Friday, January 1, 2010




I’m the painter poet pauper-prince and pizza delivery dude of Perth.

I’m the guy standing on your unshovelled winter porch

ringing your dead doorbell in the mute darkness

I share with your burnt-out lightbulb

trying to remember the last time

you lit up your numberless house

as I fumble for my cellphone

with frost-knapped fingers of stone.

This is the Younger-Dryass ice age

but you’re not in

or you’ve gone out like a constellation in a zodiac

or a species that didn’t make it

or you’re lying dead on the bathroom floor after a heart attack

or you’re still messing around with your girlfriend

as my knuckles bleed

like cast-iron doorknockers in the cold

and the wind slips down my neck like a snake

waiting for you to come to the door and receive your food.

I’m the guy who tries to leave a message in a bottle

in the lost and found of your overloaded voicemail

that I was here on time banging on the windows

like a stick on a pizza pan in a blizzard

to gratify your lust for hot cheese

with a ghost dance in the snow

before I go on to the next delivery

feeling like a shaman who’s miscarried his reincarnation as a stork.

Congratulations, it’s a pizza!

Baby in a black bag

and no chimney to keep it warm

as I walk away from your door with a child no one wants.

And I remember what Rimbaud said to me once in Ethiopia

about his advancement into simple toil

and I know it’s the man that ennobles the work

not the labour that humbles the man

but this is harder than swamping for Wal-Mart’s with Santa Claus

and a thousand times more psychologically demanding

than Freud at your door on Halloween.

You say you know that it’s not my fault

if they got your order wrong,

if the calf got turned around in the cow,

you know I’m just doing my job

trying to deliver it to you,

you don’t blame me for their idiocy

but I’m the lonely voodoo doll within reach

of the needles in your whiskey-voice

and it’s a lot more gratifying

to demonize the living than the dead

when you discover they weren’t listening

when you told them not to put garlic on your garlic bread.

There goes the tip, the kind word, the smile,

another firefly of warmth dying

at the end of a long winter mile

as I realize that’s it’s colder inside you

than it is out here

and wonder under my billowing breath

returning to the car

if the reason you’re such a sour frustrated thing

is because you told them

not to put the human in your humanity

and somehow someone messed up and did.

It’s hard not to like a man bringing you hot food on a cold night

but I’ve discovered as well that a lot of people

define themselves by their tastebuds

and the gardens of flavour that bloom on their tongues

are not the well-pruned, perfectly-tuned myths of the eye or the ear

but a darker, warmer whisper much more intimate and near

that tells them who they are

like the myth of origin in their mouths

that divines the sage, Afredo sauce,

and pale-legged caterpillar of green pepper

as the beginning of everything from hogs

to the nectar and ambrosia of their butter-fried gods.

And maybe in a way it’s a mode of evolution

to eat the wings of birds that have never known the sky

in hot sauce with bloody fingers

as if you could stuff

the impersonal secret of life

into your sentimental little heart

by eating enough eagles to fly,

and it’s one of my more refracted speculations

to wonder if Jesus and the Devil

got together in the wilderness

to open up a small pizzeria

to break loaves and fishes for the mob,

Satan keeping the ovens hot

and Jesus the obvious early morning dough cook

if the deliveries would be run

by Gabriel in feathers and light

or Mephistopheles in scales and night

or maybe Charlie Manson in the guise of Charlie Chaplin

would show up at your door

like a downy dinosaur,

a raptor with fledgling wings

that brings its horns and haloes to heel

on your doorstep

like the vipers that fell like rain

after the blizzard of bread in the desert

that offered you the choice

of infernal or celestial toppings.

Any job can be a do or enlightenment path

for those still lost enough to need to look

or anyone still literate enough to read

what isn’t in the book,

and that’s the way I approach mine

in every underwhelming detail

to give it the dignity of the mindstream it is

that has rooted itself like a river

that flows into the lifeline in the palm of my hand

so that I who could wheel in the lyrical heights

of mystic nights alone among the stars

high above the mortal muck of earth

my wingspan of fire and light

spread from dawn till dusk

across space and time

and no pain in the effortless beauty and power

of the abyss that has sustained me longer than the wind

could grow to understand

like a bird who now hops from branch to branch,

threshold to threshold

door to door

with a pizza in its beak

how surrealistically extraordinary the ordinary truly is

when no one needs to leave home to find what they seek.

