Monday, September 21, 2009




It’s one thing to believe in god

but it’s a much lonelier crusade

without a Jerusalem

to go looking for a god

without a guiding star

that believes in you as you are.

Mind is more like space than a thing

and it’s the nature of space to liberate

and who could possess it

and who could conceal it

and who could wound it

and who could heal it

and when the ignorant ask

for proof of its existence,

looking for fossils of dragons in the air

who could reveal it?

And what the ashes speak of isn’t fire.

One man hears a voice

and gets up from his table

and goes and stands

in the doorway of himself a long time

listening to the stars that beckon him

to wander out into the darkness

beyond his windows

but he’s afraid of what he might meet

and eventually retakes his seat

and adjusts his unease like cutlery,

but others hearing the same voice

will flare up like startled waterbirds

and burn like swans of white phosphorus

sailing their paper boats

like Cygnus down the Milky Way

or poems on the mindstream,

while others graze on the shadows

that have overgrown the roads

that once stretched lightyears

beyond the reach of the lamp

that busies itself with the enlightenment

of guided tourists

through an inner sanctum

that gathers its own to it

like a pilgrimage of moths.

Three waves of the same reality.

Three snowflakes on a furnace.

Three voices in an ancient abyss

trying to clarify the silence.

I am not cynical enough

to condemn the lies

that humans must tell themselves

to avoid their own tears.

On this dark shoreless sea of truth

we wouldn’t be here

if someone hadn’t learned

how to make love in a lifeboat

with lies for oars and lies for stars

and lies for reasons to hope.

But even if you’re as demonically sophisticated

and aloof as a lifeline

in a palace of patrician stars

that have grown chaste

in the pursuit specific desires,

you’re still just another refugee

on the Road of Ghosts

that leads everywhere away like the smoke

that mothered the flames

of your ancestral fires.

You can still breathe

without having faith in the air,

you can still see

without making a creed of your eyes

you must believe

by shutting them off from the light

and squinting at sin

through a keyhole in the night

that keeps changing hearts

like cellphones and locks 

that won’t let you in.

Your hypocrisy is a little demon

compared to the world-destroying universe

that kills without losing its innocence.

The righteous of any religion, philosophy, ideology

can’t point at anything with a clean finger

and the first article of belief

is a confession of your own negligibility.

Boot-camp for the spirit

to derange one delusion into another

by putting another mask

like a change of heart

on its facelessness.

Better to stay clear, and free, and dark

and know without binding yourself to the fact

that you’ve never been anyone from the very start

except what you’ve invented

guided by misguided teachers

to insist upon as yourself.

Mind can’t be framed by eleven dimensions

in a hall of distinguished portraits.

Without form

without colour, taste, texture, sound,

it isn’t the beginning or end of anything,

and when it goes looking for its source

it holds a mirror up to space

to the furthest limits of its seeing

where there is no light, no face, no being,

and it must be said

if you’re convinced

you’re already dead

no not-being either.
























Assertions and refutations.

Genetic content playing

variations on a theme

of discursive enzymes

rolling dice down the mountain

to prove they’ve just squared the moon,

the random narrative of my triviality

flowing into the profundity of the sea

like a river taking on expanse and depth as I do

already at the gates of my vast approach.

The morning’s an open hand.

And the night

doesn’t close its windows to me anymore

as I pass like a solitary breath,

a whiff of smoke from a distant hill,

a thread of water vapour

woven into the arras

on the looms of the starstreams.

What is my small remark of a life

struck like an off-handed spark

of the fire in the stone that shaped me

into this marvel of wonder and agony

I keep falling on

like a sword that was forged on the moon

to be given back to the waters it lost

like a sail to the oceans of a wounded bride?

