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.