Thursday, September 10, 2009




Apparitions of the muse

hanging her stars

from the end of my nose

like an exotic fragrance of night

more revealing than the light.

There. That’s mine.

The constellation of the donkey,

and there beside it, do you see

that red-haired star

blazing like a woman with a carrot?

I’ve followed that star for fifty years

always a mountain away from the valley

like a passionate Sisyphus

rolling the earth up a hill like a stone

happy with my own absurdity,

happy to go mad for her sake alone.

Elixirs of moonlight

mingled with strange waters

and I drank until I drowned

in the ferocity of my own delirium

like a myth that’s forgotten

which stars it belongs to.

I’ve never been much of a martyr

and bored with lies

I’ve always been two hells shy of a messiah

but I have fallen on the thorns of the moon

more than once

after my long descent

down the burning ladders

of God’s last word on the matter,

so there’s no splinter of the true cross

to needle the issue

like a compass or a crucifix.

And it still puzzles me

why it’s always my blood

that rushes to the end of my dick

like a volunteer army

but it’s always somebody else’s flag

that gets raised above the rubble.

Pyrrhic victories at best

when I’m not feeling cursed or blessed

by any kind of mystic meaning

convincing me I can firewalk

barefoot on stars

when I can’t even get

this blue pebble of a planet

out of my heart like a shoe.

But even letting go of all their leaves

like loveletters home and refugees 

the trees can only go so far

as the wind and streams will let them.

And then there’s a darkness that doesn’t taste of stars.

And decisions that cut like the smiles of broken mirrors.

And turmoil in the snakepits of desire

that are thrown like angry acids

in the eyes of the seers

who saint the rain with their sorrows

like old calendars of crossed-out tomorrows

playing x’s and o’s with the moon.

It’s a freak of enlightenment

to turn love into a discipline

inspiration into a law

and godless wonder into superstitious awe.

So I listen and say nothing,

see and don’t reveal,

understand but never think I know

the gates that pass through me

when you call to the wild geese in the fall

and I am startled by the loneliness of the answer.

I’ve seen you in the nightstream down the mountain,

the river and the sea

that sits below the salt

at her own table,

and I still suspect it was you

that turned my bitter tears

into the brittle chandeliers

that fell like ice-storms in a fountain

to silence the voices of the mirrors

the birds kept flying into

like windows at war with the sky.

I was out of the egg.

I was out of my mind at last

like a gift I didn’t deserve

and the universe was full of your absence

because you were the embodiment of my longing,

the darkness in the light

that stood aloof from the meaning of everything

as if your only proof were your eyes

and that were enough

to answer the empty skies with stars.

You may put on flesh and blood

and in your human proportions confess

you don’t believe this,

but you can never be attained,

never be embraced

never be contained

by any avatar of who you are

because like space in all directions

you are limitless

and even time is consumed

in the root fires that grabbed you by the ankle

and pulled you underground

to dress a goddess of light

in the nocturnal jewels of the dead.

And it is not a perogative of the beatifically born

to be demonically wrong,

but I have heard the skulls in the song

that allures the unwary sailors

to the lunar horns of your fishbone harps

to smash them on the rocks

as if you took a tragic delight

in the sheer delinquency of your power

to arouse and extinguish desire.

Anyone can come up

with a meaning for life

but you are the muse

of meaning itself

the meaning of meaning

when anyone asks

without expecting an answer.

What woman that I’ve loved

like a river reaching the sea

have you not been

over these long, intense years

of radiant tenderness

and creative commotion

and an ominous darkness out over the ocean

when the moon turned around

like a bride in bed

and revealed the far side

she kept to herself like stars?

And it’s still a shock and a marvel to me

when you disappear into the air

like a breath someone neglected to take

when it bloomed on the window.

I don’t doubt your capacity to devastate

and I have the urns and the burns

and the ashes to prove it

and know on a whim of your arrogance

you could leave the phoenix out in the cold

and douse the dragon like a torch

in your fire-proof waters.

But lately, out of the flesh,

I look for you behind the eyes

of every woman I meet

and it’s rare that I find one

whose blood and passions

you’ve worn as your own,

whose mind is a jewel of yours

that flows like a star sapphire

down a dark mirror

older than the meaning of life

that relflects you in the light of a black sun.

And I know enough not to ask

about those lockets of blood

you hang like thorns

around the neck of your mystic rose

like the first and last crescents of the moon.

I opened one once to see

whose picture you carried inside

like a butterfly you were working on

or a loveletter in a bottle you never sent

and I’m still not certain

I was demon enough

to survive the miracles

you released upon me

like a hive of angry angels

but I came to know

what the loss of heaven meant

when I ran from the garden

through the closing gates

of your wishbone,

on the short end.

































