Friday, October 31, 2008



The night in the wounded mirror

is only a childhood away from my face

and there’s always a shattered window

between me and my starless shining,

and a dead bird upturned on the sill

as if the sky, too, had its quota of roadkill.

Looking back from all these

lightyears and constellations away,

on the black day I was born under an eclipse

like a flower clenched into a fist,

an eye without an iris darker than a shark’s,

I suspect there was a lot more suffering back then

than I was able to live my way through,

estranged in the corner of a kitchen

that was a feeding frenzy of knives.

I still can’t leave one out on the counter

without fearing it’s just another punctuation mark,

the claw of a comma in a long sentence of blood.

At best, it’s the silver scar of the moon

that slashed me open like a well-honed loveletter

that wasn’t meant for me.

And I still don’t know how to approach

the child I was, the child I still am

time-travelling through himself like a glacier

as if he could put a stop to evolution

or survive his extinction

by keeping to himself like ice.

I look upon his solitude and silence,

the unaccusing indictment of his face,

like a cold, brass plague

commemorating the unidentifiable victims

of an atrocity that can’t be understood.

He’s still seven and I’m looping through sixty

like the spine of a calendar

shedding me like autumn,

a picture of turning leaves on every page,

until there’s no way of telling what age we are

in this season out of time,

and I want to love him, I want

to say things that could heal us both like water

before I take him with me into my grave,

but I don’t truly know how,

and there are secret vows of violation

that are taken without a mouth

and assassins of intimacy in the shadows

and children sleeping in snakepits

who make up their own bedtime stories

and dream of things that can’t be told to anyone

who hasn’t been devoured in their ancient infancy

by the furious innocence of the sea.

Dark-hearted jewel

of a child in the night,

older than light

who has made more of me

than I can make of him,

when I weep for what he knows

and will not say, what am I,

what are these words

in the inky shacks of the trees

but the lengthening shadow

of the darkness that pours out of him like blood,

or duct-tape like moonlight over the mouth of a scream?

And if I come back now

like the legend I have made of his sorrow

to gather him up in my arms like a harvest under a full moon,

and if I sit with him all night

without saying anything

here on this skull of a rock

until each of us is the memory of the other,

could it make anything better,

would it take the thorn of the moon

out of the eye of the dragon

that sheds its skin like childhood skies,

not knowing where things end, things begin?


Wednesday, October 29, 2008


for Layla whose name means night

A star’s just another mode of intelligent light

looking for its eyes with its eyes,

its mind with its mind

just as most of us go looking for ourselves

in someone we will never know,

someone we can never find

because they’re always the open door behind us.

It takes a lot of shining to make a human,

and a lot of darkness to blow one out,

but somehow the universe has managed it

like a thought without an opposite, and we’re here

like a manger of fire, a magus of ashes

to witness our engendering

like a star well beyond its own light

by the time we see it, turning around,

a jewel in the night, or a glass of wine

in a thoughtful hand,

to host the mystery of its own radiance

as if each of us were the guest of our own longing,

the stranger in the doorway smiling like a threshold

with gifts for everyone.

A little laughter with your tears perhaps might help,

if I can suggest it lightly enough

to feather your crying.

It’s true. Some people

live like blackholes,

like rats behind a mirror

trying to pick themselves out of a line-up

like the fourth magnitude stars of a slummy constellation,

for things they only wish they’d done,

but certain they can recognize themselves.

Concrete hands and mystic fingertips in mystic Hollywood.

But it’s easy to throw a whole lot more light on the matter than that

and get out beyond the dazzling billboards of the white dwarfs

on this midway of the Milky Way

imploding into their warped identities like periods.

Look. I turn the lights out

and one of us, me, no doubt

is the darkness of a wounded dragon,

and you, when you laugh, the shining.

And of course it’s not truer than trees in the moonlight

if I say it in shadows and snow,

but it’s the only language I know

when the night pours me out like this from Aquarius

and I speak in tongues like the sea,

or paper gulls winging it like poetry

around the weeping candle

of the lighthouse that once was me.

