Monday, June 8, 2009




A country of one on the moon

trying to declare my independence

from the occupying constellations

that have pimped my fate like a website.

If I never could hold on to my skin long

maybe I’m a serpent shedding worlds

like the kite-string of the eleventh dimension,

infinite worlds like the thoughts

of a vast intelligence with time to squander

its unintelligible nature upon itself

to the astonishment of everything that exists.

Or maybe not. But if there’s anything divine

about my mind, it’s that

it’s not created in the image of anything.

There’s no likeness in the mirror of God.

But when has that ever stopped anyone from looking?

A name, an address, a town, a country, a planet,

and I still don’t know who I am

in this homelessness with curtains

when I look through myself like a window

with eyes of rain older than anything I’ll find.

And there may be a sadness in the sweetness of the apple

silvered by the moon when I’m alone

but I don’t spend my solitude in chains

even when I fall

knowing there’s nothing

to attach myself to that I haven’t already let go of

in the name of learning how to love

what isn’t there.

And that’s the big hole

in the side of the wounded silo

that lavishes my abundance on the emptiness

as if there were plenty of me where I came from.

And when I look for the source of the rose of blood

with all its passions, mysteries, and histories of delusion 

that engendered this thorn of a heart

that doesn’t know what it’s guarding,

immediately it’s as obvious as me

that even spiritually

nature abhors a vacuum

and the mind is a bigger room than space

older than the moment before birth

and younger than death could ever be

longing for being it can’t possess

without letting go of its own immortality.

A grub of flesh with big ideas

that keep leapfrogging over the edge

of their own conception, I move

from medium to medium

changing form through water, earth, air, light, space

like wine through so many worlds,

so many cups of the moon

and the mindlessness that keeps it all flowing.

Butterfly mind, serpent mind, mind

that idles like grass in the easy breeze,

mind that tightens like a fist

trying to squeeze the light out of space

like salt from the sea,

ore from the rock of a mining company,

mind that is baffled

by the ultimacy of suffering

when joy seems so brief a day,

and aspiration even to the highest things

is a breath let out, not in

even when it sings

to the world like rain

about the roots of pain.

Fountain mind, tree mind

growing out of the darkness

of its starmud toward the sky

so that the words come

like birds to the lips of an old song,

like the genius of stars to water.

Mountain mind that empties me like a valley

and opens my mouth

like an oracular cave to the public

who want to prophecy through it

to give their words weight and meaning

and the lottery of a chance of coming true.

The best place to hide is out in the open

just as the best place to speak

is into the silence

when you haven’t been consulted.

Mind that is and isn’t mine,

pure revelation of horror and beauty

in the playfulness of the light

when it takes the hand of a sister feeling.

Janitor mind that sustains my body cell by cell,

burning old textbooks like disproven prophets

in the furnace of a heart

that’s run out of its past

like desks and coal.

Mind bell in your own dream

why do you reforge me as cannon

to make the children scream out in their sleep

when none of us have learned

the lesson of why you weep

and we mourn like refugees

trying to outdistance the nightmare

by advancing our horizons?

If space is time, one continuum,

then do we die because we’ve run out of space?

Can I measure my age in miles?

There aren’t years enough

in a mile of light

to assess how far away I am

from what I have become.

Cleverness, irony, ambiguity,

paradox, eloquence, oxymoron,

eagles of the imperial rhetoric,

cataract cliches fogging the eyes

of the populist peacock

who thinks he sees for everyone,

the married foam of battered brides

who were wrecked like night ships on the wrong tide

and impeach the moon for the error,

the mystic gusts of stars

that blow their radiance like dust

into the eyes of a blind man

hoping to make him see

and the myth-mongering ideologues

who rub their stakes together like the firesticks

of a praying mantis hunting heretics,

all those who have turned their lives

into one long apology for death

as if it were a lapse of spiritual manners,

all the token choices of the mob

raising their placard voices up to God

like angry flowers nippling acid rain,

all tools broken by their own futility,

hammers in the dirt, and toothless saws,

constellations of flies that died at a windowpane,

untold moments of life,

mini blackholes of light

trying to aspire to the stars;

at best, fireflies in canning jars.

Despair if it’s your nature to despair,

or dare to hope dangerously

for things that can never be

if you can’t endure what you see,

or judge it all magnanimously with a laugh

and brush the issue aside with the hem of your robe

like an imperial indulgence

at the limits of empire.

Any road you take

is as hard as any other eventually.

How do you express your impossibility to the stars

like indifferent listeners,

or satisfy questions that swallow you whole

like a python, an eclipse, a koan

when they take their own tails in the mouths

like the meanings of words

and eat you all the way up to the head

like the road you’re walking now?

I don’t abuse my masks

as if they weren’t needed

by attaching them to an identity

when even this nothingness is no more

than a good guess just to be polite.

Hey, when I first got here, the stars were free.

And the daughters of water

approached me innocently as trees

and fire was a splendour without equal

and there were no assassins

sequestered like shadows

behind the doors of light

like a god that had been overlooked

and every breath was a breeze that took me

and every thought that opened like a flower

rooted deeply in the earth

was a bee of my growth

and even the lightning flowed

like honey from the hive.

I learned to climb the highest fruit trees

in the abandoned apple orchards of Victoria

right up to the topmost branch

without calling for a ladder

to take the danger out of things

as I shook the windfall down to my worried mother.

So now I am the way I am now.

Like an element of anti-matter

that hasn’t discovered its place

below the salt on the periodic table

laid out like a game of snakes and ladders.

I took the moon for the cornerstone of my homelessness

and shapes of water like a woman’s body for the Taj Mahal.

And my unlikeness reveals itself in everything.




























































Seeing you again after all this time

is a single stitch in a hundred mile long wound

that couldn’t bridge its differences.

Spanish earrings like captured constellations

dangling from your earlobes like a jailor’s keys,

everyone still thinks

when you make your rounds

you’re someone they would like to please

by giving up their freedom

for a few skimpy minutes with you

on your knees.

You haven’t lost your knack

for making men feel lasciviously wonderful

and it would be easy to forget so much

like a last wish on death-row

just to fuck you

but there are scars on the window

that look like the moon

weighing itself like a stone

in the hand of an angry boy

who wants to break something.

You were more of a delusion to me

than I ever was to you.

It was my arrow

from my own bow

that made a target

of the archer’s heart

I wore on my head

like the crown of an apple

and missed.

It’s seven parts vanity

and three parts lust

to want to be loved

the way you always imagined.

You did your best with what you had to work with

to make something neither of us knew

come true in the aftermath

of all we destroyed in each other

as one by one our delusions

fell like sumptuous nobles

on the swords of the gladiolas

that had flared like trumpets of blood.

Now we sit beside each other

like two gardens that failed

to find common ground

as the stars salt the earth we walk upon

down memory-lane

meticulously avoiding

all the testy improvised devices

that still lie buried like passions in the road

waiting for the next insurgency to explode.

You indulge my vanity like a cup of coffee

with the most slimming subsitutes

for sincerity

but I understand

behind the sleazy gestures

it’s just your way of trying to heal what you can

without being forgiven

for not knowing when to quit.

It’s not often you get to sit down

and have a conversation

with your own obituary

and not believe a word of it.