Friday, June 22, 2007


And sidelined here like a boxcar without an engine always from somewhere else waiting for them to lay track on the moon so I can get on with my ambitious deliveries a lifeline ahead of myself, everything sounds like the mournful whistle of a wounded bird, a killdeer passing away through the starfields just beyond the apricot glow of the tungsten roses that hover over everybody in town like tents. I can remember, young, when I burned with the ferocity of unadulterated salt to rise like a constellation of my own, a legend of luminous eloquence to crown the endless darkness of the throbbing sea that surrounded my empty island throne like a wound without a voice that couldn’t find its way home. I wanted to grow eyes that could write loveletters for the starfish imprisoned in a confusion of tongues; and a heart that hung like a lone apple that stayed ripe even in an abandoned orchard in winter for the bluejays, redder than an emergency exit in a morgue. Now I bow my head to the years like a streetlamp or a sunflower under a yoke of snow dreaming of seeds like lovers and poems I let go of to open their vagrant eyes in gardens of their own. And I’m not dead yet, but the voids that have come like the homeless to the wrong return address, deepen the echo of my own pleading through the vastness of a wilderness that swallows me like my own words in the wingless distance. But there’s no point in bewailing the failure of the astral gravel I tamped under the ties of all the translunar runs the soft clay of my own shiftless humanity derailed, the headstrong midnight expresses that toppled into a junkyard of thought trains that over-reached the trembling trestles of my bones only to fall like a bad hand of death stars from a plague-marked house of cards. I still follow the blind Polaris of my destiny, an outrider on an iron horse that follows the lines of track like surgical stitches on starmaps of my own even if it be to have none, even if it be I do nothing more than trace my name in the scars of a hundred late-night collisions with my own mountainous immensities, the ghosts of an extra-gang in northern B.C. aligning the lengthening shadows of my passage to the sea. PATRICK WHITE


And now the shales of the night congregate for revival and great liquid bolts of flowing diamond seek the rivers and lakes the sky inhaled up out of the dreamtime of their mirrors, and angry at the new awakening, photograph God in a line-up, and shatter the fossil record of the life they signed in hieroglyphics, releasing the drums and the orchards and the thunder of scalded serpents striking at the tree that bound them, revoke the curse, destroy the power of the old mandala, kick sand in its face with the ferocious clarity of a truly compassionate buddha, burn and desecrate the ram in its ashes, bleach the blood and igneous bone of all attachments, freaking the assassins in the dark with scars, seams, unstitched threads of light. And this must be made human; even this domain, this dark cleft of furious women, integrated like the black star that burns in the hearts of the poppies into the synaptic squalls of a storm deranged in the form of a terrified human, whirling like an iron-winged weathervane in chaos, all needles north the electric eyelashes of a dangerous freedom from detection, as the rain, the merciful rain, taps its tin fingers on the table, detonates slowly, the prelude of adagios to come, as the flashflood downpour that sweeps the dead boat from its banks belatedly climbs the emotional stairs like a back-up transformer and knuckles the shuddering door. And there’s no help for it but to peer the lightning into flesh, to run your tongue along the razor sword of the warrior iris, and kiss the horned viper on the head, drink from the violent grail of the dark fever that gluts the arteries of the bloodbed with the torrential editions of a man without a stone to smash the window from the inside, and raise the dead. Out of the net, out on the heath, the singed atmosphere wincing with fists and eyes, elemental accusations and the mineral sages, atomic oracles, that answer the indefensible humanity of harsh enlightenments in the random salts of radioactive configurations that cleave the roiling sea of the starless, desert spirit with delirious chariots hounding the prophetic clowns of clamouring paradise. And there are contexts of becoming so severe they fuel the divining furnace with bituminous ores that cower in the heat, pyramids, coffins, mummies, cocoons, the chrysales of the dragonfly’s eyelids, the acetylene hives of the wasp, and all the red oak cordwood of the heart cracked across its ripples with crevices and empty webs of pain, all, without exemption, reprieve, promise or defection heaved into the fire-mouth of a roaring lionstar that staples and holds and tears the throat out of disparity like the hourglass jugular between the crowns and roots of a resigned gazelle, feeling the silence slip out of it into the sand. PATRICK WHITE


