Monday, August 24, 2009




I see your leaf of fire

still burning on the Tay River

like an autumn of falling maps

that have come to the end of their lifelines.

Now the trees of Perth read their own shadows

like the wake of impossible journeys

that slip through their leafless masts

like wind and water and stars.

But you have outgrown them

like a lifeboat

beyond the reach of their tears.

And the romantic in you is not dead

and the outlaw thrives

and you are still enthralled

by the dark honey

that flows from the cosmic hives

of the illuminati on the nightshift.

And I see you’ve stopped throwing

your firstborn off a cliff

without a parachute.

And I can still hear the distant thunder

of the dice you roll

like the bones of a sphinx

when you gamble with the Book of Changes.

Your solitude like your beauty

is still the single star

of an alluring beautitude

in a black mirror

that shows the night its face.

And deep, deep within yourself

you remain the sole keeper

of the dark mass of the universe

you’re refining in your furnace-heart

like the ore of the light.

And I can see how the ocean

still endures its own weather

in the green of your eyes.

Experience has its grazers

and its predators, too,

and some farm their lives

and some try to train their sheep to hunt,

but you still know how to go for the jugular

on the neck of a wounded guitar

you’ve brought down

like a fleeing gazelle from behind.

You eat experience

and leave small remnants of the heart

for the scavengers to find.

And I can tell by the tone of your voice

that pain has added its ambiguous vowel

to your vocabulary

and there’s blood on the crescents of the moon

that have torn the sail

of many arrivals and departures

as you came and went

in all your phases

like a calendar of scars.

And what a delight

after all these years

to see you’re still playing pool

with your stars,

breaking balls

and taking the long shot,

chalking your stick on a skull.

And there’s that demon of night again

that black rose in a crown of thorns

that’s sometimes so sad and alone

in the incomprehensible vastness of things

when emotions silver the stone

like lost earrings

more than once I have thought of you

as the last of a species

of fallen angels

left to stand guard alone

like a dolmen on the moon

over the only grave that would receive them

when Valhalla put down its sword.

And yet how easily you give yourself away

like generous bread

to the outcasts

who still gather at your firegate

as if the moon were a soft-hearted oven

they couldn’t burn their fingers on.

You say you’re afraid of decaying,

you say you’re overwhelmed.

Thieves are boosting the stars

in your downtown windows

and everyone’s trying to ditch their scars

like the accent of a foreign language

that died like water on Mars

when the sirens lost their voice

to the wind that passed like a sailor.

And money and art

are an eye of oil in the ocean

that can’t find anyway out of the mix

of the fluid labyrinth

that chokes you in its coils

except by seeing it out to the end

like an unwanted loveletter

you don’t know where to send.

So let the river take it like a leaf

or a black candle

the corner of a starmap

that gave up looking for life

on the bright side of everything

when the mirror was smeared

by the silver trail of a snail

that was amazed to find itself

blazing away

like the tail of an anonymous comet

at the heart of a cosmic scandal

as it trespassed across the glass eye

of an indicted telescope

that bore false witness to the shining.

You can’t tinker rings

out of what the maggots are mining

and much to the surprise

of their afterlife

they’ll never turn into butterflies.

Who looks for exposure

like a blackmailed photo in their eyes

when you know, as you do,

how to burn like dawn in a diamond

without a feather of light

to take your measure

in those scales

you always tip toward life?

The dew on the grass is not the same thing

as the little gram-masters of Gore Street

watering their pound,

and the stars that shine down

on everyone and everything alike

can’t be railed by a razor on a mirror

because they’re not trying

to make an impression on the night

by snorting the light

until their shadows can see

what life looks like

in all its futility and madness 

through the eyes of the rain

looking in through a hospital window

like small children in deep pain

they can’t do anything about.

But when the lights go out

there are intensities

that can be pursued

like dolphins in the oceanic moonlight

tides beyond the tidal-pools of the obvious

cluttered like lost keys

and broken shells

that think they still speak for the sea

at the bottom of their museum drawers.

The fools go looking for a vein

like cables to jumpstart the stars

between one battery heart and another

and end up cooking in their own acids

but there are lightning rods

beyond these jaded polarities

that have looked into the darkness

and seen things in a flash of insight

that have made mystics of the weathervanes

and settled once and for all

the chronic conceptual wars

between our mirrors and our windowpanes

that keep upgrading their armies

to lay siege to our mud-walled brains.

It takes more courage

to be some people than others

and even more, sometimes, not to be;

but who’s got a word

for the dark clarity

of the unspeakable genius it takes

to make a Jesse?



































fish bring their own lamps in the depths