Friday, June 15, 2007


In my dismantled studio, my dismantled mind,

alone on a road I’ll make with my walking,

the ancient future I was meant to live,

and the green mountains are forever walking,

and all the gains of war are ruined by peace,

and the night comes around at last to love,

a white poppy in the skirts of the moon,

and the easels ask me softly,

feeling the change,

why I took the paintings away

that were their only way of seeing,

and I tell them I’ll be back soon with their eyes

and a new colour, Alysian blue, the star-drenched waters,

almost anthracite, where the panthers linger alone to drink

the moon-flavoured diamonds and fireflies

that nick the dark with the small knives in the flight of her poems

the random semaphore in the black mirror brighter than the white,

I think of her. I sit and I wonder. I look for her face

in the broken cup of my heart brimming with time and sky

as if it could blossom again, and brittle porcelains

resume the rose I laid on my own grave

in passing this way a moment ago.

All my constellations, doors I’ve left ajar,

and the windows longing for the shadows of thieves,

I sit and I wonder and I unravel easily into the distance

like the smoke from my companion candle, a stray thread

gone off to look somewhere for the eye of her needle in a haystack

and come back to stitch the ghost that flows from the wound that haunts me

with the negligent translucencies of her auroral negligees,

and the grey kisses of her coffee-shop mornings

where the fire-hoses screen the clocks for willing hydrants,

and the smiles are all leeches within inches of bleeding away;

I look for her as I would the rumour

of an ashphalt comet in a coma of ice

off the radiant coast of the sun

as she bathes in the light of her thawing.

And because and because and because of the relative conjunctions

that thump on the drum of the world, I try to turn away

from her cormorant body drying her wings in the wind,

but something, I don’t know what it is, a gesture of blood and fire,

or the lament of the lost earring that fell like a pulse in the wine,

a word that ripples, or the spectre of a bridge from long ago,

that has turned its outstretched hand toward me over time

to cradle the waters from below,

where we’ve always met this way

only a whisper and chance away from knowing

where we buried the years that carried us away in tears,

keeps me enthralled in my chair here and now inside out in the open.

And there are small flashbulbs of lightning over the hills in the distance

where I wait to meet the flowerstorms

I believe must be her eyes.

And even though the floor is breaking up

like an ice-pack of cardboard coffins

waiting to receive my things,

the books and brushes and paints,

the trinkets, relics, awards

and paper towers of poetry

I’m concealing from the grave-robbers

that itch to plunder my tomb;

there’s something in the room that’s true,

a longing that climbs itself like a stairwell or a poem,

a bell that’s calling its blood home from the far fields

like sand in an hourglass that once was a whisper

in the mouth of a sphinx that wrote her secret lifelines in water

that fell like tears from the eyes of alien stars

and now calls her wells and sacred serpents

up from the depths of her desert veils

to return to this mystery of bays that is now

a woman beyond the rain.

And there’s a hand growing its iris out of the dark,

a tree, a candleabra, the head of a black swan

moving through the fog like a question mark,

looking for answers to riddles

that could slay the player into life again

and draw her out of the ore of her heart like a silver vein

that walks her smile along the edge of a wandering knife

that tries to convince her there is no afterlife afterlife afterlife

that isn’t a waterclock of pain that can only tell the hour

by asking what mask it is, what face, what name?

Pearled under the twin eclipses of her eyes

emerging into cherries, into urgent fruit,

She breathes me in and I can feel myself

slipping into her throat like a nightbird,

like a sky that once spoke like a lover to her wells

and dropped his heart like a rock into her watershed

and threw moist summer stars like rice at her windows

to get her up, to jump in the bucket that’s winched to the spine of this line

and rise out of her single eye through the roots and clouds of seeing

as high as the invisible fire-thrones of the open clear space

that she unlaces among the shrines of my foundation-stones

with the orchids and vines of her shining.

