Thursday, November 6, 2008



The only difference between a winner and a loser

is that the winner cries out loud in crowds

that trample on his pain

and the loser weeps alone at home in his room

like a faucet without a drain.

Two drips of the same hurricane.

So why put these distinctions on like handcuffs

and spend your life looking for a pin

to jimmy them loose,

or run around in a panic

trying to make bail

by pleading with loansharks

not to bite through your cage as you drown?

You may know the truths of hell religiously well,

but are you as well versed

in the lies of heaven, or is it with you

that one turns into the other

so all the lies come true

and it’s all just a big mess of demonic stew

you keep stirred up with your tongue

to keep from burning on the bottom?

Or are you like most people

who spend more time looking for a guide

than they do at where they’re going,

who think the colour of their eyes tints what they see,

who paint their windowpanes to improve the view

and abide like first stones

in their righteous mansions of glass?

If the angels jump from heaven

so the demons can rise from hell,

you would do well to lie in your grave like a threshold

that knows the way in

and the way out

instead of trying to deport the dead back

to a native way of living.

If you were to ask me, and you haven’t,

so I’ll presume,

you need to take a good bath in a hot mirror

and wash that face off

you keep trying to renew

like a virgin on the moon

every time you start to seek the spiritual.

Clarity isn’t an enlightened target

you can paint on the ass of a baboon

and there are no line-ups and limousines

when the truth is screened like a lighthouse

in an empty theatre

and the sound of one hand clapping

is definitely not applause.

You can walk out of the darkness

like a shadow into a blaze of noon

while your mind streams the credits of the last dream

you’ve left behind you like a life,

or you can hang out like flypaper at midnight

and catch a few stars on the main drag

as if every constellation were the logo

of a mystical consumer brand

blinged out like a shrine

to pimp and pope its radiance.

Either way you cut it, the way I see it,

win or lose, up or down,

thorns, horns, haloes, cosmic eggs

or the full moon itself

in the begging bowl of your crown,

you’re still drinking cool aid in Jonestown.




Not elated when you’re up,

not in despair when you’re down,

your joys like oxygen

and your sorrows eyes in the night,

the moon’s half shadow, half light,

breathe yourself deeply and darkly in

out of the cool bliss of your life

as if every breath were the summons and the ghost

that comes like a spirit to a seance

when creation asks if you’re there.

I couldn’t really see the orchard in bloom

and apples on the moon

until I learned to shed my face,

and there are orphans beading rosaries

out of the eyes I’ve worn out on the seeing

like waves that have drowned in the swimmer

just to remember the names of God I’ve forgotten.

One lifetime doesn’t wait upon another

like gladiators in the arena of the clock

or letters in the mailboxes

of the houses of the zodiac around the block,

or one generation precede or follow another

like footprints down to the shore

where the angels have fins

and the demons have wings.

Is the caterpillar old and the butterfly young

when it emerges like the moon from its cloud?

I’ve looked through the eyes

of everyone who has ever existed

as they do now and will

as intimately as any I used to call my own

and not once have I ever seen myself as I am

until I realized there was no one

to look for or through

who wasn’t moonlight in a drop of dew

seen from the inside like autumn geese in a nightsky

and that there are some mirrors even the stars can’t look into.

Most long for happiness, and a few, fulfillment,

but if you go looking for happiness in a war

you’ll turn it into a weapon, a victory,

the quicksand cornerstone of loss

and again, there will be tears.

It’s much harder to win the peace than the war

and the discipline of the warrior lover

is beyond the finesse of the conqueror

who doesn’t understand

that happiness is the muse of peace,

not something that can be earned or won

anymore than inspiration can.

And it’s noble and brave and necessary as water

to explore the darkness and the mystery,

but how few have dared the dangerous wilds of their joy,

the unwalked high fields of their happiness

where paradise is always this before you now

hung like a perilous jewel from the end of your nose

you’re trying to catch with your tongue?

And it’s true, one taste of that and you’re done,

and the serpent in the tree that swallowed the egg

flies and sings with the bird

who can read the serpent like music

and look where you may

among all the amazing myriads in the whole of the eye-gaping sky

and you will not find one star opposite another.