Thursday, April 30, 2009



The moon draws itself up

like a bucket from a well

but there’s still no water.

The gate is shut.

And no one’s home.

So I turn away knowing even if

I take the road back

no one ever returns

the way they came.

You can’t leave

through the same door twice

and even after you’ve said

all that you meant

it’s still not the letter you sent that arrives.

And dragging the lake

for the body of a drowned poet

who went skinny-dipping

alone with the moon

still doesn’t make it the Pierian Spring

even if his death turns out to be

an inspiration.

To wake the sleeping dragon

you must dig deeply enough

to draw fire from the well.

And to speak as if

you could taste the vision

with your eyes,

you must have a tongue like a snake

that listens like a witching wand

to the tang of its own opposites

whispering like waves in a watershed

about a dream they just had

of the same urgent river.

It’s one thing for a star

to extinguish itself in a fury of light

but it’s another

to make it through the night as a human

trying to divine yourself

in your own shadow

by sticking white and black pins

through a voodoo doll

you mistake for a constellation,

an effigy of your creative origins,

the imperious vocables

of the collaborative lie

you call a beginning.

I can sympathize.

I’ve drunk from the same eyes

to the bottom of my skull

until I was as blind

as the sun at midnight

to my own shining

and what had seemed full

was empty.

And how the dead

can wake the living

is even more of a mystery

than the sack of my personal history

I keep shedding like skin

that’s been through enough.

I sluff myself

like phases of the moon

and slide away like a new religion,

more wind on the open sea

than breath in the sail

time keeps taking down

when a wave is as good as a boat.

Look beyond yourself

into what isn’t you

as if you could skip your eyes

like stars out over the sea.

Don’t leave this world

but look at it from the inside as well

as if you were a star at noon

and be mindful of the cup

you’re drinking from

and wash yourself out of it

when you’ve got to the bottom of things.

Like the moon when it bathes

in your eyes, your tears,

in lakes and seas

and every single drop of water

hanging like the cameo of the world

without end or beginning

from every blade of grass

rise from your immersion

without leaving rings.




You ask me unfairly about God

and I say God is formless,

mind is formless;

where’s the distinction?

Two waves of water.

Two mountain walls

of the same valley.

Why get in your own way

and trouble your house

with being and non-being

looking for reasons to exist

you could wear

like those bracelets on your wrist

that cover your scars

like tree-rings around

the dead heartwood

that keeps you standing?

Two eyes. One seeing.

Two wings. One

flight of the bird in the night.

How could the darkness say it?

How could the light?

It’ important not to want

to be impossible.

Listen to your own voice

without words

as if it were the silence in music

ingathering you like the sea

picking up the pearls

of a broken rosary

and stringing them together again like moons

everyone of which in all their moods

reflects your face

on your own effulgent waters.

I can see the stars through your skin

and even though the window’s shut

swaying curtains of blood in the wind

when your heart turns auroral

and burns like the dawn,

morning at midnight

like a rainbow on an oilslick,

a rainbow on a grackle’s neck,

a rainbow on the wing of a dead fly,

or the one you can’t get out of your eye

when you realize you’re not indelible,

that your glaciers run

the same way that watercolours do.

You’re not the ruin of an ancient temple

overgrown by the constellations.

Ask any mother.

Arrival is departure.

So who needs to consult their feet on time

to go anywhere

and where can you go

that you haven’t just left

even if you slash your wrists a thousand times

like jungle vines

to uncover yourself

like an abandoned shrine

what have you severed

that isn’t your own umbilical cord?

And how are you ever

going to pop all the bubbles

in the eyes of the seafoam

that surround you like space

without expanding the place

by releasing the universe

like a wild maenadic bride

every time you blind the hymen of an atom?

Cut yourself as you will

you’re only delivering the moon

by caesarian

from every drop of water,

every drop of blood

every drop of light

you might spill.

Midwife of the moon,

mother of nations,

you can heap yourself

like wounded, straw dolls

on the skeletal pyres

of your riverside cremations

but even the water can’t put you out

when you plunge like a torch

into your own pain

like a junkie that’s just found

the last available vein,

trying to saint clarity

in a voodoo universe.

