Saturday, May 23, 2009



And I tell myself

even when the windfall under the apple-tree

is not gathered up and tasted,

even when it’s left to waste

in its own sweetness,

without even so much as a thought

of its being a gift, a donation,

or lamenting its degeneration,

without purpose or compliance

it goes on bearing.

What is it being effortlessly true to

if not water and sun, leaf and soil,

the labour of worlds and atoms and stars,

not the work of a single hand,

nor the toil of a definition

but the creative collaboration of everything

in the expression of a form

that is the first and last word

of a language that puts its finger to its lips?

Everything you see is keeping the same secret

closer to its heart than life

even though its very existence

gives it away.

Apple. Star. Moon.You. Me.

Not signs aligned by the hidden grammar

in the voice of God

commanding a world of nouns to be,

but the transformative clarity of unending verbs.

The Alone expressing the Alone to the Alone

in its native incoherence.

Shadow-water on the moon.

The light falling like eyes of rain

to the roots of the brain

that flowers into awareness

and not a leaf on the stream

that was taught how to write.

Autumn burns like the libraries of Alexandria.

You can read books about it

by the light of the stars

in an hourglass

late at night

suspended in time

like a homey window,

or you can dare your own freedom

and live like a jewel of water in a desert.

You can gather stars around your fire

like eyes out of the darkness

deepened like sacred wells

by the secret felicities of night,

and gratify the sky’s appetite for stories

when your voice flares up like the wind

and it isn’t the air, it isn’t the tree,

it isn’t the leaves,

it’s your own mind singing

as it carves guitars

out of its ageless heartwood

that anyone can play

from the inside out

as easily as they play their own body.




No end of the desecrations and devotions

that afflict me like your eyes.

I don’t need a theory of parallel universes

to convince me I’m born in one, die

in another, and never existed in the next.

I’ve had to juggle more worlds than that

just to maintain my balance in an unalanced context

whenever you’ve walked into the room

and I was an awkward ship far out

on the nightsea you were

on the dark side of the moon.

Now I seriously doubt if I’ve ever known

what world this is

or what quantum of karma

elaborates me in it like a wave on the move.

It takes a dark wind to blow dark things away

and shed a black deathsail like an eclipse

to let people know you’re still alive from afar

like a star before the arising of signs,

always a night ahead of your own light.

Aligned with you, all my compasses lied to me,

and my planets wobbled axially like drunk tops

stumbling along the white line

unspooled like a standard orbit

by testy cops at a roadside check.

In that world and in several since

you have been a mysterious intimacy of space

that touchs me like the whispering skin of a cool breeze

in an open field under the stars

deep into my solitude

and late, later than the last fruits of autumn

into my life.

And even when I remember you now

in this affinity of dimensions

without a threshold

my heart overflows its own cup

like rivers and wine

to adorn the passage

of love through time.




I see myself happening

in the flight of a bird across the moon,

in the appearance of the leaves

and the leftover flowers

that have gone on blooming

in the corner of the yard

longer than anyone ever thought

and in the light of the star

through the branches of a tree

that’s rooted in me like an emotion

that’s grown beyond its rings.

For a moment the moon

holds the spring leaves up before her

like the cards of a new hand

to make sails and water of their shadows

and I am all arrivals and tides and departures,

the skeleton of a battered ark

scuttled in the mountains of the moon

after the flood receded

and everything was land

and I was the two of every kind

that disembarked like a mind

to elaborate itself through a bloodline

that wound many threads

into one strong rope

that might bind me like a spinal cord

to a place in an empty lifeboat.

We all have our protean myths of origin.

The wounded lies we use to exempt

our intimate extinctions

from the obvious suicides

who trusted death not to judge.

One voice says it’s merely a witness

while another tries to interpret

the meaning of the life that’s going on

without consultation

and another scoffs at them all

as if bitterness could save you from being a fool.

And tired of having my teachers

interrupt my truancy

with rational voices

that always knew better,

I suspended the school

with an unfinished loveletter

that got things off my chest

like baby crows in a nest.

No rule, no fool. And now I’m free

to taste the moon for myself

and know it tastes like scars.

And there are commotions of life in the grass

that don’t violate

the incredible privacy of creation

by trying to assert what they are

to the secret that gave them birth.

What child was ever of no worth

in the scales of a grieving mother?

The moment you affirm you exist, you don’t;

and denying you do won’t do either.

In a single scale of the fish,

the whole ocean

and in a feather, the sky.

Sometimes reality hangs

like a tear from an eyelash

or a drop of water from the tip of your nose,

reflecting the entirety of the world

and sometimes it’s a grain of dust

that humbles the mountains.

The moment you go looking

for the meaning of things

you pry the jewel out of the ring

and all that’s left is the eye-socket

of a skull full of fire ants.

No exit, no entrance,

no inside, no out,

isn’t it obvious by now

there’s no theshold, no door,

no far shore

no road to follow or not

no passage to anywhere

no aspiration or desire

no sage or liar

no mirage on the moon

or shadow born again

in the fires of the sun at midnight

pouring itself into forms

to ensnare you like love and war?

There’s no need to air

your private or public ordeals.

Just realize your formlessness,

your lack of beginnings and ends.

Mind is space. What’s to liberate?

Nothing gained, nothing lost,

nothing large or small,

nothing wounded or healed,

full or empty, bound or free,

and yet nothing is ever missing

because time and mind and space

are three echoes of you in the same empty well.

Why struggle exhaustively

like a wave that takes up arms

against the sea

or a light at odds with its lamp,

a flame that sobs in the ashes of its fire,

or a breath that holds itself aloof from the wind

stringing yourself out like beads

along the spinal thread

of your hydra-headed rosary,

trying to pry the pearl of the moon

out of every drop of water

that falls from the tip of your tongue?

If you think your life was attained at birth

then surely you will lose it when you die,

but when you realize

that origins and ends

are both eyes

of the one seeing,

the same breath

on the threshold of now

without an eyelash in between

like the moon on water,

everything you’ve ever looked for

asks you

where you have been,

and what, if anything,

among the inexhaustible answers

you might possibly mean.

You’ll finally realize

though you’ve looked everywhere

on worlds as numerous as grains of sand

and plunged through the darkness

like the only fish in an infinite, eyeless sea,

and cobbled the road

you hoped would lead you home

with the prophetic skulls

of all your past lives,

and pondered your purposeless beginning

like a funeral bell that never knew you well,

the source of the mind you look for

is as close as the lamp in your hand

and everywhere your eyes inspire the light to dare,

you see the black squirrel in the blue patch of grape hyacinth

watching you watching it

and thought-years beyond the exhibits of meaning,

you understand.