Wednesday, June 20, 2007


And I want to cry out, unburden the bell of my pain,

release the shadow this storm has been walking for years

like a man over abandoned landscapes the earth will never finish,

let the tears flow in a flashflood of ripe sorrows,

tie a noose in a rope of roads I’ve travelled to the end of

and kick my heart like a chair from underneath me,

fruit on the tree at last, an apple sapped by lightning, black,

but sweeter than stars, ready to fall

from the blasted nightbranch

of one too many devastations, one too many blows

on the edge of a sword of light

that could cut the tongue out of an anvil.

I want to ask for forgiveness for having been a man,

but I don’t know why or from whom in the silence

that can’t tell the difference between the thief and the theft

anymore than I can peel the moon’s reflection from the river.

I want to let go, fall to my death, revive from annihilation,

a sage of silver herbs, words that heal more than they judge,

but I’m bound to the mast of my spine in fire chains

hotter than cold snap radiators

that tighten like anacondas around me

everytime I let another ghost go like a hostage of rain.

And I keep telling myself the singing I hear in the distance

isn’t just another firefly in the harps of the willows,

another caprice of light with skillful fingers

that licks the blood off its last painting off with a smile,

but I’m broken and old and too forgotten to care

if it’s mine or someone else’s, or just another contribution

to the emergency bank of plastic bladders

waiting like silicon for larger breasts.

And the wind now is always a memory,

and I keeping losing my mind like a bookmark

that’s forgotten where it left the book,

and there are pleading voices that gather around me at night

like starving children with the faces of wounded cherries,

and I seem to have less than nothing left to give them.

And when I look for a meaning to my life,

I seemed to have lived in the wreckage of an accident

that happened before I was born.

And there is no holiness in loving the earth and the people in it

with a passion honed by desperation;

and I never could see what they did in their laughing mirrors;

mine was always blacker than a sail off the coast of a waiting widow.

And now I’m here in this house of empty ballrooms on my own,

trying to box the essentials of what I’ll take with me when I go

to anywhere I’m not, and the ceilings are weeping

all over their plaster rosettes, their second empire sundogs

like blood seeping through the ceiling

while carbon-tipped spears of regret

for all the things I should have done and didn’t, or did

and wish I hadn’t, pierce my voodoo heart like micro-meteors

from a chance of God. And it isn’t as if I didn’t try to be good,

or wise or useful for the sake of earning my mouthful of salvation;

I could do what others couldn’t because to confess

I had less than nothing to lose. Sacrifice is easy when you’re free,

and waterproof stars that don’t run in the rain like tears

or the longing lines of homing poems at dusk,

no trick at all if you’ve been raising yourself from the dead for years

in rented tombs where the angels leave their junkmail at the door,

and the landlord watches everything that’s going on.

And I know this will come as a shock perhaps

to a few who tried to care, but the best I could manage of love

was to lead them away from myself

like the stairs of a burning house. I smuggled them in the night

through a hole in the razorwire fence of my heart like frightened refugees

into a better place with a green card that could walk away from me.

And there’s nothing more of dignity in this

than if I’d rescued a fly from a toilet

or put a child back on its fallen bicycle

with a warning not to talk to strangers.

No anti-hero, no tough romantic anymore,

not even an arsonist in a volunteer fire-brigade

and the moon too often these days just another cold stone with craters

come of all the goblets I once raised like a branch with a pear

to the women I drank to the bottom of their dead seas

only to fall down drunk under the crash of their smashing chandeliers.

And it’s always been something to furrow this acreage

of paper and canvas with gestures of fire and seed

watching the earth turn like flesh under the ox-driven scalpels of crescent moons,

but lately it seems that I’ll I’ve been doing for forty-one years

is ploughing a minefield covered in snow with the Big Dipper

to make way for a hearse in a hurry.

So what do you say to your hands when they want to pray

and you don’t know what to ask for?



And I know so much before I’ve even thought it

that I’ve already gotten over you years from now

when we’ll pass each other on a winter bridge

huddled in our own lives like two black comets

who vaguely recognize each other

too far from the sun to shine,

spectres of ice and somnambulistic hydrocarbons

that once flaunted their omens and overtures

in the face of astrological assassins

that tried to use us as an excuse for history.

