Monday, August 17, 2009




I have not forgotten you.

You have a long half-life

and time isn’t alchemist enough

to turn so much gold back into lead.

It’s just that when I think of you

I bloom like an empty box

sliced at its corners

by an exacto-knife of pain

and my mind weeps like a wounded jewel.

A gust of stars like the dust of the road

I can’t rub out of my eyes,

a garden on the moon

that’s never known a gate,

a wishbone of rivers

served up on a silver plate,

I keep seeing you in everything

as if I were certain now

that spring isn’t the past or future of fall.

I remember you like an exile

remembers a country

he left like an open door

when he stepped out into the night

like light from a lamp

that wasn’t a home

he could return to anymore.

You punctuated the equilibrium

of my hasty evolution

and I’ve lost count of the transformations

I’ve been through

guided by your eyes.

Coercively young,

subversively old,

mending the night

like a black sail

with the same thorn of the moon

that tore it 

on the shores of my marooned desires,

I endure myself like the sea

that aches with the music of sunken guitars

pressing the soiled strings of their spinal cords

against the frets of their scars so sadly

that every thought, every feeling

is a last flash of life in a receding tide

that left the bride

behind her veils

in port.



















Ahhh, man

some mornings I get up

and I’m so weary of being me again

with the same old Gordian knot of dilemmas

waiting for the black sword

of an abrupt awakening

to cleave this hibernating ball

of hydra-headed entanglements

down the third extreme of the middle.

Cooler than a French executioner

with the night still over my head like a hood

and the ax of the moon

descending on the nape

of the swanning hills,

I would rather endure one death

that kills me into life

than suffer a thousand looping transformations

like a Swiss army knife in a snakepit

or the fossil of my last breath

still on display to the curious,

fighting for its life in an incubator.

There are nights when I can hear the fire singing

about its homelessness to the stars alone

and days that hang like heavy bells

over a long, secular holiday

as one truth swallows another in the silence

of the smeared windows

that elaborate my view of things

even as I weigh the moon in my hand like a rock.

One moment I’m jamming with the celestial spheres

and the next I’m being tuned like the spinal cord

of a one-eyed guitar

to the fangs of a live snake

with perfect pitch

and everything is snapping and hissing

like a downed powerline that’s lost its keys.

I still extol love and compassion

like the radicals of a lost war

strewing flowers on their roots,

but these days underground

I suspect that my darkness is faster than light

as I plant the quicksand cornerstone

of my pyramidal heart

like an improvised explosive device

in the road I take every morning

like a blind schizophrenic

groping his way on his knees to Damascus,

trying to bring empathy

to a convention of lonely exceptions.

And if I’ve got any faith left

when I look out on the atrocity of the world

like a dungheap covered in blow

it’s the merest of plausibilities,

graffitti on the gravestone

of someone I don’t want to know.

Walking alone on a dusty road

in the fields beyond Perth

as the gravel crunches underfoot

like seashells and skulls,

to taste the ripe stars

on their wild, summer vines,

and feel the eyes that are watching me

like alarmed snails and furtive leaves on my skin,

I realize I will always be

this stranger at the gate

of someone who lives within

who’s never been troubled by anger and hate,

or the abysmal sorrows of love

or distinguished the true from the false

the sick from the whole,

the petty from the great,

or the indifference of life

to the passion of the martyrs

cashing in on their bones

like loaded dice

at the foot of a crooked cross.

He’s never tinkered

with the engine of his actions

hoping to improve his performance,

No lumps of coal like bad memories

disturb the radiance

of his diamond skull

and when he thinks

he thinks like light on water

and even at the bottom

of a sea of shadows

he’s a magus of stars

in the munificent stillness

of his own improbable depths.

He knows how the jewels of clarity

can suddenly open

like eyes in a grave

that are not used to the light

that washes over them

wave upon wave

like the wings of transporting angels,

but he stays where he is for the night

to keep his word to the morning

like the birds of the earth

who wait for the sun

to turn them

like a dead language

into his native tongue.

As for me, my voice

lays out a starmap of black holes to avoid

like a last ray of light

trying to measure its own height

above these sudden event horizons

on the wrong side of town

when the stars I go slumming with

want to get down.

He talks knowledgably with the stars

about what’s beyond the light

but my spiritual life

is bemused in the shadows

like an eye in the night

that peers through the mystery

of the darkness that bounds it

like the personal history

of the ambiguous human

it would rather keep to itself

than give itself away like the fireflies

of a wayward constellation

that wandered off the reservation

like a nation with myths of its own.

All my prophets greet the day

like star-nosed moles in the light

as if they were just getting off

the graveyard shift

of an underground mine

where they’re chipping away

at the ore of the dead

like a motherlode of marrow

and were too tired

to have anything much to say

about why some mornings

ride in plumed chariots

through wild galas of triumph as he does

successfully back from his dream campaign,

and I’m always running

to catch up to the parade

like a clown in a wheelbarrow

throwing out rubber bullets, 

decked out like a float from the slum

that looks like a public coffin

with some shit on the side

about a better tomorrow.