Saturday, March 20, 2010




You talk to me about sorrow and pain

as if your mouth were a wound

that couldn’t be healed with a kiss

and your heart were a vast abyss

with a worm theory at the core

of an apple like this we’re living on

that circles the sun like a planet.

An ice-storm breaks the branches

of your candleabra

and I can hear the sound of smashing glass.

You pull the night down

like an executioner’s hood

over the skull of the moon

as it raises its ax over the hills

and my head rolls across the living room floor.

But I’m not trying to outhink you.

What you feel is what you feel.

I’m not saying it isn’t real.

The stars aren’t looking down upon you

and the candles aren’t trying to make a point

by knapping their flames into spears.

I’m not trying to teach an army of snakes to march

in good order toward some emotional victory

over the things that make you cry.

And there’s no window on the way

to replace the one you broke

that’s dying to give you 

a different perspective on your fears.

We’re all afraid

of what we don’t know how to love.

And if you’re suggesting suicide

I’m sorry you’re such a stranger to yourself

you don’t know whose doorway you’re standing in

like the emergency exit of a bad guest

who just showed up for appearance sake

like church bells extolling fake farewells in your wake.

But Orpheus isn’t trying to sing

your way out of Hades again

or trying to charm death

with his prophetic head

to let you go.

It was wrong to look back the first time.

And my music isn’t a valium for savage hearts

when the beast rages at its own wound

like an infuriated Maenad

and tears at its flesh

like a voodoo doll insane with pain.


I’m still working on how to make

a graceful entrance

with my back to the wall.

I’m walking from precipice to precipice

like a feather on a tight rope in the fall

trying to get through it all

as if it mattered that I did.

And I don’t care

what direction I’m headed in.

Any moment I could be downed by a crosswind

and as far as I’m concerned

death can make a bow for me if it wants

and if I lose my balance

I lose my balance.

I’ll take the chance.

And if I’ve been falling for years

like Icarus in tears

as you intimate I have been

then maybe if I fall long enough

I’ll grow wings

and rise above my shortcomings

like geese returning on a spring night

without wax and string

to hold it all together.

You can sit down on the ground

and wrapped in your deathshroud like a bat

have a good cry if you wish

then take eternity home as a shortcut

across your wrists.

But when I meet my ghost on the path

coming the other way

and look it in the eye like my afterlife

we both sit down together

on the sure-footed earth

like a mountain with a good view

of its own reflection

and have a good laugh.






























Five colours on my palette.

Six if you’re a Buddhist.

Primary hues I keep mixing

like my senses

to paint the world

because whose mind isn’t an artist?

What lame brain goes looking

for an interpretation to explain it

when it’s as obvious as shit

it’s one long ongoing creation?

The mind isn’t something

you have to get to the bottom of

like some Enigma decoding machine

on a sunken German submarine.

The mind isn’t a chisel

that can’t decipher its own hieroglyph

as if it had to be taught to read

what it just finished writing.

The mind isn’t twisted

like the universe

or a fortune cookie

with a fate in it

you have to break open to know.

Let the bird and the snake

emerge from the cosmic egg as they will.

The mind stands a human up

like an easel in a starfield

and gives her eyes ears fingertips

a tongue and a nose for pigment

and eyelashes for brushes

and says paint whatever you want.

She paints the world.

She paints heaven.

She paints hell.

She paints the morning glory

like a raped bell.

She stretches her own canvas out

like a sky she’s nailed to a cross

and paint’s a world of becoming

a world of loss

a world in an agony of inspiration

she designs like ferns in the frost of her tears.

She paints fear and sorrow

and the dangerous roses

that put lipstick on the night

and give their dresses a hike

to show their heels off like thorns.

She paints compassion and love

and beauty and wonder.

She paints the illusion of truth

like lightning without thunder

and self-portraits of tomorrow in funny hats.

She paints pain like a still-life with a knife.

She paints the stars like fireflies

making constellations

in the mirage of an oasis

telling stories around a fire

she paints in a passion

to catch the way

the shadows and light

fall upon desire

in a desert at night.

The mind paints

the way water reflects the moon.

The way the moon reflects water.

The way a mother

puts her hand

to the cheek of her daughter

as she sleeps in her secret dream.

The mind paints the way things seem

when there’s no one around but you

to sign off on reality

with a picture of your name

like a fiction in blue

that brought you to fame

like a moth to the hot heart

of a candleflame

touching up your likeness

in ghouls of wax.

She paints theories.

She paints facts.

