Some Fall Poems

Some Fall Poems


once, sound was all above me
buzz of crickets, shrill cicadas
shook the trees

absent now
instead it’s the sharp crunch
of insect bodies
mixed with acorns
beneath my boots

old leaves too
one day they’re tree-bound and wind-rustled
and the next day they show up
down here

this transference
seems fraught with some meaning
it is beyond me
like the warmth that slips farther
away each day

I know it is gravity
that does it
but it seems
much heavier than that



four million years moving through this hidden place
deep in your blood knowing it by heart
it has always been yours but now I share your secrets
you are everywhere these barren days
sex-crazed leaving traces on hard ground
on trees
making mistakes

showing yourself is your fatal flaw
you’re giving yourself away and you don’t know that
you cannot help yourself
I understand this behavior in my own flawed heart
sensing me in your space
I sense you in mine
we will both die here

but you are more beautiful
and this is why
you will be the first to die



To the mantis on the wall
I’m a shadow cast by clouds
cool stillness
interrupting the warmth
of autumn’s fading sun

Lithe green conscious machine
400 million years of insect evolution
unfazed by my superior intellect
Caught in that moment
of self-doubt
and sensing the presence
of an ancient predator
I retreat and anticipate
the uncanny evolution of empathy


text by Tullio DeSantis

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The Empress of Love


“The Empress of Love” – Tullio DeSantis with Dee Shapiro – 2014

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Empress – UV-A


“Empress” – Tullio DeSantis with Dee Shapiro – 2014 – black light, detail

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“Empress” – Tullio DeSantis with Dee Shapiro – 2014

(click image for larger view)

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Nothing Dies – Part 2 – m

Torn between time and timelessness, I move in and out of dreams. Everything connects. A soft gray texture suffuses my inner vision. Conscious awareness asserts itself. It penetrates like a torch in a cave.

I comprehend this nebulous space by forming metaphors. A palpable emptiness engulfs the mind. It is as if layers of thought, anxiety, impulse, sensation and emotion are becoming more tenuous and transparent. They drop away and disappear as I dive more deeply within the softening darkness. I am suspended. I contact an inner sense of self – a place of peace.

Much later now, I can sense the brilliant warmth of the morning sun. I strain toward the light but I cannot open my eyes. I fear I will never again be able to awaken. I am lost in some ambiguous space. It hardens in response to my struggle to evade it. Succumbing softens it. I drift inward, toward the ether of dreams.

I hear my voice – “It felt like the last time we would ever talk. I hung up the phone, reached for the book and wrapped it in brown paper. I sent him my copy of “The Book of the Dead.” Then he died.

The bones of my skull seem to slide beneath the skin of my cheek. Fluid pressure pulses behind my eyelids. I can’t keep my mind focused. Consciousness ebbs and flows.

I recognize this as a state between living and dying. But that knowledge disappears as soon as thought takes form. My senses move back and forth like foam on the shoreline. Waves of awareness form a momentary frontal boundary. I cling for a while to the edge of specific thoughts or sensations only to be pulled back through the turbid tide.

Layers of quiet thought, like the enfolding petals of a dark flower, encircle and close one at a time around my conscious mind. I sense an opening, a deep tunnel turning downward. My awareness drifts there as if riding a descending wind.

Faster now, down through a shimmering well of images, I pass successive stages of awareness. I hear my mantra echoing through the chamber. It is soon replaced by the ancient Vedic vibration I recite silently and subconsciously.

I pass the brilliant floral gardens, smooth cobblestone steps and forest paths conjured up while moving through realms of imagination and self-guided visualization. The sound of heartbeats merges with rushing air in a synchronized choreography of blood and breath. I come ever closer to what I comprehend as the center – the space of non-duality and pure awareness.

Silence and emptiness devoid of attributes – devoid even of the attribute of emptiness. There is no thing. It is not opaque, not black. It is not transparent, not white. It is not experienced, it simply…is…and is not.

