Saturday, October 31, 2009




You can cut the diamond of your insight

any way you want

and hold it up to the light

and inspect it for flaws,

and be well pleased

with the radiant translucency

of the perfect planes

that chromatically abberate

your perception

into the sudden flash of worlds

you had not suspected

like eyes all around you in the night

wondering who you are

that suddenly appears among them

like the strange interference

of a deranged star

muttering oracularly in its sleep;

but it’s still just the way

the brain works its own waves

like a snakecharmer

playing on the flute of your spine

or witching for water

with a tangent and a cosine.

Just another simulacrum of your own mind

trying to convince the blind

you really can see.

And you can look all you want

for dynamic meanings

in what it is to be

as still and silent and dark

as the absence of God

before you were conceived

to know flesh and blood and bone

and what it is to be effectually alone

without a first cause of your own,

but it’s all just thoughts

trying to bind you to a mind

like a tapestry of Gordian knots

that record the age-old mystery

of the personal history of here and now.

And it’s true we’re all breathing

into the mouth of our own death

trying to get it to catch its breath

like a body cast up on a cold shore

as if the sea of awareness

had made some mistake

we’re the ones who must answer for it

by suffering like a used sky

when the skin casts off its snake

like a flute that cannot live

beyond the lifespan of the music

that mesmerized the savage grass

with the grace and stealth of its passage.

But there’s no way out of it

because there’s no way in

and all we’re really doing

is trying to contort our way

out of this straitjacket of the moon

we wear like phases of scarred skin

that shapes who we are like a calendar

that sheds its flower of time

like pages and petals and leaves.

And it may not be wisdom to doubt

what the serpent believes

about God, the Devil, and Temptation

and try to seek your own salvation

beyond the new walls of the infallible

that surround the grounds with armed angels

that fill you with dread

to tread where you want

without hell going off like a hidden explosive,

but it’s a tragic waste of lies if you don’t.


































You can’t put your foot

on the neck of time

and command all the flowers

to bloom at once.

And the seasons don’t come and go

like one of your tantrums.

And it’s easy enough

to esteem yourself deserving

but how rare it is

to meet someone

who is truly worthy

of what they’re always denied

and be able to recognize in them

the compassion of water in the world.

Free will itself

might be an illusory edition

of a deeper volition

that doesn’t consult us,

and the indeterminate lack of it as well

and when you look at them both

like jewels

in the clear light of the void

they’re still just little bells at a big funeral

where the birds sit unvoiced on the powerlines

like musical notes in the rapture

of an astonishing silence.

You want to be understood

but when have you ever taken care

to mean anything like a clean window

we could all look through

to the other side?

You paint the compound lenses

of your insight

like a telescope

at the opening night

of another highbrow gallery

and wait for good reviews from the stars

to start rolling in

like radiant constellations

in the horrorhope section

of braille newspapers spooled

through a breathless printing press,

and when no one shows up

you melt down like a nuclear reactor

in the mess of your own candle

and complain

that another star in the night

has gone out.

But when did you ever ignite?

And how would you know anyway

if you’ve never looked outside yourself

to see that there’s more drama

in the people that come to the play,

more tragedy, wisdom and humour

more unexotic heroism

than there will be on stage

if your bitter spring ever comes of age?












































Wednesday, October 28, 2009




for William Hugh Chatfield


You can see the world as aspect,

every form and characteristic,

every event of the done and not-done

and all that has not yet appeared

an occasion of your own mind,

a feature of yourself without an opposite

you can’t find room for in the mirror

when you want to take a good look at yourself

and all you can see is everything else

the stars and the sun and the moon

and the infinite spaces that never impede them

and the darkness that mothers it all into being,

all distinctions without distinction

sustained by the eye of a drop of water

hanging from a blade of stargrass,

the whole blazing chandelier of the heavens

contained in every single tear of light.

The same eye by which I see God

is the same eye by which she sees me.

Ask any lover. Tat vam asi. You are that.

You’re the suicide note

the nightshift waitress wrote in lipstick

smeared across her own face in the mirror

like an unfinished self-portrait of the world

done with the crayon of a bleeding snail.

You’re the green bough.

And you’re the dead branch.

And you’re the first syllable of the blossom

and the endless song of the bird

that can’t tell the difference between them.

You haven’t really seen a tree

until you realize you’re looking upon

one of your own emotions

rooted in starmud above and below,

shedding and revealing you like leaves.

And every autumn when Caesar arrives

don’t you go up in flames

like the library at Alexandria

consuming yourself like the works

of thousands of unknown lives

that will never know your name?