After a long life

success and failure

are just the beads

you traded away your continents for;

and place is no longer an urgent sorority

and for all that you’ve thought and felt

for all the worms you’ve turned into butterflies

and all the maggots that you couldn’t,

there is no abacus of moons to tally

the weeds from the wheat in an urn,

or the prophets from the liars

in the choirs of a furnace

that burns like the universe

in its own silent immensity

like a candle beside a coffin in a morgue.

For all that I have loved and cherished and cried for,

for all the boorish follies and noble aspirations

I have died for like an ambiguity

that could no longer live with itself

like a small bird breaking through its shell,

and the great bells that fell silent

before the unspeakable sorrows

when life washed me out of its eye,

for all that I have honoured and despised,

and all who have honoured and despised me,

and all the joy

that slipped through the fence

between yesterday and tomorrow

and stole the moment like an apple,

I still weep like a wing

before my own departure

when the waterbird takes flight

from its own reflection in the mirror

even though I know my passage

is the mountain of the unknown

walking through its own valley of death

as the stars that once guided me

grow further apart.

It’s a dark grace

and exquisite discipline

to be able to sustain the ambivalent art

of a creative nihilist

who doesn’t feel that anything is missing

who has tasted the tears that fall

from the clear jewels of awareness

like the brilliance of Venus alone in the morning

and found their shining dangerously sweet

to my unshakeable faith

in this road to nowhere

that is following me

like the eyes of an unanswered loveletter

through the darkness.

And I don’t know why it seems

that every star

every woman I look through

is a midnight window into my own house

seen like a glowing postage-stamp from afar

as everything goes down over the hill

without looking back at the way it came

like the egg of the phoenix

in the nest of the candle-flame

that illuminates the universe in all directions

like a lost Sufi,

or St. Francis of Assisi

spinning like a compass

at mystical intersections

for an answer

that wasn’t born of his questions.

But don’t wire up your fireflies

like constellations and Christmas lights

and listen for the tinkle of broken filaments

and think you must change

the way you see things

like eyes that have burned out like bulbs

in opening night marquees.

Go hang out with the galaxies awhile

and let things take their course.

You’ll start whirling like a dervish

in gusts of stars

that will gather like wise men

around the manger of your third eye

immaculately conceived

like the fire of a virgin

or life in the sea

from their own shining.

And in the dark mirror

like the blindness in the blazing

in which no one can see

their own reflection

in which all reflections are consumed

in the heat of the clear light

that engenders time and space

like the twin mothers of intelligence

and freaks the night

like lightning in the stone

with the joys and terrors of insight,

you will understand

the unfathomable compassion

and inexhaustible generosity

of the mindlessness that inconceivably

conceives of your existence

as if it were your own idea.

And slowly you will begin to remember

all the events and features of the world you are

and will ever impossibly be

are those of the dark mother

who nourished you on light

until your eyes were full

of an incomprehensible radiance

that opened the stars in your blood

like a lover alone in the night

with the myriad streams of his seeing

flowing like momentary themes

into the abyss of black beatitudes

that have amazed him into being.

And you will be at peace with yourself

like a flower reconciled to its own root.

And your suffering will sweeten

the vinegar that falls from your eyes into wine

and all that was irreplaceable and lost

will return like a cat from many miles away

and your anger will become a school

for delinquent continents

that keep sinking beneath you

like Atlantis and Mu

and there will not be a mouth

that gapes in hunger,

a disease that twists the bones

of a child that died in agony

because profits denied her a cure.

And the abandoned shall have

bread and shelter and clean water again

and the old will not be cast aside

like the smoke of an exhausted fire

that has told its story,

and the young will not be compelled

into forced labour

for a future that eats its own,

and the seven stomachs of the bankers will evolve

to graze on money alone

without skimming the ozone with methane

and again the grass will be green

and the cows and the sheep and the bull-vaulters

jump over the moon.

And you who thought you were the pilgrim

as your aspiration approaches its shrine

will know that all along

every step of the effortless way 

you were always the open gate

through which everyone poured like wheat

into the native soil

of their own hands.