And love caught by the gills in the mesh of human need, and the storm outside a leaden drummer sick of war, and flesh and rock the same, and the eye no more than water, and mud no less than the spirit, and the heart in the hollow of its own hands, a lifeboat that failed, an attempt that floundered, a rescue that failed, and everything beyond right and wrong, no river mapping itself, every direction, the thorn of a rose, the fang of a coiled compass, the black toxicity of depleted stars, and no one to surrender to, no victor, no victim, no vanguished, everything the metaphysics of sand and salt, dead leaves and brittle seaweed, lost bolts to crucial connections, a graveyard of windows, and every step forward a return to what was never left, a knot that grows by doubling back on itself until it’s stopped by the eye of the needle, and the only thing left to burn, this bouquet of unanswered love-letters, the rain comes down steady on the yellow leaves through the milky windows and the sky is a mass of ashes. And I concede there are jewels on the vines of the fire, and not all razorblades mistake themselves for eyelids and supple petals, and there are fingertips that haven’t been dipped in acid, and sometimes the robin mauled by the cat gets away with the worm to fill the satchels of its young, and that everything that is must in some way be confounded by its own intelligence, even the atoms somehow separate from everything, and birfurcated reality, conciousness, a matter of split ends, peeling propositions like dead skin off propositions about life to understand nothing, and the general spontaneity prevails like a camp counsellor with a bow and a target, and there is only a you and an I when the bridge has been washed away, and there are rivers that drink too much and flow sideways over their banks like sailors on the deck of a squall, and one stone hits another like hearts trying to free a spark over a tinder of straw to survive the cold of the cave they will paint like a womb with inception, and every astronomical catastrophe is only a random blow to the gut that makes the stars go flat and panics and baffles the next breath, and what could my pain and sorrow be to a mountain on Mars, or a frog in the mouth of a snake, and no book ever sipped wine from the pressed flowers between the shales of its erudition, and nothing I know can help me die enough to be free of this moment, and there’s no point sending a wound from door to door recruiting ghosts as blood donors when the rose has already leaked out of itself like a flag or the poppy of a colour-blind matador falling on the horns of an iron bull like the balloon of a punctured child, and the silence that hovers over everything like vultures and angels is louder than the scream of a mouthless wind in a crematorium cooking the marrow in the bones of a dead mime trying to teach death to talk; I concede to all of it, the dull, stupid futility of a vision that tastes like glue on the tongue of an empty envelope that once was filled with stars posted like light and rain to an urgent sky and let the amber of reason flow over me like the bitter honey of a stalled traffic light and its exudings harden into a glass eye I can use for a paperweight in the rare editions library of the unopened letters of resignation I keep addressing to myself like a poor man’s copyright, sick of mining the ore of dead flies for gold. PATRICK WHITE


And it’s something I’ve been trying to say for eras something almost there, almost ready to leap from the penthouse of my tongue like an encyclopedic suicide note coming down the slopes of my heart like an avalanche of blue strawberries, a starmap that finally let go like dice, a pool table racked with prophetic skulls, and if I could say it, if I could make you see it, if I could make you taste it like light in an apple, or the blood of a tree, or smell it, the perfume sampler of a black rose in heat slumped like junkmail across a mystic threshold I’m sure it would make you silent and sad and you would know what the rocks lament when they finger the mirror like braille to see their own reflection, or the grief of second hand shoes in the long hallways of farewell pleading for a compassionate echo. You would see what I see when I peel the moon from the hidden watersheds of my eyes like the skin of a grape, the scalp of a frontier comet, and look into the wound like an arrow; delusion transcending delusion like buddhas playing leapfrog, refugee oceans cowering in the hold of the moon like spiders in a duel of flashlights, the desolation of all human endeavour. And if you could break the black bread of an unleavened eclipse cooling on the windowsill like a crow in a cradle of wine, just once thumb your nose at your mind, and aristocratically disdain to die in an outhouse, I could show you what it’s like to live in the vastness of an abysmal solitude like a concealed weapon. PATRICK WHITE


