Saturday, September 26, 2009




When all your stars are trashed

and the mirrors are bleeding

and the water’s turning back into wine

and your heart is just another cruel event

in a vast space

where the black holes

that eat their own placentas

when they give birth to the galaxies

are not always immediately evident

and to judge from the way

they can turn the place inside out

like the features of a human face in pain,

the womb and the tomb

that consumes what it creates,

the baby and the corpse

summoned out of the darkness

by the same lure of the fire

that is the first and last breath of desire,

ignorance and enlightenment

all rolled up into one stark insight

that lays you out like the anti-Christ

in a volcano for a manger;

to judge from nullity of this,

there’s no place you can conceal yourself,

and no point to the expanding circumferences

of the way you keep trying to reveal yourself

like water to water when it rains.

When all your stars are trashed

like black dwarfs on a roll of the dice

and hope is a cowardly virtue

that won’t look you in the face,

and your sorrow is an unsuccessful séance

trying to call back a dream that died young,

and there’s nothing to let go of

because everything’s been torn out of your hands,

don’t look for illusory cures

in the heart of illusory diseases,

dipping the other wing of the fly in your milk

to counter the taint

or try to stand back from yourself

to clarify the grain of the view

as if you were a mirage of cubist pixels

hovering over a desert like a mirror on acid,

or apply hot poultices of suspicion

to the gangrenous wound

of the swollen moon

that has become of your heart

to draw your friends out like an infection,

and if you’re still a novice

dissembling in your emptiness

before the great impersonality

of the endless, catatonic space

that has freeze-dried your face,

don’t try to stand your ground

like a lonely cornerstone

when gravity falters

and you’re looking for lifeboats

in the spirit’s lost and found

because there are waves all around

but no shore,

no islands in the storm,

no continents in the offing

that haven’t already sunk

that could survive you.




























Tuesday, September 22, 2009




Cherishing these few hours of the morning

as an intimacy

I am not compelled to indulge.

It’s raining. Washing

the dust of the road off the car

freaked by silver rivers of silt.

Painting on the easel.

Poem on the go.

They happen as they will.

Shapeshifting views of turmoil

in a bag of skin.

It’s tricky coaxing snakes to dance.

I look out the window.

What do I know?

I think the windows are crying

but it’s hard to tell the water from the glass

and no one’s saying anything

but even in daylight

when the morning is not beautiful

I’m still a soft fossil on the moon 

waiting for its oceans to return

with news of other places to live

though I know I am only

romantically enhancing

the quality of my hopelessness.

And all contradictions and aburdities aside

I’ve learned to live amicably

with advanced modes of ambivalence

that leave me suspended in space

like a quartz crystal in a dreamcatcher

that never caught anything

it didn’t immediately throw back

after it tore the moon out of my mouth like a hook

or a German syllable.

And it may still be my voice

but you can’t reseed a burnt forest with a book

and I don’t try anymore

though the ghosts of a noble aspiration

are hard to ignore when they summon the living

to answer the dead.

You may think

you can approach madness

with a level head

and your feet firmly planted on the ground

and a graduate knowledge of precedents

that drinks from the mouths

of what other men have said

but you’re only building Taj Mahals

on cornerstones of quicksand in a dream.

Things are and are not what they seem

and the stories you tell like smoke

are just the history of a fire

that hasn’t fully consumed you.

And even when it does,

who’s left to say anything anyways

as a million blades of grass

put down their swords

like hostile witnesses

and the oldest galaxies in the multiverse

are suddenly looking back with longing

through their lost dimensions

at you

as if you were the source

of something true

they could rely on.

I offer them my emptiness like space,

my voice like time

and light like a face

to conceal my darkness.



















Monday, September 21, 2009




It’s one thing to believe in god

but it’s a much lonelier crusade

without a Jerusalem

to go looking for a god

without a guiding star

that believes in you as you are.

Mind is more like space than a thing

and it’s the nature of space to liberate

and who could possess it

and who could conceal it

and who could wound it

and who could heal it

and when the ignorant ask

for proof of its existence,

looking for fossils of dragons in the air

who could reveal it?

