Thursday, June 14, 2007


A fluctuation in the cosmic void,

a wink of atoms,

a fallen eyelash of light,

the seeing of a lifetime

nothing but candle vapour,

ghost-water on the moon,

the exhalation of a vagrant star

looking for its lost constellation

like a berry or a gem

that had wandered offroad

from the vine of a crown.

The eye that regards all

as it rises like a blue mystic sun

over the morning eyelids

of the remote hills

waking up in the arms of their shadows

demands exposure of the sky,

a clarity pure enough for stars

as it turns the day over

like the palm of a hand

to reveal how our lifestreams

join and break

at the junction of sacred rivers.

And the vision,

the illusion of the way I see life,

the romantic intoning

into the bell of the abyss

for a hopeless beauty that died like a bird,

the lostness and the loneliness,

the unknown sorrow

that seems to bleed out of the air

like a black rose born to grieve

for the separations of long ago,

and the child in the brutal fire

that pleads at a window

weeping in the heat

for rescue from an afterlife without salvation,

all that the heart features

in the deepest silence of the night,

nothing but the auroral trash

of an overionized mind

trying to touch its own burns tenderly.

Until I became the knowing

even my own ignorance

didn’t recognize me.

Until I vastly improved

the integrity of my lies,

every mirror I looked into

like a woman’s eyes

was corrupt,

the prelude to a death certificate

in lipstick, a thorn of honey

that dripped like the fangs of the moon

with mysterious toxins and elixirs

that could scald and bleach the heart

or restore it with the kiss of a silver herb

grown in the garden of a cool eclipse.

My bitterness and fear

have made me less susceptible

to the empty boats that arrive

to take me on like some kind of foreign export,

a cargo of ashes and stars,

the bodybags

of the casualties and refugees

that perished in an unknown holy war of one

that I can’t stop waging

against a universe that won’t let me in,

but my solitude

could defeat me with a feather,

could shock the fool I am to hide

with the shadow of a wing

breaking the spell of this birdless sky

that seems to go on forever beyond the wind

like a caravan of rain

that’s outwalked the longest known road

into a wilderness

of rootless trees in big city back alleys.

When the rose

has been stripped down to its claws and horns,

how few have the eyes

to keep yearning.

Let me drown in tears of fire,

in wells of thoughtful quicksand,

rack me on the iron in my blood

and stub my cherished stars out

like angry pincers applied to my feet

like a firewalk through a snakepit

and I will confess to nothing

but an earnest ignorance,

I will not betray the abyss

where I buried myself like nuclear waste.

I will remain true

to the merciless emptiness

I uttered to myself like a vow

I didn’t know if I could keep

four decades ago.

Now I lay my head down to dream

on a stone pillow full of stars

that shine like rare metals in the night,

and when I wake

I seem to know less

about everything it took me a lifetime to master

than when I first

abandoned my eyes

like oceans on the moon to see.



to Alysia, myself, Alysia, to the night rain,

trying to hang the universe on the tip of an eyelash

without blinking, pulling handfuls of the stagnant dimensions

of my apparent magnitude off

like the dead undergrowth

of a plausible star to try as an antidote

to the junkmail perfume samplers

that keep heaping themselves up on my doorstep

like the fake leaves of a tree somewhere on acid,

mini-nirvanas that reek in the dark of enlightened snake-oil.

Tonight I like the windows black, starless,

but keep the company mellow with my rendition

of musical lamps, one lightbulb less everytime

someone asks me what I feel most when I write.

I look at the trinity of faceless wolves on my easel

that accuse me of eyes, and punish myself by taking note

they’ve moved since I last looked at them,

and there’s a poppy of blood on the snow that’s atavistic.

O Nietzsche, how wrong can you be, though

I like the way you sublimated your rage

into the colic of apoplectic, apocalyptic prophecy.

I don’t know if the world’s bad enough to deserve you,

or if chaos has miscarried at the birth of your dancing star,

but blessings on your head and house, anyway, wherever you are.