And maybe tomorrow I’ll be the star again

of some one-night constellation

looking for a cheap motel

off this road of ghosts

that drives me like an eye

through the needle I lost in the haystack

of a scarecrow that took off his second hand clothes

like skins and myths and skies he’d outgrown

to prove there was nothing up his sleeve

like the dagger of an identity

that the birds couldn’t believe.







Tuesday, October 28, 2008



Squirrel on a leafless branch in the rain,

a comma looking for a clause

in the periodic sentence of the tree

delving into the matter

of its own unassuming origins

like the last affable thought

that just interviewed me.

Who the fuck knows?

Denuded down to the duff

I look upon my own leaves

like so many theories I’ve shed

throughout this long night, this brief day,

all the useless maps that carried me away

with every gust of wind

to show me where here was.

Now I’m all crazy starmaps

brailled by constellations

trying to remember the names of their capitols

that starred me like a sheriff or an aster

to this empty treasure chest

I’ve spent my life looking for.

Take a look. There’s nothing inside

but this darkness that has given up its dead

like birds out over a shoreless sea.

Things used to be a lot more drastic

when I would run to put the fires out

my heart had started like an arsonist

by weeping jewels and mirrors

over the burning wedding bed

that woke every morning up like firetrucks and bread.

I took those sails down like skies

a long time ago,

shook the stars and blackholes out of the sheets

and let my eyes wander off into space

like water on the moon

to find a more appropriate face.

Now when I get to the bottom of things,

or even just sink my way through

this unfathomable awareness

that keeps supposing me to me,

I’m as barren and rootless

as a lightning strike on the moon.

And nothing is revealed.

And nothing catches fire.

And there’s nothing

but the alms of a desert

in the craters of these begging bowls

that gape like the empty eye-sockets

of an enlightened insight

that once flashed across the night

like protein looking for a home

in the vast homelessness of it all,

or the still life embedded

in a matchead that’s gone out

like a flower from its flaring,

or better yet

the way I am bound to my life

like the holy cornerstone of a shrine

that revolves around me

like this old meteorite of a skull,

this kissing stone,

that knows me well.


Monday, October 27, 2008



When I look at people and things, my own life,

when I turn the light around

and catch myself at work in a backalley

like an open window stealing thieves,

it’s easy to understand

that nothing exists as a thought, a dream, a form, or a person

that isn’t a protocol of the emptiness

that shapes us like flowers and cups and stars.

This morning, for example, I’m as clear

as a bottle that’s never tasted the wine

or a windowpane, the rain,

and last night I was the underpainting

of a darkness deeper than the face of a clown

before he wakes up and puts it on.

For the moment my mouth is a chrysalis

pieced together from my own duff and detritus

and bound by the glue of an ancient grammar

with bloodroots in the night

that mingle with lilies on the moon

and want to bloom like anthracite and dragons.

The highest and the lowest come together

like snakes and wings

and my penis flys!

But that’s probably

an oxymoronic overstatement

as most truths are just before

they’re absolved by their own extinction.

What’s the sound of one orgasm rapping to itself?

I’ve been blooded like a bell

to know the phoenix of grief

that rises from the fire

when gasoline weeps.


I’ve been rounded by the moon

like a pebble in a tide,

the black pearl under my tongue,

to exorcise myself like a ghost

left holding on to life like an ostrakon.


My heart squanders me

like confederate currency

on union collection plates

and nothing is set free

and it’s getting harder to budget being me

and I’m running out of continents and coastlines

where the ships I hoped would discover me

don’t come in like bills

where even my name

isn’t the native I was when I was young.

And it’s all relentlessly and perfectly O.K.

More leaves have already fallen from the trees

than will fall in the autumns to come

and the valleys are never very far

from the mountains that climb out of them.


Sunday, October 26, 2008



Mean-peopled mind-clutter this morning

edging my rebirth into myself

like a prophecy that never comes true

with little hicks of razor-wire

that think they’re an improvement on thorns.

