DON’T APPROACH ME
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.