I greet little old ladies like dandelions gone to seed

waiting for the wind

who come to the door frail and bent

making excuses for why they don’t want

to cook for themselves tonight

as if I were some kind of culinary confessor

as I laugh like an exorcist at their tiny demons of sin

or Gulliver at their Lilliputian transgressions

to take the hook out of their mouths

like a fly-casting demon

and throw them back in

to the small measure of their fingerling appetites

to eat what they want when they want and can

and enjoy the small jewels of the blessings

that hide under the tiny stones of their sins

without sticking troubled angels

through the good dolls of their voodoo hearts like pins.

And I’ve been cursed , threatened, humiliated, scorned

told I’m a loser, patronized by midgets,

looked upon as a criminal eclipse

of the harvest moon with a classic crust

by a lot of chump-change Napoleonic goldfish swimming in a shark bowl,

tipped like a local charity

and feared by the munchie-haunted hippies

looking down upon me from an upstairs window

like the only member of a rural swat-team

walking up the stairs of a seasonal drug-bust

with a black flak-jacket pizza bag concealing an M-16.

And the hyena crackheads on their far-out funny farms

bounded by pitbulls and impossible roads

are so so suspicious

of anyone arriving from the nether world

they offer me beer, blow, tokes

and the occasional drunk woman

to see if I’m one of them and ascertain

through the social bonding of mutual addictions

if the encounter is a meme more dangerous than delicious.

I play the clown and turn them down

with laughter and best wishes

from the burnt-out sixties

and happy to return to the country dark alone

look up at the nightsky

to make sure

no one’s railed the stars yet

and the Milky Way still runs

through Cygnus and Aquila

without being buffed by the moon.

And I’m everyone’s episodic social life,

two minutes with a hook,

the opening act of a pygmy play on Broadway,

full of sententious one-liners

and stray threads of poetry,

a humming bird of verse

and comic soap opera all in one

trying to draw a smile like nectar

out of the bitter things so many people must suffer

just to hang on to a little sweetness in life.

And it’s impossible to know what to answer

when someone tells you

in red slug-lines

as if they were a journalist coldly reporting the news,

they just got cancer.

I leave them their cinnamon buns

and chicken quesadillas

and put a finger to the lips

of all my sad human see ya’s

like a hood over a funeral bell

so the little birds can sleep through the night

without bad dreams

and return to the car

like a wound without a moon for a scar

savagely indignant before what I see of human fate

by a light that is cruelly flawed

that I’m not God.

And it’s getting late.

I’m just the pizza delivery dude of Perth

and though there’s no spiritual immunity

in my functional anonymity,

I like it when the teenagers wave

and scream out PIZZA HUT as I drive by

pretending I’m Nicholas Cage in Gone in Sixty Seconds

when I know I’m only a mutt on a clothesline

strung out between two black holes,

running back and forth

between the due south and true north

of a spacious oven and an insatiable mouth.

I’m the twenty-first century unrehearsed tradition

of the Canterbuy Tales

moving from one house to another

now the pilgrims are going nowhere

because the shrine now comes to them,

the mountain to Muhammad,

like my red Sunfire comet

driving like a maniac

in my balding all-seasons

over the black ice

that waits like a snake along the zodiac

to knock Chaucer off his mule.

The Wife of Bath still sweats like a pepper

And the Knight who is allergic to tomato sauce

is still as gullible as ever.

You hate whom you hate.

And you love whom you love.

