Sunday, February 15, 2009



Just listen to what’s going on inside of you

with your eyes if you can for one thought-moment

and you’ll hear the sound of chains

falling off everywhere like ripples of rain,

and there will be no insistence

on what you must be

in the black mirror

that envelopes you like night.

I’m making you up

even as you’re sitting here

telling me how real you are.

Real or unreal, you can’t

make a gate of one

without the other passing through.

I’m painting a picture of you

that you will never be

and it keeps changing in my mind

as if it had a life of its own

and could dream its own way

through the sleepwalking world

like a theme of reality

beyond enlightenment and delusion.

You can go on trying to prove or disprove who you are

like a waterwitch looking for wells in a mirror

at the crossroads of a weeping willow

but I’m resting easily on the moon

like an old meteor contaminated with life

drinking wine from my own skull

as if I had already stumbled across

the shoreless cup of my last afterlife

and had all the time in the world

to risk my own weather like the sea.

Or listen to what you have to say

like someone trying to stick

to an unstageable play

that’s on tour like a crosswalk

trying to see its name in lights.

Either way, it’s all right, it’s all right.

I’m not playing backgammon

with the tiger’s stripes

to clarify your delusion

or trying to pull thorns

like the first and last crescents of the moon

out of the wave-maned lion’s paws

to ease the pain of being you

like a tide that never reaches its own coasts

like a bird buffeted back by the wind

or confuse the joy of your extinction

when you’re not

sticking yourself like stars

to the flypaper of your own mystery

as if all that shining

all your firefly constellations

above and below your feet

were already the fossils and starmaps

of your invariably personal history.

It’s a slow boat

that looks to its wake

to determine where it’s going.

Life’s more of a stage than a play to me

and it isn’t just one play going on

it’s many plays simultaneously

and in the vastness of a space

without inside or outside

we hold all those voices

like the sky holds its stars and birds

or a single human heart

everyone who’s ever lived

without having to play all the parts

or master imperfectible arts

to put a smile on a tragic mask

or teach a fool to know what a fool is.

Just listen to the sky with your ears

and for the first time

you’ll recognize your own face

without a mirror

and the colour of your eyes

will be grace itself

and there will no end of the theme

that runs through all your dress rehearsals

like the understudy of a bloodstream

caught like a doe in a spotlight

who died of stagefright

when the only part she had to play

was the stage.