Thursday, November 5, 2009




Who taught you to abhor the savage

within you

as if you were

an intolerant missionary to yourself?

Or walk into the room

and sit down 

like a civilization that can’t compose itself?

And what strange habits you have for eyes

like ominous seabirds off the coast

of the continent with nowhere to perch

you’ve just discovered about yourself

that doesn’t bear your name.

And o come on now

isn’t it the most grievously wounded

who cry out the loudest

in their delirium of pain

and shake their wills

like steel at the ruthless heavens

though all they’ve ever really done is heal?

And why slash out in your anger like the moon at everyone

when you should know by now better than anyone

that whenever you do

it’s the sword that bleeds to death?

And you say you’ve tried to live decently

in an indecent world

but it’s a shame

you’ve never walked barefoot anywhere

without your morals in your hand like shoes.

That’s just the mud and water of it

between your fingers and your toes

but I’ve never joined a Buddha

eating flowers for lunch

who would have it any other way.

Or as Solomon said to so and so,

on his way to the temple

to set an example,

half a baby isn’t the same as a whole bunch.

And then broke down in tears.

We all have our fears and illusions

and isn’t so much suffering in the world

generated by the fact

we cherish our misery

like self-inflicted voodoo dolls

we won’t let go of

because nothing else

looks like us into the void

and sees nothing that looks like us looking back?

But what a surprise to be here at all

stepping in and out

of these coffins and lifeboats

paired like shoes under our beds

where they gape

like mouths before the open sea

that has washed them ashore

like dust out of its one good eye

we just flew into

like birds against a windowpane.

And even more of a wonder

is the day you discover

you can taste the full harvest

in every crumb of a dream

and even in the lamp

that’s gone out in the night

clarity is still faster than light.

Within you I swear

on all that is human

are worlds within worlds

like the spherical mirrors of the morning

hanging their eyes like jewels

in the webs of the dreamcatchers

that looked everywhere

through the spiritual lost and founds of the light

but couldn’t find us until nightfall

when we each came out like a star

above our own manger

and the darkness was sweet with gifts.

The blind don’t diminish the brightness of the mirror

when they hold themselves up to it like a shadow

and even when your eyes are open

you don’t add a feather of light to the shining

though you burn like Icarus without a starmap

by flying too near the sun

beyond the heels of your aspiration.

And even when we are crazed moths

in a straitjackets of flesh

seeking asylum in the fire,

isn’t it the Promethean nature

of every living creature

that has ever stolen from the gods

even in a state of ashes

not to be bound for long by anything

that isn’t out of reach?

It’s not the art of a petty life

to know how to long for the impossible for years

without disappointment

knowing that if appearances can be deceptive

then so must be the illusion

when anything disappears.

The important thing is not

to try to attain anything by reaching out

a finger shy of God

for things like life and love and light

as if you were a dead battery

asking the stars for a jumpstart

when one of the myriad truths of the matter is

you don’t have to work hard

to earn your own gifts

like a beggar in a palace

that doesn’t recognize her own face

looking down upon her

like her own reflection in the heavens

as if her eyes always had to go

in the same place either side of her nose

and couldn’t flow along

with the shoreless starstreams

like easy fish through space.

And if you must cry out

like an insatiable mirror for things you’ve lost

or pine at the gate of your own homelessness

like a long sad farewell

to all those things that never came

like the sea to your feet

as if every wave

were meant to fit you

like a glass slipper,

then I suggest

with only a whisper of night in my voice

to tempt the light out of hiding

that the next time you cry

like a wounded sword

that no longer divides

the empty grotto of the pain

that separates lovers 

like two halves of the same brain,

look up at the nightsky

as if you were looking into the eyes

of your own prophetic tears

and see and be more deeply

than any kind of telescope or wishing well

in every single one of them

the dark pregnant mother

of the billion chandeliers

that hang like stars above you.