And as her eyes, her breasts, her skin, her mouth,

the encircling bows of her lips curve space into apples and hips,

and we are together human again naked and blameless in love,

and the glyphs of the scars that cut out the tongues of the stone

so long ago they could say nothing to the fingertips

that traced the braille of our muted wounding,

the blood track that led back into a wilderness of arrows,

I want to say softly in the language that grows

in the dawn of her face like doves and morning glory

she is to me what the light is to the lamp that burns to be her;

what the moon is to the wave that sprawls her name in tides

across the shores of this island flesh that’s breaking bread with diamonds,

that if there’s a bird beyond wings, a light beyond the light,

a fire beyond the longest night of the phoenix dreaming in ashes

a word beyond this word in the water mouth of the fountain

she has made of me, I will find it and bind it

in ribbons of blood for her.

And when the strangers come to ask me who she is,

what I am, and who we are to one another,

trying to pick the moon from the sky like a scab

to see if she was wounded, if I was healed,

or we both lie together dead

under the same cold, corroding stone,

two needles in the same compass aligned to one another,

midnight at noon, the bird in the root, the fish in the tree,

and all the symmetrically-distorted, whole, kind, soft destroyers

who like to pin the issue down, top to bottom, zenith to nadir

in one vertical direction, drive two stakes into one heart to keep us down,

take our butterfly volumes off the shelf like marrow from the bone

to look for clues in the candles of the maggots

who will try to eat our shadows again

because we taste of one another

and the taste is sweet,

cool honey in the night of the hive,

waterlilies and dragonflies, poppies and wheat

and the ghost boats that eventually became of our scars,

and the words we carried in them to the other side,

and the long sorrows that dropped like robes from the shoulders of her stars

as we walked skinless through each other when we wanted

and put on flesh like bells and hills and beds in the houses that we haunted,

because the gardens that we wedded spoon by spoon to our eyes

were the wild fields and wines we ploughed

from the shadows of the moon

while everyone else was sleeping,

because we drank from the same chalice of igneous blood

and edged the same sword of our letters with feathers and love

and in the single drop of water that tipped the stargrass for years

we were oceans to each other frenzied with potions of life

and when we fell into laughter and light

I was the skin of her voice and she was the shape of mine;

I’ll say when they ask, and they will,

she’s the white flower in the mouth of the silence

that burns her dark abundance into me like a star on a hill,

and when news from the valley is ashes and glue,

startles me with poetry stained Alysian blue.



one grain of light among a hundred million

on the leg of a sticky starfish washed up in space,

but more radiant for the knowing, going up

to the forbidden roof in the night, coffee and smoke

and the cold, red, folding metal chair that’s more apple-from-the-fridge

than a firetruck, too leggy to be a hydrant, probably

a modernistic Celtic kell of blood to start a love-letter:

Dear Alysia: I’m sitting here alone in the moist dark

above the surf of the trees, and one, a willow,

more entrancing than the others, pouring herself into me,

as if I were worthy of the river she makes of my heart and my eyes

to receive her, the cool, green comet, the portentous late night visitor

that fell from the sky in a frenzy of paint and poetry, and came to rest,

and rooted in the earth, and breathes beside me now, a waterclock,

climbing back up through herself like a bloodstream to do it again,

as the moon goes over her falls, I want to drown in,

and be discovered in the effulgence of the morning tide

a tongue in the bell of waters of the weeping bride

that sings softly behind the net of the wavelengths

she’s swaying into veils, soft whips, a necklace of silver chromosomes,

and the travel-logue of tears that went looking for a northwest passage

like a thread through the eye of a needle I want to drown in,

go down in for the last time like Atlantis

and see my whole life flashing before me as if

it were nothing more than the first, heady draft

of an enlightened prelude I’ve been writing for years to her.

