Friday, July 17, 2009




I spend too much time indulging

the petty appetites

I’ve generated out of my despair.

I should eat more light.

I should care about something more

than the nothing that moves me now

toward the door

like a sleepwalker

in a palace of pleasures.

Cool bliss in unsustainable measures.

I let my worst habits get into me

like debts I owe to myself

for being me another day.

So even when I’m made of gold

like the better day behind me

my future wears a crown of clay.

And I loathe the way my ignorance

tries to wax wise about everything

like a blue moon in late October.

I’m a North American,

a wasp in a windfall of apples.

It’s hard to be born here and stay sober.

And other things: the way

I keep looking down on life

like a head higher than the stars

to remind myself how little I mean

in the great theme of being

to anyone with their eyes open

and how when I try to come clean

my lips part like the haemorraging rose

of the Red Sea

to let Moses pass

like a mountain that kept its word

like an avalanche.

I’m clinging like a song

to a dead branch

that’s witching the moon for water

way past the time

I should have gone south

and everything that used to blossom

is a tattered flag at half mast.

I don’t impugn the stars of my birth

for setting me adrift

like a message in a bottle,

Jonah in the belly of Leviathan,

when everyone’s marooned from the first

like an anchor that fell like a hard tear

from the eyelet of a moonboat,

but I am erosively disturbed

by the disloyalty of my oxymorons

to anything approximating the truth

when I summon the ghosts

that disciplined the futility of my youth

to be true to my own hopelessness

like all these shipwrecks

along my contentious coasts.

And I don’t know why

whenever I try to get along with myself

like aloes on burnt skin

it feels more like a pact with a hypocrite,

fire patching my sails

as I tact into the wind

like the wounded fluke

of an unresponsive rudder

that’s sounding like Moby Dick.

I wanted to swim naked with the mermaids

in the pools of their impossible longings

like moonlight in aging mirrors

but I drowned in their tears

when my whole life flashed before me

like a baleful absurdity

that had perpetrated me on nothing

like a voice in an empty lifeboat

calling out through the fog

for the lost black box of its own echo

to second-guess what brought me down

like the snapping turtle that got Icarus.

Since then I look at my own face in the mirror

like a mirage I’m tired of weeding

and my identity hangs

on the horns of a dilemma

in a Minoan labyrinth

that insists its my fingerprint

even as I am uplifted like a constellation

from the scene of the crime

to do my time in isolation

with the whole of creation on death row

staring into the snake-eyes of a dicey reprieve.