SHAKEN AWAKE AND CRAZY
Shaken awake and crazy
and unmeaning as the morning,
my mind fumbling around with a bouquet of keys
unable to assess whether it’s my ghost that’s being conjured
or a wide-eyed medium at a seance of doors
trying to throw his skull like a stone
through the mirror of the trance
that binds me like a threshold crossed
to the sacred folly of another day of life
leaning me up against the wall
like an empty coffin at my own wake
so the world can drink itself into oblivion for my sake.
And there are women around. I’m haunted
by their eyes in the dream-mud like jewels
that once turned me in the light
to confess my facets and flaws
until all the dark intensities within me,
my crown of coal studded with diamonds
that had hardened out of my seeing
deeply into the night like stars
broke into tears
that I was not more than I am this morning,
this braille constellation of black holes at the bottom of the page
missing their graces and wiles like kells and footnotes of light
that once illuminated the whole text and myth of me with their eyes.
Life can be long and sad and lonely as a bell of blood
when you’re holed up like a graverobber
throwing the used skulls of the moon
you once drank from
into the mouth of a fireless furnace
to keep warm.
Put a window in a candle for me.
Nail my erratic heartbeat like a Gothic knocker
to the door that you shut on the stranger you couldn’t let in.
Just look at the stars once the way the rain sees them
through billions and billions of eyes
and then try to put one out for me.
In this desert cemetery everyone’s a dead language
under a Rosetta stone.
But I’m not waiting to be deciphered
like some linear S of a viper in sand
that stands for water and mind and light
as the moon sloughs me like skin in the night
and all those cartouches of royal blood
that once raised me like a temple from quicksand
and flowed through my bones like gold
are translated into insurgent cartridges of lipstick
in a holy war of one
between my crescents and fangs.
Egypts of depravity and deception,
Germanies of xenophobic reform,
Xanadus in a Mongol pleasure dome,
all just paint on the palette of the atlas
that runs like mingled blood in the rain
after every mad slash of gestural expressionism
that wounds the canvas like a black saint
bound to the stake of a savage paintbrush
blazing with righteous fire.
Only a fool would hope to be understood.
So I try to be grateful for the backward glimpses
of the small tender things that keep recurring spontaneously
like the silver paths of the morning snails
or fireflies and distant threads of mystic lightning
that once unravelled storms
that have passed
like the valleys of the women I have known
over my shoulder
as I stepped off the last precipice of the flat earth
like a kite at the end of a spinal cord
no one was holding.
And if I’m not sitting here now like the moon
waiting for my scars to bloom
as if there were seeds in a dead sea
of tranquil shadows
that could outwit a virgin birth twice,
it’s only because I realize
whenever I’m summoned to love this way again
by the occluded mysteries
and radiant cosmologies
that derived me like a verb of light from their eyes,
a sword from a stone, an enlightened thorn
from the black rose of their dark matter,
meteors may fall like the cornerstones of nations
and prophecies hiss like comets
tempering the ambivalent clarities
of their haloes and horns in lies
and I can wake up as I have this morning
and go on like this forever like a sky
through this afterlife of endless transformation
knowing whatever pyramids I might lie under like dice
to dream of regeneration
love doesn’t give up shining down on any of us
even when there aren’t enough stars
in the whole of the universe
to finish the constellation.