Saturday, December 27, 2008



You’re lonely

and you think it’s because

you’re not understood

in a small town

where extraordinarily ordinary people

go about the business of living

without expecting glorious results.

You show up catastrophically

on my doorstep

at three in the morning

and ask if I’ll let you in like a wound

that has slashed you open like a mouth

and you know I won’t turn you away.

You don’t know what to do with your beauty

and neither do I

without a prelude to the encounter

and so you ask me how to live.

I turn myself inside out

looking for loose change

in the pockets of a dream

to drop into the begging bowl of the silence

and sliced by the insight

of a master in medieval Japan

tell you every step of the way

should crush the head of the question.

You think I am immediate and wise

and for the moment it’s a useful delusion

as I look into the reasonable facsimiles of light

that are posing as your eyes

and see a painful young woman

trying to sail like a swan through her first eclipse.

I dodge the euphoric arrows

that randomly fly

from your toxological lips

and try not to get sucked into

thinking of you as a wishbone with hips

and outrunning the flashflood of the effusion

turn my attention back to your confusion.

The moon is in my window.

A muse has come

to ask for inspiration.

Water asks the fire how to flow

but what you really want to know

what you truly want to learn

is how to burn.

You’re trying to pull the moon

like a hot sword out of a cold stone

to kill your lover over and over and over again

like a wasp on a brain

trying to sting itself into honey.

If you weren’t so beautiful,

you’d be funny

but I make the appropriate concessions

and listen to your accusations

like the intimate confessions

of a promiscuous nun

who’s never slept with anyone.

I listen quietly and tenderly

to the chafing of the restless snakes

in your angry abyss

gathering myself up like visionary rain

above the cauldron of a distant, cosmic ocean

to fall like a cooling kiss

on the flaring heads of the igneous.

I milk the fangs of the moon

into experimental antidotes

and no fool around matcheads and cobras

summon the wind like an ambulance on standby

to immunize me against the toxicity

of your insistence

I’m your private school.

Morgana la Fey at Merlin High,

eager to learn, eager to deepen her darkness.

You want me to teach your eyes to flow

through a labyrinth of underground dreams

you’ve tunnelled through your pain like a blind mole

waiting for moonlight to wash you out

of all your crazy bloodstreams.

If you can’t live with the one you love

the way you long to

appealing to oblivious gods

maybe you can kill them into it.

If you’re hurt so deeply

you can no longer feel your heart,

maybe there’s an art

that can be mastered

to do it so discretely

the blood that unspools on the blade

prefers the wounded poppy of their death

that stalks them like a bloodclot in a rose

to the lonely craving of their next breath

to feel the edge again

that addicts them like the moon

to another hit on a battered vein.

I can hear what you’re thinking,

I can see what you feel through my fingers.

I know you haven’t come to heal

or put your hand in the hand of another

that isn’t folded like a secret loveletter

of Damascene steel

ghouled by jewels of blood.

I can peel the eclipse from your eyes

like an executioner’s hood

and fill the darkness

with the music of diamonds

falling like rain from their crowns of coal.

I can look into your eyes

like the lies you wanted everyone to believe in

and make them come true.

I can teach you to hunt like a magician

in the twenty-first century

and dropping your halo down to your feet

encircle you in the dark clarity

of an inviolable sanctuary

with gates of golden horn

that swing open like the moon

between the wingspan of her crescents.

Or I can turn a word like a stone

and set the angels free

like petrified bone

amazed by the new lucidity

that remarrows it like the clone

of a woman no one can be

until she returns the sword to herself

she lay down like the moon

surrendering to the sea

in a holy war

that cut the throats of the waves

and made widows of the sacred tides

she concealed like the secret insurgency

of her own dark urgency.

But since you asked

and the flower is already

half-unmasked by the morning

and the truth is only a voice away

from revealing itself,

and the hour scratches at the door

like a cat to be let in,

I will tell you

what the good and foolish never learn:

If you want to burn

like fire on the water

without going out

like a flame unwicked by the wind

that sins against it like a veil

it knots with nets of doubt

to gill the moon like shale,

you have to teach your demons how to sail.




Two roads diverged in a tongue of fire

and I rode the snake as the middle way

all the way up my spine

to the cold palace of the north star

that had gone out like the candles

of the old powers

that used to brighten

the dark towers of a free mind

to see if I could light it up again

by coiling myself like the fuse

of the last supernova

that will ever go off like a brain

to fire the darkness up again

like a dragon before rain

wounded by the lightning spears

of his own injurious stars.

I’m as sure as Sisyphus about things

and it’s difficult to always tell

whether I’m a fire-wielding snake with wings

or meatloaf in an eagle’s claw

ascending beak to jaw

into the heavens

like the farce of some cosmic law

that follows all my sevens like snake-eyes

whenever I blow on the dice

and pray for illuminated elevens.

My blood is tainted with the night.

My blood is an iron rooster

that crows at dusk

like a blind weathervane

in all directions

trying to wake the wind up

by breathing into the mouth of its cave

this fire that burns like a voice in a furnace.

No one likes a real dragon,

their eyes are too intense,

and few have mastered the grammar

to read their scales like books

that were revealed in a dream

long before the world woke up

to its own lies

and needed shallower eyes to see.

They move like the bell and bulk

of an irreversible solitude

swinging on a chain of thorns

that snarls like a saw at the root of things.

But the scourge of the sage is an enlightenment

that will find you like a jewel in the ashes

and pick you up and hold you in the light

of its own shining

like an eye darker than the night

you’ve been busily mining

with the pick-ax of the moon

in the slagheaps of a leftover ghost.

And you will hear

the distant ocean of being

roaring in your own ear

when you put your skull up to it

like the only shell you’re going to find

on this bitch of a moon

and listen to what still lives within.

So many waves with eyes and faces, its true,

and so many suns in so many drops of dew

and the constellations that arise

like stories and rumours about you

aren’t fixed; they’re beads of mercury

that bled out of a haemmoraging thermometer

when you drowned like a lifeboat

on the way to rescue yourself

in the squall of a your last dreamfever.

It’s true, there are so many ways

to become confused

about a clarity

that has no confusion or clarity in it

and feel like the crumb of a dream

that scratches your third eye into tears

hoping to wash yourself out of the seeing

so you can receive the whole world

with all its death and suffering and beauty

with all its sorrow and desire and longing

and the radiance of its aspirations

with all the terrible generosity of the abundance

that it unjustly squanders on some

even as it uses the ribs of a child

that are showing through

like crescent moons

as a calendar of famine,

so you can embrace

the world without distinction

in the midst of all its compassion and brutality

as all that’s left of you

after the great extinction.