Saturday, March 6, 2010




for you whose name means night


Vaster than this lost immensity

I revel in alone

a space opens up inside of me

like a nightsky

with stars I cannot name.

The silence gapes at their radiance

and strange chameleonic flowers gather

like moths to a flame.

The grass is kind.

The leaves are tender.

And the moon is always new.

I can feel lyrical tendrils of longing

reaching out for you in the darkness

like water and wine

in paisley designs

and your fingerprints

are all over the grapes

as if you wanted someone to know

who’s crying in the window.

The night is urgent

with small animals

changing species.

I can feel their eyes

beading on the bushes

as they look out in wonder

at what I might be

as I do you

enraptured with becoming.

You turned the world upside down

like a shotglass at a bar

just for a change of stars.

Now you’re down under.

And I’m slowly getting drunk on your absence

like a dark wine that matured

like a calendar of eclipses

into a choir that knows

all the songs of summer

that could make a grown man cry

for things he wonders

if he’ll ever know again.

So little love.

So much pain.

I’ve become good friends

with the crystal dolmen you left me

like a buddha in the Arctic

trying to thaw the moonlight a little

like an unexpected intensity

in the middle of things.

A little brass statue of Kali

dances beside him

and next to that

the small hand-carved sign

that follows me around like a branch

trying to be a perch for a bird

that’s run out of trees:

Poet’s Landing.

Wherever that is.

And maybe maybe maybe baby one night

you’ll let me see the stars through your window

and I can tell you all their names in Arabic

and what they mean in the ascendant

when I look beyond your eyes

like a drowning man

to read the lifelines in the light

you keep throwing out to me

like gentle nets of water

you bead in your moonboat 

as you’re sailing through Aquarius

mobbed by flying fish

who can’t thank you enough for their wings.

I’m a freedom fighter

for a dreamcatcher

that wants to come true.

I’m a pilgrim

on the last hill before home

back from a holy war of one.

And I look at you in the distance

like a promise I made

to the sun at midnight

and I see what I’ve come back to

like a witching wand to water

is you in every sign of life

that wakes in the valley of the mindstream.

And I think of who you were

before you left

and who you might be

when you come back

and I dream things about you

that please me with the easy way

your veils fall from the seeming

and I’m left

beaming alone like a lighthouse

on a rough coast in a Pacific storm

as if I were high on fireflies

and there were no warning

in the red morning 

in which I have no say

like stars lost in the sun

when I see you this way.








































I’ve stopped mistaking my life

for evidence I exist.

I’ve stopped watering

palm-trees in a mirage.

I’m leaking out of myself

like sand through a crack

in a wounded hourglass.

I’ve stopped doing my time

standing up

and approach things more

like a circle

that’s been squared

by a reclusive hypoteneuse.

I’ve stopped asking

how many legs are on a snake

or what does it mean

when things don’t mean anything.

For all the auditions I held

I never did find a stand-in

for the meaning of meaning.

I can hear crutches breaking

like dead branches

from the tree of knowledge

that rails like an ice-storm in hell

there’s no light for its chandeliers.

How many voices are in a secret?

How many theories in a thought?

How many lovers had to die

to keep one feeling alive?

I deserted the circus of high ideals.

I unfeathered my heels

and stopped trying to invent

new alphabets that would read like birds

before the first snow.

When you’re everywhere

there’s nowhere left to go.

I stopped telling time to its face

what hour it was and wasn’t

and started listening to it

as if it had nothing to say.

I stopped asking space for i.d.

and it stopped showing me

an old picture of me

with one eye.

A voice spoke

out of the purposeless undoing of the fire

and everything went up like smoke

trying to get a little higher.

I wasn’t on a mission

to save the souls of the trees

like native peoples

by converting them

to doors and ladders.

I swept through steeples

like a forest-fire

And the judgment came down:

Nothing matters.

And I knew I was free

to take liberties with the abyss.

