CRAWLING THROUGH KELFORD’S JUNKYARD
for Rebekah Cider
Crawling through Kelford’s junkyard
cursing my fucking life
looking for a cooling fan relay switch
to keep my car from overheating.
I long to be standing on a Japanese footbridge
over a quiet stream somewhere
watching how the water
bends at the waist to greet
the moss-covered rocks
as the soft overcomes the hard
And what a treat it would be
just to lie down alone again at night
in the long dry grass of the wild summer fields
up around Westport
and be renewed by the wonder
that is imparted to me by the stars.
There’s more to being a human
than looking for parts for cars
that are harder to find
than a compatible donor
with a healthy organ
to do a heart transplant on a dinosaur.
I’m shucking the hoods of cars like oysters
trying to find a black pearl.
I’m opening their mouths like a Nazi dentist
looking for a gold tooth.
I’m a grave-robber plundering a corpse
for body parts
like Leonardo da Vinci
because I’m poor
because I dedicated my life
to my heart and imagination
to gratitude wonder and compassion
as was the fashion when I was young
for fifteen minutes on the West Coast in the sixties.
And something’s kept me true to the meaning
of a word I just made up back then
and never gave away
like the secret name of God
and because of that
I’m now snakier than Schopenhauer in a black mood
when he set his will against his own idea
like his jaw against his mother
or a man crawling through a junkyard
thumbing the grease off fuses
like quick-pick lottery tickets that won’t fit
and didn’t win.
My knuckles anointed in blood and oil
like brutal kings in the dark ages of man
coronated like Clovis at Rouen
I shake them against the gods like mountains
for leading me here to dig up the dead
and rob them of small change
to ensure my passage back to Pizza Hut
so I can spend the day in traffic delivering pizzas
without wondering if the car’s going to turn into
Mt. Saint Helen’s or a demonic exorcism
stuck in a cult of trucks on Drummond.
I picture waterlilies on a grailquest to the stars
as I step like a rogue planet
over the dead orbits of the threadbare tires
lying like the fossils
of empty life-preservers in the mud.
If I were rich
even if I just had a modest sufficiency
I could walk right into Canadian Tire
and buy the fucking part outright
like a real man
instead of enduring myself
crawling through a junkyard
like the punchline of some kind of joke I didn’t get
sixty-one years ago.
It may have been a mistake of the sixties
to liberate sex before work
but it’s still not too late
to liberate the lady at the stake
not only in bed
but from the slave-trade of the Puritans
who came here like refugee Nazis
full of imported hate
to lock us in the stocks of oxen jobs.
By God if she still exists anywhere
out there among the exiles outlaws and heretics
heads are going to roll
for the peace-crimes of the cultural memes
that have turned the human soul
from a labour of passion
into a nightshift of clones and trolls
working overtime on a toll-bridge into Jerusalem.
We’re all born into the light like mystic winners
but the profit margins of hell
compel us to live like sunspots and sinners.
And I can remember when
I was the golden boy
of whom great things were expected
by all the right people
for all the wrong reasons
and all I had to do
was rat on my own eyes
for seeing the things they kept hid
from a poor kid
if I wanted to improve my address
and make my threshold a rung on their ladder.
I didn’t fall from paradise.
I wasn’t pushed.
I didn’t stumble.
I didn’t commit suicide.
I jumped toward earth
like the kissing-stone of the Kaaba.
An alchemical meteorite of anti-matter
I threw my philosopher’s stone
through their projection of me in the mirror
and quickly turned all that gold
back into this base metal lead
and then walked away
from the periodic table altogether
to be true to my own elemental nature
even if that meant belonging to another universe.
I came to understand that existence is a mixed drink
two worlds in creative collusion
like galaxies pouring into a blackhole
and that the dark energy dark matter dark flow
in a five to one ratio
was mingled in my blood
like stars and ink and wine
that bloomed in my mind
like an eclipse of the black sun at midnight
crossing the nadir of enlightenment
like an unmapped constellation with eyes of its own
that couldn’t see where I was going.
I wasn’t the knower.
I was the knowing.
I wasn’t the flower
I was the flowing
of one branch into another
of one mindstream into another
like the arboreal reachs of the rivers of earth
all from the same drop of water that gave them birth
all from the same fractal of sand
that replicated death like a pyramid
in the image of what it was made of.
I came to understand
that there was nothing to be afraid of
because everything in existence and out
and that’s the one sublime insubstantial dynamic
that makes me a human
making myself up as I go along
without beginning or end
not the singer
not the song
but singing just the same.
I was that extremity of chaos
that shows up like a stranger
in the conditioned consciousness
of an intimate candleflame
you can’t get off your brain
like a moth or a thought
or an unknown bird in a black walnut tree
saying its name out loud to the stars
summoning its own echoes back
to their original voice
like music out of its own solitude.
Even here in the cemetery silence
of Kelford’s junkyard on a Sunday
where the trout lilies are blooming
through the windows of cardoors
that have been shed like petals and scales
and there’s a large black dog
rolling in blue flowers
growing in the shade of a rusty tractor
and my life seems no more
than bad advice
in a mad capitalist enterprise run amok
like a carcinogenic beserker
through the front lines
of an outmoded immunity.
where the buffalo are still slaughtered
for rubber and iron
as the conventional weapons of my anger
grow into the nuclear rage
of an age looking for regeneration
like me for a relay switch in Kelford’s junkyard
out of the seeds of its own destruction.
Even here among the plundered cadavers
of these disemboweled vehicles
whose journeys ended like organ donors
who took asylum in a morgue
like the cattle of the sun
in a mythic midnight abbatoir.
Even here despising my life
as I do for the moment
like a sign of the times
that makes heretics out of humans
and binds diamonds to a life of coal
I can feel life emerging in me creatively
like something out of nothing
that is always full
even when the bright vacancy
of a sentient lucidity
is blinded by its own dark abundance
like a star eclipsed by the sun
as if God were trying to hide from herself
to look for herself in fun
by putting her hands up to her eyes
and counting to forever and forever and forever.
the urgency crisis emergency or catastrophe
I’m trying to run from like my own shadow
to evade some apocalypse
like rad fluid throwing up like a drunk
all over the overheated radiator of a seized engine
I won’t be riding away like a cowboy into the sunset
or the pizza delivery dude at Pizza Hut
because I can’t find the missing link
in the genetic code of the microchip
in a relay switch
that’s going to make my fan turn
like a beached starfish
or a dead sunflower
that’s run out of light to follow
like the law of the golden square
into a free-wheeling galaxy
that’s going to keep
the black holes
in my cracked engine block
cool for very long.
Even here now just as wretched as I am
I can still feel the wind
jinxing the pinwheel
of a life I sometimes curse
turning me around
like a synchronous happening
in a charged particle field
unpredictably reversing my spin
as I breathe myself out and in
upon the waters of the abyss
that’s always threatening
to drown me in a vast impersonal space
for making waves in a universe
that has transformatively come to think and feel
its long dark strange radiant way
into people like us
living dangerously on the brink of the world
as if the only threshold we’ve ever known
were the one false step
on the edge of this heady precipice
we call home.