Friday, June 8, 2007


The heart is a fanatic

in a world of multiple truths,

adapting to its extinction.

Whenever I try to observe myself,

I’m a ghost

hovering over a corpse

I think is me

as if I had stopped

to take a last look back

at a valley I was leaving

like a woman letting her hair down

to drown in the wake of her own ordeals.

Myriad forms of the world within me,

exhausted by the inexhaustible,

all my continuties

have unravelled like umbilical cords

and I see myself for the very first time

as if I had never existed before,

and the subtle virginity of the mirror renewed,

I know the ancient beginning

of this primordial now

that arrays me to myself as everything.

A more luminous spirit than mine

would rather be loved than right,

but the roads have swallowed their own tails

up to their heads like snakes

one gulp shy of eternity,

and it’s been years and years

only a moment ago,

I set out brashly to expel the dark like a torch

and I wound up on my knees

struggling to forgive the light

like an arsonist trying to follow the plot

in a book of wet matches.

I think of my blood

as the lifelong blunder of a rose

that has habituated itself

to falling on its own thorns

like a voodoo doll

rushing into martyrdom,

and I call the darkest nights

of the blackest magic, love.

I do not know

how old I will be tomorrow,

but my afterlife is younger than I am,

and it seems I am progressing backwards

through all the stations of my advance

and to count the stars and grains of sand

that have passed like a voice

through the throat of the hourglass

is to tally the coffins

I have already outgrown.

I have set all the alarms on my sundials

for midnight,

but it’s anyone’s guess

what shadow of a man might be exhumed

from the grave of a dream that died young.

Weary of the long flight

looking for somewhere to land

in these relentless abysses of mind,

the feather might think

it’s discarded the bird by its falling,

but the wind and the bird know better

as the moon rises over the hills of the nightward

like a nurse from her desk,

straightening the phase of her cap

to take the pulse of the interminable sky

that wakes every morning from a coma

to ask me what I’ve seen.

Gently I raise its own reflection up to its lips

like a spoonful of eyes

and it smiles like a beatific invalid

between sips.



On every leaf, on every tongue,

the whole history of the river

in every drop,

last autumn uncovered again by the rain

as a prelude to spring.

Will I be uncovered again

for revival; will this crimson branch

of dark arteries

be revealed again

like the ground willow

and the sodden thatch

of my broken flesh

be composed naked in the light again

after the long, heavy robes of winter,

the folds of the snow and the sky,

are flung away by the sleeper

to expose the truth of the dream?

If I was born once;

isn’t resurrection a redundancy,

or if I am unborn, a delusion,

as spring is the grandest of all delusions

to convince me I am immortal

and the only thing

that grows old without me is time?

Spring doesn’t take autumn by the arm

to help it across the ice;

and winter isn’t summer

wearing a chastity belt

waiting for her crusading husband

who follows the geese

to come back seasonally with the keys.

On the circumference

of the sunwheels and the starmills,

time incessantly grinds for me

like a huge, white, wide-eyed,

sadly powerful, well-loved ox

that labours like a bell

to strike life from the last hour of the watch

that begins and ends me world after world

like eyelids

like my heartbeat

like the soft breathing

of the spring moon at the door

after her first eclipse,

disguised as a woman

I loved long ago,

back from the dead,

back from the black fire

that covers its veil with a face.

How could anyone possibly

disappear and be forgotten

when life’s the veil,

life’s the deathmask,

life’s the blaze in your bones

that remembers your face?



I am a moral exemption. An absolute discharge.

I know heaven and I know hell.

This nightbird has two wings.

The angels only have one,

and for thousands of years

I have been the castout cornerstone of morality,

the occluded quicksand of shadows and stars

the spires of heaven rest upon.

In heaven things just are,

but I am always defining myself.

It’s the spiritual dynamic of the flame

I hold up to my mysterious absence

whenever I am feeling creative enough

to go look for myself

like a rafter under the wreckage

of the many lives I have waged like guerilla campaigns

to survive the hierarchical hives of heaven

and the honey they spin from light

to repair the gullible dead.