And everywhere I rode

a flying carpet of karma

through the infinite darkness

unspooling like a wavelength of light

I made up my own myths

about the stars that were passing

clandestine lovenotes through my eyes

as if they were doves

sent out to look for me like land.

But I had a hell of a flood

of my own going on

and took wing for Atlantis.

I’ve given up trying to walk on water

but I can go for miles on quicksand.

Stars are another matter.

A firewalk you take alone.

I live in a house

where the windows

are lightyears across

and a black hole

is my last known address

surrounded by trees

that keep opening my mail

like leaves of their own

to see who signed

what the light confessed

when it wanted to get

the night off its chest.

Tell me your sorrows.

Tell me your fears.

Tell me your hopes and passions

and I’ll listen like a universe

to its own afterbirth

like a flawed soul

listens with compassion to the rain.

Illusory cures for illusory diseases


detailed maps

of rivers that never flowed.

But I take a deep breath

and put my shoulder to the wind like a bell

that’s taken on a heavy load

like a backhoe in heaven

excavating graves

to see if anything

can truly save us from ourselves.

I come up like the full moon

of a mushroom in the night

and I wait for elves

to enthrone me like a footstool

under everybody’s feet

as the last of the hanging judges

takes his seat.

But I know like a man

who wrestles with angels

how to grow stronger with every defeat.

I am no longer defined by things

that don’t know the limits

of what I’m becoming

now that I’ve dropped off my body and mind

like a demon jumping from paradise

without a parachute.

And this is the anti-papal decretal

of the fallible man

they stone with churches on earth

for showing up blessed like a human

who took the shape of the world

from the inside out

not the outside in.

This way lies redemption.

That way, too.

Fire’s not a heresy

that’s committed to its flames

anymore than autumn consumes

the heartwood of its orthodoxies

when it burns the trees.

Desire doesn’t cut the tongue

out of the mouth of love

for saying the secret name of God

as if it weren’t junkmail

on the threshold

of the old neighbourhood

the cornerstones of sounder reasons

had torn down like a slum

to make room

for better things to come.

There are still scarlet geraniums

blooming in red brick clay pots

on the windowsills of longing

that haven’t lost their faith

like leaves yet

one day they’ll return to the garden.

And baby boys born

like heartsongs with hards on

that are not the cliches

of impish cherubs

in a painting of original sin

but angels holding burning swords

at the gates of the mothers

they’ve been driven out of

to guard the way in.

It’s deeply ontological.

But if things didn’t happen this way

how could you ever find

your own way back

to that shortcut you took

like time off at the beginning?

And haven’t you noticed yet

how the universe keeps showing up

a star too late for the end of things

making up excuses along the way

like a touring playhouse on wheels

rehearsing what to say

for the long delay

in catching up to itself like a thief?

You can tell a lot about a man

by what he steals.

You can tell a lot about a world

by the way your life feels

when there’s no one around

to make a sound

as you fall like a tree in the forest.

How many koans need to be cracked

like skulls full of insight

before you get the gist of the joke

that everything you see

is whole and perfect and broke.

Hell and heaven

are only the first two stairs

on this fire-escape

the stars have lowered to earth.

And then there’s a bridge to the other side

of a river that’s given up looking

for its lost shores

to put an end to its weeping.

And I don’t know who she is yet

but beyond that

there’s a woman on her knees

crying like one of life’s immensities              

for her dead baby

as she washes its blood off the floors

with her hair

for safe-keeping.



































Vain idiotlogs in squirmy smiles

and miles of opinionated ties.

Pudgy party toads squatting

on lilypad platforms rooted in the muck.




And the viciously ignorant.

Voces populi.

The voices of the people

embodied in corrupt men

like birds in a fireplace chimney.

The voices of the people

unspooling eclipses of lies

that smother their words in oil

like the Exxon Valdez.

Juvenile geriatric ferocities

that have run out of patience

with the protocols of decency.

Look at their faces.

Cantankerous old men

looking for a use for themselves in life

like barbed wire and bleach.