And it saddens me, drowns me in the hopeless waters of the moon, to remember the passions that died like bruised orchards at my feet, and recollect the startled approximations of the days I thought I should have lived like an englightened dunce in the corner, grinning like a park bench at every passer-by, even in the moist silence of the storm that is now approaching, sit like a conscientious objector under a strategic tree circled like a date by lightning, a bridge in the way of the flashfloods that keep wiping me out like the lean smile of the first crescent off the face of the river. I no sooner get the teeth and the stones of my last demolition straightened with braces, my rosary of abandoned planets rebeaded, and I’m washed out to sea again like a alphabet that hasn’t got a word for mercy or an eye for its own survival, a why for its sudden demise. And there is no buoyancy in the diurnal heart that sinks like the keystone of my solar arch that has ever turned into a faith I could float on my bloodstream. I just keep rolling the rocks back up the hill, hoping somehow I’m happy I’m not an avalanche of windfall asteroids, dog-eared, pitted fruit shaken to the core from an unpruned branch of gravity, the abused leftovers of a stellar reformation, the slagheap of a creekbed creation that pans my tears for gold, though all my options are open from radioactive slurry to the wine of a purified ore. I don’t expect any grace from the agenda of a day that sharks the hour with shadows and fins, regatas of slooped sundials hinged to a halt by noon. It’s enough to be a wall sometimes that isn’t wailing for the deconstruction of a temple that stood like a hammer of peace on the meteoritic cranium of a pummeled hill. And what’s the point of slinging planets around the sun to keep the word of a promised land when there are no giants in residence at all? Better to keep on picking prophetic skulls of lettuce with the migrant Mexicans who work like monarch butterflies than try to revive the vertebrae and bones of these dinosaur aqueducts that went extinct all over the moon waiting for water to spring from the rock like the dolphins of their leaping arches and cry. PATRICK WHITE


for Alysia who fills the firebells

with the ancient wines of a prodigal spring

standing at the gates of the moon

And if I were to call to you

like a bell of blue water on the moon

from which I am continuously born

to be scarred by the mother of darkness,

every leaf of my shining, a farewell

and a crossroads in every step of the journey,

my heart an endless shedding of faces and skies

that have withered and fallen away

like the petals of a black rose in a dark mirror,

the strawdogs and homeopathic masks

of abandoned rites of passage

no longer crucial

to the eye of the lamp

that held itself up to the world

like a flame astounded by its own seeing.

If I were to call you, solitude to solitude,

an echo in the abyss of a longing moment

to embody the dark matter in robes of light,

could you hear me, would you listen,

would your own blood flow like a poppy

from the untended wound

of the solitary nightbird

that answers its own loneliness

when it is urged by the saddest harps

of the most distant stars

to give up its burden to the darkness

that floods its heart like a tide of black comets

and drunk on the shapeshifting

sing softly in gratitude

for these gentle suggestions of being?

The river mingles what it will,

and the leaves that ride the current,

scriptures of the autumn tree,

are neither rudders nor pilots,

but paperboats sent downstream afire

by the brief shadow of an inspiration

to return life to life like rain and stars to a well.

If I were to call to you

across the pews of these windows and waves

of unsummoned passion and thought,

like the first church

of a sea on the moon

full of drowned messiahs,

what would be the odds against you

feathering the miracle

with electric violins of emotional razor-wire

shorting out in the rain

like a lightning storm

raving to separate the iron chaff from the silver grain?

Would holy mountains bleed

like the dark ores of heaven

poured from the fire-grails of the stars

into the keys and crowns

of a supple radiance

that breathes like a candle? Burlap or silk,

or the arable silts of your alluvial skin,

would the abdicated thrones of the flowers

be sticky with honey and gold,

could we turn the vinegar

that hammered the wings

of the dove to the door of our dreams

with the taste of wounded nails

to a trance of wine

that would make an afterlife seem like a hangover

compared to the sweetness

of lacing the waters of life

with a frenzy of dancing stars;

could we grace the voice of the bell

with the blossom

of a wedding among apricots,

could we be happy despite ourselves,

despite what we know

about the shadows and eclipses

pariahed in the garden

by the snakes and burning swords

that drove us away like refugees from our own gates

to suffer and die

alone with everything in our solitude,

offering the scars of our eyelids

like the withered leaves of the generations

to the silver herb of the cool mercy

that flows from the weeping fingertips of the stars

trying to read us like braille? Knowing the weary victory

of the tree after a brutal winter,

the dangerous longings bowered

in burning casements of ice,

pondering the pathos of the impossible,

all the orchards and skies we’ve looked through

like a theatrical wardrobe

to star the seed in the apple,

is there a ribbon of road

we might untie together,

a flower or two

we could tumble out of like bed?

I have endured the delirium

of the glass thorns

on the last rose of blood

to surrender to the frost of the night,

I have drawn the crescent of the moon

across my throat like a horizon

so that the message could be the bird

that seeks out the green bough of the heart.

