A COUNTRY OF ONE ON THE MOON
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.