Sunday, October 12, 2008


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.



Wild children in the orchard.

I’m obviously thinking of you.

Emotions unravel like snakes in the spring.

Sex gets involved like the R-complex

of a distant reptilian ancestor

who has not yet neo-cortically distinguished

procreation from food and murder

and all over my brain

you’re a mode of global warming.

Most people live their lives

as if it were always the morning after

something vital they’ve missed,

and I’ve known days like that

longer in the ashes than the flame

that casts more shadows on the issue than light,

but this morning isn’t one of them

though I’ve withdrawn into myself like stars

tired of the one-night-stand motel marquees

whiting out the lies and letters and legends

of their unadulterated constellations

like a bad typist that keeps hammering away at the same key

as if she were a trigger.

But you can’t give a black hole

the same break twice if you’re shining

and I’m not concerned about either.

I’m witching for you like water in a star.

Though I’m sitting here

peering through the smudged veils of my cigarette

drinking coffee in front

of all these garrulous icons on the computer

that don’t mean anything enough

to go looking for a Rosetta stone,

just to prove I’m as grounded as any asylum.

I think of you and the quiet stealth

of the way you come to me

like a serpent in the night,

older than innocence

to water

and suddenly I’m skinny-dippping

with lilies on the moon in an eclipse

that’s mystically blind enough to see

how beautiful you are to me

in every artless artful fact of your existence.

Long before eyes, in a vaster space within

everything shone by its own light

and life wasn’t stars away from seeing.

And these five thousand miles between us

weren’t the delusion of roads and lenses they are now.

Everyone’s forgotten that here is not a place

and time is not the history of now

and that the whole of the universe

out to and beyond the furthest stars

is only a human high and wide and deep.

The moon is not the cold firestone

of a night that kept us warm once

though it’s fun to make up things in the night

like religion and heroes and love

that needs to be wounded to be healed.

You can see the moon as a poultice.

You can see the moon as a scar.

Or you can see the way I am

because of the way you are

as if everyone were holding hands

like one long periodic sentence

in which every bead of the rosary

were the name of the wordless silence

that breaks its vows of being

with stars on every breath you take.

But I’m not longing for the ways I want to be with you,

I’m not unspooling the snow of the mountain like a river

to seek you out like the blossoms and faces and phases of the moon

that have lingered like oceans and ghosts on a dead branch,

I’m not holding a seance in an orchard

to summon you back like geese in the spring.

And it’s one thing to come like a thief in the night

through the window of someone you love

and steal whatever you can lay your heart on

but it’s wholly another

to slip in under the door like a bad debt

or the logo and letterhead of a love poem

without a skull of grace to drink from like a grail.

But right now I’m not either.

I’m more like the moon

in the way I’m getting around in my mind.

Green bough. Dead branch. Same sail.

And you the mysterious water

and you the lonely island

that runs before me like a dolphin

coaxing a seasoned shipwreck off the beach

as if everything were always within reach.

And it’s always a better life than mine has been

that flashes before me

like someone else’s dream

whenever I drown in you

to be what your eyes mean

when they can’t be seen.