I wish I was sitting in the middle of a crossroads

with nothing on my mind but a few stars

and a lost sense of direction

that was happiest not knowing where I was going,

or what I wrote in the dust for the wind to read

with a crazy finger.

I don’t want to make an effort to be generous and kind,

I don’t want to make an effort exhaustively once again

to take the high path like some bumbling goat

and try to understand

why the moon butts heads with the mountain

or why all the wildflowers

turn into little bouquets of matches

that go off like solar flares

whenever I ask for a light?

I much prefer the immeasurability of a woman

to the measure of a man,

but there are acids in the rain these days

and glass tears that burn like windowpanes

and lethal illusions of angelic translucency

that weep like box jellyfish

because they haven’t got a backbone.

And it isn’t the moon that weaves and unweaves itself

on the looms of the great themes anymore

but the memes of a hydrophobic pettiness

that arises like the mahdi of a holywar in an hourglass

to defend nothing against nothing like sand.

But I don’t want to judge.

And I don’t want to not judge.

And it’s not as if I expect everyone I know

to be a magus or sybil of lucidity,

and I learned a long time ago the hard way

you can’t turn swine into buddhas

on a steady diet of pearls

or summon fish like a seance

back to the corals on the moon.

I’d rather implore the transformative abundance

of the black hole I keep like a coin of cyanide

under my blue tongue just in case

to turn me inside out like a pocket

to prove I’ve spent myself like a star at the bottom of a well

shining up at nothing,

and I’ve been a great fool,

but no one who reached out to touch me

with night in their fingertips

and light on their lips

ever got burned.

Maybe it’s just another way

of launching an appeal like a nameless lifeboat

against my demonic innocence,

and believe me,

I know myself like the sea,

or celestially seasoning the moon

I steep in my tea,

but I’ve come to conclude

like a man in the nude

there are people whose emotions

are homeless killer bees

that have never tasted honey

that even hell won’t waste a hive on

let alone a human heart.


Saturday, October 25, 2008



The moon hangs her skates like her first and last crescents

around her shoulders

and goes down to the pond like a mirror alone

and mistakes your wrists for a skating rink.

And I am gored on the horns of a silence I never suspected.

It’s sidereally dumb to hold your breath like the wind on the moon

and wait for a sail that will never come

as if it were spring in a turmoil of apple-bloom.

And you could look at a coffin

and see a skull in a lifeboat I suppose,

but if it is, like a human,

it’s a one-string guitar with a spinal cord

tethered to the waves,

and it’s not going anywhere

and the only song it knows is sad.

And even if space isn’t a reliable guide to anywhere,

it’s the way I took, dropping stars as I went

and it’s the way I’ll go back like a defrocked priest

wrapped in my spirit

like a cloak of soot

older than night

to put them out.

Everyone knows there are things

hidden in the darkness,

savage things and tender,

but it takes a man without eyes

to hazard a guess

at what the light conceals,

and to reveal a lie

isn’t the same as grasping the truth.

So it hardly seems worth it most of the time.

Most people are mangers without a star

that run around like mad messiahs

with fishy collection bowls

to keep the light from leaking through the roof

but if you ever need to know where you are


it’s the road you didn’t take

that walked you here

just as it’s always a star beyond lucidity

that makes things clear.




Never more alive than now

when memories turn into mysteries

and love leaves the back door of things open,

and I’m no more a stranger in time

than the leaves falling from the trees

or the pages of a book I wrote in blood

washing its wings in the rain.

And there are nights that are vastly impersonal

and I am still a small thing looking up

at the cold, cold stars,

trying to imagine the universe

that imagines me standing here

sustained solely by the wonder of it all

until mind and form and matter disappear

and all’s that left is the life of the seeing,

nothing seen, and nowhere a seer.

