Wednesday, January 28, 2009



They’re only moments pretending that they’ve past, but how sweet to remember the way things were before they worked out like water looking for its own equilibrium. Tiny fractions of time, gnats in the sunset, that live along with us like the incommensurability of pi. Fireflies and tears at the end of an eyelash fishing in the abyss, the leftover ores of the furnace that poured the dream out like gold, swept up into the corner of an eye, diamonds and dust, the seasoned intimacy with certain stars that shine out from within. Thought-moments, the sensation of the space between two thoughts, time, before it had more than one shadow. Consider the generations of ghosts that death has wrought from sex. All that undoing wrecked, for a moment, by my next breath, as I am renewed by the past like a flower along the path of an unknown messiah who hasn’t walked this way yet. Or maybe it’s just the delinquent waywardness of random chance, but you can still make my fossils dance like summer constellations, fire on the water, tatoos in invisible ink that wake up like dragons at the gates of these gardens I enter like suggestions of rain, like private conversations we once had in the same lifeboat on the moon. And it isn’t wisdom, or experience, or poetry I derive from the insight, but a clarity beyond these grails that doesn’t taste of the cup it’s served in; wine, without veils. And what fool so petty he would insult the largesse of the moment by smearing it with sorrow and longing for what he is missing, when the moment, like the sea at his lips, is always full. So I don’t long for you; I don’t miss you, knowing how you overflow all the goblets of yesterday we raised to our mutual rescue like a waterclock running down a mountain as if you were late for the sea, as if, as you were so often, late for me. My body still mourns like a bell for yours, and the face you wear in my mind like the moon on nightwaters hasn’t changed for years. And your hands? Your hands are still doves of descending fire I feed in the morning from the inexhaustible siloes of the wound in my side you opened like a loveletter mailed to the moon. What window could I ever look through, lense, eye or mirror to hold you when even the sky wasn’t an envelope large enough to keep you from flying away? So I don’t try when you return like this to these timeless intersections where we went every way like the light of a star or the beginning of a universe that still hasn’t managed over the billions of years, or the leaf of the moment, to separate us. Not even the sword of the moon raised on a wave can cleave these waters, nor the orchids of fire that burned like torches of white phosphorous through my brain to conceal my retreat, be darkened by the rain.


Monday, January 26, 2009



Downgrading the importance

of who I was yesterday

to see who I might be today

there’s no window

there’s no mirror

there’s no mind

that retains a trace of me.

I am trashed like a kite on a mountaintop,

torn up like the blueprint of a flawed constellation

that might have made things better

for anyone born under it

like a thirteenth house of the zodiac

that’s open all night to the homeless.

Time makes windchimes

out of the skeletons of young poets

and I can still pick out a few of mine

trying to untangle themselves

from the downed powerlines

of their defective voices.

Born on an island

I stood by the sea

and made choices.

I was young

and wanted to live like life

beyond my means.

And this day forty years later

is just as much a part of then

as now is,

so there’s just as much to spend

and though the features have changed

and the stars been rearranged

to marquee different names,

the seeing remains the same

and the wine is just as sweet

in the cracked

as it is in the whole cup.

I sit down with the moon

and we both drink up

at the backdoor of the asylum

neither of us could save

until we’re both hilariously empty,

knowing, the way life flows,

we’ll never run out of ourselves.

But I don’t let the chooser

talk to the chosen

in my voice anymore

and if the odd road

still barges through the door

now and then

to track thresholds all over the floor

like a painted dance for war and rain,

I’ll still shed a few feathers of light

from the black hole of my brain

to commute the cause.

It’s important to heed the blind

but a true noetic cosmology

is the heretic of its own laws

and doesn’t leave anything behind

that could be construed

as a relic, a derelict, or a sign.

No window.

No mirror.

No mind.


Thursday, January 22, 2009



You can teach the mind

but you can’t teach the heart anything

about the way it’s come through everything

like a theme of the ocean through a bloodstream.

