Monday, March 1, 2010




So far down this road without a destination

my childhood doesn’t recognize me anymore.

So far into this life I’ve never been outside of

I can speak to myself in a foreign language

that no one can understand

as if it were the ancient dream-grammar

of a past tense

that talked its way into the future.

So far into what I’ve become

the peduncle is lost in the ensuing phylum

and of all thought

I’m the first monkey

to look for its origins in an asylum.

The crow on an autumn branch in the white rain

laughs more than it ever did

at the specious foundations

of my ephemerid profundities

dropping like apples at my feet.

The minstrel warrior of the forlorn hope

I took up arms in a holy war of one

I was doomed to lose

like a sad generation of demons

who knew the wound would never close.

If heaven isn’t a club-med in a specific place

but saturates all of space

like mystically dark matter

then we’re all falling toward paradise

like particles and wavelengths of water.

Heaven may be the whole cup

and hell a crack in the wine

and earth the place you sober up

like a bad hangover from the divine

but it’s a party I walked out of aeons ago

more a stranger than when I came

like a manger without a sign

like a magus without a logo

to an inn that had been empty for years.

I don’t presume to teach people

what they already know.

Even hanging on

is going with the flow.

This is a delirious place

where the mysteries cut deep

and silence is the native tongue

God speaks to herself in.

So far down this mindstream

like a paper boat I made of a poem

and set aflame like an orchid of fire

to honour a poet

who said it right in China long before me,

I bloom on the water of a prophetic dream

true to the unpredictability

of a sleeping dragon

to wake from the brevity of oblivion

with the eyes of a narcoleptic chameleon.

Joy binds

what sorrow releases.

And thought might prick the lifelines

of an amniocentesis

and offer up my embryo like a thesis

on whether I should have been born or not,

but I drink from my own skull like the moon

when it’s full to the brim

above the starwheat in the Virgin’s hand

to the stealth of the wind that dropped me here

like a lone seed in a huge empty silo

I’m trying to stud like the Venus de Milo.

It’s not easy rooting in stone

like the invasive metal

of a sword that will make you

king of the waxing year.

Things just fall apart on their own

like grain from the chaff of a fickle harvest

that rose from the dead

like the bitter bread

of an abandoned homestead

that walked out on itself too soon.

But I’ve never been one to talk

about leaving it all behind

like some dark gate of the mind

I could pass through

like a unilluminated comet through space

to shine in the light of a star

that was alarmed at my approach

and blind to my passing.

I’m more at home in the dark

with a firefly and a chimney spark

rolling koans like constellations of loaded dice

as if they were two diabolical buddhas

in the backalleys of enlightenment

pushing their luck to the wall.

They rise

and I fall.

I rise

and they fall.

Readiness is all.

Ripeness is all.

Lear shakes his fist at Hamlet.

The blue harvest moon in total eclipse.

All loveletters die like a political pamphlets

up against a closed door.

So far into this cloud of unknowing

I have given up hoping

will ever become a star

and break into light in all directions

to show me where I’m going

I give up on myself like rain

and release my waterbird eyes

to fall wherever they might.

Readiness is spring.

Ripeness is fall.

Seven come eleven.

No one wins it all.

Two squared skulls

up against a crooked wall.

I shake the dice

and you call.

You shake the dice

and I call out to luck like a random goddess

to see if she still loves me

as she did once tomorrows ago

when I won everything back.

Whether you’re giddy with happy truths

or more profoundly belled by the sad facts

it’s scary at night in the spirit’s lost and found

when the lights go out

and no one’s around to look for anything.

Gardens of black umbrellas,

the wings of folded bats

stacked like unseasonal eclipses

that have lost the will to bloom

like flowers at a lavish funeral

for impoverished aristrocrats.

And courage isn’t a home

that’s all that easy to return to

when you’re out here on your own

like a lifeboat full of midnight on Mars.

So far along this long homeless road home

I have worn out my faithless friends like shoes

I took from the feet of the dead

to walk on ahead of myself

like a star with a jump on where it’s been.

Now even I don’t know what I mean

when the words say me

like some black benediction

over an unknown grave

as I mourn the roadkill

and try to bless the turkey-vultures.

Earth. Air. Water. Fire.

Four cultures that bury their dead differently

but all to the same end.

Who could have guessed

the angels that came to earth first

had the wingspan of loitering scavengers?

I give my soul up to the birds.

I give my eyes up to the sky.

I give my voice up to these words.