She paints the Big Dipper like an axe

above the Dragon’s head

then paints a bear

and goes to bed

to paint pictures

of extinct rhinoes

defecating on her cave walls.

She paints appearances

and their deceptions

like gypsy roses

in the teeth of priestly skulls.

She paints a lighthouse circled

by the flying eyebrows

of crazed seagulls

she learned from a book

on how to draw like a parking lot.

She paints the is and not

of what her body

looks like on the inside

and calls it thought

then takes you aside

into a darkened room

and unveils her emotions

like a show on tour

in the big cities of Atlantis

that have learned to prefer

gesturally breezy watercolours

to the mordant oils

of studio-brained oceans

mudding the light with commotion.

She paints the world with devotion.

She paints it in spite.

And it’s all her own work

out to the furthest star and beyond

the space bent event horizons of the night

that were born before time was a lady

and everything in sight

before the light

wasn’t a little shady.

The mind is an artist.

Able to paint the worlds

she lives in like Monet’s waterlilies

in the garden at Giverny

live in the Tuilerie

painting people they can see.

Paint hell.

You fry in it.

Paint heaven.

You fly in it.

Paint earth.

You cry in it.

Paint birth.

And you die in it.

It’s that way with everything.

She paints the grain of sand

in mother of pearl

the way she paints

the moon on the sea in light

and the sea on the moon in shadows.

She teaches the rain

to paint wildflowers in the meadows

and with one brushstroke of sumi ink

to paint two perfect Zen circles

like rainbows doubling

for the irises in her eyes.

She teaches the autumn less is more

then scatters thousands of quick sketches

of trees in the nude

all over the floor

like fruit and leaves

to capture the mood of the moment.

She looks for a way out

like a mirror looks for a door

and she paints a blackhole

in the middle of her third eye

to let the light know she’s not in.

She paints me as I am to myself alone

walking down by the river

making stars with my eyes

that glance off the water

like sparks in a broken mirror

trying to get a fire going.

She paints a great starless abyss

that doesn’t know how old it is

until she paints

a mindstream flowing through it

and a bridge that’s lightyears across

but never reaches the other side of itself

because it keeps growing like a waterclock

that doesn’t know how far it is between

this and that

until she paints a starmap

and throws it in the flames.

And she paints over

whatever gets in her way

like a lover that stayed too long.

She paints the wind

and his stars are dust on the stairs

and then she paints me in

like the negative space

that reveals her face

within the limits of creation

as if she were the model

she was working from

when her eye caught mine

like a dreamcatcher without a jewel.

And I broke the rule of rational proportion

with the surrealistic distortions

of a golden embryo

in the ore

of a philosopher’s stone

that carried on

a mystic ratio of two to one

like the fool of the new moon

that draws its sword from the stone

to claim a conquered kingdom

in the name of her features

seen through the eyes

of all her creatures

as if they were their own.

Now I swim like a fish

through bottomless emeralds

and drown my birds

in the depths of her blues.

I touch her skin

like textures of red

in the bloodsails of her poppies

and listen to her colours

blowing on fires

in the sounds of her trees.

I add one star to a lot of black

and I can taste her darkness

in the way the light

eases diamonds out of coal

like eyes in the night a thief stole

like the masterpiece of a window

from the last showing of the moon

to smile like the Last Supper

casting shadows like grails of paint

on the wailing walls of an upper room.

And her yellows

are striped pollens

that sweeten the sting of the bee

by adding a few sunspots to the honey.

Her whites and blacks

may take on a religious life

and wear their feathers

like doves and crows

as if they alone

were the cornerstone

of the composition

but her violets have a spiritual life of their own.

She paints a universe

of incomparable beauty and scope

and then she takes a human tone

as the finishing touch of her art

and paints a tiny lotus of hope

in a big heart

like an enlightened firefly of insight

emerging from the background of a vast night

like an eye coming into focus

at both ends of the same telescope

dreaming of intelligent life

that condenses the myriad stars

to a breath on a lense

that renders her likeness in wonder.

And in a flash of lightning

that feels like genius

she paints a stranger at the gate

like a shadow in the rain

that came too late to her address

to keep what she had joined together

from being rent asunder like a tree.

And then she opens the moon

like a loveletter

from ancient history

and the lion lies down with the lamb

as she paints me as I am.

Five colours on a palatte of mind

flashing like chameleonic stars

on the horizon of the mirror

that bends space down

like a sky to the ground

that lends her eyes an air of mystery

as she whispers to me

sight is a kind of love

between the seer and the seen.

The flower is red.

The grass is green.