Sunday, January 31, 2010




The quiet madness on the other side of despair.

The sad pride of one who knows it’s useless to care

but still lets compassion trivialize his attention.

Even if you knew what human beings are doing

walking around on earth

that doesn’t mean the truth would exalt you.

There’s always a danger of losing your eyes

when you go looking for origins.

Go ask Tiresias.

The blessings and the curses are copulating snakes.

To see the furthest extremes of your nakedness

you must go the last part of the way blind as a prophecy

that has no intention of coming true.

You must enter the abyss

like a threshold without a doorway.

Washing your eyes clean of everything they’ve seen

is like trying to sweep mirages out of a desert.

Illusions don’t leave watermarks on the sphinx.

Nothing adheres to the seeing

like a sticky view of what appears to be passing.

You’re looking through one eye into a vast room

on the other side of the keyholes of your thoughts

hoping to see something that might unlock the door

when all along you’ve been kneeling before it

like a key in adoration.

Ask all these constellations above your head

ask all these chandeliers of dancing water

how it fucks the palace up

whenever you pauperize yourself

and go begging for chump change from the servants.

It’s disobedience in a heretic to stay within bounds.

Dumber than a muse with writer’s block

you cut a curl like a flame of hair from your fire

and lay it in a locket of ice

like the tiny coffin of all you once cherished

that perished like planets in the blaze of your shining.

And, yes, you can blow your eyes out like candles

but no one’s going to know about it

for at least a thousand years back on earth

because it takes that long for your light to get here

that’s how far you are into the night,

that’s how thick the window is between you

and the last time you’ve seen us

going down like Venus after the sun

only to come up again like Lucifer before it.

I know a madness that would put your sanity to shame.

I know a freedom that I don’t drag behind me in chains.

I know how love dies from death to death

as if it were still breathing in the reeds of the mindstream

like a goldfish in the undercover waters of the moon

when its eyes are in full eclipse.

I have watched the unborn take their first breath

like the unlikeliest of flowers to have found their way here

and I have sat in a circle of prophetic skulls

and said nothing that wasn’t the wonder of fools

who didn’t recognize their own voices in the echo.

I know of edges so sharp

they’re still waiting for swords

that must be folded like space to hold them.

And I know the bluntness of murderously compassionate guillotines

coming down on the nape of my neck

like the square of the hypoteneuse

of a wrong-angled triangle

with more than a hundred and eighty degrees.

I know how the murderers defend my liberties.

I have seen enough of myself and others in the world

to grieve for the dirt we will be buried in

and I have collapsed to my knees

on the long roads of the loneliest of my friendless sorrows

and forgiven all my tardy tomorrows

for not meeting me halfway today.

How many times have I slumped down this world mountain

like an avalanche with the corpse on my back

of someone sent to rescue me from myself?

I’ve canned enough stars and fireflies

to make it through the long dark winter ahead alone.

I’ll be warm enough before my own fires

reliving the ghosts of my unsanctioned desires

and the moon will still glow like the promise of gold

in the unmarrowed ore of the bone I’m gnawing on.

And I will not let the futility of my life make me lazy.

I will not dishonour this feast of earthly delights

by cringing like a dog under the table

snatching at scraps

and snarling like an ungrateful guest

when I know like a rat in a mystic silo

no one’s above or below or under the salt

anymore than the stars rise up and sit down in the same place

or the eyes that look at them

look at them with the same eyes in the same face twice.

Late at night I won’t listen to the wind

scratching at my windows like bad advice I won’t let in.

And if I’ve taught a few angels along the way

to look more deeply into sin than their eyes have ever been

it was the last mercy of a forbidden darkness

that taught them to mean what they mean by themselves.

Snow White thawed right there in front of all her elves

like a candle in the ice palaces of her desperate perfection.

And if I have done good

it has always been as a demon condemned to do good

in a surrealistic kind of afterlife

no one’s ever lived their way through before

without running their blood like blackwater

through the underground rivers and lifelines of their disinherited descendents

like a backdoor for the tradesmen of  paradise.

And I will not let the slightest itch of the righteous

pervert my passion

for burning so ferociously in my own fires

I am purified for life after life after life

by the kind of clarity that condemns the saved.