My heart has been inflated like a universe

by the intrepid glassblowers

that thawed my eyes in the furnace

like deserts purified by the wind

that sweeps the shadows from its stairwells

to receive the silence of the dark and divine.

If I asked heaven for only one flower

that opened alone for me

would it send me you;

would it be your face I waited for

with the goblets of the mirrors

to watch awaken like wine in the morning,

the first magic of fire,

of life in the sea,

the effortless mystery of my spontaneous devotion

to the dawn that slept beside me all night

her tenderness the flame of the orchid

fragrant with the intimate secrecy

of insatiable encounters? Would you stretch, naked,

like a compass before me,

your body half-submerged in the surf of the bedclothes,

limbering up its harps and bows

as if it would bask in its own music like water,

and everything I looked upon was human and holy,

and even the ashes of our lust,

the lees of a drunken fire,

happier than honey

to have burned with transformation

in the shrine of the hive? Dark queen,

you are the new moon that keeps to herself,

effaced on both sides of the beginning,

barely the whisper of a dream remembered

like the echo of a pulse of a sea

that once filled your empty glass with night.

And I have stilled the panic

of the small, warm bird

that hurled herself like a rock

through the brittle window of the world

when space turned into glass

and even lightning couldn’t pick the lock

the way a flower can split the heart of a stone

by easing it apart like a parachute;

I have carried her in the boat of my hands

to an island I know in a river

where every flower is a sky and a well,

a chalice rimmed with the wings

of mysterious visitations,

and opened the palms of my hands

like an ancient daybreak

to let her heal in her freedom

and fly deep into her own voice,

knowing how brutally

I would miss the morning.

I have been the leftover star of her flowering,

and my heart, the old shoe

longing for a road, a journey

it never took, as its blood frays

and wanders away like shoelaces

and hairpin turns down a mountain.

I could walk to the stars with you,

I could descend into the basements

of my own interrogative isolation cells

with a key and a pear

that fell from the eye of compassion like a tear

and forgive the unknown accusations

that make me torment myself

like a mad monk

lacerated by his own clarities.

I could have run to you like an embassy

and found sanctuary

in a life embraced by the gates of the wind,

retuning my stars to the moondial of the mountain.

And I could lavish you

with stars and jewels, candles, trinkets

poppies and snails,

and the gowns of gardens

that died for love of a shadow

the light never cast,

and ignite the fleets of my poems

like fire-lilies on the midnight streams of your blood,

stringing the empty silo of your supple guitar

with lightning, the perfect pitch

of the fangs and tuning forks

that startle the silence

with an unknown language that moves

like the caress of a slow caravan

raining bells across a desert on the moon.

I could fill your wineskin

with immeasurable skies

that would open like eyelids in your blood,

and I could be the sea

and whisper secrets into your ear at night

that would make every heartbeat seem

like the pilgrimage of a wave,

and I could enthrone

the illegitimacy of your deepest ignorance,

the troubled echo of the solitary bird

that searches your valleys

for the ghost road of a lost migration

in a tree of light where every leaf was a map

to someone waiting for you to find him.

I could be the thorn and the trigger,

the switch in a dark room, the candle

of the approaching eclipse that enthralls you

like a stranger in the shadows

with the effloresence of his eyeless light.

I could turn my coffin into a lifeboat

and wash up on your shores

like a drowned sailor in the night

enchanted to awake newly robed

in the seabed of a sorceress

tired of her lonely shapeshifting.

I could walk with you

under the orchards of the faces

you release like wounded blossoms,

doves of lime on the wind,

the cloudy fruit of the poems

you saturate and sweeten

on the bough of the witching wand

that trembles like a mirror

over the watershed of your tears,

the sad angels you’ve mingled like elixirs

in translucent menageries of water,

and account myself one of the lords of life

to be devoted to your lips, and eyes, and earlobes

in a realm where the tribute

I placed like my life on your stairs at night

is gone in the morning

glowing with acceptence

like the gentle breath of a warm rain

that yields itself to the effulgence

of the sacred flowers

that would break over your feet

like a tide of shedding petals.

And you would not sit

below the salt

at a feast of scars,

because I would break bread with your pain

like a harvest threshed by the full moon

and every crumb

would be the nugget of a dream

you rubbed like sleep from your eyes,

pollen kneaded like words

in the mandibles of a bee

that would sway like a bell of honey

in the tower of love you woke in

like a bird under the eaves

of the ore of blood

embedded in the rock of the world

like a palace, all the hovels of your heart

breaking open like seeds

to reveal their hidden skies

and mystic tents of light

in an eye of water the sun could not blister,

or the hot wind steal like a jewel

from the crown of a clock of sand.