But now, among farewells that matter less

than the flanking manoeuvers

and overextended supply lines of the gored moon,

among the embittered swords

of the ceremonious clock

surrendering to its own wounds,

the bleached flag of its bloodstream

the eclipse of a poppy at halfmast,

I have nothing to offer you

but this small grey boat of a life sunk

halfway between the sea and the rain,

bobbing for planets in a swill barrel, blind-folded,

too much of an export of hope to hope

for a bright wind in a dark sail.

And what a fool to think

I could row all the way to the moon

on a single drop of water,

but the dreamers have as much to say to the stars

as the rivers do to the oceans,

or the mountain to the valley

or the wasp in the mouth of the rock,

and who can translate

the gibberish of the fireflies

into the eloquent salons of the morning glory

without making a buffoon of himself?

A rose is a bee is a clown

who’s learned how to forsake himself

in the name of a prayer with a sense of humour,

for an umbrella in the spotlight.

How many times, the night tense with tigers

and slapstick drumrolls of heroic thunder

did I crawl into my own erection

like a bridal bouquet in pyjamas and goggles

to be shot out of a cannon at you, high in the stands,

a trajectory beyond the safety net?

I don’t know where desire goes when it’s rejected

but when it comes back

resolved to be magnificent

in front of a firing squad,

it always tastes of tin and desolate paint.

That’s why I’ve made a mirror of my tears

and washed my face off like a wounded rainbow in a telescope

pointed at you, a full house, high in the stands

of a prime-time constellation, the safety, on.



And I call to you like a bird in the woods in the night,

this disembodied singing from the shadows,

and I looked at the moon that you told me to

that shines above us both, a place we can meet

on a bridge of our own, our faces on the stream of our tears

like candles in blossom, and I saw you by your window

in an orchard of letters and poems, sipping peppermint tea,

and over us both like one blanket, one skin, one sky

all the stars an eye can hold, and I started to cry

as if I were mourning the passing of lonely autumn flowers

that grew awhile in the wind, in a far field, by a broken gate,

and I felt everything about being a solitary human in time

unpool my blood like the threads of fate and pass through me

like the eye of a needle trying to close the mouth of a wound

pouring out its grief for everything that had to suffer and bleed

its way through life, in an empty room, a ghost come back from the dead.

And I wondered if you knew I was in the room,

and noticed the fingerprints on your windowpane,

the slight breathing that gusted in the candleflame

or felt the kiss that landed on the petal of your cheek,

or the mushroom and the arrow I pressed to your lips

or the hands that shaped the clay of your hips on a wheel.

I couldn’t get off, to show you in fetters, the way that I feel.

It’s strange to have never looked into your face with a smile

from dawn to dusk, or fallen down the wells of your eyes

like the penny of a blessing and a wish, almost a prayer, almost

there holding the soft sparrow of your body in my arms.

And I wished I had magic, I wished I had power and charms,

o I wished for impossible things from all the sad imaginings

that afflict my heart with the sorrow and darkness of iron bells.

And maybe hell’s like this, I thought, reaching out in the night

like a branch for a blossom, or the stars in the eyes of a human face,

and having everything you love and burn to touch with a feather of breath

turn into mirrors and space, a little light of life with a long death.

And then I walked with you in gardens exiled on the moon

and your hand was in mine, and both our hearts

were singing like apples on the bough of an August morning

as our shadows flowed away behind us like a wake

and we turned, and we held each other up to our mouths

like bells of wine so sweet we were one delirium out of time,

two wings hinged to the same fate, one fire, one seeing, one gate.



And here I am, here I am

I say to the answerable

holding the world up for proof.

Why is your song

always a star

paling in the rising light,

and my heart the smashed plum

of the orchard you walk through?