Children born and grown and gone

and thresholds and lovers crossed

and things achieved and left undone

and even death bereft of a theme in the mirror

that shrinks like a breath,

I am yet embittered and sweetened by suffering and pain,

I am still as unknowing as I was

when I first asked,

and the hour is as new to me as you,

and it’s just as much of a struggle after all these years

to temper the radicalism of my compassion with tears

like soft bullets

as it is to liberate my cynicism

like honey from a hive of killer bees

when I am shaken by vicious insights

into the proliferant obscenity of human depravity.

Evolution loops like a virus.

And there’s not much I can say to myself

when my eyelids bleed like stone roses

looking into the truth of my species like rabies,

nor anything to offer the wounded mystic

who sheds his eyes in shame

when his spirit clots like blood in his throat

to see how we have violated

even the elemental decencies

of matter, of fire and water,

earth, light, and the star-smudged air.

What we have done and continue to do to each other.

What cowards we are to kill what we don’t understand

because we refuse to turn the light around,

the telescope, the gun, and understand ourselves,

the deathless beauty of what the mind is

when it isn’t soiled by a brain.


Thursday, October 23, 2008



Neither uplifted nor uplifting

you array your ideas like eggs

in little tree-bound nests of knowledge

you can’t seem to break out of.

And you won’t fly out of your own eye

until you’ve measured the sky in wings

so nothing sings in the tree on the moon

you’ve planted like a flag.

And here is a place with a broken gate

and a shattered window

you don’t return to much anymore

like the return address of a painful loveletter.

You’re deep and you’re smart and you’re dark and you’re weird

as if your life were a secret

that’s trying to keep you.

And when I talk to you like this

and it’s good to be open and honest,

it’s strange how we always

end up in the same lifeboat

with a cargo of skulls that look like the moon.

But you asked and I’ll answer

one delusion with another

because I’m bored

and I haven’t heard an original lie in years

that could rival the last one

that flamed out like a brutal mode of clarity,

a martyr to the ferocity of its own insight.

Do I stink of enlightenment?

Do I reek of delusion?

One is aware.

The other aware of being aware.

And it all somehow seems so crucially absurd

you try to doctor every word

like grains of sand in the sea

or a third world country

proudest when it’s begging from the blessed

trying to get things off your luxurious chest

like a budget that went down in defeat.

And though you’re neater than a needle in your probing

the stitches keep coming undone

like the rungs of an unlucky ladder

or a wound that healed like a zipper.

How easy it was to love you

when you came naked to my bed and my body

and the life of meaning

was fire and moon and kells of blood

more than the meaning of life.

We didn’t mean anything then.

It was enough to be the effulgence of our own wayward energies,

and say things to each other

that can only be said in fingertips and braille,

to walk barefoot across our own stars

and taste things with our eyes

like the bells and the masses and the wafers

of the mystic eclipses in the snakefire

that burned for more than a year,

and know things in our hearts

about each other

that are once and silent and clear.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008



My ego off campaigning somewhere

wrapped in the bunting of its shadows

like a vampire, an eclipse, or a bat

gone out like a black hole

or a lightbulb on the ceiling,

I’ve got time to be inconspicuously left


with the playful intimacy

of my own absurdities

and the crazy wisdom

of playing strip poker with the stars.

It’s good to lose your skin sometimes

like a night you don’t want to remember

or a soothsayer holding all the wrong cards

like constellations that have been marked.

It’s how to get naked with the universe

when everyone else is embroidering a straitjacket.

Most people think that clarity has eyes

but I know it sees through me like the starless water

that everything is born from.

Ask almost anyone what they believe these days

and they’ll start quoting page two of their tatoos

like violent mandalas of scripture

mining the road to goodness and light

with explosives swaddled in mangers.

A new religion of sword swallowers

but I won’t dip my blade in wine or blood

and receive it from anyone’s hand

like the distempered steel of a consecrated wafer

or the body parts of a cynical holy war

that defeats its own people like roadkill.

The root of the word, religion, means to bind

like ligaments and lutes

or rosaries and chains

the pain to the wound and the wound

like the scar of a mouth that can’t sing to everything.