Eventually the moon

struggles out of its cradle

like a sulphur butterfly

out of its house of change.

And far, far away

in the loneliest of deserts

that cling to a skull like thoughts

someone waits like water

spilled from the countless eyes

that have looked to her

like a cool eclipse for healing.

Illusory cures for illusory diseases

but she makes their wounds seem beautiful

and their madness a fashion of God

running naked through the surf

of an orchard in bloom.

Twice in a doorway

and once in a grocery store

in broad daylight

I have tasted the black rose

of her collusive shadow

opening all her eyelids

like phases of the far side of the moon in me,

unspooling the fragrance of her darkness

to sweeten the night that overcomes me

whenever I see her.

Dark beauty, cormorant, stars pour

from the shapely pitcher of your body

into the dry wishing wells of my eyes

and all things are granted in a moment

it would take a lifetime to repair.

Sphinx without history,

black box of the mystery,

I dream and drift

with the serpentine currents

of these themes of you

like the pale lifeboats

of blossoms and poems on the nightstream

and everywhere

I’m building bridges in the air.

And a great tenderness shakes me

as I press the head of an arrow to my lips

like the last jewel of a foolish prince

or the shadow of a bird against the moon

or a crazy wise man’s last word

and release it like a spirit with flare

to fire the night with fountains and flowers

to summon you here with me

like the alluring simulacrum

of an unspoken intimacy

that inspires my eyes to see

beyond the dark gates

and flaming swords of poetry,

and the light that brings peace to the garden,

and the law that can only be kept

by the breaking of it

and the sad music of compassionate hearts

that have been broken like bells

and the children whose blood

was violently spilled

and runs like a river through hell

we’ll all have to cross one godforsaken night,

beyond the infinite expanse of the middle extreme

like a third wing on a bird

that baffles the guardian dragons,

beyond the clarity and the darkness

of the wisdom and the lies

where the rivers meet for sex

and the lowest stars on the horizon

are the flashbacks of enlightening psychodelics,

talking in the unbroken code

of the mandalic relics

that yarrow the Book of Changes

like the ups and downs

of fossils swimming through stone.

Beyond the wind

that blows the stars into my eyes

like chimney sparks and firelies

and rattles the diamond bones

of the skeletal chandliers

that dance to their own music

and saturates the summer night air

with the most poignant of delusions,

and further beyond the wind that clarifies

the eyes of the wounded water

that fell on the swords of its own waves,

beyond what condemns and saves,

beyond the palaces of the slaves who master

and the palaces of the masters who enslave,

and the quicksand cornerstone hovels

of those who uphold them,

and the revolutions that fail for their own sake

to escape the wheel of the prophecies that foretold them

like the blood of a dove in the heart of a snake,

beyond the ashes of the burning cities

that gave a human voice to the flames

like oxygen that screams

and the barely audible syllables

of people without names

who were hurriedly buried in pits at night

like the student bodies

of old backdoor universities

that dared to indict the juntas of death

that covered their eyes like sunglasses on a skull

to witness their own eclipses

in the outhouse pulpits

of a war crimes trial.

Beyond the beatific and the vile,

the black mirror and the white

that God keeps up her sleeve

to trump whatever you believe

until the candle goes out

like the seer and the seen

and you are left alone in the dark

before the arising of eyes and signs

bore witness to the singular event

of that mysterious seeing

that brought the world into being

that you know as your own life

that darkness within darkness

where you must go like a star

by your own light

like a lamp already

beyond its long journey

without a guide.

Beyond all this in a space

I cannot locate or name

as if God spoke in a foreign language

in a native tongue of flame

when she created this world of desire

that keeps pouring its heart out like an urn

to renew its capacity for death,

for churning ashes into honey

without getting burned,

where the universe forsakes its own laws

like a straitjacket

and the freedom is not the freedom

of the crazy or the sane

still handcuffed to each other

like two ends of the same bone

they keep running through forensics

to distinguish the perp from the crime,

but a sublime profusion of cool bliss

that I exist to feel this eclipse

in the heart of the shining

and drink this dark elixir

from the well

of a homeless mirage on the moon

as if it were more real than water

and watch in unadmonished wonder

how it deranges me creatively

like stars agitated by the unknown atmosphere

of a planet that’s wandered far off the path alone

past the thirteenth house of the zodiac

waiting in its illegitimacy

like eyes at a window

to be acknowledged by the sun

across the tracks

of the proper perspective

into shipshifting constellations of its own

that grow as the night grows

and can’t be retold

in a familiar voice

around the same fire twice.