Thursday, July 9, 2009




Addiction is like lust

is like a bank is like a drug

is like a life of your own

you’ve got to keep on taking

because the symptoms of withdrawal

are more catastrophic

than the risks of overdosing.

And we’re all hooked on the planet

like a big rock we’re trying to break down

like blasting caps in a crystal skull

we found buried in the light

like the motherlode of all bad needles.

We want to do five rocks tonight

and save three for tomorrow

we can sell in the morning

to begin again

the beginningless end of everything.

And don’t say it’s

just a lack of conviction

because the truth of the matter is

we’re fanatically addicted to addiction.

Addiction is what gives our lives

mass and gravity;

if it weren’t for addiction

we wouldn’t know which end is up

we wouldn’t be able to point ourselves out at night

to the blind child within us

like the trackmarks

of a new constellation

shining out for everyone to see

our likeness in a braille of blackholes.

And it doesn’t really matter

what you’re addicted to,

money, art, sex, power, cruelty,

your own abject licentiousness

born of being bored with death,

religion, enlightenment,

the desparate goodness of everything,

the mystic exotica of your own mind

dogpaddling in the abyss

with nebulae and jellyfish,

or even deeper than Freud, the void

that swallows the mind whole;

addiction is the dream that wakes you up

like the lips of a black rose

on the forehead of the moon

just as your skull is going into full eclipse.

Addiction is an art. Is a discipline

that would shrink the rigour of armies

by contrast with the demonic ferocity

of its artificial will to live on death

as if the next door you open like an eyelid

were already the coffin of your last breath.

Addiction doesn’t drink

from the sacred wells

on the holy mountainsides

voicing their prophecies like pythons.

Addiction looks for muses

like dangerous night-mirages

in a desert of inspiration

the wind blows away

like hydrogen ghosts

in a graveyard of stars.

Addiction drinks its own tears

like small drops of glass

it’s purified

from a shoreless sea of quicksand

where every grain

is the tiny cornerstone

of a pearl of a world

that couldn’t stand up on its own.

Addiction is a mode of devotion,

a faithful tide

in the unfaithful ocean

of everything that people feel they’re missing

when they’re washed up on the moon

like a lifeboat with no one to save.

Addiction is a thirsty fish

trying to breathe stars

through the gills of it shadows

like light through the nets of its scars

without getting caught.

You might be addicted

to your own reflection

like a bird to the eyes

of an undulant snake

making you dance like a flute

to your own music,

but it’s as impossible

to be addicted to who your are

as it is for water to drown a wax museum

because addiction is born

in the empty mangers

of who you are not

and sustains itself like solitude

on nothing.

(Black angels like the white

prefer the light to solid food.)

Addiction is the rush of the Second Coming

trying to save enough kick

to sprint to the finish line

past the first Apocalypse

on anabolic steroids

even when it knows the race is fixed

by the last flag of blood in the fit

to fly at half-mast

even before you’ve made an end of it.

Addiction shoots time

like a mirror 

in a dealer’s bathroom

that’s just washed off your face

like a fingerpint on space

that doesn’t belong to anyone

whose last known address

was a loveletter

returned to the sender

like a threshold of homeless snakes.

For those who are falling

addiction blossoms like a parachute

that inflates time into eternity

so that every moment sways Icarus

at the first toke 

like a club-footed pendulum

dancing with chandelier Cinderellas

who never die like candles

at the stroke of midnight

for flying too close to the light.

And for those who are rising

like erections from the dead

getting up from the wounded eras

of the afterlives they’ve spent

trying to make brides of their hospital beds,

addiction is the honeymoon suite

that unveils the princess of the mist

like the seven colours of a rainbow

through the prism of Niagra Falls

just before you go over

and down your own throat

like a tiny barrel of Viagra

you hope will keep you afloat

long enough to thread the needle

like the eye of one more salmon run

before you die.

When chaos denudes reverence

and discloses the pillars of our insitutions

are stacked like poker chips

in an earthquake

without rebar;

when the cornerstones

of our spiritual foundations,

the Himalyas of our own imaginations

pushed up like a mountain

by the rutting of continents

into two hands in prayer

cruelly baptized in the tears of things

that run down their cheeks like rivers,

are shaken into dust on an old book

that once looked into the darkness of the truth

with a lantern of lies,

and you look back down the long road

you’ve just walked

and you see nothing but roadkill,

and your own children among them,

and even the bones we put in the dirt

to rise again like heavenly bread

and the ashes we give back to the sky

like the loneliest of clouds, a bird

that hasn’t learned to fly

poured out of its urn

like smoke from a factory chimney,

and no one knows how to live

or die anymore

or what for,

addiction sucuumbs to itself

and becomes the ligature of the world,

the one-stringed guitar

it thumbs like a spinal cord

to keep the dance going

and the one-eyed wine

it serves to the two-eyed stranger

who stopped to ask for directions,



















When everything in life is blooming

I fear the terrible curse

implicit in Basho’s haiku:

for those who say

they have no time for children

there are no flowers.