You can look as far as you want

through the glass lenses

and digital mirrors of a telescope

you can put your big ears

like sunflowers and stethoscopes

to the navel of the Big Bang

to hear the baby kicking

and wonder whose child it is,

but ultimately aren’t you as you are

the message in the bottle you’re looking for,

the firefly in the mason jar

that doesn’t appear on any maps

and the starfish that just washed up on shore

like a stray letter from a lost alphabet

that reveals that when you’re listening to the sea

out in space or here on earth

through a shell

you’re listening to the history

of your own voice upon the waters

of your own infinite being

wave after wave,

eyelid after eyelid

opening and closing,

awaking and dreaming the worlds

in the fiat lux, logos, and let there be light

of this theme of life

a breath in the night

inspired by the dark abundance

and bright vacancy of the mirror

that greets you face to face

star to star, word to word

or atom to atom

as all the playfully creative children

born of delight

to revel in the light

that is everywhere

and in the heart and tears of everything

the issue of the dark matter and the light

in all this blaze and bluff of being,

the mad genius of your own seeing.

You don’t need

to put glasses on a star

to know who you are

among their many myths of origin

when every page of the book

is looking back at you

with stars in their eyes

as the place where they begin.

What inside or outside to the mirror

or the eyes of the rain

running naked down the windowpane

that thinks they make fools of themselves

when they unspool their watersheds

like you when you cry out to yourself alone

like an embryo in a cosmic birthstone

into the many rivers

that flow through you

with all the jewels of the world

burning with life in the palms of their hands?

So you can see the world as aspect,

or you can stand alone in the world with everyone

and understand the one hasn’t just one

but an infinite number of opposites,

every atom a primordial monad

of chameleonic polarities

raising goose-bumps in space

when they blow upon the water

like the skin of a sleeping lover

and wake the world up.

Opposites long for opposites

like an old warrior longs for his enemies

or a priest for his god playing hard-to-get

or noli me tangere for Caesar’s I am

and the spaces between your thoughts

are starless wide moats of time

cluttered with corpses

like shellfish in a red tide

and I and the other

are forever Cain and his brother

having it out with spears and shovels

before a choosey God

who makes one the subject

and the other the object of his rod.

Hasn’t it ever struck you as funny

that so many people

don’t know who they are

until they’re identified at a crime scene

as either the perp or the victim?

Optical illusions of conciousness

when the water breaks the stick

like a wand that’s lost its magic

into two thresholds

at opposite ends of the house

where the darkness gathers its assassins

like shadows under the cloak of noon

and the sun shines at midnight

like a priest behind the door

and your own two feet

declare war upon each other.

You pull yourself up by your own bootstraps

and make ghettos of anything with roots

or come down on the fold like a herbicide,

or the angel of death in a parachute

every time you jump from heaven

for the thrill of the fall and the hunt

and the erotic eureka in the shriek of the kill.

Nature’s lone refugee,

a nomadic tribe in exile, 

your emotions move rootlessly

around your thoughts

like the prophetic skulls

of alien boundary stones

that can’t keep you out of the city.

Let he who is without sin throw the first stone,

and here’s the world laid out before you

like a dead Goliath.

And the only difference between you and the other

and always will be is

one man drinks from his hands

and the other from a skull.

Two windows in the same house

losing their vision

like a perjured witness

who’s changed the colour of her eyes

to speak the truth

with one hand on a holy book

where murder forgives its own crime

by calling the act divine

and the other held up to the wind

like the rosey trellis of long lifeline.

And I could go on for worlds like this

looking for mind with mind,

my flashlight with my flashlight

and already have for too long

but when one’s the guest

the other’s the host

and it’s easy to lose sight of the coast

when you’re only lighthouse is lightning.

But how can you ever

pour the universe out of the universe

or the mind out of the mind

like a wave out of a particle

or the grape out of the vine

when it’s the cup and it’s the wine

and it’s the delirium that drinks itself  beyond divine

looking into the void

as every god and human does

in their unimaginable freedom

like the possible meaning

of an impossibly meaningless life

where the loneliest of stars

shine by their own light

like fish in the depths of the darkness

and only the blind look up in surprise

and stare long and lovingly into their own eyes

like burned-out gods on the seventh day

knowing they just couldn’t see it

any other way?















































Monday, October 26, 2009




How many years have I lived in this fire

like a dragon trying to clarify

the soft, dark coal of his eyes

into cold, adamantine diamonds

in this rage of worldly vehemence

where the furnace is full of the ashes

of lambs and prophets

who couldn’t take the heat?

My enlightenment is rooted in ignorance

and fire is the only flower

to adorn the dead branch

though there are times

when I relapse into an old longing

and aspiring like a feather of flame

from an unconverted phoenix

wonder what it would be like

to smile down on nothing as cooly

as the stars in the sky that burn like Zen?