And what the ashes speak of isn’t fire.

One man hears a voice

and gets up from his table

and goes and stands

in the doorway of himself a long time

listening to the stars that beckon him

to wander out into the darkness

beyond his windows

but he’s afraid of what he might meet

and eventually retakes his seat

and adjusts his unease like cutlery,

but others hearing the same voice

will flare up like startled waterbirds

and burn like swans of white phosphorus

sailing their paper boats

like Cygnus down the Milky Way

or poems on the mindstream,

while others graze on the shadows

that have overgrown the roads

that once stretched lightyears

beyond the reach of the lamp

that busies itself with the enlightenment

of guided tourists

through an inner sanctum

that gathers its own to it

like a pilgrimage of moths.

Three waves of the same reality.

Three snowflakes on a furnace.

Three voices in an ancient abyss

trying to clarify the silence.

I am not cynical enough

to condemn the lies

that humans must tell themselves

to avoid their own tears.

On this dark shoreless sea of truth

we wouldn’t be here

if someone hadn’t learned

how to make love in a lifeboat

with lies for oars and lies for stars

and lies for reasons to hope.

But even if you’re as demonically sophisticated

and aloof as a lifeline

in a palace of patrician stars

that have grown chaste

in the pursuit specific desires,

you’re still just another refugee

on the Road of Ghosts

that leads everywhere away like the smoke

that mothered the flames

of your ancestral fires.

You can still breathe

without having faith in the air,

you can still see

without making a creed of your eyes

you must believe

by shutting them off from the light

and squinting at sin

through a keyhole in the night

that keeps changing hearts

like cellphones and locks 

that won’t let you in.

Your hypocrisy is a little demon

compared to the world-destroying universe

that kills without losing its innocence.

The righteous of any religion, philosophy, ideology

can’t point at anything with a clean finger

and the first article of belief

is a confession of your own negligibility.

Boot-camp for the spirit

to derange one delusion into another

by putting another mask

like a change of heart

on its facelessness.

Better to stay clear, and free, and dark

and know without binding yourself to the fact

that you’ve never been anyone from the very start

except what you’ve invented

guided by misguided teachers

to insist upon as yourself.

Mind can’t be framed by eleven dimensions

in a hall of distinguished portraits.

Without form

without colour, taste, texture, sound,

it isn’t the beginning or end of anything,

and when it goes looking for its source

it holds a mirror up to space

to the furthest limits of its seeing

where there is no light, no face, no being,

and it must be said

if you’re convinced

you’re already dead

no not-being either.
























Assertions and refutations.

Genetic content playing

variations on a theme

of discursive enzymes

rolling dice down the mountain

to prove they’ve just squared the moon,

the random narrative of my triviality

flowing into the profundity of the sea

like a river taking on expanse and depth as I do

already at the gates of my vast approach.

The morning’s an open hand.

And the night

doesn’t close its windows to me anymore

as I pass like a solitary breath,

a whiff of smoke from a distant hill,

a thread of water vapour

woven into the arras

on the looms of the starstreams.

What is my small remark of a life

struck like an off-handed spark

of the fire in the stone that shaped me

into this marvel of wonder and agony

I keep falling on

like a sword that was forged on the moon

to be given back to the waters it lost

like a sail to the oceans of a wounded bride?

After a long life

success and failure

are just the beads

you traded away your continents for;

and place is no longer an urgent sorority

and for all that you’ve thought and felt

for all the worms you’ve turned into butterflies

and all the maggots that you couldn’t,

there is no abacus of moons to tally

the weeds from the wheat in an urn,

or the prophets from the liars

in the choirs of a furnace

that burns like the universe

in its own silent immensity

like a candle beside a coffin in a morgue.