I’ve been falling for years like the autumn leaves

and coming up trees again

like a winning poker hand

or a butterfly that’s learned to lay traps for the spider

and the worst I’ve known of hell

is a woman who fell so far from grace

she went skinny-dipping in a midnight lake

like the eye of God

with her clothes on.

And as for paradise

I’ve been a pilgrim too long

to descrate my shrines with arrival

and I’m not in the habit of looking up to things

that are under my feet like stars

as the moon unfolds like a parachute

and I’m walking like water on Mars.


Monday, October 20, 2008



Not to translate the mysticism of contemplation

into the mysticism of action

is to think the baby is so beautiful in the womb

you never let it out to have legs and arms of its own.

At the second full moon in October

the dragon swallows the buddha

but the buddha doesn’t mind.

And there’s a soft warm wind over the wheat

and the road is dusty with stars

that used to be people

and the white sweet clover

raises its wings like a fragrance in the moonlight.

And it isn’t as if you can swim like a fish

through a lull in time like a hole in the net

and get through another constellation

like a fear of life you’d like to forget.

You walk up to yourself

like a gate to a stranger

and drop the latch like a trigger,

your body a sandbag to keep the ocean out.

What do you hope to build

on these cornerstones of doubt

you keep hurling around like meteors

that mistake your eyes for windows?

If only the nod of a random assent

if you weren’t meant to be here

you wouldn’t be

or why when I suggest suicide

do you always prefer apocalypse?

The trouble is, despite appearances,

you’re not dead enough to know

how you’ve always been taken in

by your next breath

and then let go.

The trouble is

you don’t know how

to drink out of your own skull

in the name of anything

without getting a hangover.

The trouble is

you don’t fit the road like a foot

so nothing about you knows where it’s going.

And drifting like smoke

is not the same as lighting the wick

and blowing everything out

to see better in the dark.

The trouble is

there are no eyes in your blood

that shine like the tears of the stars

when they look down upon human indifference

like the obscene afterlife of their light

and turn themselves inside out

not to be what they see anymore.


Sunday, October 19, 2008



Autumn. The way a relationship dies

leaf by leaf, rooted in the earth

and everywhere reaching for nothing

like the delinquent light of unbeseechable stars.

There’s more dignity in the darkness

than folly in the light

and for some reason among humans

tears are more indelible than laughter

though it takes both to open the heart like a bird

and sing like a downed powerline

gone snakey off its cross.

Why long backwards for things that have passed

or addict yourself to a junkmail emotion

now that the sale you thought would never end

is over and the leaves, the spent leaves

are falling like flyers, rain-cheques, coupons and receipts?

The moon pops up. You delete it like spam.

Does it matter who

stepped off into the darkness of the great beyond

espousing a sidereal future

and who stayed alone by the fire with the past?

When was it your rosaries turned into chainsaws,

do you remember the night, the precise moment

you went under your next breath like an anaesthetic

and the moon removed your heart like a scalpel

and the gaping emptiness that was left

struck you like the dark satori of a wound?

You’ll never get over it.

You’ll never be the same again.

You’ll watch the leaves falling

and won’t know who to blame.


Saturday, October 18, 2008



for Alysia

I look at you

and you are the indiscrete genius of night

that makes the muses burn like diamonds in my eyes

and there’s a depth to the longing that awes me

and the silence of something eternal

almost a wound

that wants to be elaborated in words

that have never moved among the living like lies that can heal.

It’s mercurially redundant to try to be real

but every poet’s a holy clown

packed into the darkness of a sacred cannon

cocked to go off like the beginning of the universe

because it’s easier than dying all the time.

And now that I’ve declared my intention

who could take me seriously?

See what I mean? I’m always

an inconceivable intimacy beyond myself

as if the flowing threshold of this long road I’ve taken like a lamp in a high wind

doesn’t want to know what’s going on at home

as if the shining wanted to outrun any news of the star

and it was cooler in these shadows with you.