The crabs clatter like sleepwalking clocks

across moonlit beaches

holding up the crescents of their claws

like lunar castanets

to dance the time away

with their own shadows.

Walking the road

you become the road

and no one gets anywhere

until only the road arrives.

Petty people toy with small destinations

they call themselves.

Be a great river

and follow your own veins and arteries

down the mountain

through the plains and valleys below

to the vastness of the sea that conceived you.

And when the sea reflects the stars

don’t look for your place in the waters

as if you were reading a starmap

when every drop of you

is distilled from a vine of the light.

When you turn the light around

and pour the mooncup of your existence

back into the river it scooped you from

to ease a stranger’s thirst for stars,

and everything seems empty and forsaken,

and the dream is quaking in the turbo-charged air,

suddenly you disappear

and the sea is everywhere

effaced by its own longing to share.

If you hate the world,

it will go to war with you.

If you love it inordinately

it will ignore you.

Better to be the fire

and not be burnt by your own flame;

better to be the sword

that kills you into life

and not be cut by either edge.

And if you’re a bell

so stuffed with choirs

you can’t sing,

or a liar pimping constellations like bling

in the blaze of your own thing,

you should know

there is no hell for you,

no truth that’s going to sting

that hasn’t already been bored to death

by your significance.

There is no inclusion

no exclusion in clarity.

If you examine closely

the coinciding of thought events

that you misrepresent as your mind,

the whole of the sea is in every wave

and the water isn’t startled

when the fish jumps.

Walking by that sea

everything the world

ever stole from you

is returned by grateful thieves.




Woke up this morning

and a whole side of myself

slid like half an island into the sea

to create a tidal wave of emotion

that’s come crashing down over me

as if I were the coastal city

of the continent in its path.

And it’s not unusual for me

to live in the aftermath of myself

like some thermophilic bacterium

after the comets destroy

all my higher life-forms

and slowly complicate myself

back into a new species.

I know how to feather a lizard

into a songbird

and divide the world in two

so there’s a me and there’s a you

a this and a that,

two eyes of the blind,

to be concious of a mind

that sets me apart from everything.

And there are days

I can melt diamonds in my mouth

like spring

but lately

it’s getting harder

to keep faith with what I sing,

harder to taste the gold

in the darkness of the ore

I keep refining like my life

until all I will leave on the table

is a loveletter and a knife

for the next tenant.

Every day’s a new start

if you don’t approach it

with yesterday’s heart.


Sunday, January 18, 2009



Scattering black sunflower seed

like the eyes of words

out over the snow

for the squirrels.

Birds watching

high above the page

for an entrance on stage.

Food and empathic renewal,

fuel and the ferocity of life

a softer knife than the ice

because of my sweeping generosity.

I like to thaw things,

turn the brittle supple,

swords into the blades

of the wild irises

that burn like hydrogen

beside the stream,

snowmen that flow

out of themselves

like candles

until all that’s left

are the stones they relied on for eyes.

Stones have their clarities

but seeing

is a very subtle kind of water

that knows reality is not solid

and the light of a single firefly

is hot enough

to melt the planet.

And then like early spring in Perth

when the snow goes

it’s November all over again.

I see everyone alone with themselves,

sad intimates of the shadows

that forsake them like evolution

the moment they cry out

like leaves on the stream to endure.

Maybe it’s one medium to the next

as we’re transformed

by ever more rarefied spaces

that denude us like light from our ions

into luminous bodies with auroral faces

that open like one-night enlightened lilies in the starmud,

or maybe it’s just the death-leap

of the next apple into the bottomless abyss

of a darkness deeper than death is aware of itself.

Conjoined again in the primordial atom

would we feel the same snakepit

of self-rejection

and begin the universe again

by cracking out of the cosmic glain

like serpents with wings in the trees

oxymoronically bound

to the fires above

and the waters below?

Or does one universe pour into another

like a waterclock of insight

that flows on forever

like a snake or a river

through the length of itself

like one inexhaustible thought

with its tail in its mouth?