For all that I have loved and cherished and cried for,

for all the boorish follies and noble aspirations

I have died for like an ambiguity

that could no longer live with itself

like a small bird breaking through its shell,

and the great bells that fell silent

before the unspeakable sorrows

when life washed me out of its eye,

for all that I have honoured and despised,

and all who have honoured and despised me,

and all the joy

that slipped through the fence

between yesterday and tomorrow

and stole the moment like an apple,

I still weep like a wing

before my own departure

when the waterbird takes flight

from its own reflection in the mirror

even though I know my passage

is the mountain of the unknown

walking through its own valley of death

as the stars that once guided me

grow further apart.

It’s a dark grace

and exquisite discipline

to be able to sustain the ambivalent art

of a creative nihilist

who doesn’t feel that anything is missing

who has tasted the tears that fall

from the clear jewels of awareness

like the brilliance of Venus alone in the morning

and found their shining dangerously sweet

to my unshakeable faith

in this road to nowhere

that is following me

like the eyes of an unanswered loveletter

through the darkness.

And I don’t know why it seems

that every star

every woman I look through

is a midnight window into my own house

seen like a glowing postage-stamp from afar

as everything goes down over the hill

without looking back at the way it came

like the egg of the phoenix

in the nest of the candle-flame

that illuminates the universe in all directions

like a lost Sufi,

or St. Francis of Assisi

spinning like a compass

at mystical intersections

for an answer

that wasn’t born of his questions.

But don’t wire up your fireflies

like constellations and Christmas lights

and listen for the tinkle of broken filaments

and think you must change

the way you see things

like eyes that have burned out like bulbs

in opening night marquees.

Go hang out with the galaxies awhile

and let things take their course.

You’ll start whirling like a dervish

in gusts of stars

that will gather like wise men

around the manger of your third eye

immaculately conceived

like the fire of a virgin

or life in the sea

from their own shining.

And in the dark mirror

like the blindness in the blazing

in which no one can see

their own reflection

in which all reflections are consumed

in the heat of the clear light

that engenders time and space

like the twin mothers of intelligence

and freaks the night

like lightning in the stone

with the joys and terrors of insight,

you will understand

the unfathomable compassion

and inexhaustible generosity

of the mindlessness that inconceivably

conceives of your existence

as if it were your own idea.

And slowly you will begin to remember

all the events and features of the world you are

and will ever impossibly be

are those of the dark mother

who nourished you on light

until your eyes were full

of an incomprehensible radiance

that opened the stars in your blood

like a lover alone in the night

with the myriad streams of his seeing

flowing like momentary themes

into the abyss of black beatitudes

that have amazed him into being.

And you will be at peace with yourself

like a flower reconciled to its own root.

And your suffering will sweeten

the vinegar that falls from your eyes into wine

and all that was irreplaceable and lost

will return like a cat from many miles away

and your anger will become a school

for delinquent continents

that keep sinking beneath you

like Atlantis and Mu

and there will not be a mouth

that gapes in hunger,

a disease that twists the bones

of a child that died in agony

because profits denied her a cure.

And the abandoned shall have

bread and shelter and clean water again

and the old will not be cast aside

like the smoke of an exhausted fire

that has told its story,

and the young will not be compelled

into forced labour

for a future that eats its own,

and the seven stomachs of the bankers will evolve

to graze on money alone

without skimming the ozone with methane

and again the grass will be green

and the cows and the sheep and the bull-vaulters

jump over the moon.

And you who thought you were the pilgrim

as your aspiration approaches its shrine

will know that all along

every step of the effortless way 

you were always the open gate

through which everyone poured like wheat

into the native soil

of their own hands.















































Thursday, September 10, 2009




Apparitions of the muse

hanging her stars

from the end of my nose

like an exotic fragrance of night

more revealing than the light.

There. That’s mine.

The constellation of the donkey,

and there beside it, do you see

that red-haired star

blazing like a woman with a carrot?

I’ve followed that star for fifty years

always a mountain away from the valley

like a passionate Sisyphus

rolling the earth up a hill like a stone

happy with my own absurdity,

happy to go mad for her sake alone.

Elixirs of moonlight

mingled with strange waters

and I drank until I drowned

in the ferocity of my own delirium

like a myth that’s forgotten

which stars it belongs to.

