A Manifesto Plagiarizing and Expanding the Visions of Sri Chinmoy Kumar Ghose.
There are three types of poets: ordinary poets, great poets and seer-poets. Ordinary poets grow like mushrooms in infinite number. As most of us know, the great poets are few and far between and are also known as “born poets.” But as we will come to realize, the seer-poets are of the supreme heights. A seer is one who envisions the past, the present and the future… all at once.
True integral poets, by default, are required to be seer poets. Without an overhauling or evolving of our rationally-based languages by adding at the very least a series of numerical superscripts to nouns such as “God,” this dictum will be the umbrella for the next (and dare I say final) stage of poetry.
The integral poet must recognize perspectives, write about states and point to the moon. He or she must willingly compose koans for the good of the twenty-first century.
Not all seer poets must be, or are, integral. But as of today, all true integral poets must be, and are, seers.
An integral poet has four very special names: yesterday's delight-seeker, today's delight-seer, tomorrow's delight-harbinger; and finally, of course, (my favorite) the Ground of all names: Infinity’s Delight.
At this point in history, one lucky enough to be an integral poet should never compromise (or even be asked to compromise). He or she is the manifestation of All things from the Experience of the carnal reptilian brainstem to high and higher vision-logic Illumination. If one compromises this interpretive structure, he or she instantly becomes the manifestation of a blind prophet. Which is (with all due respect) their right. But it can also be viewed as a travesty.
An integral poet (no matter the poetic forms he or she utilizes) MUST, first and foremost, currently be operating in the world-space of an integral consciousness.
In so doing he or she will no longer be completely satiated with the performative contradiction, “There is no such thing as truth.”
In so doing, he or she will no longer be completely satiated with the post-modern poet Charles Olson’s advice of jumping from perception to perception.
In so doing, he or she will no longer be completely satiated with the “first-tier” battle for dominance; but rather will embrace all previous modalities while being the North Star for evolution.
In so doing, he or she will no longer be completely satiated with form as an extension of content. The integral poet will see content as an extension of form.
In so doing, he or she will purposely evoke a trio of crucial realizations (usually in this order):
Number One: It is the poet and the poetry.
Number Two: We are the poet and the poetry.
And, finally, Number Three: I am the poet and the poetry.
The integral poet is interested in complex coherence and achieves this by nurturing a diversity of perspectives.
Which leads me to this:
Integral poetry has five very special names:
Number 1: Aspiration-heart
Number 2: Inspiration-mind
Number 3: Confrontation-life
Number 4: Meditation-soul
And Number 5: Divination-Spirit
God wants to have a very, very special garden of Her own. She is asking Her integral poets to be the gardeners. She is also asking that integral poets create a garden as beautiful as possible and, at the same time, as inclusive as possible.
The integral poet will devotedly ask God if there is any esoteric purpose for the garden to be more than tolerant, more than relative, and more than beautiful.
God will respond to Her newly appointed poet-gardeners, "What is integral poetry, if not a description of My real Beauty? Do you not recall the English poet John Keats' immortal utterance: 'A thing of Beauty is a Joy forever'? Beauty and Infinity are inseparable. I want to reveal the Infinity that I am through the finite that I equally am. Therefore, I am asking you to make Me a garden of beauty unfathomable. And with a depth unsurpassable."
God will further say to Her integral poets, "My sons and daughters, once you have accomplished your task to My Satisfaction, I shall entrust you with another task. You will then be the supreme semioticians in My garden. Infinity's Beauty-lovers from the four corners of the globe shall visit and drink deeply while simultaneously realizing that they ARE the beauty of this infinite garden that all of us have created… together."
Most poetry, since the turn of the 20th century, has been written under the mantra “Art for Art’s sake.” Although commendable, this mind-set has lead the world of poetry and art to a stagnant, and now unremarkable, pool of irony.
I offer a response in the form of a letter.
Dear postmodern and contemporary artists of the world:
To cut to the chase: You’re trying too hard.
Most of you seem to be dead set on becoming the next “mad genius.”
And it’s obvious.
And it’s tiring.
And, quite frankly, it’s now cliché.
When art becomes enamored with itself, it can become a form of masturbation.
And, at this point and time, most art and poetry accepted by the establishment is just playing with itself.
After nearly fifty years of little more than a series of tired translations, it’s high time for a group of integral artists to transcend and include the trendiness of self-deconstruction and call for (dare I say demand) the necessities of a global transformation.
May I be so bold as to offer a couple new mantras for the 21st century?
Here’s the first: Art for Spirit’s Sake.
Do you like it?
If so, I offer the second: Sanity is the new Crazy.
Nice ring to it, huh? SANITY is the new Crazy.
Shadow work, meditation, yoga, contemplation, prayer, authentic self inquiry.
I’ll say it again.
Sanity… is the new Crazy.
Here’s a sonnet from Suicide Dictionary written while under the spell of this mantra:
"Paradise is sleeping with jungles and stars,
It feels with two hands and a mind like your own;
It dives into Shadows and fuses with Scars,
Then centers the axis of Shadow to Bone.
These Luminous Pipers are silent but Loud,
Their song is concrete yet transparent to sight;
Content with non-dual even One is a crowd,
Yet structures are Perfect Eternal Delight.
This Portal is present and never will veer,
It’s moving with you as you’re reading this page;
No angels are winking or Rational jeers,
Just Beautiful Sanity living with change.
Nirvana is seeping through shapes made of ink,
These Statues were dead…
but then suddenly blink."
Although it may not appear so, I’m writing to you with the utmost compassion.
I keep hearing Ezra Pounds’ tortured scream from Canto CXVI: “I cannot make it cohere. I cannot make it cohere. I cannot make it cohere.” Which is, of course, the same plea from Eliot’s "Wasteland" as he sings his pains on the fragmented nature of the Good, the True and the Beautiful.
Postmodern artists of the world, I’m here to help. And I assure you there is now a way to make it cohere. Or at least come closer than we’ve been for a very long time.
Hope all is well.
Ten personal statements.
1. Integral poetry I write with a technique of placing “the best words in the best order.”
2. Integral poetry I write with a technique of composing in the sequence of the musical phrase and, at times, in the sequence of the metronome.
3. Integral poetry I write to transcend the famous maxim, “No ideas but in things.”
4. Integral poetry I write to lighten your mind and enlighten your heart. It is shared between us so that you may lighten my mind and enlighten my heart. It is read to each of us lightening our hearts and enlightening our minds.
5. Integral poetry I write to replace your heart's sorrow with your soul's ecstasy. It is shared between us so that you may replace my heart’s sorrow with my soul’s ecstasy.
6. Integral poetry I write to transform your human mind-jungle into a divine heart-garden. It is read to each of us transforming our human mind-jungle into the Way of the Heart.
7. Integral poetry I write to fathom my own inner worlds and to scale my own higher worlds.
8. Integral poetry I write to see and feel Divinity's Beauty inside the heart of humanity.
9. Integral poetry I write to watch the hide-and-seek of my heart's tearing tears and my soul's blossoming smiles.
10. Integral poetry I write as a means of riding the wave of evolution.
Which leads us to this:
Mystical poetry, for the most part, has pointed to the Heart infinitely more than it preached to the mind.
True integral poetry will point to the Heart AND the mind… while attaching to neither.
Image: "Recycled Poetry," by pupski on Flickr, used through a Creative Commons license.