If so, there’s nothing to know

because the whole and the all of everything

is in every seed I throw to the squirrels,

like the universe in these grains of sand

quick with life

that look back at me warily

like an unspoken rosary

of black-eyed pearls.

Worlds within worlds.

But if there’s nothing discrete

about a mind that can’t be defined

then why the distinction in the first place

and why these fingertips, these eyes, this face

that keeps on trying to see itself like the moon

from the water’s point of view

as if the urgency of the tides in the mirror

were the brides and the oceans

of its own lost emotions, reflected?

There’s more to feeding squirrels

than I suspected.




If compassion is not

the fruit of your understanding

your tree is rootless and flawed

however beautiful the blossoms are.

And your eyes may be as lustrous

as polished stones

you’ve buffed like the moon on water

but there’s nothing inside

and gold doesn’t pour like dawn

from the dark ore of your suffering

when you cry.

If a child is shot in Gaza

and you don’t bleed

for the evil seed in her head

as you would your own

then only the dead will sow your field

and you will gnaw the hard bread

of your own gravestone

like a book you should have read.

If compassion is not

the fruit of your understanding

however much is illuminated

by the rarity of your perception,

the lamp you go by

is still not ripe,

you’re still a green apple

on the bough

in autumn.

The tongue is a shovel

and knowledge is soil

and you can use it

to dig a grave for your brother

or prepare a garden

as it was meant to do

and your words can flower

into fruit and bread

at the eastern doors of the dead

who will raise the sun up to their lips

and drink from it like a cup,

but if all your heart can do with blood

is jewel the eloquence of the blind

with lucid insights

then your siloes are nothing

but the empty thunder

of lightning without rain

and you will reap the sand like the scythe

of a crescent moon

that’s never tasted grain.

And you may be a glutton,

you may stuff yourself day and night

like the liver of a goose

with spiritual insight

and squat like a rotund buddha on a tatami mat

squirming through the wormholes of your mind

to the other side of the universe

or knock like a xylophone

on the door of the last chakra

above your skull

like an embassy

you seek sanctuary in

but if you can’t feel

the fangs of starvation

that withers a child

in the arms of her mother in Darfur

who gave birth to a lily

that will die like a bat

because the dark matter

in your cosmic frame of reference is fat,

then the advancing flame of your snakefire

is just another lethal candle

for all the charm of the choir

you can’t train not to bite you.

If compassion is not

the fruit of your understanding

you will be disgorged

by the wiser serpents of life

like a black hole turned inside out

and thrown from the back of the truck

like the corpse of a sack of flour

in a refugee camp

and your blood will spoil

like the unused oil in a lamp

that never threw a light on anything.

You have a mouth,

but you won’t scream murder,

you won’t scream genocide

when you know what’s being done.

You have a nose

but you pin it like a clothespeg

to a a breezy clothesline

to sweeten your dirty laundry

by washing out the stink of the corpses.

You have eyes

but you keep them shut

to paint pictures on your windows

from the inside

to see what you want to see

in your house of warped mirrors

and if you should cry to look good

in front of the camera

you’re prompted by a gland of TV tears

to cologne the air with cliches

that smell like the petals that fell

like the machetes of Uganda.

Rock-bands making radical money

whining about nothing,

wanna be killer bees

trying to make their honey sting

inside the hive of a contract

with plug and play guitars

and fireworks that swarm the stars

like chimney-sparks from Auschwitz.

You have ears.

But they’re dead shells

and the sea you once listened for as a child

has been poured out of them

like living water

so you can’t hear

your daughter

being raped in the Congo,

or the scream of the boy

who died like a toy-soldier

when the Hannibal hearts

of the cannibal generals

played war-games with his life.

If compassion is not

the fruit of your understanding

you will lick your heart

like a lump of coal

you tore out of your own chest,

trying to taste the diamonds,

and you will know what it means

when the eyelids of the light

close in upon you

like a starless night

that undoes the seams

of your wasteband constellations

like the stitches and staples

it uses to sew the children

back together

in a patchwork comforter of wounds

it will lay over your head

like a sky for the dead

all reds and gangrenes

as the faces of the children rise

one by one like ghoulish moons

and apple blossoms

to stain your death

with their foolish dreams.