If I have laboured beautifully

among the fireflies

to ignite a glimpse of the world

that wasn’t grimed by the smouldering

of dragons caged like coal in a furnace,

if I have squandered myself like lightning

to illuminate a single drop of rain,

if I have scrutinized myself

like a bloodbank for roses

my heart a used palatte of autumn gardens,

such a hurt world,

so many bleeding bells,

so many lanterns

dying of thirst

beside a river of fire,

who wouldn’t try to ripen the mud with light

to show the lost stars of our swarming humanity

the way home to the wildflowers

in the far fields that wait to sweeten our suffering

with luminous eyes

that have rooted themselves,

however the storm raves,

like lighthouses and brides in the dark?

And maybe my voice

is only the thunder of a falling eyelash,

and this vision of us

only the stirring of dust at my heel,

a gust of stars

blown into the eyes of time

to be washed out in tears,

and this rag of light

that I hang like a curtain

at the broken window of my soiled radiance,

this petal of the sea,

this feather and whisper

of sky and nightwind

that I crave to live like the page of a holy book

fallen from the white rose

of an ancient lucidity

passing like the shadow of wings and clouds

over the view, is only another snowflake

on the igneous altar

of another spiritual cremation

betrothed to the laconic modes of smoke

it charms from the marrow of a smouldering bone.

It’s hard to grow ivy on a tornado,

to live in the shadows

of the clashing swords of the grass

and not be carried home on your shield from time to time,

and there are wise men whose words

sear the heart like glacial marrow

and songs I’ve heard in the groves of beautiful women

that have cured my heart

with the kiss of a spear of fire

dipped in the iron tears

of the mother-bell of their sorrows.

I could do nothing to save them;

I could do nothing to save myself

and toppled like a stone pillar,

sank like a lead lifeboat

into the emergency depths of just enough of myself

to know the madness and the danger

of walking on the bottom alone, bleeding,

a puppet in a gulfstream of garbage and gardenias,

trying to convince myself

that it was all my fault.

The colour of my blood changes like a mood ring

and I am chameleon enough,

salamander enough,

dragon enough

to wear the locket of the butterfly

as the badge of my infinite transformations,

transcendence the only return address I’ve ever known,

sometimes the black scythe of a wind

that cuts the wrist of the rose

and then a labyrinth of burning doorways

framing the body of a woman

that could make love

without shaming the fire, events of the heart,

the random genetics of starmaps

that led me to the buried shining

I struck like a vine of jewels

while trying to dig my grave;

the perennial wine of utter extinction

in the ferocious oblivions of penumbral clarity,

the last unsayable insight, the dark womb

I will be born again from

to slump down drunk and broken

on the worn threshold

of my most cherished agony.

The tree didn’t ask for apples,

the sky didn’t summon the stars,

and there’s no end of the lilies

that clutter the port with their sails,

making a cornerstone of the wave,

but nothing is written in ink or blood or water

nothing reflected indelibly

in the qicksilver of the eloquent mirror

that isn’t an eye born with wings

that evaporate like mornings in a forbidden desert.

If I were to call to you

like a needle longing for a thread of blood

could we mend this slash of dawn

the stars keep pouring out of

like a miscarriage of seminal destinies,

could we unlace the stitches that have been written

like secret scars on the closed lips

of the healing silence

and converse in the native language of the dark

in a whisper of eyes

under the blossoming sheets,

an orchard of skies enshrining a rumour of fruit?

Could we divine the flesh of the moon

with a sword of light

that released the dark harvest

of an inexhaustible eclipse

gathering stars like grain

to feed the famine in the fire

that keeps our hunger alive?

If I were to call to you,

if I were to cast my longing

into the shape of a bell

with the heart and voice of a bird

singing like a tendril of light in the vastness,

would the blossom answer the vine,

your poppy of fire

ignite my inflammable blood

and set the night ablaze

with stars and prescient apples

hanging from the burning candleabra of the trees?

Or would you bury the pillar

in the soft moss of your sex,

and root your garden in the wind,

letting the weeds overwhelm it like clouds,

and call the chaos freedom

or feeling the darkness contract with enlightenment

enhance the horns of the moon

with hyacinth wreaths

and garlands of visionary fire

culled from the blood of the unknown seers

who walk a blind road in a crucial dream

like lanterns and fireflies

through the shadowless valleys of the heart

that rings with the echo of keys

falling like water over the skulls and the stones

of those who sought without finding,

of those who drank from their own reflection

like a bruise, of those

raised like night to the lips of the beloved

who leaked out of themselves

like funeral candles extinquished at their own wakes

through a crack in the cup of the moon?