I am the torch

that runs before the sun

to warn the dreamers,

and I am the spark of sedition

in the cosmic sigh.

I have never been anyone

I could ever believe in

longer than it took to get them off the stage.

I once extolled the tormented purity of my isolation

as an undetected virtue,

but won nothing from heaven

that wasn’t already mine

when I redeemed the ticket.

In poetry, as in hell,

it’s not so much the content

of what is whispered well

like the breeze of a thief in the window,

not the jewels, not the sloughed silver

of the looping chains in your hand,

the cool scales

of a supple, serpentine eloquence,

but the nature of the seeing

that trues the tragic lies

into the abject alibis

that are summoned

like the only living witness

that could look into our eyes

and affirm our sins of omission.

Why should I struggle

to undo myself like a knot in a noose,

or mend my severances

like broken links in a river

when I am continuous in every part?

Whether the star shines on its own

or is the luminous refulgence

of the mystic abundance of you

is the tiny god of a spiritual footnote

cross-referencing its sources.

Everything in the universe

is in rebellion

against the enduring integrity

of a creative heresy

that redeems the slander

of its own existence

by granting freedom a conditional pardon

for violating necessity.

The jailer liberates the judge

from the eternity of consecutive lifetimes he received

for breeching the terms of his own ruling

by refusing to pass sentence.



I disguise my ignorance

in the simulacra of insight

and plead with my visions

to help me recognize a face

among a billion eyeless masks

that my seeing might belong to.

Meaning is only the matter

of a moment’s emphasis

on the way to its own undoing,

the coerced farewell in the doorway

of a one night stand.

Until he eats his own hunger

a man eats to be hungry.

Once I was down

from my original tower of trees

and began to walk around like a bell,

the last step of my arrival

placed me ambiguously

on the finishing line of a threhold

that prefaced my departure.

How I got to be a homeless moon

in search of a habitable planet

that might divine me like a scar

on a negative from the Hubble

is the tidal froth

of the sea of facts

that ends the watch.

With the tolling of every wave,

every heartbeat, every breath,

the lense yearns to look through itself,

the mirror is the eye

of its own reflection.

We winnow the stars of heaven

in the aprons of radio telescopes,

we put our ears up to the night

and listen to the sirens of light

singing through a keyhole,

trying to overhear

what our masks

are whispering to our faces.

Multiply the birds however you will,

hawk of the morning

or murdered dove in the night,

you are the song,

but appearances demand

you look without looking,

hear with hearing,

because life isn’t a bell

that’s deaf to its own singing,

and no one need look any further

than their own eyes

for proof

the light isn’t blind to its own shining.



The sexual aesthetics of an unworthy species

adapting to its decline

can only be practised

by the anaesthetically blind

who can’t feel

the incisions

that open like mouths

to feed and bless and bleed

the sacrifice on the altar,

spiritually prepped for a triple bypass.

I peruse the inspired braille

of another unwritten thesis

shelved like an embryo arraigned by time,

a late fee

on the unreturnable contents of the mind,

and I can hear the mandibles of data

eating through the rafters of a great tree

that once stood like a scar

in the eye of the storm

against the wounded rage

of the gathering darkness

dementing the sky to rave for eras

against the implausible tenure of its roots;

and I see

that only coffins drop from the twisted bough

that once filled the cradles it rocked like fruit

with the light

of a thousand black mystic suns

churned into honey

in the hives of the blazing day.

Now the night that is upon us

is not darkness,

and the light

that blanches its absence away

is a vapour of lemon furniture polish

on the arms of the upturned seat

that squares the circle of the shallow grave

where it buried the audience that could not weep

for the vastly unmoved deception

that snuffed the candles it drove before it

like harried characters before the wind

until all that was left to carry the play

was the callow murmuring

of the janitorial mediocrity

changing bulbs in the footlights to the right of the stage

as if he were raping lilies.