Thursday, January 15, 2009



The past is slurred, smeared, smudged

like unknown, unnamed stars

deep in the night

rending their light like widows

that scream across the darkness

weeping mirrors

for the death of their light.

Protean, amorphic, the past

is a stem cell

not a pyramid

that keeps being nudged into eyes

by things as they change in the present.

The past is a river of many voices

all flowing as one

like the threads of the strong rope

it used to climb down from heaven

like a pendulum,

like a man unjustly condemned.

The past is a rosary of skulls,

the beads of many moons

strung like vertebrae

along a spinal cord

tuning up

to jam with the spheres.

I have drifted in the high fields of the past

like the evening vapour

of the man I breathed out

and watched the hours fall like petals

from the shy clocks of the flowers

and knew the blood and the time

and all the variant themes of my sorrows

were not the old cups I once drank from

when I could chug the moon,

nor the black hoods

I pull down like eclipses

over heads that will surely come off

like the lame excuses I indict

for all these acephalic tomorrows,

but always and forever

without beginning or end

the loneliest road of now

in the mode of a man

that life has ever walked.

But you mustn’t think

the road ahead

like a wave or a breath or time

is driven by the road behind,

or that the future hasn’t happened yet

or the morning is younger than the night

or the past is a lack of beginnings.

Be a smart fish and swim through the net

of your own constellation like stars

always a prelude ahead of their shining

like new moons opening their eyes

on the illustrated calendars of our scars.

Prophecy is just a future memory

you look at now

with the eyes of the past

before the arising of signs

smears the bubble

with rainbows and oilslicks

and the symbolic slums

of rundown zodiacs.

I look into the space before me.

I look into the space behind.

No difference.

Nothing to lose.

Nothing to find.

No waves on the ocean of mind.

My death achieved at the moment of birth

with the first breath

of my beginningless beginning,

I am time. I am the pageless calendar

of the ageless earth, the eternal abyss

that primed the stars in such a way

the light is not young

the light is not old

and the taste of the rain in spring

is the taste of the rain in autumn.

There’s a past.

But it hasn’t begun yet.

And there’s a future.

But don’t wait.


Monday, January 12, 2009



Cigarette. Coffee. Computer-screen.

Now what? This as it is, no before

or after, nothing peering out like a squid

through its own inky simulacra

as it jets away

like a comet through the stars

that portends nothing but its own escape

though it’s impossible to elude the likenesses.

Illegal white phosporous

letting down its tentacles

like lethal Medusae over Gaza

to cook the skin of the children.

Now that I’ve said that,

show me the child that was saved

in Gaza, Darfur, the Congo.

Words do nothing.

The obscenity of the atrocity

deepens beyond despair

and the desecration of the innocents

is the foreign affair

of unindictable governments

setting fire to a child’s hair.

Are you appalled

or like the rest of the world

are you enthralled

by the chaos of the destroyers

as they colour outside the lines

of a child’s blood,

billions of impotent voyeurs

impaling children on hearts of horn

like kiddie porn?

And treaties are changed

like clean sheets and flags

as the entreaties of the damned

wring tears from the web-cam

that broadcasts the violation live.

Have you ever noticed

how many more cliches

there are for killing

than there are for peace?

And how eloquent and coiffed

and reasonably corrupt

the spindoctors are

who stare into the cameras

like the eyes of peacocks

and weep for the children

with the reservations

of rapacious nations

until they wash the obscene

clean from the lense

prioritizing the issues

make it crystal clear

a child is just a special form

of a blood smear?

Recipe for a country

in the twenty-first century:

First you make a concentration camp.

The Warsaw Ghetto, Sawetto, Gaza. Darfur.

