IT’S ALL JUST A GOOD GUESS ANYWAY
It’s all just a good guess anyway.
It’s just the story you’re telling yourself,
the tune you’re whistling nervously
walking down a long dark road alone at night in the country
why you’re out here so late on your own
is truly the only direction you’ve ever had for going.
I’ve been milking the fangs of the world
looking for an anti-snake serum
like a mystical elixir of light
to counteract the poisons that freak my blood.
Even way out here where the stars are intimate and strange
I can still feel the thorn of the moon in my voice
like a bullet that can’t be removed
and the wound of the rose that became my heart
after she finally pulled the trigger.
And it’s hard to say after so many excruciations
whether I’ve been flawed by a perfect world
or the crack runs through me like a fault line
that’s about to slip on the stairs
but there’s still something
generously stupid and good about me
that can’t help feeling grateful just for being alive.
And even if the gods who were all ears
are now just the abyss
of a universal hiss that doesn’t listen
or this emptiness within myself
I’m trying not to smudge with my existence
I leave my flowers at the door anyway
whether they’re junkmail on the thresholds of space
or the small acts of an ambiguous grace.
Sometimes my third eye looks at things like a lizard.
I feel the cold.
I can stare impersonally upon the death of generations
like one of the helpless stars
or a diamond indifferent to what it reflects.
I can look the worst horrors in the eye without wincing,
I can stare down the Medusa like a mirror
without turning to stone,
I can bask in Chernobyls of spiritual radiation
and feel the marrow that burns in my bones
like the homing coals of an old fire
I overcame a long time ago like a fever
rise like a phoenix feathered in flame from my blood
and the absolute zero of my feelings
won’t budge by one degree.
I can watch the evening news
and drive stakes through the eye of the Cyclops
like the burnt-out opinions of my relative humanist overviews
then tie myself like everyman
to the belly of a sheep to make my escape.
And I can evaporate like an extinct species
from the dry ice of a dream
and wander off anywhere among one hundred and eleven dimensions
without coming back
or taking the planet along like a backpack.
But I can’t tell you how many victims it’s going to take
to define the word atrocity
or if creation abhors its aftermath.
I screamed murder when I saw murder being done
but now my voice is hoarse
and scaled like a snake’s is to the sad music
of all the things I should have done and didn’t.
I can hear the winter tongues of the brittle leaves laughing at me
but it doesn’t matter much anymore
that the last laugh has bashed its forehead against the door
on the way out of earshot like a farce that wasn’t funny.
You might be as smart as vinegar
and I might be as dumb as honey
but if I don’t edge my futility with spite
or flintknap my brain into Clovis points
and it’s all as absurd as you suggest
and I won’t deny
knowing that might be as true as any other lie
then it’s just as absurd to turn off the lights
as it is to turn them on.
So I’m grateful to everything
in this vast wheeling space of like-minded mirrors
in the forms of flowers and stars
and though it’s easier for the demons than the angels
to get their hearts around
sometimes even the hells
even the horrors
and all those people and things
and those tumescent teethmarks on the knuckles of events
I never learned to love long enough or well.
There’s a quality of failure that can make it tragic
if the aspiration’s deep enough,
but here in these leafless groves
where the Druids still tend their fires
in the ashes of their magic,
imagination empowers the disaster of creation
with the freedom and inspiration
to play with the lightning and fireflies alike
as passionate companions who shadow us
like the dragons and the sparrows
who are always taking flight
with eyes as shy as smoke
like loveletters written to the stars
as if the stars could read them.