Alysia, willow, Druidic trees, the French river Alyse in Arles

where Van Gogh sliced off his ear in self-disgust

and gave it to a hooker like a premature embryo

swaddled in a gesture of genuine tenderness

and when has it ever not been this way,

brothels and asylums and expressionist reliquaries

shredding their smiles in the spokes of a cosmic wheel

like a last-minute embassy over-run by the radical passions

of a fashionable artistic solitude, the whole world with a headache

or on the rag, and even the flies that could cover the earth

forty-seven feet deep in flies every breeding day of their lives,

not in the mood for all that generative commotion.

Genius is a different kind of lonely, the third wing on a bird

that doesn’t know what to sing to the dawn or why,

when the other two are getting by just fine

in the usual sky that hurls them into the usual ecstasy,

the esteemed feathers of the coincidence of the contradictories.

The important thing is learning how to rewire your eye

to your heart, not your brain, so when they ask you

what you were writing about before they came

you can hand them a black, tight-lipped envelope

sealed with the impressionable bloodwax of your pain,

captioned by the resident emptiness of a paper airplane

so that they can go away deluded and delighted

that you’re the one that’s insane, not them,

and that for once upon a time as long as life

they’re the ones who aren’t living their death in vain

and yes you can use rhyme in a poem if you want to.

But what a price for such a little kindness;

refusing to endow your wolves with eyes

so they can spot the typos in their blindness.



0 new messages, eight-six in the box,

write the fury out, write the fire another love-letter,

train the crows to preach

in a snakepit of downed powerlines,

euthanize a stamp by holding it down under the wavelengths

of an approving postal service, its gravestone

a passport to delivery, it’s date of death on record,

and the radiant message it carried out of the past,

the light of a remote star

trying to make contact with similar forms of life,

luggage and a toe-tag, wind in the ashes

of dismembered dolls. And there are

disappointments so grievous, careless mishaps of the heart,

wolf-spiders wince and close up

like startled flowers under hot match-heads,

delinquencies of feeling that prowl the shopping-malls,

and wounds that bleed out of their mouths

acidic rivers of red army ants

that scald their way through the grass to enslave

the gentler colonies of another midnight without you.

And I’m here alone in the plundered tomb

of an evicted house with bad water,

clinging to the planks of my shipwrecked bookshelves,

waiting for doves and lifeboats

in a regata of sharks circling this drenched bouquet of sodden galaxies

I’m holding out to you above the sloppy waves

like flowers and flies I saved from the drain,

and your tiny sin of omission, the broken blade of your avowal

to never intentionally hurt me

is blood in the water, the fuse

of a feeding frenzy, of haemmoraging roses,

and my heart’s a lousy sump-pump for the pain

of being nicked like this by the petal of a daisy razor-blade

that loves me not. And I could be cool and noble, easy

to lie about the flaring poppy that immolates my art,

hoping for other rescues in the vicinity,

breeze over the burn like an ashen firepit, and poetically forgive

the arson of your oversight as just

another seasonal meteor shower out of Leo,

just another falling star to wish on, but it lights me up

as if my bloodstream had turned to gasoline,

and I’m not much of a monk when it comes to cremations

or emergency fire-alarms that no one answers

or the one-runged crutches you tell me to climb down like fire ladders

from the glass dragons of these melting windows

and huffing supernovas reaching critical mass like blasting caps

in a beaver dam. I can be October sumac

and set my wings afire like a phoenix all on my own,

and I’ve been burning for you like white phosphorus for weeks

to give you something to read by in a black-out,

and I’ve been cooked in the fires of separation before

like a good-natured steak tenderized in the wines of hungry women

trying to please capricious palattes

over the igneous briquets of a glowing heart,

and I’ve been happy to do it, happy to let them carve my tongue like meat

and chew till their jaws fell from their hinges like weary gates,

just to see them pleased and full, their bloodlust satisfied,

and I’m tiger enough in my own stoked fires to do it all again,

but if the chimney sparks are fireflies that want to flirt with the stars,

so the whole wilderness has to go up in flames

before anything can grow,

I’ve got a message from Mars

and a dove, with a Zippo.