Then you tie a child

like a goat to a stake

and demonize it

with your own sins,

jinxed swastikas

and six-pointed stars,

all the bogus constellations

that fall like white phosphorous

and cherubic gunships, Stukas

and F-16s from the heavens

as if God had spoken

and a child was broken like kindling

crushed like berries and twigs

under your knees

whenever you pray

for a greater good

than the children in your neighbourhood

and hatred gives you an erection

like a missile among your figs

no one suspects

as you assure the watching world

that when you rape the children,

when you dismember them in Gaza

like natural selection

or an upcoming election

you’re practising safe sex.


Friday, January 9, 2009



Don’t over-read the symbols,

don’t see a street-sign

and turn it into a novel,

don’t add the effluvium

of all that irradiated meaning

to clean water, don’t

slag the clarity of the water.

There are things and things and things

myriad, translucent things

trying themselves on like shapeshifters

in the five mirrors of our own senses

to adjust their costume

to the play of infinite events

that have nerved space into us.

Isn’t it always a big night, a sell-out,

lines around the block

whenever you’re truly you?

I like those big, expansive nights

when I feel at home

in the homelessness of the world

as if I were everywhere

at peace with myself like water

that is wholly and discretely undone.

My blood unspools

to follow its own wayward longing

like a stream into a valley

where I dodge my own head

like a fallen stone

that can’t bruise the flowing.

Night or day, it’s impossible

to sever the light from its lamp.

We’re not the knower.

We’re not the known.

We’re purely forever now

and before we were born,

the imperfectible act

of a mind without witness

that is the knowing

that is this life without a that

because what could ever be missing

or retrievable, abundance or dearth,

in the empty siloes of the inconceivable?

You might think you’re

the pivot of the scissors

you gerrymandered

from the crescents of the moon,

shears at the throat of the mine,

and that you were only born once in time

with a tape-measure for a spine,

and the universe won’t fit

through the doorway

but the truth is

your birth

is ongoing,

flowing everywhere

into the roots of things,

through every crack and crevice,

out of your eyes

into the grapevines

and down the tongue of a leaf

like the silver syllables of the moon

that fall from rising wings.

If you listen to yourself at night

like a stream you can hear

but not see

as it lingers over itself in the swamps

like vapour

or surges through the grass

like the whisper of a snake

divining its own path without a polygraph

as it fountains and falls and evaporates

into clouds and underground themes

you will come to realize

how foolish it is

to try and select the music

when the snake has wings

and you are what the water sings.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009



I can see how your brain

freezes like a stone in the mindstream

when I talk two or three wavelengths beyond red

and there are pictures going through your head

that play you like a strange song

on a mechanical piano

you used to know

when the child in you was alive.

You live inside your crainium

like the fruit of a nut

afraid to be a tree

but this is not the siege of Jerusalem.

You’ve lived so long inside your coffin

you think it’s death to open the door

and distribute the life

you’ve stockpiled inside

to the refugee you were

before the war defiled you.

You’ve consumed the body

and shrunk the head

of the cannibal who consumes you.

And it’s a great pity

you don’t understand

the more you horde

the more you starve

and it’s your own tongue

that exhumes you

like an unspoken word from the grave.

The messiah showed up like spring

but there was nothing to save

and now you can’t hear the birds sing

or feel the wind ride the wave

like the air on your skin.

You crush the carbon

you pluck from life’s fires

and spraypaint your hand like graffitti

all over the walls of your cave,

defining the negative space in black,

but I can see clearly

through your imprimative design

you’ve left out the nail and the lifeline

that could have shown you the way back.

Five fingers of an empty space

that can’t grasp anything

that I can look clear through

like a window to the rock underneath

that will come through the glass one morning

like a mountain with teeth

like a dragon to the bait of the moon

like an army to a well

like a thorn to an inflated sky

like tears down the cheeks

of a stone woman

who thought she couldn’t cry,

like streams down

from the frozen crown of the fountain

that’s been posing as the mountain

she couldn’t wash out of her eye.