And I know that life is a river with only one bank

and I’m not even standing on that,

but I make a bird of my hands

that looks ominously like a prayer

and tie a little ribbon of blood to one of its legs

and send it out among the constellations anchored offshore,

the final s.o.s. of a sinking civilization

reduced to a message in a bottle, ink in the rain,

the burning cross floating down the stream of the Milky Way,

along the Road of Ghosts, the crucial, long-necked stars of Cygnus, the Swan,

wings outspread on the apex of the summer triangle

brilliant with eagles and lyres in the widening compass of its wake,

and watch as it disappears like a penny in a well,

a splinter of hope, two feathers in the eye of a lifeboat

into the deadly nightshade of the vast, indigo vacancy that contains her.

A lifetime writing poetry, two, three, eons of lives and lightyears

holding the oceanic shell of the cosmos up to my ear

to hear the bloodroar breaking on the shores of a distant heart,

and know I’m alone on an orbiting island in the void

that wants to turn everything into an archives, museum, cemetery, ark

where the animals are all dead, and there’s nothing to eat

but this luminous spread of unsweetened stars on a piece of hard black bread,

how many times, wandering the aimless expanses of my desolation

have I picked my heart up at my feet like the gutted carapace of another dawn,

the severed remains of a dismembered telescope, the mirror, a ruin of salt,

the cannibalized skull of a brutal crustaceon with irises for pincers,

and felt my humanity, this small boy’s notion of doing something

wonderful and good that might appease the crazed furies in the nightsqualls,

and answer this season of being a tiny, brief moment in a waterfall

with a mind that can hold the stone of the world like a coin under its tongue,

how many times, how many tears that have died like rivers in a desert,

have I felt this jest of me torn out underwater like tiny clouds of soggy crabmeat

by indifferent predators whose only mineral mandate was to eat and replicate,

this feast of life that sat me at the table like a king above the salt,

now, below, in a darker time, this gesture of paupers and clowns

squabbling over the leftover morsels of a wax crown on a cracked plate?

I’m only the whisper of a microchip away,

an electronic dragonfly fanning

the soft cilia, the tiny feather dusters of your skin

with the scintillant circuitry, the nacreous filigree

of filaments and wicks, stray threads,

arteries, deltas, rivers, maps and lifelines

that I’ve palmed into the wings on the breath

of the black translucency brooched like a ghost

to the fall of your hair behind you, butterfly feelers

and the gentle wands and batons of the ants on their sugar path,

and the witching sticks, the lightning rods, the stamens and the white canes,

and the dove quills of the goose barnacle in its brittle inkwell

when it feels it’s safe at the cue of the moon

to open up and pour its tiny heart out

like a thimble, a goblet, a grail of the sea

that is its infinite portion of eternity into

the undulant shadows and shafts of pierced lunations

that seek you out like the fire-wishs of the sexual eels that come

in wavelengths of inspiration, the banner and pulse of the serpent tongue

that seizes and shocks and caresses the brothels and the nunneries of your blood

into the mysterious opalescence of the pilgrim chandeliers and drifting jellyfish

that rinse their hair out like waterfalls in the willows of in your poems.

We do talk about being clear, about disobedience, trouble, and paint,

and what goes on in the parking lots of the late night pharmacies

lit up like electric lotuses in the flesh of the asphalt saints,

and I suspect you’re a sphinx in a robe of hierogylphic scars

carved by the rain ten thousand years ago when the desert

was an abacus and journal of grass, not an hourglass of sand,

and you’re probably braver than a junkie’s t.v., and when,

since I’ve opened up like an observatory

with a reflecting telescope on a clockdriven equatorial mount

to track the small planet in transit

across the black cherry of your pupil like a snail or a tear

haloed in the copper moondog of your iris

bordered by the damp carbons of your eyelashes

that stand like burnt trees along the salt shores

of the negative white of the time-exposed picture of the night sky

you’ve posted on your website like an eye through a keyhole,

have I ever thought you were not beautiful and dangerous?