I want to set a fine example

of what the human species has to aspire to

as soon as I come down from the trees.

I have met all the blackholes of my goals in life

like a firefly in the mouth of a dragon of space

that went out like the last lighthouse at landsend

candling its light over a body in an allnight morgue.

And I know how hard and long and single-mindedly

you must lie to yourself to keep moving on

to be all that you can be

to the blind star-nosed moles

burrowing through your celebrity

like magi and maggots grubbing for the body parts

of spent messiahs as long extinct

as the elephant in the room.

And even after everything fits

like a swan clearing its throat under the sink

and everything’s flowing again

like a dervish of words down the drain

of another unsatisfied black hole,

I’ve still thought of my failure to bloom

like a newsflash from an undiscovered star 

as a more graceful exit

through the emergency doors of doom

than those who panic like musical chairs to take their seats

in the vast theatre of things that rarely matter.

Now there’s another Lincoln you can stick like a feather

in the stovepipe of the Mad Hatter

trying to get out like a bird

proclaiming the unique rightness of his anguished freedom

to a confederacy of the absurd

that listens to everything he has to say

like the sheet music for Old Swanny

in the ashes of a choir on horseback

riding like a posse to the rescue

of everything they’ve ever understood is worth killing for

to keep their white face from being stained

by the blackface of their purer part

that sings like Al Jolsen in the spotlight of an eclipse to his mother

who isn’t in the audience.

He calls to the mountain to ask his people to let him go

hoping the fleetness of his voice is an absolute of light

that can outpace the relativity of its own echo

looking for answers in the valley below

like the dejected polls of early election returns.

It’s one of the more amusing of the persistent anomalies

that constitute the patently absurd way

a human learns

that my questions have always been

worthier of being heard

than anything I’ve ever answered

about why I keep on setting the bird free

like the last of all the things

I ever expected to go south on me

like the wings of a fruitless tree.

Uprooted by a lightning strike

from a fulminating squall of hell

that welded the crack in my liberty bell

a scar stronger than the original wound I suffered

like a rose on the thorn of the bull

the moon sent like a meaning she meant to gore me

when I waved myself in front of her like an eclipse

trying to get her not to ignore me

like a court-jester jousting in the shadows of the midnight sun

with his own lunacy,

I still find it the greater pain to lose

what can’t be attained

than I do to lose what I have.

And what is this cosmic storm of emotion

that I sometimes think I am

when I’m lonely enough to look for a sign of myself

in the ashes of the forest-fire

that renewed my sacred groves

by killing them back into life

at the slash of a lightning insight

but a small commotion of thought-waves

I live like a teapot of the local weather 

rising and falling on a vast ocean of awareness

you can’t pour into any cup

without it overflowing

the mind that would drink it all up in a single gulp

just to get back to the homier illusion

of being an island paradise

in a lunar sea of sidereal quicksand

like a medium I understand

only the mad are monkey enough to master

how to stand up in like a human

looking at all those stars eye to eye

light into light

darkness into darkness

proud of his work

and exalted by what it was defeated by.










































Thursday, January 28, 2010




This early in the morning.

First night in a foreign country

if it were not for the stars.

The premature stars of spring.

Slow crocuses under the snow.

The darkness fits me

like the skin of Orion

grown intimate and old.

I have come this far

through everything

like a night stream

under the cover of its own ice

but I don’t know for whom?

My solitude has made me simple

and this many lighthouses from home

there are fewer and fewer people

who know how to let go of my hand.

Have you ever seen anything more beautiful

than the Pleiades through the veil of a willow tree?

Moments on earth too brief for history

and too clear to be soiled by time

as if the present had found a way of lasting.

Moments of thoughtless illumination so beautiful

the entire contents of uncountable lifetimes

still wouldn’t fill a single hearse

in that deathless abyss

where everything seeks its name

in the plenum-void of the same voice

like the universe on its own

that first night in its own space its own light

when it knew by its own sufficiency

there was no need to go looking for a first cause.