Is it in the nature

of my deranged integrity

to uphold the dignity of the unredeemed?

Intense heat. Unusual sprouts.

Bring on the demons.

Bring on the angels who have their doubts.

Bring on the words

silvered in snakefire

that pour out of themselves

like swords from a stone

to kiss water temperately on the lips.

It’s hard to believe

that this broken faith

I keep with paper

is still more honest

than the air I breathe

or that these long nightshifts in a snakepit

that I spend alone on the moon

listening like a jade rabbit

to what moves around me

like the rasp of distant nightstreams

sliding like scales through the shadows


is still less of a danger

than drinking from public grails

or that the orthodoxies of hell

that plague the hermit in his hole

with culpable visions

of chesty Florentine mermaids

on the Medicean moons of Jupiter,

are still less of a threat to the creative heretics

than the bonfire of the vanities

that steals fire from men

like a broken Prometheus

and gives it back to the gods.

So if all I can do

is abhor and uphold my freedom

to be catastrophically wrong

in a world that is killing itself

to prove it’s lethally right;

to cherish the dark ore of my heart

as much as the light that comes of it,

and scorn the lustre of the empty cornerstone

that dates itself like a pyramid

that can’t keep up with the past

as well as quicksand,

then bring on my afterlife in chains

like this one I know all too well

is a horror of light

committing atrocities against the night

it pleads to for mercy.

I will not trigger my will

to a spiritually erect gunsight

that aligns the world like a rabbit

in the crosshairs of an adjustable crucifix

and bags one for God

like the scourge and the rod

of the all in one.

It’s the art of a thief

to know how to hunt alone

in the king’s park

without getting caught

and know the mystic meat is sweeter

on the other side of the law

that won’t take a risk

than it is in the mouths of the angels, 

just as it’s a mortician’s sport

to flay the hearts of the butchers

who smoke and preserve it

to provision their afterlives

with honey in the dead hives

of the crumbling mummies

that lie in their eras of darkness

with their mouths forever open.

All my myths begin

with a slap on the ass

not fingers shorting me out into life 

like the star-crossed serpents

of the umbilical battery cables

trying to jump the gap

between heaven and earth.

And what I say to you today

is a direct quote from a tomorrow

no one will understand

except it become their own voice

that speaks from the burning bush

to the spiritually dumbfounded

about the spontaneous dangers

of nursing snakes in your exile

on the milk and manna

of human devotion.

Politicians corrupting the quality of crime

by turning laws into placemats

at the tables of the baseless cities

that eat their young voraciously

without repeal from the blod clot

that seals the heart with defection

against the insincerities of wax

that cross their hearts like heart attacks

and run for re-election.

Money worth more in the tree

than the paper in your hand

the wind blows around

like leaves and marked playing cards

in the dead-hand alleys of Wall Street.

Priests riding the hobby-horses of little boys

they’re breaking in

all the way to the next parish

as they feign their retreat from Troy

to push more pagan Greeks

through the gates of a Catholic boy.

You can feel the underground fire

eating through your roots

as the sun nukes your face

and the stars come out at night

like white phosporus

burning through your eyelids

as the rain grows bitter and caustic

waiting for a passport

like millions of refugees

to prove it’s still water.

And can’t you feel your mind

being enriched everyday by hatred

in the centrifuges

of the seething world around you

like a nugget of covert uranium

deep in your nuclear cranium

meditating radioactively

at the feet of an enlightened bomb?

And the children,

the millions of children

we leave out to die everyday

as if the whole world

had turned into the Tarpeian Rock

and we’re throwing everything born

into our vicious, elitist indifference off it

into a landfill of extinct species

that is running out of room.

Knowing what’s buried here underfoot

I can’t look up at the moon anymore

without wondering what we will bury there

and which of all her many veils

we’ll allow her to wear to her own funeral

when the cemeteries hold up their gravestones

in psychotic glee

like prompters cueing the lines

of a celebrity killer

interviewed on tv

about every lurid detail

of growing up with rabies for a mother

and a paranoia of water

that martyred

the ghouls and the corpses

you rent in agony

from their lifestream

when the moon came up from the bottom

like a snapping turtle

on the other side of the mirror

where the swans spread their wings like waterlilies

before you tore off their gowns

and pulled them down

into their sixty minutes of death.

In a virtual world

morals are supplanted

by approval ratings

that mineralize

our flesh and bones

and distance our eyes from our heart

like the pixellated indifference of aloof stars

looking down upon the horror and the hurt

like the re-runs of popular fossils

dug up like old documentaries

from the blood-soaked dirt

to fill the late night museums and morgues

with tour guides that talk

like scented candles in a skull

they’re walking us through like hell.