacht brown,
England was a lighthouse, flashing a beam of hope every evening
to the shores of reflected light.
Six guerrillas on Nordic skis blew up a plant
in occupied Telemark. It extracted heavy water
to wine the strands of uranium beads,
their subcritical cubes strung between two disks
designed to blow them together.
Gleaming necklaces ready for a ball.
Was it the Tsunami of the collective mind
what baptize Normandy coasts with American blood?
Did the might of England’s secret weapon
melt the German dice to fall on other islands?
Hundred thousand people on the wing
in the mushroom puff of Hiroshima
whispered that humans are too deadly to fight.
A black hole is an hourglass of spacetime
burning as a nova in the universe of ghosts. This moment,
the event horizon of our leap into afterlife.
But does the sun that gives us life, vacuum her light
from Danang, Nagasaki, Baghdad? The world of the dead
and the world of the living are falling into each other
as eternally as we fall in love. A twin hologram of pain and ecstasy,
the sperm, the blood, the twisted smile of God.
Each of us comes as a thread of silk a hundred years long
or enough for one breath, knotting the prayer rug of the world
with our lives. Then we dive back through cancer, bullet hole,
or earthquake; loop our heel tendons from the underside,
and tie our yarn again in the warp of solar orbits.
No mortal sin, no slip of hand, no flaw.
Wars and epidemics add colors and patterns to the lemming cliffs
of civilizations, but for the shores without shadows
our undressed souls save their Mardi Gras.
I wake knowing the universe lives in our consensus screen
its masterpiece of dreams. Spacetime, the breath and pulse of God,
blows apart with light speed. Architects of light,
feel our hearts leap at that rate.
Gaia’s Wedding Kiss
The kingdom of heaven is inside you, not in the buildings of wood or stone.
Split the wood, I am there. Lift the stone, you will find me.
–Jesus in the Gospel of Apostle Thomas
The Earth became a part of heaven when we burned Giordano Bruno,
but Heaven on Earth? A frightening metaphor. When the heavens shrink
to light years of darkness and fire, and the antimatter rocket sets our fist
on Mars, the final frontier remains where we come from. Women live
to share that place, but men must die to return there.
With one daughter, one son, and peace, my family – the cone of a tornado,
will grow five-thousand-fold every three centuries. Will the Milky Way contain you
by the year three thousand, when at the cusp of the avalanche of lovers
every breathing human will be a direct descendant of mine?
My fairy tales, the lyrics of her lullabies are plotting the charts of your universe.
Can we elect as the road map for our lives, anything but peaks of the continental divide?
The only thing better than loving a woman is being one,
for who can I compress a hurricane into a Coke bottle? A womb into the skull of a man?
Money blinks from monitor to monitor with the speed of light.
Odessa goddesses, China dolls of Shanghai are the prize. Love breaks Mach One.
The carousels of matrimony click another notch, but a honeymoon at the airport
turns every prince into a frog. When the gaze in the mirror tells me, I live in a well
so deep, I see stars at noon, I receive a jolt from the Himalayan spine –
an email offer of a meditation course. Silos, hog farms, and phone pole dendrites
embroider the horizon of an Iowa town where every affair is incest.
In the fecund darkness of my skull, I picture enlightenment
as if TM wired Christmas lights in my head. Photons incarnate into pine boards.
Skylights nipple the meditation domes, two heroic mandalas of sunrise
turned cellulose. Two thousand close their eyes in sync, backbones coiled
like sea horses in limestone. Matter unrolls the DNA of God.
Behind our eyelids we join the soundless choir where every thought is a lie.
As the low-voltage orgasms of the flying sutra wash each brain,
Moses, Christ, Mohammed, and Buddha toast with milk above the maples.
No use for sepia on compressed tree pulp, no fodder for crows
in drying trenches, no spores for plutonium mushrooms.
Sagittarius and Virgo cohabit a breathing void. The planetary magnetic kitten
purrs in Schuman Resonance at the back of my head. My restructured body
becomes a galaxy. Nail polish flashing at the keyboard, an overload.
When I come out of the Dome, the world has taken a shower
and changed into play clothes. A turquoise Hacky Sack,
seven billion neurons in one galactic brain. More paths from one heart to another
than atoms in the universe. You sleep on my shoulder
with all our lovers and children. Our hearts float naked in the stellar tide.
The whole night we look forward to opening our eyes.
I adore all your fingers and all your eyes, my every exhale
whispering wedding vows. I lift the bobbin-lace veil. Gaia is the bride.
Pianissimo, as with an apology, a hand alights on my shoulder.
White hair and beard, one face of a Moses behind me.
"Sir, you are snoring."
Viktor Tichy grew up in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and lives in Fairfield, Iowa. Father of four, architect-developer, and art and poetry teacher, he also owned a child care center and the Renaissance Preschool in Iowa City. He began to write poetry in Diane Frank’s workshop 20 years ago, and has won prizes and publications in over 120 national and state contests. Viktor currently participates in the Invincible America course and writes a nonfiction book about raising renaissance children titled Genius in Diapers. He is preparing seminars for parents and child care centers by the same name.