Monday, September 22, 2008


Trying to divine the source of my own nonsense,

the spiritual motherlode of my insubstantial substance,

more dark matter than light,

track myself back to my trackless beginnings

like a junkie who doesn’t know

what he’s addicted to,

I’ve come to this impasse of peace

like a nightriver absorbed into a desert of stars

that bloom everywhere along my ubiquitous banks

like the illuminated afterlives

of wild, New England asters

playing scrabble with my constellations.

Things transpire in the stillness without an agency

and smoke is no longer the history of fire

nor time the moon married to a bone.

The eloquence of water still streams over

the skull of my voice

as if it could make up for the loss of my eyes

and cool the clarity of the seeing,

and I am still as susceptible as ever

to the charms of the doves

that sometimes fly

from the transformative gestures of the magician’s hands,

but trees and squirrels just as they are,

and ants in the gravel

are no less of a wonder.

Sometimes the music forsakes itself

and plays the listener

and then I am a one-stringed spinal cord on a witching stick

in a choir of silver-tongued crows.

Or I am beneath the contempt of the ordinary.

Either way, the snakeoil greases the pivot

and I turn with each exit and entrance

as if I were breathing for someone else

like a homeless gate to anywhere.

And it’s amazing to discover what’s healed

when the scab of your name falls off

like a stone rolled away from your tomb

and every wound is the cradle of its own messiah.

Every aspiration is born of contrition

as food is born of the eater

or the fire devours the wood that feeds it

until you can’t tell the grass from the grazer

when both disappear like wings of the same bird

consumed by the same sky like fire and smoke and longing.

I don’t know what to want anymore.

Once I was a tree of ambition.

Now, not even a leaf on the stream

hoping somehow I was a map to somewhere.

The stars of too many nightskies

have looked too deeply into me

and a darkness brighter than light

that wipes me like a smear from my seeing

has doused the match-head of my little flaring

in the inexhaustible clarity of an unwitnessed mind

that is so mystically specific in every form and person

nothing and no one is ever missing.

It’s the dream that things are as they are that wakes up,

not the dreamer.