LIGHTING IT UP AND BLOWING IT OUT
Lighting it up and blowing it out
I try to make my way through the dark
by beginning at the end
as if the coming and the going
were the same door
or good-bye were the first thing
you would say to a friend.
I approach things like a night stream
as if my death were already achieved
and behind me.
And all the atoms of my being
dancing like frenzied gnats
in the sunset glow of a last eye-beam
are certifiably primordial
and any one of them
when they lose it in the light
could begin a world.
And what can you say more of a life
that dreams of what it is
than it’s the taste of the same wine
in many different cups?
And as any fox knows
the grape is always sweetest
when you can taste it with your eyes.
Though why foxes eat grapes is anyone’s guess
but life makes itself up as it goes
like music in a fish’s earlobes.
It feathers its themes in fire and light
and goes up in smoke
like the ghost of a tree
looking for habitable planets among the stars.
New wounds with innocent root-room for old scars.
Chalking the cue to bank the long shot
you’re trying to spin off into
the deep, dark pockets
of your game-winning afterlife.
And I don’t believe in much anymore
though that hasn’t stopped me from crying
like a slow window trying to keep
the stars from leaking out of me
as if there were a black hole
somewhere in my heart
waiting for an iris to make it an eye
whose seeing might be a new way of healing
what can’t be healed.
Once here. Here forever.
But whether we’re the eternal children of forever
or just another breath on the night air
that doesn’t even know we live,
even death is just another way of killing time here.
When everywhere’s the center of everything else,
the centre holds,
things don’t fall apart.
And that’s the mystic art
of knowing how to make the most out of existence
by offering no resistance
to the rocks in your own mindstream
that part the waters like the thoughts
of an exile in the promised land
who can’t go back the way she came.
The river can’t step into the same you twice.
And in every direction
your eyes have ever burned like stars
you can see the dark jewel of your own life
from the inside
before it breaks into light.
Sometimes I’m the lonely sign
on the only path to nowhere
and others I’m positively amniotic
with the schools of my blue lucidity
the albino dolphins of the moon leap through
without a chance of changing their colour.
A flower of prophetic blood bleaches my skull.
I swallow the snakefire of my last eclipse
like a lump of coal
I’m trying to turn into a diamond
that doesn’t burn
and never sloughs its skin.
Reality isn’t a religion or a science,
or the back and front of a mirror
that doesn’t know whose eyes its looking through.
Religion: how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
Science: how many pins can dance on the head of an angel?
Totem poles on a telephone booth where no one ever picks up.
Voodoo dolls that hex the cause of their effects.
The apple bloom on the tree of knowledge
lets go of its flightless wings
and follows the wind
like the eyelids of unfeathered angels
who opened their eyes like flawless fruit
as they fell toward paradise
without a parachute of smokey virtue
or the scale of a snake for a vice.
Emergence into the open
like a hidden secret revealed
is the engine of evolution
that empowers the dark matter
of this incorporeal starmud
to arise like the high note of a bird
that’s flown beyond the night in its voice
like light beyond its myth of origin.
And the peduncle is lost in the ensuing phylum
as a madman is lost in the scream
that woke up the asylum,
or a god is lost in his own creation.
And the mountains listen
to the holy voices
in the valleys of their shadows
they deepen as they arise
like the guests of an echoless calling
to greet the unknown host.
It’s what the moon feels
when she fondles her locket of water
and memories pull at her heartstrings
like tides on earth
and music is the way she recalls
the sirens that used to sing
like the brides of empty lifeboats
that prayed like smashed guitars
for the night to sow the seedless sea with stars.
And in every fish that swims through fire
like the sacred response of life
to the longing in its own desire
she knows they got their wish.
Fireflies in the ashes of the phoenix tree.
And the eggs of cosmic words
like serpents in a bird’s nest
learning to fly like dragons
that have just swallowed the moon.
And it’s one thing to pull the sword from the stone
but it’s a greater power than magic and proof
with no urge to rule
that summons the butterfly from its cocoon
by giving the fool who inches toward the truth
along the green branch toward the apple-bloom
that already tastes like the forbidden fruit
of some radical insight
the whole orchard in a pair of wings
and more than enough night and light on its palette
to start a revolution in seeing among the flowers
who still labour in the chains of their roots
to turn their earthbound lucidities into stars
who might look back for a change
with eyes that have gathered like water out of the shining
and taste the light in the honey
that kissed their eyelids into gold
long before the night was old
and it wasn’t enough just to see them.
When you opened your eyes
in the burning clarity of your lone vision
before this matrix of space and time
gave birth to the world
you were free to be whatever you could see.
That’s when the light first spoke to you
in the mother-tongue of your seeing
and your voice broke
like a secret name in the mirror
that didn’t know who you were
and the moon on nightwater
the thief at the window
your breath like stars on the cold, night air
summoned the whole of being
in every particulate shard
and radiant plinth of the mirror
to drive your shining into the shadows
so myriad things can appear as they are.
Many eyes open. Night. An eclipse. One star.
And the darkness an anti-romantic
in love with the moon from afar.