Saturday, November 1, 2008



Not less aware in the dark

than I am in the light

though it’s my blood

that sees better than my eyes,

I listen to my own breathing

and my heart banging

like a storm shutter in the wind,

and I wonder who it’s all for, if anyone,

and if there were stars in my seeing

before I walked myself like a telescope up to the roof

to get a better view

and if all these leafy yesterdays

that look so much like the tomorrows they proposed to be

that I’ve shed like thoughts and birds for years

to reveal the tree that follows itself like a map

into its own flourishing

were not already memories in the world

before I mistook this mind for my own

by giving it a name.

Nothing before, nothing after this night,

worlds within worlds, and light upon light,

I wipe myself away like the carcinogenic smear

of a sunspot in the mirror

tear my face down like an old campaign poster

to better elect the immaculate by acclamation

and step down from all these vacant offices of me

like spent cartridges

from the judicial chambers of an empty gun.

It’s not suicide if you kill yourself into life,

if the pharoah’s ka makes it all the way to Orion

and there’s more delight in heaven than relief.

It may well be wrong and perverse on my part

but I refuse to sugar the rim of a black hole with belief

and live on the crumbs of someone else’s dream

in the corner of an eye

that looks down upon me

like a black lightning bolt an erratic firefly.

And I’m not saying once you’re nothing being turns divine.

I’ve always been too restless

to lie down for long with the mystics

sipping nectar from the moonlit goblets on the vine.

Life’s not a drunk or a hangover.

And I love to paint, it’s true,

but I won’t paint my window over to improve the view,

nor add my little bloodstain like a dye to the seeing

to make the poppy burn blue

just because I can’t take it anymore.

And it may be a long, hard, dirty, demonic coal road

lined with ditchwater and dutiful corpses all the way

to the diamond lucidity of an illuminated human being

but I still stop sometimes, alone with the stars

and listen to the cry of a bird in the night

unspeakably shake the darkness

with the vastness and agony of its life

as if it were a human heart in a rootless tree

whose solitude, like seeing, exceeded the expanse of its being.