You’re one of Bailey’s beads gleaming through the valleys

of the mountains in a full eclipse of the moon

being swallowed by the dragon that brings the rain

like the embryonic whisper of the black songbird in the cosmic glain.

That’s how lizards learned to cry, and the raptors

yearned long enough for herons, as I do for you

across seventy-five million years of poetic nightshales

laced with fossils, preening my cold-blooded keyboard of scales

into feathers of fire hurled like a choir of kamikazes into a maze of light.

It’s not hard from here to give you breasts and hips and cheeks and lips

and transfuse passionate poppies and volcanic plasma

from the chrome coatrack of the saline drip on your dreamside

into the vagrant bloodstream of a gazelle and a panther

lying down together in the form of a woman with Africa between her legs.

And I can feel your hands, too, slowly turning and shaping space on your wheel,

trying to decide whether I’m a vase or an urn, a wine goblet or an ashtray

you made at summer camp from a brain-sized lump of leftover clay;

or something you’re going to cook in the kiln of your agitated hive

after an audience with the queen in the catacombs of her hexagonal honey,

or a new Adam come in the red ochre of a warning dawn with extra ribs,

all puns, taboos, blessings, curses, alpha-chimps, cosmic apes, anacondas

and apostate madonnas that go by the name of Eve or Lilith

gathering under the laden boughs of the one forbidden thing,

the small, ripe, pleading planet cratered by their teeth

into an astronomical impact of ontological proportions, intended.

No sleep last night, my mind the lead half-life of distempered uranium,

until the birds began tuning up like the fan-belt of a dying alternator,

the sky a bleached lapis luzuli freaked with fusions of white gold

I managed to pan from the starstream of a little poetic alchemy,

with your heart standing in as the understudy of the black rose no one’s ever seen

and this morning, after walking out to greet you like the sun

three hours later in British Columbia, sine occasu,

among rappers and poets, ex-hookers and grocery clerks

who are sometimes truly my friends without trying too hard,

so that I am ambidextrously alone trying to juggle Venus and Mars

and dropping asteroids all over the studio floor like nuggets of mean kryptonite

this ghetto of insistent superheroes picks up and throws back at me

like deluded sparrows and sinless stones

through my magadelenic, stained-glass window

where the swan’s on the water like an ocean-liner and an ice-berg

trying to airlift all my panicked passengers from the deck with dragonflies,

I managed to find enough exits to advance this entrance to you.

And I don’t know if I should be afraid of myself or you

or the visionary cult of the computer, or if

this grammar of wizards is just me speaking in tongues again

to the orchids blooming in the shadows of the tower of Babel

holding out the hanging gardens of Babylon to you as a polygot bouquet of time

to express the oxymoronic turmoil of my lust and my love and affection,

as I try to winnow the tares from the wheat without waking the poppies

that are walking me through this dream of you as a beautiful crime

I keep committing over and over again on this poetic hotline

in a rush of cool bliss that would give even a dead Buddha reason to rise,

but, lady, there it is. I want to be the black mandala in the shrine of your eyes,

the ghost-fire in the spirit’s lost and found, the wounded, white stag

healing softly among the haunted herbs

and lavish silence of the mystic verbs

in your sacred burial ground.



All day the sun ripens the grape;

all night the wine ripens the cup,

a carrying forth into a carrying forth

of fruit into fruit, sun to grape,

grape to cup, cup to mouth,

life into death, you into me,

and everything drunk with transformation,

and everything crazed with flame and fury

as if the lips of the night were bleeding

as if there were eyes on the limbs of trees

that were nudged by the wind

to let go of their chandeliers

and the fire wanted a creekbed of its own

that could weep its way to the sea

and the wind shook the window

it wanted to be. And there are shoes

that were once the barges of men,

and roads that mistook themselves

for a journey, and hearts in the grass,

hardly distinguishable from other boundary stones

that once were blazing meteors,

gashes of demonic iron that could change the earth

in the reflex of their igneous agony,

and faces in the orchards

that admired them for their blossoming,

now, all, utterly changed, transformed,

like the reasons for water or God.