I’ve never been much of a martyr

and bored with lies

I’ve always been two hells shy of a messiah

but I have fallen on the thorns of the moon

more than once

after my long descent

down the burning ladders

of God’s last word on the matter,

so there’s no splinter of the true cross

to needle the issue

like a compass or a crucifix.

And it still puzzles me

why it’s always my blood

that rushes to the end of my dick

like a volunteer army

but it’s always somebody else’s flag

that gets raised above the rubble.

Pyrrhic victories at best

when I’m not feeling cursed or blessed

by any kind of mystic meaning

convincing me I can firewalk

barefoot on stars

when I can’t even get

this blue pebble of a planet

out of my heart like a shoe.

But even letting go of all their leaves

like loveletters home and refugees 

the trees can only go so far

as the wind and streams will let them.

And then there’s a darkness that doesn’t taste of stars.

And decisions that cut like the smiles of broken mirrors.

And turmoil in the snakepits of desire

that are thrown like angry acids

in the eyes of the seers

who saint the rain with their sorrows

like old calendars of crossed-out tomorrows

playing x’s and o’s with the moon.

It’s a freak of enlightenment

to turn love into a discipline

inspiration into a law

and godless wonder into superstitious awe.

So I listen and say nothing,

see and don’t reveal,

understand but never think I know

the gates that pass through me

when you call to the wild geese in the fall

and I am startled by the loneliness of the answer.

I’ve seen you in the nightstream down the mountain,

the river and the sea

that sits below the salt

at her own table,

and I still suspect it was you

that turned my bitter tears

into the brittle chandeliers

that fell like ice-storms in a fountain

to silence the voices of the mirrors

the birds kept flying into

like windows at war with the sky.

I was out of the egg.

I was out of my mind at last

like a gift I didn’t deserve

and the universe was full of your absence

because you were the embodiment of my longing,

the darkness in the light

that stood aloof from the meaning of everything

as if your only proof were your eyes

and that were enough

to answer the empty skies with stars.

You may put on flesh and blood

and in your human proportions confess

you don’t believe this,

but you can never be attained,

never be embraced

never be contained

by any avatar of who you are

because like space in all directions

you are limitless

and even time is consumed

in the root fires that grabbed you by the ankle

and pulled you underground

to dress a goddess of light

in the nocturnal jewels of the dead.

And it is not a perogative of the beatifically born

to be demonically wrong,

but I have heard the skulls in the song

that allures the unwary sailors

to the lunar horns of your fishbone harps

to smash them on the rocks

as if you took a tragic delight

in the sheer delinquency of your power

to arouse and extinguish desire.

Anyone can come up

with a meaning for life

but you are the muse

of meaning itself

the meaning of meaning

when anyone asks

without expecting an answer.

What woman that I’ve loved

like a river reaching the sea

have you not been

over these long, intense years

of radiant tenderness

and creative commotion

and an ominous darkness out over the ocean

when the moon turned around

like a bride in bed

and revealed the far side

she kept to herself like stars?

And it’s still a shock and a marvel to me

when you disappear into the air

like a breath someone neglected to take

when it bloomed on the window.

I don’t doubt your capacity to devastate

and I have the urns and the burns

and the ashes to prove it

and know on a whim of your arrogance

you could leave the phoenix out in the cold

and douse the dragon like a torch

in your fire-proof waters.

But lately, out of the flesh,

I look for you behind the eyes

of every woman I meet

and it’s rare that I find one

whose blood and passions

you’ve worn as your own,

whose mind is a jewel of yours

that flows like a star sapphire

down a dark mirror

older than the meaning of life

that relflects you in the light of a black sun.

And I know enough not to ask

about those lockets of blood

you hang like thorns

around the neck of your mystic rose

like the first and last crescents of the moon.

I opened one once to see

whose picture you carried inside

like a butterfly you were working on

or a loveletter in a bottle you never sent

and I’m still not certain

I was demon enough

to survive the miracles

you released upon me

like a hive of angry angels

but I came to know

what the loss of heaven meant

when I ran from the garden

through the closing gates

of your wishbone,

on the short end.