Wednesday, February 17, 2010




for Layla Proulx


Things I must say to you the crystal said.

Jewels I must turn in the light.

Things I have gathered

like wild herbs from the starfields

to make a cool poultice of the moon

to draw the pain out of the wound

like a child that got turned around

when she was born

on the nightside of her blue eyes

to colour outside the lines of her constellation

like one of the original watersheds of Aquarius

that didn’t take to the bottle and spoon of lesser wells

that warily sip from themselves

as if they were testing for poison,

but poured herself out

in an elation of so many lifelines

so many rivers vital with beginnings

the world mountain discovered her

like gold in the stone

gold in the mindstream

gold in the ore of its bones

gold that shone even in the darkest of valleys

wherever she flowed

like the white moon

when it wants to be mistaken for a swan

and sheds her eyelids like the petals of a waterlily

that’s gone, gone, gone beyond herself

like a waterbird into the undetectable mystery of things

that lifts us up from our own reflections

and calls us to exceed ourselves

by flying beyond our own wings

past the last lake at the end of the universe

we could bask in like a keyhole

in the third eye of an unrelenting sky.


There. That’s a breathful.

A dust-devil in a gust of stars.

A precipitous river of my own.

But I like listening to the green mountains

talk about things that are perennially true

that no one ever believes.

There’s inspiration in the fires

that inspires their leaves

to burn like old myths

and poems that went up in flames

true to the muse of autumn

that has forgotten their names.


And I’m listening to this little world mountain

this dolmen of a crystal you gave me

this palace of mirrors

that sits above my desk

and tells me things about you

only an older spirit than the road I’m on could know.

It whispers to me at night

like a fragrance of light

from the unseen flowers

behind your eyes

flowing down from the high fields

and unscalable facets

of the mystic mountain you live upon

planting trees. 

Abruptly enlightened medieval Rinzai Zen masters

did the same

in the mountains of Japan

as if they were rooting their pupils

like worlds within worlds

within a grain of sand

like the cornerstone of it all.


Trees are the future memories

of a prophetic skull

that stays true to its ancestors

like pines in the fall.

Anyone who plants a tree

raises a temple to the wisdom of birds

who will speak to you

in the native tongue of a new language

in voices older than words.

Anyone who plants a tree

attains what lives beyond them like an afterlife

that’s always rooted in now

and even the dead branch

that holds the autumn crow in the rain

when things are bleak with the passage of things

will turn into a strong rafter in the house of life

and the moon will add its blossom to it

and the sun its butterfly

and everything that grows

will greet you as a child of its own.

And life will hold you up

like a candle

like a Douglas fir

like a star

like the tiered pagoda

of a pine-cone

like a mirror

like a bird

like a quiet smile

in the sweetest of solitudes

and well-pleased with what you’ve sown

hang you like a thousand shining chandeliers of rain

in the sacred groves of the Pleiades

to show you what has grown over the years

from the labours you undertook

from the tears you shed

to green the wounded mountain back to health

by adding your life to its life

is you returning

like a prodigal daughter of water

to the mystic springs

of your own starcrazy source.


Ride the wave.

Ride the snake.

Ride the wind.

Ride the fire.

Ride your own eyebeam

like a sword that delivers

the boon of life

like the first word

of a new universe

that’s just heard its name called

like an endless beginning.


You are comet. You are wheat. You are starwheat.

You’re a comet in the starwheat

making crop circles.


Aquarians can take their skin off

and put it on again like water

and pour themselves out forever

like the sea in every drop

so when the tide returns

it’s never empty-handed.

I see a naked watersnake

swimming through the moonlight

like the path of something perpetually true

and inconceivably beautiful

as if time itself had learned to move like that

and every ripple was an era

widening its wingspan in its wake.

Hic sunt dracones.

That’s how dragons learned to fly.

The highest and the lowest all in one.

The snake in the claws of the eagle.

Wisdom in the lawlessness of insight.




The Mysterium.


For those who haven’t opened

the eyes in their blood yet

to see the bloodflowers

the bloodstars

talking to each other

like variations of the same light

these visions are the lost dreamgrammar

of an ancient madness

you can’t recover from like a fever. 