Unbounded thought expands and generates resonant frequencies. Ethereal reverberations multiply. Layers of vibration create being, harmony, tranquility, and illumination.

Energy increases at the boundaries of infinite and infinitesimal, forming rudimentary matter. A cosmic alphabet of elementary particles, thin plumes of hydrogen, specks of cosmic flotsam organize themselves into larger and larger phenomena along multi-dimensional paths and tidal lines of gravitational tension.

Eons pass. Stellar pyres and their aggregations of orbs spin seas of planetary protein into primeval life. Trees fall in forests. Sounds are heard. Countless births and deaths give rise to increasing instability, improbability, and complexity.

New minds form, minds adrift within the vast ocean of consciousness. Awareness expands to experience the overwhelming pulsations of the surrounding space as living heartbeats.

An angelic human, speaking about a secret language of signs, stops in mid-sentence and smiles at me. We have nothing to say.

In this moment, there are no distinctions between myself and my experience. The only identity I feel is the universe itself beating like a dark star-studded heart in an infinite empty void. And the pulsations I feel are those of my own heart beating. And I am born. I am a child again. I live a billion lives. I die a billion deaths. There is nothing but this moment. There is one consciousness we share. Its nature is our desire.

I know this now. And because you are here with me…you know it too.

I am going back…back inside…back to my body…back to life.

I am born to a new universe.

Insubstantial as an apparition, I arise from a deep sleep. Gazing downward, I glimpse my body. It is not breathing. I am aware of my incorporeal existence but unaware of what awaits me. I decide to allow this dream to unfold without intervention and to simply observe events as they occur.

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Nothing Dies – Part 2 – l

I die.

There is nothing. It spans endless eons – unbound throughout infinite dimensions, a deep and dreamless void. It is an oceanic stillness, a cold nowhere.

Within dead space, an infinitesimal shudder stirs. The merest ripple echoes throughout universes of nonexistence. Waves, particles, molecules, proteins warmed by ancient suns and conscious minds appear in remote atmospheres. A galaxy, a hundred billion stars, a trillion lives surge instantaneously in and out of existence.

A glint in an empty eye, wind-sound rushing past, I am spun wildly around. Momentary trails of events long passed move in liquid color through my senses. I am mesmerized by their echoes, caught up in them for the merest fraction of a saccade. I am lost in stray instants that splash up from the froth of time.

There is only this – and how it ends. The end is in the thing itself, held for the septillionth time…suspended, crystallized somewhere in the mind.

I open my eyes and close them again. In this moment, I am here. And in this moment I am gone.

“Now you know.”

The couch is cool to my touch. Through the vents, I hear the air conditioner shudder to a dead stop. My heart is beating hard. I want to speak, to call out but my jaw feels like it is welded shut.

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Nothing Dies – Part 2 – k

I’m staring into the trunk of the car. My arms are sore. They’re covered with scratches. There is a fresh cut near my left elbow. Two roughed-up flashlights are lying on the spare tire. In my right hand I’m holding a frayed nylon line.

“I’ll have to pick up more rope next time we go out on the river. The cave destroyed this one.”

“That was amazing – just down there at the bottom of the hill.”

Back in the car, I tell him how completely surreal this is.

“There seems to be big gaps in what I can remember about this trip.”

“Things don’t make a lot of sense,” he says.

“For me, it started after we got out of the car.”


“I don’t really think it was yesterday. I have a feeling this is the same day we left.”

“Yeah.” That’s all he says.

“You act like this is no big deal.”

“It’s not really. It’s just the way things are.”

“OK, for one thing, this trip takes place sometime in the early ‘80s.”


“And the fact is, it’s 2014 and I’m typing these words on a computer screen. No – it’s after that – someone is reading this. And yet, here we are sitting in the Mustang – a car I don’t own anymore – and we’re driving to the city.

“That means you’re a dead man – like me.”

His smile can mean a thousand things.

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