In the beauty of that original insight

that clarified its being by opening

all its eyes at once in a flash of seeing so bright

there were no laws

to govern the missing links

in the chains of being

who walk alone through the night like lonely mirrors

true to their deficiencies

without disturbing the stars.

And look

here comes the moon

like a desolate loveletter someone forgot to write

before their emotions turned into these faceless windows

gaping back at the night

like glass wells

that don’t know how to answer

seeing into the depths of their own being

without expiring

like stars and fireflies

on the pyres of the picture-frames

that once housed their eyes

in a face they didn’t recognize 

until the darkness called out to the darkness

and they woke up to the voice in the dream

that gave them their names

like the infinite themes of the moon

talking its way like light

into the cosmic afterlife

of a spiritual mindstream

that follows its own flowing

without being guided by the tiny gods

who lay their myths down

like starmaps and leaves and cards in winter.

Or a man wandering alone through the night

without a door or a destination

trying to seize the tail of what’s gone

like a serpent of water

tasting ancient starlight

in the mouth of its going.

The shadow of a black crow’s feather

on moonlit ice.

There’s nothing momentary about now.

The present neither exists nor doesn’t exist.

There is no living or dying in it.

Time knows its own like mingled waters.

A corpse rocks a baby to sleep like a future memory

knowing it’s eternal.

New moon in the arms of the old.

The future lying down with the past

without the sword of the present between them

like the arm of an amputee clock directing traffic.

The past copulates with the future

to give birth to the illusion of now.

They both slough their skins and disappear

through the hands of time as thick as grass.

The past raises its voice in the future of our mouths

and when we speak

even to ourselves

and when we think

even for ourselves

and when we feel

even if we’re dead to one another,

everything we speak and think and feel is prophecy.

Death bidding the baby farewell

like a bell in the treetops

as if its next breath were already behind it

and its death achieved the moment it was conceived

and even to think of yourself as having been born once

were a redundancy of duelling Janus-faced mirrors

that went on forever without ever turning around

like the first month of the last light-year

that didn’t look both ways to see what was coming.

The world ends in 2012?

The planet drops from the bough?

I’m still sitting here waiting for the Big Bang

like a kid on the shoulders of the world

wide-eyed with apocalyptic views

anticipating fireworks

out over the waters of the newborn stars.

I haven’t followed my blood this far like a lifeline

back to a wound that hasn’t been inflicted yet.

And I’m not trying to save my cake by eating it.

Time is food.

Time is a food that eats us

like a cow eats grass

and we eat time

and the grass eats the cow

and the sea is furrowed by the plough of the moon.

Even if I were to walk forever down these long empty streets

out into the starfields at the edge of town

and broke the code of the Rosetta stones

that lie undeciphered in the local cemeteries

like the ostrakons of a dead language that’s gone into exile,

and even if the mesmeric scintillance of the stars over my head

is a summons to the ghosts of tomorrow

to this seance of the moment I’m holding now

to remind them they are not dead,

I’m still standing in the doorway

of a present as old and wide as space

like a threshold on the verge of taking its first step

back to the beginning

in the direction of my face

turned slightly toward the shining

that follows the past

like the unmapped path

of all things east.
























Tuesday, January 26, 2010



for Hana-Lyn Churchill


Who I am has a lifespan

no longer than who I was

or who I will be tomorrow.

How many fireflies is it

from here to the stars?

There is no birth or death in the moment

and the Big Bang hasn’t happened yet.

Now is present.

Now is future.

Now is past.

The truest way to ask a question

and expect a serious answer

is to make sure no one is listening

on either side of the silence.

Nothing is Now.

Nothing is Here.

Who needs to disappear?

We’re all just rivers with no banks

losing track of our flowing.

Our knowing is just the spontaneous flowering of events,

wine in the rootless vines of desert tents

looking up at the stars

as if we knew what we were looking at.

The vision is always changing.

God never paints the same sunset twice.

So why cling to your thoughts like personal possessions

as if they were cobwebs in the corners of empty picture-frames

signing the absence with your names?

And don’t tell me everything happens for a reason

when it’s as clear as a painted ceiling

everything happens for a feeling.   

