Monthly Archives: September 2014

Fault for the Fall


You’re just being cruel
We did all we could
To pretty things up

Trying our best to clean up after you
But it’s a lost cause and we know it
Tree-loads of leaves are down

Seeds strewn around
Berries rotting on the ground
The sidewalks are all sticky
With odd fruit no one wants

It’s cold
Getting fat is making sense
Already, some of us have given in

Frost and cold fog
Chase away birds
You’re holding summer hostage
Isn’t that enough?

Not only that
When I walked out the door
You threw my hat in the dirt

And your killing spree
Goes on and on
I know for a fact
The doe on the highway
Was innocent

– text by Tullio DeSantis


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Late in October


Playing the odds of one more warm day
the last katydid is hanging tough
while a mantis prepares for hara-kiri.

Nervous chipmunks pool intelligence.
They’re drawing up secret maps
and hiding them in burrows.

I hear each year they forget
where they’ve stashed them
and so must struggle like the rest of us
blinded by frozen eyelids
stumbling, falling
toward utter hibernation.

Squirrels are in my face
staring right through me
peering for nuts I may have hidden
behind my ears.

I guess I’m no threat now
compared to what’s coming.
The ones who can’t take the pressure
throw themselves in front of cats.

– text by Tullio DeSantis


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Art of Collaboration

Under the same sun

Beneath oceanic atmosphere

Her breath leaves her lungs

A few seconds pass before it enters his


He says, “The world is…”

“…broken” – she completes it

It is her breath after all

Her mind at work here in her space


He tells her science verifies

The cave painters were mostly women

They compare the length of their fingers


We know we are ruined

It’s an argument we don’t have to have

He says the problem is men

Too much testosterone

We’re destroying ourselves


Addicted to thought

Controlled by belief

Money moves us


This wears us down

Wrecks our thinking

We lose the capacity for empathy

And we are repulsed by our bodies


What are we doing?

What is the message?

“Artists are shamans,” she says.


On the wall – how it is to be human

Living and dying speeding through time

From the cave to the street

How it is to have bodies created by sex

Deep generative parts

Powered by atavistic emotions

We are creations of desire

Needing rescue


We say these things to each other

To make them real


“Artists are shamans.”

“This is why I contacted you.”

“I know.”


– text by Tullio DeSantis

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The Tongue of the Universe


“The Tongue of the Universe” – Tullio DeSantis with Dee Shapiro – 2014
(click image for larger view)



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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

(click image for larger view)


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Empress – UV-A


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

(click image for larger view)

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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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