Saturday, December 20, 2008



Most of my male friends

are addicted to but terrified of women.

Leaves on the wind,

they bitch like amateur sailors

about the sirens on the rocks

who overturned them

when their balls

weren’t ballast enough

to right the way the mast

they tied themselves to

was leaning into the song.

Wounded and groaning

on stretchers they’ve made of their sails,

as if all the radiance of the passion

had been snorted through counterfeit bills

and they were the only ones lied to

by the black holes

that roamed their blood like dragons

who lived on fire

before the lights went out for good

and the poppy’s flare for passion

turned out to be a flash in the pan

as the moon arrived like an ambulance,

an usher of blood,

to revive the urgency

like a junkie

who had o.d.’d

on his own meaning.

They come to me

like younger versions of an old vice

as if their hearts were gored

like the petals of a rose

on the horns of the moon

that tore them up like a loveletter

written in the scarlet alphabet

of a harlot’s blood

like lipstick on a mirror

when they looked into the lies

in her inebriated eyes

and kissed their own reflection.

They talk like prosecuting attorneys

about their scars as if the moon

would never again change phases

and pimping themselves up like king cobras

with a flare for the ladies

they suddenly die of stage fright

like the sexual flutes of snakecharmers

thrust into the spotlight of talent night in a snakepit

that hisses them off the stage.

I’m older, and people suppose

my passions are ashes by now

and my skull an urn

in the house of the dead

and if I burn, I burn

like a nightlight in a morgue

or a slow glacier unthawing

the lockets of the mammoths

that died in me like a species

when love was older and colder than it is now.

They imagine I’m wise

and the fool has been murdered enough in me

that there are starmaps in my eyes

that aren’t rigged like dice

when they ask without asking

for my advice.

So I stand there,

aloof from their presumptions

like a windmill in their way

and let them tilt at everything I say

like furious Don Quixotes poking poison pins

into the eyes of the black effigy

they wound to burn the butterfly

that put wings on their worms.

I listen to a litany

of arrogance, delusion, hatred, pain,

jealousy, fear, lies, violence, hope, despair,

confusion, willfulness, longing, lust

regret and vengeance,

as love rages like a mad miner

stricken by fool’s gold

to gouge out

the treacherous likeness

on the dark side

of the two-faced moon

they once adored like an asylum.

If I were a biologist I would say

the peduncle goes looking for itself

in the ensuing phylum

to avert extinction


after all it promised to die for.

And it makes me wonder

if people just fall in love with each other

to have someone to cry for

who can hold them up

like a sprinker on a lawn

and pimp their pillows

like pink flamingoes

when love is over, when love is gone

and the hose is left flailing helplessly

like a serpent caught by the tail.

This one the wounded mahdi,

the hidden imam

waiting to return

to his private holy war against women

like a full eclipse of the moon

arming himself with antidotes

and sacred toxins

to ambush another oasis

and that one swearing celibacy

in a hole in a desert

he shares with snakes and scorpions

that come and go like fevers

inflamed by the visions

of the tumescent obscenities

he spies through his keyhole of flesh

and aches religiously to desecrate.

And there are assassins in the shadows

making love as if

they’d taken out contracts on each other

and the one who shoots first is the worst

and the other, an angry necrophiliac

rejected by a corpse

that was killed by his jealousy.

And there are wasps

who burrow into the cheeks

of love’s apple

like words with stingers

waiting for someone to bite.

Unresolved pain hones itself into spite

and goes hooking for swans

with sybillant throats

in the moonlight

and looking for the meaning of it all

is like trying to figure out

what the fuck to say

over your own grave.

One set out searching for a northwest passage

and wound up marooned on an island

littered with the stones

of reckless lighthouses

who didn’t heed their own warnings

like red skies in the morning

and that one drowned

in his own sphericity

when he was thrown overboard

by a sadder theory

but it wasn’t the sea

that was unworthy of the sailor

though he says it was a woman

who let him down.