But listen:

the sea’s been trying to teach you for years

how to endure your own weather

without stars or a teacher to guide you,

and when has the wind ever not

carried you like rain and seed

through your own vastness

without a sail or a sky

to haul you up

or take you down

and yet not once

have you ever fallen on barren gound

even when you snuff yourself panspermically

like a Martian meteorite in Antarctica

when you show up

as you have tonight

like a punctuation mark,

a black period

in a negative starmap

when space turns white

and all your blackholes shine

like something dark and divine

that enters through all your exits,

all your doors and pores

without a sign.




Maculated mirrors in the funeral home parking lot,

serene as eye-water in the presence of the moon.

Spring rain. And the grass greening

as if one colour were truer than another,

the morning sits at a desk

and bends its neck

to look sideways out of a window

still slightly dazed by the hangover of stars

that went a little too far last night.

Soft grey light. Peace in my tears.

I sit in my body like the sea in a diving bell

getting ready to descend

through my own depths

when the bottom of the bucket falls out

like a false eye

and I am unspooled into rivers everywhere

like the serpents of Eden

before they learned to bite.

I confide in myself

like the mysterious innocence of autumn

under the tongue of the spring

like something said off in the wings

among the Chanadoxa and crocuses.

I approach everything like water

overflowing the old grammar

of a forgotten creekbed

with a faster magic than rain

because I’ve got beginnings on my brain

that have pulled me out by the root

like an overclocked tree of pain

the lightning knocked over.

I edge the agony of the stone

until its metals are poured out like a sword

and what the fire has wounded,

the fire heals.

The wine is no longer shaped

by the emptiness of the cup

and beyond the primeval atom,

in the Bulk, in hyperspace

muscled with multidimensional branes

that lift the freeweights of the worlds

up to their shoulders like cosmic bubbles

every thought and anti-thought

nudges a new universe toward nuclearization.

And when one world kisses another

they leave bridges and black holes

all over my auroral skin

like pores I can pass through

like a bird through an open window.

Or I wake up like a waterclock

from one dream to the next

like the hidden grammar

of the first word

and everywhere I look

I am the mystic psychology

of a new physics

that’s lost its mind

in a theory of everything

like a chalice of salt in the sea.

Everywhere worlds roll like water

from the tongues of the tender leaves

waiting like wind and waves

to taste the sails of their flowers.

Everything in existence

is the leftover umbilical cord

of the Great Unmooring

that poured out of its own mind

like boats full of moonlight and rain

or bubbles out of the bay

that each is to itself

until its water breaks

like a tree into bloom

or a man immersed

in the intimate immensities

of a small room.

So now that we’re all out of the womb

where did everyone go?

Or is the addition of one to another

certain to make us lonely?

Or merely another theme

that makes its way

like a snake that just woke up

through the chilly grass

like a thought that unravels

the heater of an idea

like smoke from a cigarette?

I try to mean what I forget

and not seek oblivion in the obvious

but the obvious is not the obvious

and, ah Faustus, why this is oblivion.

Nor are we out of it.

The logical palaces of the salt sea

that has become a graveyard of rivers.

So I swing free of the trend to abide

when everything else is in diaspora

like the tide of the dark-side sea of the moon

that went out once

and kept going.

You can if you wish

see fish swimming through the trees

and collect honey from the stars

just as you would the bees.

Or no less true

to the joy of the white

the spring is full of black brides

whose grief is deepened

by the nurturing light

that is opening the flowers

all around them.

And it’s profound not to confound

a black hole with an eclipse

or mistake the tatoo on your lips

for all there is to say

by drinking an elixir of ink

like black cool aid

as if you’d just downed

a watershed of knowing

and couldn’t handle your liquor.

But I’m not into oilslicks

so I don’t sit here

like the cornerstone

of another spring

that I’ve just laid

like the tarpit of a future library,

drowning tigers like torches at midnight.

It’s clear to me

that everything is already here

and always has been

and that death can never be achieved

by a birth that is a work in progress

so what could ever be fuller

than the moment

just as it is now?

Intelligence isn’t a smudge on clarity

just as a wave is not a cataract

on the eye of the sea

but if all you’ve ever done is see it

may I suggest this spring

as good a time as any

while the stars are reluctant to go

and anxious to stay

to turn the light around,

your feet in the stars,

your head on the ground

and look deeply into the emptiness

until you’ve finally got the eyes to be it?