And night after night it goes on like this,

swans in the ashes of burnt guitars,

and women with hysterectomies,

and a pearl on the tongue of the eloquent oysters,

and fire hydrants coming home from war

like amputees, and the lovers

behind the auroral curtains over the hills,

clouds in an hourglass

with lifeboats of sand for mouths,

and floral yokes of bright farewells

on the spinal wharves of their longing.

The sea became waves

and the waves became snakes

and the snakes washed up on the tide

scaled the ladder into feathers

and flew. One can become two, but zero

never empowers anything to change

except to be more of itself,

that’s why it’s cool to be nothing

and enlarge without limit

the infinities in the grain

of a human heart into a cosmic silo..

There’s enough space

in the tiny blood-drum of a shrew

for an eternity of zeroes to shine through;

and that’s what the stars are,

nothing shining down on nothing

so that everything can exist,

me voiding myself like the silence

I feel like a child before you,

so I can hear you

making nothing of yourself to see

who I might be

in the empty mirror without you,

because there are lamps

that feed on the darkness

shadows brighter than noon,

that make the darkness darker

so we can see the moon.



All day long,

painting the moon in daylight outdoors

on the patio of a hive replenishing its casques of honey,

the whiskey zoo of ancient wheats, grapes, hops, rye,

fish, flesh, and the chickens of gradeschool, barnyard readers,

the windfall of a ready-made orchard enticing the wasps

with a keyboard of appetites, blossoms hired to serve,

little cups of the moon filled with the black wine of the bean,

and all the ants under the tables of one mind,

the functions of breadcrumbs and roadkill french-fries,

and the braver sparrows jesting with the customers for survival,

all of one reflexive conclusion, but the people,

the frayed threads of distant lightning over the hills,

fusing the mudball philosophies that keep rolling back down upon them,

insert, parry, thrust, stab, suggest, understate, insinuate

the power of the bone that beats on the inflated siloes of their ignorance,

trying on each other’s mouths like shoes,

like hooves of rocking-horse thunder,

blood mouths, chalk mouths, ink mouths,

all the razorwire conversations

of baffled humans

shouting between oracular watchtowers,

greeting each other with weapons in their hands,

wallets, women, the last planks

of a shipwrecked sense of humour,

and the women mending the torn nets

of the snagged silences

with the eyes of their supple needles,

the bleats and squeaks of agitated dolphins,

no more disappointing than people anywhere

defending the postage stamp to the death while ignoring

the love-letter that surrounds them like oxygen.

What a lonely secret life is;

what sad ashes in a flower of wine;

the human heart kindled like a guitar

to start a fire that inspires nothing but smoke.



for Tonya, with love, on her thirty-second birthday

After you leave, a bell

deeper than the sea strikes once

and my blood thinks it’s a ghost of fire

and tries to evaporate; gusts

of the most graceful emotions,

eloquent clarities of the heart,

shake me free of myself

like leaves and petals and pages,

the tender radiance of nightskies,

and I am astounded in the openess

of an embrace without limits,

of boundary stones being hurled delinquently

through the windows of ice-age mirrors

that have wept so long and slowly

over the silver river locked in chains.

How easy in this solitude

to declare myself to you,

to undo the delusions and the fears,

to flip through the chapters of the onion,

take off this last layer of skin,

and shed the final masks of snow

in the warming recollection of your presence,

in the way your beauty exhilarates me

then thrusts me like a torch into a deep silence,

and my heart sets out by itself toward you

scintillant everywhere, gold

flowing out of the dark ore,

as if the moon rinsed out its own reflection,

the legend of a secret constellation

behind the vital starmap of fireflies

that makes me want to shine for you so intensely

in this dark doorway of pain and passage

that the light hurts with the poignancy

of its longing to fall like a key

from the spirit’s lost and found

upon your planet;

to open gardens that have no word

for fence or gate,

to bridge your streams

with the pillars and roots of inspired stars.

