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.