Arsonists in a volunteer fire-brigade

throwing matches out the window

of an obsolete Martin Mars waterbomber

to give themselves something to put out

like Empedocles on Aetna.

For years I’ve listened

to these fascist clowns

being interviewed like tumours on tv

to see if they’re benign or malignant.

They pour themselves out

like Niagaras of iodine

into every wounded issue

that falls down and scrapes its knees.

Their cures are contemporaneously racist

but long ago they liberated the disease

like the ceo’s of global companies

calling for free market economies

to tear down their natural immunities

to a parasite that claims it eats symbiotically.

Leaders of men.

Leaders of women and children.

Leaders of the mute and helpless.

North stars of the unchosen people

for whom no seas part to let them pass.

Blinded by their own blazing

they shine like the stars of a new constellation

bent on cleaning up the slums of the zodiac

but they’re still the same old spiders in the cosmic web

spinning the dark matter of the masses

out of their bulbous asses.

Hatred grows as reasonable as a snake

in a nest of baby crows.

And the emperor is dressed

in common clothes

like a rose

slumming among the weeds

crowding the perimeters of the garden

they’re never allowed in

like another heartworm up for re-election.

Like any infection when it takes a stand

they claim the doctor

can’t cure the disease

unless he has it

and in the name of spreading the word

they never wash their hands.

Rabies running a primary against water.

Hydrophobic oases in desert sands

where every revelation’s the mirage

of an experienced snakepit

that fell like manna from heaven

misleading the caravan

along the Perfume Trail to the Promised Land

like the Platonic ideal of a democratic newsreel

with a real feel for Egypt.

The text might be archetypically abstract

but the footnotes

are written in the blood of people

who never learned how to read

and however you spin the writing on the wall

it’s the graffitti under the spray-bombed bridge

that reveals their tragically anonymous fates

not the monograms on the dinner plates

that are laid out like harvest moons

for the tapeworms of state

who celebrate themselves

like infinite boons in banquet rooms for all of us.

They also serve who only stand and wait

but it’s getting late

and everyone wants to go home

like a desparate nation

to a refugee camp in foreclosure

where the landlords of life

with a marketshare in evolution

read Adam Smith

and practise infantile exposure.

One self-serving maggot of a man

when he hatches out of his own filth

can lay enough legislative eggs

on the forehead of its electoral host

the eyes of innocent children

can’t see the stars

through the flies that swarm them

as if Beelzebub had become a creator

and genesis read like genocide.

And it doesn’t matter

how hard it snows

on the political domes

of our subservient masters

to purify the outcome of the issue

the heat of the dungheaps underneath

burns their Arctic ice-cap down

everytime they let out a breath

like a gas of global warming.

Choirs of sirens have learned to sing

like lighthouses without a warning

along the dangerous coasts

of another red-eyed morning.

The foghorns call us to the rocks

like the pterodactylic dying call

of the last species of dinosaur

stoned out of existence

by the mobs of those without sin. 

Rats gnaw the flute of the Pied Piper

who lost his way out of Hamlin

and turned around like the Black Plague.

Gulliver’s bound in a straitjacket of Lilliputions.

And government’s the cult leader

of the analectic Confucians

who keep exact records

of the murders next door

like the ancestral bloodlines

of praeturnatural planets

hooked on bad astrologers.

The fixed stars roll like loaded dice

across the darkling glass

and one-eyed Cylopean skies

of our glacial cataracts

as if everything in existence

had a secret agenda

it’s clinging to like a stolen identity

waiting to show its face

like a rattlesnake under a rosebush

that talks in tongues to a spirit of thorns.

No matter how many eagles they eat

they’ll never learn to fly

and when they look to the sky

to point themselves out

like a constellation

brighter than the rest

the stars quickly get their nebulars together

and shine like false magi

on the afterbirth

of all these maggots with horns

trying to put a new spin

on the corpse of a dead myth

that reeks like a hieroglyph

just leaked to the press

about how we got into this mess.