Bright, clear, blue autumn morning in Perth,

and you in Kamloops, three hours behind

and mountains away, asleep.

It’s as important to know where you are sometimes

as it is to know what hour it is,

plant the lightning, see what blooms,

go panning for stars at noon, get up

and trampling your teachers under your feet,

declare yourself like the heresy you’ve always been for once.

I look at you

and I’m the understudy

for a random constellation of autumn

no one’s ever identified

and the last waterlilies to open my eyes like enlightenment

fly off like wild waterbirds without a trace

to destinations of their own

and what I am left to see by is you

and you are a siren and three sphinxes beyond the light

and I’m one of the things that come out at night

all stars and Mars and mushrooms.

But you’re the mystic hallucinogen,

the tree on the moon sipping from its own dark grail,

the face behind the phases and veils

that’s always turned away like a valley

that doesn’t want to show you its scars.

When I’m with you like this on the nether side

I don’t have to look into your eyes

to know what season it is

because everything I muse I might be

sheds me like a calendar,

shakes me out like birds

from the rootless tree I am

and every thought of you is a winged seed

that doesn’t know where I’ll land.

The moon blooms in the soil it’s planted in

and I’m a windfall of forbidden fruit

as my blood slides through me like a snake

and my haloes are playing ringette with my horns.

How I wish I weren’t wise enough to know

the universe is an open hand

and I can’t possess you

except in flight

when I listen deeply to the sorrows

that sing like nightbirds in your eyes.

I look at you

and my voice starts speaking in tongues

about what my spirit is whispering to my body

in a secret language of wells

and you’re the firespear of a wound to the heart

that never wants to be healed or holy.

Right now I’m in a large, dark, abandoned theatre,

an abyss lonelier than my last soliloquy

making a gracious bow to all these empty seats

left speechless by my final word

as if I weren’t the end of anything,

and you come upon me like the encore

of one hand clapping

and my love of you is held over by popular demand for another night.

I look at you

and you’re a vamp and a sybil and a sorceress

and I’m coiled like the python around your arm

that knows how dangerous prophecy can be

until it comes true

and there’s nothing left to ask of the gods

when they answer me like this with these revelations of you

that make the world seem by comparison

just another sudden flashback of a junkie

shooting the afterlives of the ghosts

that buff the jewel of his seeing

eclipse after eclipse

until the filament burns out

and the weathervane tells the lightning where to strike.

It’s not a real poem

if one wave waits upon another like a conclusion

to sweep all the others away

or one breath waits upon another

like the stranger at the gate

who shows up like a lover

you didn’t know you had,

to stop and say good-bye.

It’s just the neon bloodlight

of another electric motel muse

painting the moon like her toenails after sex

if the sea doesn’t take down all your sails

and untie you from the mast

and smash you like a lifeboat up against the rocks

and snuff the star you steer by like a kite

to hear what the sirens are singing

when a man grows tired of listening to himself.

I look at you

and you are a theme of light

that runs like a bloodstream through my life

when there aren’t enough eclipses to cover my eyes

or stars over Bethlehem to follow.

I look at you

and the Taj Mahal turns into Atlantis

and sinks like butter into its own melting

and I’m left facing you like a compass in all directions,

the meteoritic kissing stone in a Kaaba of quicksand,

cast out of myself like the long shadow of a desert nation,

an exile of water

that’s learned how to bloom

like a nightbird on a dead branch

in a garden on the moon.

I look at you

and the silver leaks like a broken thermometer

from all my mirrors and mirages

like poems I haven’t begun,

things I haven’t done,

men I’ll never be,

knowing how close the river is to the sea

when time takes its own pulse like a bell

and concludes its only prognosis is incurably me.

