Thursday, March 18, 2010




Don’t approach me with your cozy round gratuities of old age

exuding geriatric sophistry

as if time had worn all my thresholds down

like old sway-backed stairs on their way out.

Vast space behind this blossom of my face

this bad moon

still clinging to my spine

and the night is not young or old.

Since the day I was born

I’ve been off the clock

like some illegitimate hour

no one ever talks about

and I’ve got a salmon-nature

that keeps swimming upstream

against the flow of things.

Saccharine ghosts of cotton candy

handing themselves out

like new hairdos of hovering kindness

to the kids on a derelict midway

missing a lot of lights

and if it isn’t that

it’s missing the point entirely

like bullets in the attic

trying to remember who

they were supposed to be shooting at.

Don’t pat me on the back

as if we were the same as one another

because we’ve outgrown our experience of things

and there’s this wise sunset glow

that wraps its light around things

like the golden skin of a sage in autumn

or an apple just before it goes rotten.

I was a fool then.

And I am a fool now.

And I will be a fool tomorrow.

And my life has been more of an anti-scripture

I’ve kept writing to warn people away from me

than the word of an abiding god

looking for followers.

The book of an idiot

though it took eighty years to write

though its falsehoods be fossilized

in pages of shale

like the lost diaries of time

confiding what really went on

is still just the prelude to ignorance

that reverences its own stupidity

by quoting itself lavishly

about evolution gone wrong.

We’ve all heard these brassknockers before

talking through the door

about what life’s taught them

and how you should live

if you ever want to see

through their window on the world

in a home of your own

what it means to look and never be

the stone that shatters the past like the moon.

The buddha rides the back of a braying buffoon.

A clown milks a judas-goat for cheese.

There was a man standing here a moment ago.

Now he’s on his knees in his own abyss

shaking his afterlife at the gods like a fist

as if he were always dying for someone else

the gods woke with a kiss on the palms of their hands.

As my friend Charles Fisher called them

dusties and mumblies whinies moanies

and weekend croanies

greeting each other like bookends.

The dust of the road may settle like vision

in the eyes of the dew

and the stars that once burnt so furiously

to be let in

gather like dead flies

on their potty windowsills

where all their cute trinkets lie about things

as if they were butterflies in the web

of a spider with wings

they were teaching to fly

but I like the demons who flock

to my states of grace like refugees

who’ve burned the bridges of their homelessness behind them

and know there’s no way back to bind them

to any path but the one they’re on.

So it was in the beginning.

So it is now.

The road grows old before you do

and the body begins to fall apart like a weary shoe

that walks as if it knew its own way home without you

and the spirit can’t remember

all the names of God

it’s been beading for years

like a rosary of skulls that just keeps getting longer

and though you advise everyone not to

the world keeps making the same mistakes you do

even as the brahmins of desire succuumb like autumn

to the ashes of the pyre

to get closer to the stars

like smoke from a dying fire

giving up the ghosts of its past lives

to animate something inestimably higher than sex.

But when it rains like a woman crying over my grave

it’s not the blossom that craves to be enlightened

by the firefly mystics in the valley of her sorrows

it’s my roots that want to possess the truth

like a woman in the prime of her youth

like a summer on earth

without giving a damn how it flys in heaven

or who it is that’s firing up the oven 

because when I’m the starwheat

she’s the terrestrial leaven.

I’d rather cook in her fires

and break bread like my flesh with the devil

than immaculate myself

on the celestial sickle of the moon

like an old fertility king

that can’t get a rise out of anything.