Monday, January 5, 2009



Safe, educated witness to bestial scenes

since I was born, the destruction of cities

and species, and helpless human beings

severed from their limbs like pruned branches

too close to the borders of warring powerlines,

whole families massacred like icons

in a video game by a real soldier

whose delusion wasn’t the same,

the blood-spatter of children

freaking the flower, I

loathe the indifference

of the one-eyed watchers

who look on impotently

like hardened gum

under their bomb-proof desks

weighing the risks for both sides

of unbalancing their covert genocides

like a second set of books of the dead.

Perverts blowing kisses like artillery shells

to children in their beds

who scream like murdered bells

and windfalls of deathheads,

billiard balls, and tiny skulls

that broke to start the game.

I thought I was a lucky man

to be born in the land of plenty,

and the cupboard is full

but my heart is an age beyond empty

and my spirit is savaged

by disgust and shame,

and under every pellucid, abstract thought,

laying itself down like money

at an ideological dogfight,

an abyss of bones

where the children rot

like the memory cards

of disconnected cellphones.

I listen to myself, I listen

to the distinguished commentators

and the primed-time spin doctors

passing out motorized walkers

like miracles for the mentally lame

and renewable treaties

for the kingdom to come

that fits over the head

of the planet now

like the used atmosphere

of a discharged condom.

Hell seems quaint by comparison

with the agony and the torment of here

where the natural, untaught decency of a human

is accosted by the atrocities

of a loveless heart

hooking the lives of children

on inverted question-marks

like flayed cattle in an avant-garde abbatoir of bad art

as everyone subscribes to the New York Times

to keep up with the latest alibis

to expurgate the mess

of regurgitated crimes

that aligns our vomit

to the wines of progress.

And everyone feels what they say

as if God sat in their corner

like a fool on a stool,

but no one ever says what they feel

when the heel crushes the head of a child

like a grape

and her sister is hauled away

like a voodoo doll at a gang rape.

Who caters the flesh feast

at these laden tables

of fat, old, impotent, girdled men

arriving in limousines

to discuss discussing a resolution

to put an end to a child’s screams?

Summoned like vampiric thorns

to the bloodbank of a rose

that bleeds like a child or the sea

everyone opposes saving the roses

until they can be arranged

like body parts and ashes

in the funeral vase of a policy

that crashes like a junkie

at the mention of withdrawal.

O mighty world

who eats the nations

like a pack of wild dogs a corpse,

necrophiliacs at a conference table

smearing make-up on the facts,

trying to turn their maggots into butterflies

by wrapping themselves in their flags

like the stars in the sky

and the waves of the sea

and squeezing the life

out of a child like striped toothpaste.

O vicious, pygmy abomination

you pricked your thumb

on the thorn of the crescent moon

when you reached out

to leech the blood of the rose

by crushing an army of four-year-olds.

O wild hog of runt-rage

goring the world

like a girl on your tusks,

it takes more than one star

to make a constellation

and a lot more than bloodshed

to school the eyes to see it

that look at you now

like children in terror,

the plinths of your shining,

sidereal teeth,

and the lonely myth

you drop like flyers over the city,

lip-service to a fraud without pity.


Sunday, January 4, 2009



Bright winter morning in Perth.

My spirit is foraging on shadows

that have almost forgotten the forms

they elaborate, weaving

easy patterns in the snow

like a mind free enough not to know.

I can see whatever I want in them

as I leak out of things like a truant bloodstream

from a probationary heart

that knows wrong from the start

is just another day of playing it

right all the way.

As a man, as an artist,

I’ve put more faith in my living confusion

than I have in any dead certainty

left standing at the gate

of a mind where nobody’s home.

I am an old man on a mountain of my own

closer to the stars

than I am to the valleys

that wander like scars through their dreams,

though I don’t dream much anymore of anything

in the coldness and the clarity

of dreaming that I’m awake.

And I don’t think there’s anything to search for

that isn’t already leaning up against

that last, inner door

like a gift we’re often too afraid to open

because we already sense what’s inside

will grieve us with more happiness

than sorrow ever denied

or the vows of the fugitive bride

ever made meaningless

when she discovered her true love was change.