Outside my window

Orion rising through the trees

with Sirius gnashing its colours

like the fangs of glass rainbows

smashing at his heels like chandeliers

and the vast oceanic presence of the night

under every leaf and shadow of awareness

when the darkness reflects on itself

and the light kneels before its own intelligence

as the great blood seal of the secret message in the human heart

breaks through the emblems and symbols

it stamped on space like embryos of wax

and releases the stars and the nightbirds into the air

like the profound acts of an unbounded madness

grounded in the facts of why we’re here.























Monday, January 25, 2010




Not wanting to squeeze a Taj Mahal

or Notre Dame of gratitude

out of every nugget of dirt

she used to create humans,

not expecting masterpieces in return,

God opened her hand

like the secret sign of power

and completely disappeared.

She left no traces of the waterbirds

that flew from her mouth like words.

There are no ashes you can stir or divine

to call back the original fire of creation

she disappeared into as if it were herself

she were hiding from and not us,

no koan you can break

like the skull of a meaningless fortune-cookie

to scoop out its brains and eat its thoughts

hoping at last to overstand

what can’t be understood.

Down as many shotglass grails as you like

until your’re stone cold drunk

in the dangerous doorways

of all those ailing kingdoms

you’re dying to restore to the derelicts,

wait by as many tight-lipped gates as long as you like

proliferating the perennials of your faith

like Shasta daisies,

or pole-dance like a snake turned stripper

on the axis of the the turning world

for the liars and the crazies

pleading with God to take it all off,

you’re still alone on your own in a big space.

You’re still trying to prefigure your likeness

out of the elemental ignorance

and look into the evolution of your eyes

as if the mirror came first

and who’s been wearing your face

and is it blessed, or is it cursed?

Eyes. Light. Being. Action.

What’s wrong with your seeing

that you still don’t know whose movie it is?

Deep inside where the writing on the wall

isn’t a placard at a protest,

you’re afraid of your own creative freedom

and you call it an abyss

where nothing exists

because you don’t know how

to ride your own dragon of creative fire

through a sky such as this

waiting like children without names for the stars.

You’re afraid of a gift without a giver.

You think the whole of the universe is a Trojan Horse

and you don’t know whether it’s broken or not

but you’re still looking for a saddle and spurs

to go riding down by the river

where the moon breaks her mirrors on the mindstream

to let perfection take its place without her.

You’re riding your own eye-beam through space

like the frequency of a flying carpet through a dream

you’re afraid you might not wake up from.

Born of the shining,

born of a gust of stars that settled on the stairs

of a palace of light

like snowflakes on a furnace full of prophetic fireflies,

like chandeliers of rain that have flowed like jewels

from everything that’s ever had eyes

and wept at what they saw

when God disappeared into us

like the knower into the knowing

so that the flowers could meet the stars face to face,

why do you stable your dragons

in the ashes of a spent grace

like comets you’re afraid might come loose

like the roots of a wisdom tooth

from that blind halo that keeps circling the sun

like a vulture over carrion

you wear like the crown of it all?

Nothing could be easier than enlightenment

when all you have to do is fall.

And it has been well said

that the mind is an artist

able to paint the worlds

we must live in on our own

as if we were the only ones home

in our homelessness

when we discover

God doesn’t have a return address.

God’s nakedness is the creative solitude

of the human that answers

the inscrutable smile on her face

by painting her in the nude

posing as the universe.

And she can sit that way for aeons and hours

without moving an eyelash

as you try to catch the accent of the light

of the worlds falling over her shoulders

in a turmoil of galactic curls.

Empowered like a star

that rises from the pyres of her beauty

the dark lady lets the moon

fall from her hands like a knife

and even her ashes shine

like the marrow of the new life

that glows like gold

in the darkness of her mystic ores.

The fires of inspiration ache to possess her

in an agony of first drafts

written by the wind on the flames.

And then you hear her clear voice

filling her absence with birds

in the forbidden groves of her names.

And what does she say

through the keyholes

of the thousand and one doors

you’ve kept locked on the inside

afraid of the shadows and loveletters

moving around in the hall

when you’ve achieved her likeness

by disappearing into the work with her?

I am the secret treasure

you’ve been hiding yourself from

behind all these useless doors.

Stop saying mine and everything’s yours.