My heart sets out for you all by itself

like a lantern on a road

that unspools with arrival at every step.

After you leave I am possessed of the will

of an anvil and a forge

to become a chalice for you, a sword,

an axle and a plough, a strong bolt

against the miscreance of battering circumstance.

I raise your reflection to my lips

like a cup from a watershed of wine

and in every single sip

swallow an ocean like a potion

from the tears of the moon,

knowing how dangerous it could be

to miss you, to become

an addict of your light at the first taste,

to wait for eras for the return of the dawn

that unravels even now like mystic lightning through my veins.

No more than the sun from the vine,

the moon from the dreaming apple

the stars from the ripening vowel of the apricot,

could any torn net woven of knotted lifelines

undo the vision you have already mingled

like a nightrose of fragrant fire in my blood,

Not to drift again alone

like an empty boat

ferrying the corpse of the ferryman

through the fog to a cold shore

now that I’ve been washed up on your island

like the voice of a salvaged star in a bottle,

a frenzy of light and love in your tides,

a drowned lighthouse

coming to life in every wave of you.

I want to be brave enough

to risk the possibility

of listening to the night together

with the unveiled bride of the moon

in the bay of my arms,

I want to be the sail, the flame,

the gull of her breathing,

the blue dolphin off the coast of her mouth.

I want to swim like a mirror

the sea holds up to her face

to do her hair up with starfish

she tresses like galaxies in the depths;

I want to devote myself like a candle

to the shrine of the September moonrise

that saturates the far sky over the sad hills

like a warm breath glowing on chilled glass

when she smiles

like the wind over the abundant harvest

of the ashes I’ve stored against

this famine of passion

in the silo of the blue guitar.

I want to place my life

like a feather of fire

on the mysterious altar of lunar rain

that splashes like stars everywhere

in the telescopic silvering of the well in her eyes,

and turn these deserts of space and time

back into grasslands

crossing her thresholds

in whispers of pollen and dust.

She walks into the room

to help me paint the bedroom walls,

as I try to cover the grafitti

of my vandalized soul with white,

and a dove in a cage

panics at her approach

before an open door.

She climbs the ladder in rags with a brush

like the moon over a lake,

behind a cloud,

through the branches of a leafless willow

and everything in the room

is enhanced by her shining

and I’m rolling new skies over

the scars and fossils of old stars,

worn faces with plaster patches

to rewrite the shepherding lies,

the myths and symbols of my solitude

in the sidereal headlines of her transformative light.

Now it’s four a.m

and I’m pacing from empty room to empty room

like the pendulum of a heavy clock

that aspires to be a bell,

threshing words like wild rice

under an eyelid of peacock blue

to fill the empty hold of a buoyant heart,

the small boat of her hands,

with the eyes of a precious gathering.

And the tender snow falls quietly outside

on the crow limbs of the winter trees

like flesh returning to the bones of the dead

in a silent resurrection

more unsayable than a veil of white

that puts its finger to its lips

like an arrow of fire to a bow of blood

to hear what the hidden nightbird

under the eaves of a burning house is singing.



A labyrinth of masks,

a first draft of the flawed flowers

you exorcise from your darkness

as if your heart were coal

before the discovery of fire.

No one likes a real dragon,

but you’re fascinated with your own cremation,

your history of pyres,

and play with random ignitions,

throwing parts of your body at the beast,

your apartment the lair of a cat

and your generosity full of chains

and your eyes a question

you put in jeopardy of being answered,

and even the snake

that flows between your legs

to turn my dick to stone,

embarassed by the ploy,

and the little pink mice you breed

to be devoured

as you want me to take you,

not a diet I could live on for long

as you grew more curious

about why the black mirrors

that hover like a whisper of scales above my skin

disdain to destroy you.

You’re too wealthy

to have anything to steal.