And it’s hard some nights to remember

you should touch everyone like a warm glove

when their fingers and hearts go numb

just for the fuck of it

as if you were a drunk or a child again

sleeping on the floor of the same homely dream

even in a world where no good deed seems to go unpunished,

and the rose sheds itself like blood

long before it falls upon its thorns,

and everyone’s lying to themselves like water in a mirage,

even so, even so

as Basho said burying his dead son,

when you cry for people deep inside

for what even they may not know they’ve endured

and suffer still without a cure

so much has the pain estranged them,

even if you’re crying into an empty lifeboat like rain

and know it,

raise the full sail of your compassion

and running before the wind

like the ghost of the skull and crossbones

that once flew from your heart

make room for everyone’s face in the mirror of your own

and expand yourself like a habitable atmosphere through space

without giving a shit like water and light and air

whose face you fall upon

knowing everyone is looking at everyone else

through the same pair of eyes

as if they were theirs alone.

Or to bend the mystic light a little

with excessive excuses to Ruysbroek,

the same eye by which I see you

is the eye by which you see me

but we’re not fixed in each other’s sight

like guns and telescopes lightyears apart

or fireflies in a mason jar

trying to tell lies to the constellations

about who we are

and how far we’ve had to come like day and night

through everything and everyone we’ve ever been

just to be these little bleeps of lucidity

looking out through this darkness of ours

as if we couldn’t be seen.

And blazing may be a kind of blindness

but even the stars can’t hide in their own light for long,

the bird in the grove of its song.

And this is the pin of insight

in the heart of hell

the angels dance upon

in the arms of an unbreakable spell:

What you see and feel and hear and think and taste and touch is you

improvising the world as you go along with your own music

or a page of your own story,

all those chapters of autumn

that fall like leaves on your mindstream,

and all that sheet music you never learned to read

because everything that is is talking and walking

with what is not

down the same long road to here and now

as the constellations get turned over like cards

in a nightwatchman’s game of solitaire.

And looking at your body from the inside

as if you were immersed in starmud

like the iron in your blood

isn’t the same as becoming aware

that even the stars are illuminated by your shining.

On long deliveries late at night with no one on the road

my car turns into a muse

and things come to me like stars flashing through the trees,

the broken plinths of tiny mirrors of insight

that are washed from my eyes by blood and tears,

things so beautiful and moving

you’d think you’d fallen into a white hole

where even the snake of all this black ice before you

you’ve been riding all the way to Rideau Ferry

hoping your luck knows how to charm this flaring cobra with a flute,

suddenly sprouts wings like a dragon

and flys away

the highest and the lowest all in one

as this snow road of the Milky Way

we’ve all been following

turns into that serpent of stars

in the claws of Aquila

that angels its way into feathers.

And things so terribly human and acutely alone

even death feels like better weather

as I pass through the night unnoticed

like a storm that blew over

while everyone was sleeping

because I don’t have the heart to make things worse

and though my lightning isn’t tongue-tied

my thunder still hasn’t learned

to quote chapter and verse

to scab the wounded moon

with the violent lies

a man in a straitjacket will tell to his spirit.

What you see when all your eyes are open

like stars in all directions

and your skin turns into moonlight

and your blood glows in your heart

like a lantern in the night

that’s been all over the world mountain

looking for you only to find

yours were the eyes in the light

that were doing the looking

and what you sought and what you found

were the grails and ailing realms of your own seeing

that bloom and fall back

like stars and flowers

paintings people pizzas and poems

into the dark ground that illuminates your being spontaneously

in everything you see

like birds that drink at the night fountains

of the capacious lucidity that sustains the life of all,

buddhas and fools alike,

because the honey of light

is no less sweet in the hives of killer bees

than it is in the mouth of the holy of holies.

Just stop trying to be what you see

and realize that you already are

the star in the harp of the willow-tree

that sings to herself down by the Tay River

like the spirit of water

of everything that passes

like the snow and the stars

and the birds and the blossoms in her hair.

And you’re the dead branch that breaks into leaves

like a poker-faced queen of spades

with the universe up her sleeves

who makes good on her bet

to sucker the thieves

by leaving herself open like a window

to what everyone believes is their own.

In a world that is perfectly unperfected,

where nothing’s missing from the giving that goes on

like gift-wrapped butterflies

in cash-strapped spiderwebs,

or clever sparrows

gleaning the dead dragonflies

from the radiators of parked cars,

who needs to look up like fire at the stars

when they’re everywhere underfoot?

When you look at a star in flower


you’re the root of the shining.