I look at you,

I look at your mouth and your eyes,

the sweep and fall of your hair,

and I look under the loveletter of your skin

where all these stars begin

like a planet reading the new constellations that come up dancing

over the horizons of these skies you keep sending me

like photos exposed to the eyes and fires and furies of love,

these horizons that keep bending me like the earth toward you

as if I were an ark or an apple,

or a star that could run down your windowpane

a finger a breath a feather

or a drop of luminous rain

like the eye of the needle

or the buddha letting go

or me

when it’s imperative to let you know

that through all these passages and tiny deaths

as even now, I can taste your eyes in everything I see,

in the soft stars flowering in the hair of the willow

like the elder illuminati of the wild asters

when I live like a river with you in the spring

and in the full moon under my tongue

that is always you in the autumn when I die

like a happy bird disappearing into a generous sky.


Thursday, October 16, 2008



My heart’s been dogpaddling in its own blood for so long

it’s hard to tell whether I’m drowning

or waiting to be rescued.

Some stars are salt, and some are sweet

and the rivers flow back into the sea like living languages

back into their mother-tongue

in a mingling of eloquent pilgrims

and dragons don’t linger long in stagnant waters

and the autumn wind might have a few leaves

to say something wise and enduring about it all,

and the mindstream clarify itself in its running,

but I like to linger among the lilies

still tucked here and there behind the ears of the shore for awhile

as if each were a woman

or an enlightened lifeboat

tethered by my spinal cord to the bottom of things

like a star always is to its dark mother.

Whatever that means. Honestly,

things get away from me sometimes like fire and doves

as forms of thought slide out of their thawing like butter and snakes

and the best things I’ve ever said

were in words that completely ignored me.

And there is something metaphysically Chaplinesque

about the way my most cherished profundities,

the ones that make my eyes fall silent

always seem freaked with gestures of pain

as if I hadn’t learned to love my loneliness perfectly yet.

Maybe I’m wrong after all these years

and the error has gone on elaborating interminably as me

but I still think it’s better not to be understood by a buddha

than severely articulated by a mob

even when I make a mess

of my delusions of you.

Would you have trusted me more

if I had told you not to?

Would you have loved me any better

if I had said I didn’t love you

and tried to mean it as long as I could?



My heart’s been dogpaddling in its own blood for so long

it’s hard to tell whether I’m drowning

or waiting to be rescued.

Some stars are salt, and some are sweet

and the rivers flow back into the sea like living languages

back into their mother-tongue

in a mingling of eloquent pilgrims

and dragons don’t linger long in stagnant waters

and the autumn wind might have a few leaves

to say something wise and enduring about it all,

and the mindstream clarify itself in its running,

but I like to linger among the lilies

still tucked here and there behind the ears of the shore for awhile

as if each were a woman

or an enlightened lifeboat

tethered by my spinal cord to the bottom of things

like a star always is to its dark mother.

Whatever that means. Honestly,

things get away from me sometimes like fire and doves

as forms of thought slide out of their thawing like butter and snakes

and the best things I’ve ever said

were in words that completely ignored me.

And there is something metaphysically Chaplinesque

about the way my most cherished profundities,

the ones that make my eyes fall silent

always seem freaked with gestures of pain

as if I hadn’t learned to love my loneliness perfectly yet.

Maybe I’m wrong after all these years

and the error has gone on elaborating interminably as me

but I still think it’s better not to be understood by a buddha

than severely articulated by a mob

even when I make a mess

of my delusions of you.

Would you have trusted me more

if I had told you not to?

Would you have loved me any better

if I had said I didn’t love you

and tried to mean it as long as I could?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008



I’m not cold, or aloof, or indifferent.

I can hear you crying. It’s just that

when things get deep they stop moving,

the tree loses its voice along with its leaves and birds

and there aren’t enough stars in my eyes

to make much difference in the darkness.

Naked pain clothed in itself like the sky

doesn’t need another skin from me,

and besides, where would I put the tatoo

if I could say anything

and what could it mean

that might keep us up at night

looking through each other like telescopes?

And we’re both in the room

but the silence is the sound of one hand clapping

and when you ask me what it means through your tears

I say: Listen. You can hear for yourself.

But you want to sip the night

like an elixir from a spoon,

pull swords from the stone,

ask how many legs are on a snake,

and throw yourself like a bird against a window

when you don’t get an answer.