Have I not drunk enough mirrors

to meet your madness face to face,

drowned in enough skies,

lain on the pyres

of enough demonic cremations,

ploughed oblivion enough with my eyes,

refused enough easy dreams and lies

and taken the ram path up the mountain,

leaping from abyss to abyss,

butting rock with the horns of the moon

like a door knocker

cast in the shape of a skull with a crown

that I shouldn’t always have to walk away

feeling like junkmail on your threshold

and that it’s one minute to midnight

before I wake up to myself

and realize you’re not home

even when the lights are on,

and the windows are ripe with radiance,

ready to fall like a house of cards,

and I’m the only joker without a doorbell

and the return address you gave to everyone

like a new religion of multiple choice love letters

is the foundation stone

of a fire that burns like a palace

to enthrone itself in the hovel of its homelessness.



An ant carrying the last bell of a flower,

the heavy weight of knowing how it ends,

the autumn left to clean up after the party,

I have nothing to say to the crows in daylight,

sitting a bough above me like quotation marks,

the heart afraid of its own farewells

as the geese stream across the sky like a shoelace,

and I am more alone in the world than space

as time shows me passage after passage

of wounded poppies bleeding like a hooker’s lipstick.

I’m tired of pushing the sail of my life

like a solar wind to the edges

of the knowable and over

into the unintelligible abyss

of a dictionary compiled for the dead.

And the stars are beginning to look like nails

in a large coffin without a rudder

that sank in drydock,

and stone by stone the cemeteries chatter about life

as they did among shadows, hoping and guessing

the pious vehemence of their chiselled certainties

doesn’t drop a dime

on the number of urges they’ve had

to fuck a teen-age girl into oblivion.

And there are clarities quick enough

to open the lovers like letters that never came,

and mental corals

that will rip the hull out of the moon,

and hives of venom and honey

that hang like lanterns and ambivalent kisses

above the tongue that’s fool enough to taste them,

and a night so dark ahead

only the most star-struck understudies

of last year’s constellations

are eager enough to shine.

I wish I didn’t know,

I wish I didn’t insist on seeing

and my blood didn’t set out looking for me

like a dove with a message

to assassinate anyone who hides.



I am trying to have a relationship with myself that doesn’t have any skin. I’m trying to flow and change, fluctuate in frequency and shine, shine, shine some light on something about myself that isn’t just another baby-swallowing Cronos of symbolic interpretation. Knowledge is its own worst eclipse. And it may well prove the vainest of absurdities to go on looking for an intelligent star whose every ray of light is me, is you, is this atemporal moment of insight, should you be reading this, or not. Now is the strangest of all familiars, but here I am, now, sitting out on the grey, wooden fire-escape that shudders in the wind, three stories up among the greening crowns of the trees flaunting their new luxuriance, bathing in their surf, wondering deeply why I would be brought to wonder in this desert of stars behind the day if wonder weren’t a well. Mystically inebriated by stars, I can’t help it, I can’t seem to stop prepping my own vein like a junkie compass everytime I am holy enough to feel the radiance of their streaming like my own blood. I am this strange, brooding fraction of myself sitting like a hermit or the unshaman of my own folly high up above the roofs in the eyrie of his vision, at peace with the wasps of his halo. Or are they my aura? And the question is, basically, what am I doing on earth in this boundless moment of light and life, aware of the fact? And why is the night the hardest, and darkest of sacred rocks I have ever come across to grace my blood upon like the sword of an honourable death? I don’t see the antennae of the wasps divining for lightning, but here I am, holding my little sticky snail’s horn up like a microphone to the stars as if they gave interviews for the clarification of the chronically mesmerized. And how often I feel the world is a thing and an event that is lost upon me, that I am not sage or wizard or wise enough to discern, that I am not innocent or loving enough to drink from the silence of its ubiquitous fountain and thrive on the open secret of its wholeness. My only hope is that the search is more sacred than the seeker. That if I turn the light around and journey deeply enough into myself, eventually, there will only be the looking. That the only road worth walking has always been as long and as wide as my feet. And the love that the world beams back in all these myriad gestures and features of night and light and life, within and without, all these transformative illuminations, trivial or profound, is such that no one can ever be astray. That no river of blood, or light, stars, water, diamond, or mind could ever flow the wrong way. That the agenda of the beginning is not corrupt, punitive, or indifferent. And it isn’t as if life isn’t a silo of answers, but humbled by the anticipation of approaching ultimate intimacy, I have spent a lifetime looking for a question worthy of the voice that would answer. Unspeakably me.