I give my mind up like water to water

light to light

darkness to darkness

to the star that has misled me this far

into this wilderness of myself

where I’m preaching stealth to shadows

and air to ride the wind.

I give my heart up

to the thorn that gored the rose

like a deep insight

into the nature of the moon’s

bright vacancy

dark abundance

like two sides of the same face.

I give my will up to chance.

My blood to the conviction of the poppy it’s fire.

So far beyond my last event horizon

I’m never coming back this way again

what does it matter if the path

is crooked or straight?

I lay my tiny wisdom down like a hazelnut

on the track of the silver thought-train

to see if it can crack it like a koan.

I lay the mantle of my dynastic ignorance

over the shoulders of an avalanche like snow.

However much

you love the valley

it will be the mountain

that sweeps you off your feet.

I give my imagination up like a black wine

that tastes a little like me

to the muses who bruised it

like the great night sea

they drank from my skull

whenever the moon was full.

Among so many sages

it was good to be a fool.

One by one the schools

dropped out of me

and settled like mud at the bottom

of a clarified way to see

that everything that passed through my head

like a shapeshifting cloud

was just water looking into water,

me looking into me with water for eyes.

Why be shocked

by the predictability of death

when it’s life that always comes as a surprise?

I may have been lame

in my approach to things

and limped my way like an iamb into wings

but I wanted to look down

from way up there

as if I were a star without strings

and be the way things are

when they shine down on nothing

until a nightbird in a far tree sings.

Carrying forth into the carrying forth

eternity might be the ghost

in the starmud of time that perishes

to give forever a meaning

but it’s this life now

that talks the talk

and walks the walk

of a human being.

I give my eyes up to the seeing.

So deeply lost upon myself

like an empty lifeboat drifting through

these veils and visions of things

that appear like sails in the fog a moment

and then evaporate into their nebularity,

I give my blessing to the waywardness

of the course

that took me the way I am.

I give up my pain

I give up my sorrow

I give up my love my joy my laughter

like orchids and ashes on the mindstream

that flows out of me like a waking dream

that doesn’t insist on seeing me here tomorrow.

But most of all

I give my gratitude

to the mystic vagrancy of the great solitude

I approached like a friend

on my way to nowhere like the sea

as if everything came to an end in me

like a life I couldn’t foresee.

Though I have mourned

life’s pre-emptive reverses 

I have not scarred my lips with curses.

I have not tainted the well I drink from.

And nothing’s ever spoiled the bread I broke with others.

The feast is free

but it isn’t hunger or thirst

that makes us sisters and brothers

it’s the way we raise the cup to each other’s lips

like a lunar elixir to a solar eclipse

as if we knew we would pass

long before the darkness did

but still made the gesture anyway.

It’s the way we hope we know what we mean

when we say we love people we’ve never seen

as if they were everyone in particular

and love’s mute theme were helplessly gesticular.

You can’t keep what you won’t give away.

Life’s a long sleep before a short dream

that wakes you up far from home

beside the unknown road you’re on

that winds like smoke among the stars

whispering ghost stories around the flames

of their unbelievable fires.

By all means pursue what is true

but don’t forget

mercy has its liars too.

I give my life up

to the mystic specificity

of the medium that sustains it

like a wavelength of light

to a sea of dark matter.

And more than I could have ever lived

living alone together with everyone

crammed into the same planetary shoe

I give up all the vastness

of my awareness of the space within

and how far there is to go like light

before you can open

even a single flower of insight

to end your long winter night.

I give up space

like my place at the table

where I stood like a tower of salt.

I give my imagination up

like an underground cult

that gave its secrets away to everyone

like dark spots on the sun.

And whatever beginnings

are behind me now

like things I’ll never finish

I give my past and future up

to the omnipresence of time

in all I live today

as if something

were always coming my way

without expectation

from lightyears beyond my eyes

like letters from home that never reach me

in time to call me back.

If I have shone among luminaries

like a firefly in an ice palace

of radiant chandeliers

that froze in their own tears

it was as a small lighthouse

on the coast of turbulent mirrors

that kept a nightline on.

I spent the gone on the going

and trusted the darkness

to keep things flowing along

like a river coming down a mountain

without knowing about the sea

that summoned me to the lowest place

like an unfathomable watershed

in every eye of the fountain

that cried out to the birds

in words that feather the dead

for their long flight through the mystery

I am I am I am

the future memory

of my own prophetic history

before I wrote it down

like the path I took on my way out of town.