Deeper than the volcanic fissures

that douse their torches and dragons

in the deepest trenches of my blood

with the savage intensities of thermophilic species

that have learned to live without light,

your roots are enthroned within me

like the wicks and fuses,

filaments and threads of fate

that the stars and flowers cast out

like nets and veils and constellations

from the trawling boat of the heart

to catch the mystic eel of the moon

I lay at your feet like a carpet of living silver.

Language is a colour-blind pauper

when I dream of the life and love

I would lavish like a planet of opulent shadows

on the least urging of your light

to answer the knocking of your heart

at the door of the mystic fire-seed

that longs to flower in you like a bell in the night.

And if I were to call to you

and you were to wonder,

if I were to try to say the unsayable stars

caught in the throat

of my voiceless wells

like the vowels of birds trapped in a chimney,

and you were to pause and wonder

like a weathervane

at the crossroads of the wind

if the voice you heard is wine or chalk,

or a vow of rain in a lunar desert,

as soon consider the fountains

that are chained like keys

to these lifelines of water

sewers of blood in my veins

than doubt the iron of the bell

that calls to you

is the pulse of a predictable eclipse.

I wait for you like the sea

at the floodgates of the moon

the harp of a golden fish

ribbed like a bridge, a boat, a hand

to move like a whisper of love

in the affinitive depths of your encompassing waters.

And whenever I think of you,

whenever I altar your humanity

in the temple of a sacred mirror,

and sweeten my devotion

with the fragrance of summer stars

burning like incense, like honey, like pollen,

like gold in a mountain river,

a white flower blooms in the silence

of the eloquent eternity

that exceeds its own ineffability

with the alpha of your name

alighting like the wayward kiss

of the first vagrant butterfly

to part the lips of the bell.

I toll like a garden under the eyelid of a dream

or the tidal mouth of this infinite ocean

that has set my heart adrift

like a bottle of singing fire

to true this island on the moon

like a seabird off the passionate coast

of the woman who allures me

like a bay of stars in the night

to burn the rags of these tattered sails

like the clothes of a dead sailor

who dared the edge of the world

to drown in the unfathomable abyss

of the dark bride

who poured herself out like an eye of wine,

the tears of the moon in a chalice of seeing

to temper the metal of wounded swords

scarred by the flesh

in this igneous bell of longing

that canters like a white horse of water

through the turmoil of her phantom waves

returning like blood to the pearl of his heart,

the silver apple of the sea

she layered with nacreous skin

letter by letter like the phases of the moon

unspooling the universe from a grain of sand,

and hung on the dead bough of the clock

that leans like a tree out over the sea,

a battered heartbeat of wind and tide,

a wandering monk with a begging bowl,

a priest of the lightning

witching for water

with a burning branch

of green stars crowning the seed

that opens its book of tender prophencies

to root its bell at a fork in the river,

the firefly of the world

in the well of the black-robed light-giver

that parts her waters like the gown of the moon,

her darkness a carillon of eclipses and lilies,

a solar system of black cherries

dancing like a wounded chandelier of blood

with a planet in exile, a bell, a bird,

the voice of a heart in the night

waltzing through the shadows and light,

the sidereal deserts of an aberrant orbit,

praying for passage

that the sea might open like an eye

and fill the bells

of the wombs and udders and hives of a promise

with prophetic comets of milk and honey

that flow like the stars, like blood, like light

like the empty bells and pails of the heart

that come down to the river

to scoop the blossom of the moon,

the petal of her face from its mirror

and drink like a bee in an orchard

from a windfall of flesh and light

that house the pulse of the bell

in the towers of the shining palaces

I approach like a bouquet of homeless keys

to undo the chain on the secret stargates

and spread the wings of the dawn

that ripens like an eye

in the mysterious fruits of the night

that fall to earth

like a drop of blood, a locket of rain,

the soft thunder of the urgent heartbeat

of a tree on the moon

alive in a bedlam of waking birds

that nest on a branch of lightning

tuning each to the bell of the flood

that flashes through me

like the ocean in the face

of the woman I love

who undoes the rose like a ribbon of blood.