You’re looking for the return address of a shipwreck

like a lighthouse in a lifeboat

drifting through the fog,

an enlightened pariah in a manger of stars,

and I’m throwing black holes up against the wall like dice,

but you don’t want to hear that.

You want to apprentice yourself to the lightning

like the impious revelation

of an alternative universe

and start something that shines,

and when it doesn’t,

deepen the darkness to make it impossibly brighter

by putting out your eyes.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008



Intimately alone in the abyss

equally ashes and shining

there’s a rootless man

walking around on the earth

being introduced and accepted

as knowable and known,

who thinks he’s me.

He suspects he’s a crosswalk

but I know he’s a ladder

a rung shy of rescue.

There’s never been any security in security

and you don’t have to be a full moon

to agitate the asylum

or much of an autumn to lose things,

people included, so he gets up and goes to sleep

and eats and shits and walks and sits like everyone else

who live like unopened loveletters among the bills

with no return address.

Every step he takes is a one-way threshold

and he already knows the value

of everything he seeks

before he’s found it.

Now the stupid think

there’s only one mode of seeing through their eyes

but I know the seeing of the dragon

is not the watching of the flies.

However they cluster like constellations.

Now here a lot of people

will start to worry about

what the stupid think

but I wouldn’t advise it

because that’s what they do.

The less it means the more it can be

and the rest is written on flypaper.

Everywhere I look

I see the north star shining above me

but I don’t mistake my spiderwebs for maps

to the spirit’s lost and found.

Not lost, not found, not bound or free,

my eyes don’t dilute the darkness

with the clarity of the blind

when there’s nothing, really nothing to see.

I’m sixty now. More a mystic statistic

of the jewel in the dreamcatcher

that keeps me away from myself

like the beginning of a recurring nightmare

than a scarecrow playing with matches,

but I’m still a mirror you don’t want to look into.


Monday, October 13, 2008



Yesterday the moon was a swan on gentle water.

Tonight it comes up like a used ashtray

somebody stubbed their eyes out in.

I could be a nightbird in a bad dream

and slip myself like a message

from a distant constellation under your door

but there’s something tedious about the stars

mindlessly spinning overhead era after era

like a loom in a sweat factory flatlining.

I resist the sway of the metaphor

by staying rooted in the mud of the mindstream.

Happiness just happens. Happ, an Icelandic word,

(remember Snori Sturlesson and the Viking skalds?)

means luck, grace, good fortune

but like a stone, like a planet

you keep turning yourself over to look for it.

You can crack your emotions open

for another thousand lifetimes

like fortune cookies

that have had their tongues torn out

and never find it.

First and last, the moon

may be an Arabic sabre,

the beginning and breaking of a long fast,

the alpha and omega of extremes,

a holy war,

but you never heed the phases in between

as you live from cover to cover

like the front and backdoor

of every heresy and revelation

that eventually shreds you like paper in an abandoned embassy.

I don’t know what your heart’s wired to anymore,

your body still supple and pliable

as C-4 under a bridge,

and you’re always dangerously appealing

when you let your candles dance with your scalpels

in a lethal alliance of science and art

that pushes down hard on my libido like a plunger

that wants to set you off

like a real apocalypse on a Halloween night

tricked out like the treat of the bedsheet ghost that haunts me. Boo.

Sex is an exorcist.

But with you,

it drove the human out of the demon

and charged the darkness with raving angels

that fell like snow on a furnace.

If I didn’t know any better

I’d say love was a delusion of snakeoil

and all its fire-eyes, the testing tines of its flame,

soot on a lamp, why nothing is seen here

expect through a glass darkly.

Or maybe it’s a disease you take

to get through the cure?

But I’m not a saint.

I won’t paint my window to improve the view.

I like to look clearly into things

until there’s no seer, no seen,

just this whisper of seeing like water

in the voice of a bottomless well

that drinks like a dragon from the skull of an ominous moon.