Life is transformation.

Life is a chameleonic constellation

that tries to second-guess

what we’re looking at

by growing eyes in our blood

that open the wider we do

to the spree of light

rooted in our starmud

whenever we come out of ourselves at night to shine.

Fire bloods the grail of the crimson moon

you raise like a fever to your lips

to say in a rave of flames

I love you,

and expend your effusion on ashes,

but when you love someone, anything

deeply enough the passion isn’t your own,

and the vision’s impossibly true,

the wine turns blue

and stars stream across

the celestial abyss in the lees of your eyes

that fulfills the legends of your shining

with skies that prophecise

by the flight of mantic birds

you created your own world,

in your own words

and there was room in it for everyone,

but didn’t sign it

before you hid it

where you could never find it. Because

(and it’s a big because from there to here)

you wanted to make it compassionately clear

perfection dances in delight

with its own flaws

like the delicate answers

to the club-footed laws

that try to lead

with painted starmaps of the light

following their own footprints all over the night

to see where they’re going

when even the silence of the most remote star

is the music of the intimate flowing

of the known into the unknowing

which is how the love of life

loses itself in the arms

of a life of love

like a seed in the sowing

everytime the heart goes hunting

to eat like a god.


Friday, January 2, 2009



Thirty-nine children destroyed.

Four of them, sisters.

Their blood a red atlas, spattered roses

on the bedroom walls they cringed behind,

their unfinished bodies and minds,

finished. Does anyone remember

what a child is

when it is not collaterally dismembered

into small feet and hands and faces

that had no choice but to trust the world

that savaged it like roses?

Five toes, an ankle and a heel

still occupy the floral running shoe

that never made it all the way to school.

Your bootprints on the throats of baby swans

like the bombpits of mass graves

where the hysterical mothers rave

in grief and rage

over what you have damaged

like ferocious boars who wear

the tusks of the moon like missiles

to gore children embedded like roots in the night

out of their sleep

like a plague of angels

sanitized by the height

you kill from.

You are not a man.

You are not human.

The lightning is more merciful than you.

Don’t let the medals

or the protocols of murder

you glory in

fool you,

you’re a ghoul in a cockpit,

death’s eye in a drop of dew.

Nine civilians killed for every soldier,

the cowards are herded into the military

for their own safety

and for the civilians who take it by the millions

on the chin,

they don’t hand out medals,

there’s nothing to win or promote.

Do you know how much courage it takes

to die when you’re nine years old

to gratify a general’s heart,

to advance the campaigns of the politicians,

to appall the pundits into passionate opinions

that suckle the mob at the faucets of their fangs

with the milk and honey

of primetime bedside stories

to make hate and war

and the obscenties of human lovelessness,

rape, disease, indifference, and mutilation

seem the reasonable acts of old men

whose hearts clamour like swords and anvils

like hammers and gavils

to inspire others to kill children

in the arms of their mothers

so they can stand like a lighthouse of history

on the coast of an idea

lost in the smog of their ghosts?

Hideous, geriatric monkeys raging

against their own androphobic hallucinations,

fashioning nooses out of umbilical cords

and fuses out of the spine

to ambush a shopping mall,

a school, a hospital

to expedite the death of innocence

as the necessitious consequence

of their long, hard experience

as seasoned executioners

trying to get it up

like flags in the morning

to sway spring blood into dying for them

even before it’s fully unfolded

like the proxies of autumn

shedding their patchwork comforters

over the coffins of the dead

who are forsaken by the earth

like the windfall of a poisonous tree

rooted in their hearts like a foreign policy.

Thirty-nine children destroyed.

Thirty-nine candles of life

it took a universe to tallow and ignite

snuffed out like thirty-nine birthdays by cordite

dropping like serpents from a sky

through bomb-bay doors

that open like ovens of manna

to make bitter, black bread

out of the bodies of children

who thought of God as the pantry behind their prayers.

Is your god leavened by the dead?

Does your country own a concentration camp yet?