You’re the darkness that breaks into stars

and arranges the myths

around their desert fires

to tell tall stories in the shadows

that shed their petals like flames.

You’re the great silence and the mother of names

that were said from a long way off

long before they were heard

here on earth among these hills like birds.

Inside me isn’t just atoms and words.

Inside you whole worlds within worlds abound

like the harvest moon in billions of drops of water.

And you’re the dark watershed

that gives to each their being and eyes

and enfolds them like space

in the untouchable skin of your infinite skies.

All those straw effigies of self

that went up in smoke and flames like wet hay

and you still haven’t scared

a single phoenix of life away

who comes like a fire-god looking for fire

to enthrone you like enlightenment

in a fool’s palace of gratified desire

where your flesh and your spirit

are neither one nor two

not one the light and the other

a shadow in the night,

but the unwitnessed clarity of a passionate intelligence

that delights in being you

whenever it feels that way.

You can only be what you see momentarily

because the seeing is creatively free.

But yours is the life of meaning

and yours is the mysterious fountain-mouth

of all the meanings of life

that come and go like words

that leave no trace upon the waters

like waterbirds upon the flowing.

All the myriad aberrant ways of going,

all the straight paths with their snakey curves,

and you’re still the only way to walk them all.

The wind sets and corrects the sail on its own.

Ask any star where you are

and it will answer from within

we’re here where we have always been.

There’s a seer. There’s a seen.

There’s a knower and a known.

There a dancer and a dance.

A cosmos. And the chaos that gave it a chance.

But you cannot separate one from the other

anymore than you can separate

the reflection of the moon

from the water it glows upon.

Because there are not waves enough

to overthrow the ocean of your knowing.

Nor stars enough to exhaust the light of your seeing.

And you might feel like the leftover stuffed crust of a pizza

harder than bone in the box,

or the ostrakon that cast the old asteroids out

as I hand you a new solar system

with pepperoni planets and sleazy comets of cheese,

but you’re not just another pebble

life’s stopped to empty

from a worn-out shoe

by the side of the road.

Mr. Wong drinks in Tokyo.

Mr. Wang gets drunk in Seoul.

Or to say it in cowboy Zen

if you weren’t hungry I wouldn’t eat.

And though I may be a mystic Neanderthal

that’s given up meat to live on light,

dragging my knuckles up your driveway at night through the snow,

I’ve answered enough appetites to know

if you are what you eat

then everything else you see must be

what eats you.

Grazing grazers and grass

or a meatlovers pizza in barbecue sauce

like a surrealistic rendition of a traditional barnyard

seen from above by a hungry flying saucer,

we’re all flowering mouths on the vine of the same appetite

waiting for a delivery from the hive

and for all the insights into the souls of the pilgrims

whose stories we listen to along the way

as I do bringing you these plastic mangers of fettucine

and as everyone of you is my biography

and all of us is to each

all the tales are inextricably about Chaucer.

Many petals open and close like eyelids and doors

and there’s no end to the genius of flowers

here on earth where things are homey and round

or in the wild pathless starfields beyond

the last known address that held you like a cup

before you drank everything up

and returned like water to your homelessness.

But everytime you open the door to your living room

whether you’re a nasty candy-assed wannabee

or the whole orchard of apple-piety in bloom,

as common in your humanity as a broom

or as rare as a ruby of blood

from the stigmata crucified stones,

beautiful, bright, old or young,

dumb, mad, broken, bad, or wiser than gold,

cheaper than a church with your cash

or as generous as an all-night casino,

mother, father, rapper, junkie, child or wino

I greet who I am in everyone of you

who summons me out of the night

like some geni from a lamp

or thrice-blessed Hermes of the spirit

or some affable familiar of food

who shows up like a moth to the light

out of the darkness of this vast solitude

that binds us by our appetites

to this tiny crumb of mother earth

that empties one bag to fill another

like the pizza delivery dude of Perth.






















mystic Neanderthal


































I like passing through the night unnoticed.








you see your own being

and the seeing is creatively free.




the seeing is creatively free.

as if we couldn’t be seen breathing out stars.
















It’s precisely these absurd gestures of empathy

released like oxygen from the rocks