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.