Does it sow and reap and thresh like a cannibal?

Does it eat its own and those of the others

who were born of the same mothers as you

until you unbound your thread of blood

from the strong rope of our common humanity

and singling yourself out for a manifest destiny

you expeditiously improvise out of your lies as you go along

threatened by Goliath in Gaza

throwing rocks at David in an F-l8,

you remember the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising,

you remember how the Nazis fought

and obliterate the neighbourhood

as if the only thing you understood

of all that courage and suffering

were merely a change of jackboots

and the star-crossed symbols of blood

that drive the people out of their homes

like the innocent scapegoats of the tribes

that drove their sins out into the wilderness solitude

to turn into Azazel, Satan’s standard-bearer,

master of all evil, spawn of the void, returning.

Thirty-nine children destroyed

and the whole neighbourhood burning.

The new crematoria fall from the sky

and it’s ashes in the blink of an eye

for thirty-nine children in sneakers

who had the wrong ally,

who did their homework

and went to bed to bed early

to learn how to die.

I’m sick of your holy wars. Muhammad,

peace be upon him,

would cover himself up again

under his cloak,

this time like an eclipse of shame

when the angel came

to demand he recite light upon light,

nur wa nur,

were he asked about the blood

of the mothers and the children you killed

like hashashim in the shadows of noon,

to rewrite the book that makes things clear

like a blood smear

you can’t wash off the light.

And I’m sick of the supermen,

the ubermensch

and the chosen people,

and all the righteous bells

that have been shoved down the throat

of the crooked church steeple

like a goose that’s been stuffed

for spiritual pate.

I’m sick of the indifference

of the glossy, intellectual versions

of the human perversions

they discuss with rubber gloves

fitted neatly like theories over their hearts.

What theory ever picked up

a child’s body parts?

See a naked man. See

a naked woman and a child.

No sound. But the man batters

the woman and child to death

whether with a bomb or a club, no matter,

until all that’s left is splintered bone, blood

and a pulpy mess.

Now ask yourself,

the sound back on,

what could the man say,

what could the man possibly say

that would make these exactions okay?

What reason, what ideology, government

faith, loyalty, career, political advantage,

what military passion, or zeal

for revengeful reform,

what lie to caress the mob,

or bobbing apple of truth

could be recited

even out of the mouth of an angel,

or the orifice of a demon, or worse,

both ends of a human

in front of a microphone

to justify what was expedited

to get the voters excited,

convinced of your will to kill?

To get the job done?

Thirty-nine children destroyed,

and their spirits stream through the void

like small thoughts that were easily forgotten,

their lives unravelled like stars

before they had a chance to shine,

and their hearts, crushed like young grapes

before they could taste their own wine,

and in the souls of the mothers,

thorns, and feral blossoms on the vine

that hold their wombs hostage with razor-wire

as the one-eyed liars,

their magnetic hair on fire,

take questions from the choir.

Thirty-nine children destroyed,

tiny hands like starfish and flowers

blooming through the rubble of cement

you broke like bread over them.

That is not what Jesus meant.

That is not what Moses meant.

That is not what Muhammad meant.

That is not what Buddha meant.

You burn butterflies with an airforce

you say was heaven-sent

as if they were children

to scourge the rockets in the snakepit

and embellish the odour of hatred.

But you don’t get it.

That isn’t what life means

when a child screams out in the night

at you in her dreams

descending from hell

like the mouth

of a terrible, blood-stained bell with teeth

that look like crescent moons

and the long, prophetic scars

of the black stars on your wings

to eat her.

And if I were to curse, and I won’t,

what could be worse

if you were to meet her,

after her death, after your death

after the fanatical insanity of the slaughter,

is the footnote of a slugline

that impaled the matter

on the stakes of axial cliches,

if you were to remember what a child is,

if you were to meet her

and know in the flash

of a bomb to the slaughter,

as she looks up at you like the sky,

like thirty-nine flowers in terror,

you fell upon your own daughter

like a perversion of rain

again and again and again?