Enrobing my nobility

in the aloofness of a spurned beggar,

or a musician on a street-corner

opening the coffin

of his exhumed guitar for change

to keep his humilation

enraptured and alive,

his song denied its bough

by a warning

from the window of a squad car

enforcing the petty complaint of the loveless

who douse

the flaring of the flowers in law

as if all that unimposing ecstasy

were merely another match

that failed to consume them,

I conceal the generosity of the stars

that urgently lavish their light

on the deepening night that reveals them

in the lordly pockets of my impoverished repose.

I want to want something again

that isn’t an expletive of acquisition

that ages into the accusing silence

of an unattended toy.

I want to knock down all the probabilities,

all the odds and evens

of the gravestones placed like bets

in a cemetery of bookies

that have hedged their deaths

with double or nothing on the long shot.

Love bides its time in me

like fire in a stone

that rings the ashes of its last revelation

and over the clamour of ghosts at war,

I try to live up to myself in the silence

like the impossible conditions of an unsigned truce.

I have plucked the wings of angels

and feathered my heresies

in the tars and flammable shadows of the night.

If I have withdrawn into myself

it is only to advance and transcend and array

like a wave or a breath

when the abyss gathers me into its unassailable immensities

and then sprawls me out like a map

on the shore of an uninhabited island

to discover what I’ve buried.

I am always curled

like the sickle of a harvest eclipse,

a question-mark, an imported executioner

over the pure, black point of my existence

even as I offer myself up

to the hidden face of the moon

as the first, shining stalk of wheat

to venture out of the tomb

under her inscrutable auspices.

But I am not the redivining of an old sacrifice,

I am not a child in the attic

playing in the valley of the kings

with the castaway cargoes of a rudderless moonboat

scuttled in time;

I don’t dress up in the abandoned wardrobes

of the oversized past

to practise the mute afterlife of my future.

Denied the bough of the day,

I am the nightbird perched in your roots

and singing,

not to summon,

not to warn anyone away,

and even less to convey

the bitterness of unrequited beatitudes

or the serpentine intoxicants of unanswerable longing.

Sometimes it feels as if

I were an extremity of fire

frozen in the ice of hell,

or I find myself lingering

over the petals of the pimped-out magnolias

like the pages of a torn book

or old Venetian blinds askew at the window,

to look for eyes between the lines

I might add to the watersheds of my seeing like rain,

but I’m never a pilgrim on a road of smoke for long.

And I don’t know

if I have enhanced the waters of life

with the tears that fell inwardly

from the lightless side of my eyes,

but I am not the urgent miscellany

of the misunderstood

and I have always been suspicious of the bread

that calls itself good

and founds its thunderous, empty silo

on a curse in the cradle of the grain.

I don’t peck like a pigeon

in the holy squares of the doctrinal,

and it’s been an ironic consolation at times

to wryly affirm with a quizzical smile

that only my uncertainty is certain.

My life may have been blown about

like the windswept froth of a pathetic guess,

and everything I know

be phantoms of foam clinging to ruinous rocks,

but I have that in common with the stars,

and there are tides I ride bareback without a bit

like my own bloodstream

that fly like wild horses on the moon,

muscling the dead seas of the heart like waves

that expound no more

with the gavelling of their hoofs

than the astounded pulse of the running.

I am no longer estranged

by the parsecs of solitude

that are the true measure of my age,

once I realized

it was my only way of meeting everyone.

And I have never mistaken a chain

for the rosary of a dead liberator

and linked the name of God

to anything that is bounded by what it binds.

My freedom is slandrous,

lightning and a star,

but my devotion glows like a firefly in a jar

when I consider that I owe more

to the things I got away with

like a fugitive

compelled to cross the unknown badlands

by a posse of judicial compasses,

than I do to the foghorns and lighthouses

that bellowed over my unsalvagable corpse

because it rose on its own

like an unschooled coast,

there’s still a morning in my smile I can’t regret.