But to those who know the fireflies

are lamps on the road

the stars are not useless

and everywhere is the clarity and passage

of a river that forever arrives.


And I can see the wounded child

who’s brave about her pain

but feels like a ladder in the rain

no one will hold for her

to climb down like the moon from her window.

And those that should have been waiting down below

to catch her if she falls

have scattered like stars

on the insides of her eyelids when she blinks.

Abandonment is that hollow shell

you find washed up somewhere on a beach

and raise to your ear

to hear the sea far off

like a life that’s going on without you.

Even the sea can’t fill that cup.

Only another emptiness

could feel at home

in the homelessness of that space.

Abandonment is getting up every morning

and putting your face on inside out

and thinking of it as some kind of good luck

you’re on the other side of the universe

all on your own.

And though you howl like a wolf on the wind

the moon still cannot hear you.

That’s how longing is born

in the fires of separation;

that’s how the universe is called

every moment out of the nothingness

like someone to love,

and the deeper and darker the emptiness

the higher and brighter the mountain.

The watershed holds the fountain up

like a bouquet to the rain.

Emptiness doesn’t stand like a god

in the shadow of an unknown definition.

It’s the selflessness of everything that is.

Unborn it lives without distinction in the heart of things.

Unperishing it dies for everyone

without leaving anyone out.


When insight blossoms

like the moon

on a dead branch

compassion’s the fruit

that’s always in reach.

Life doesn’t practise

what the heartless teach.


This morning

I’m sitting at the feet

of your little crystal buddha

enthroned in full lotus position

as he turns my heart in the light

like a jewel in the eye of a diamond-cutter.

And the sky is generous with tears

as it clarifies the windows of perception 

with eyes as old and wise

as the sun at midnight.

And every thought I have of you is a fierce peace.

And every feeling a black mirror

deeper than white

that has extinguished my face

like one of last night’s stars

in the bliss of a greater illumination.

The mystic specificity of my mind

pales like the moon

in a blinding abyss

of no-minded indistinction.

And the stars that shone down on nothing for so long

like an indecipherable language

are now looking up at you

like the fountainmouth

high above the treeline

in the mountains

of an Aquarian understanding

of what they’ve always meant to say.

There are no echoes in the voices of love.

No avalanche of Rosetta Stones.

No scoffing crows.

No genuflections of the dove.

There are no shadows hiding like daggers

under the cloaks of day

to get even at noon

for things that happened at midnight.

Love is a feather

from a passing bird in flight

life puts into the scales

and the earth turns eastward toward the light

and death takes its finger off the measure

of life’s most cherished treasure.


And now the buddha turns into

two lovers sitting upright

face to face

in a lotus embrace

of enlightened connubium

in a coincidence of the contradictories

as if two were not the extinction of one.

And when desire opens its flames like petals

and blooms like a phoenix

there are no strangers in the fire.

And love doesn’t burn its feet

by making a firewalk

of the nameless constellation

rising from the dark innocence

of its sweet dreamless sleep

like the thirteenth house of the zodiac

with two people home from everywhere

with myths of their own

like Venus and Mars

turning the lights on and off

like lovers and stars

while the neighbours stare in amazement

through closed windows and locked doors

at the bright vacancy of the rumours

the dark abundance of the night

that knows all we are and do

and will and have done

is true to the overproof joy I take

in this lyric of a jewel in the light.

It turns me like your eyes

turning the key in the dark gate

of a mystic moonrise

where fate elaborates the worlds

like pearls from grains of sand

and time refires its last hour

like a master glass blower

to make more space

for stars in the desert at night

by breathing on the flames

that feather the ashes of the moths

in the urns of our names

with the wings

of a dragon

the wings of a phoenix

the wings of a sphinx in the rain

planting trees on the slopes of a pyramid

to watch the dead mountain grow green again

and know all the secret paths down into its afterlife

like a river running through the wilderness

or this theme of stars on the mindstream

beguiled by the mystic wiles

of a cougar caught in the moonlight

like a jewel in the eye of a dreamcatcher.

Or the seasoned seer in a mirror like me

enraptured by the anarchic fireflies

beading themselves

like the mandalic stars

of a new constellation

only the enlightened can see

enflamed like a prophecy

empowered by love

to rise in the night of your name.