Sunday, April 25, 2010




Writing to you is like writing to summer.

I see a stalk of wheat with a small drop

of Eleusinian ergot on it

calling me to its mysteries.

I see you stumping through the B.C. wilderness

in your mud-tugging boots

planting trees like the old Rinzai masters of Japan

for the sheer enlightenment of it.

I wonder if you have an Aussie accent

now that you’re back from down under.

Do the birds sing differently?

They’re fixing the roads here in Perth.

I’m delivering pizzas

in a labyrinth of Minoan backhoes.

And I still write and paint every morning before work.

My brain is a tossed paisley salad

and my heart is an orgy of blue.

I don’t spend a lot of time

trying not to grow old

knowing now is forever anyway

but things flash across my mind sometimes

like sabres of ice that make my blood cruel and cold.

I’m trying not to regret my childhood

and there are times when I can even manage

to throw a few sweetcakes into the snakepit

without asking the priestess

to take her prophecies back

now that I’ve made everyone of them come true.

Your crystal sends its regards

and asks me to remind you in its absence

not to be baffled by your happiness

when it comes upon you

and not to be too certain when it doesn’t.

Sometimes in the afternoon

between deliveries

I get a chance

to sit in the backyard

among blue and white flowers

and read Zen in the sun like an enlightened eclipse

that’s ready to split the difference

between reality and delusion

like one wave from another

like Solomon’s baby

knowing they’re both from the same dark mother.

I don’t add extra shadows to things

by giving them meanings they don’t deserve

and even when I indulge an old habit

for the sake of long friendship

my meanings are birds

that don’t perch anywhere for long.

Tree means tree.

Star means star.

Water means water.

Rock means rock.

It’s clear.

This is what here means.

Now I picture you in tight blue jeans.

And lust brings a smile to my face that’s sweeter than grace.

And my body thanks you from afar

for the solar flare and the blue star

that burns the gold out of the crude ore of the Virgin.

Zodiacally speaking, of course.

And for months now I’ve been trying

to remember everything I’ve ever known about Aquarians.

In all ten directions the universe is one horse.

They’re so spaced out beyond the orders of time

kept by the strict lords of the prevailing paradigm

they’re all open gates and no fence.

They’re the cambium

the growing edge

the unhewn brides of spring

that move in with strange guests

like compasses without any wests.

They don’t need any signposts.

They use the trees for direction.

They drive the weathervanes crazy.

And the wind sits down

on a moss-covered stone

underneath an oak-tree on a hill 

and holds its head in its hand like the earth

and says I just don’t know anymore

what things are coming to

or which way to go

now everything moves in a groove of its own

like homegrown music without a shepherd moon.

You can come like an equinox

with all the tuning forks you want

you can crotch hazel into witching wands

and loop your way through a maze

of celestial equators and ecliptics

and dupe the lost into believing they’re round

but an Aquarian will include you like a lost and found

in the most profound mystery of herself

like the secret history of water.

And you will lose yourself

like an intimacy in your homelessness

as she pours herself out of her deepest abyss

like tea among friends

and bows to the flowers.

Blue is the bravest colour.

It’s got way more courage than common-sense

to hear the jealous yellows tell it.

And midnight blue is galaxies beyond

Rembrandt’s mystic browns.

Brown never looks up.

It’s earthbound.

It’s background.

But blue is the sea and the sky

wearing each other’s skin like water

tatooed by the stars of the magnificent other

that doesn’t make the distinction.

And whether it’s starless or not

blue is a deep-sky Aquarian

with blackholes like wishing wells

that time forgot to close

like the eyelids of death

when the dream turned inward

like the light of life

to the deep dreamless sleep

of its dark unknown eyeless origins.

And if time doesn’t go soft on you

or south with the geese and the swans

it will harden you into an artist

whose ashes are diamonds

footloose and lucidly peerless

in the mirrors of the waters

you scatter them on like dancers.

I think of you as blue and gold

with a black star brighter

than a midnight sun in the middle

that shows the way to the heretic

who knows her only sacrilege is solitude.

To lock horns with you

would be to lock horns with the moon.

I would rather be your faithful matador

and gather up all my swords

like the stone sunbeams of Amun Re

and carry them down by the armful to the bridge at night

and devote them to the starlit waters

like loveletters to Isis

when she’s going through a crisis

and needs a sexy friend with a red cape

that doesn’t burn scarlet women

like Joan of Arc

in the fires of the poppies

he lights around their feet

to prove they’re not martyred by the sun

whenever their blood blooms

all around them like the flames

of gypsy fires that have lost their fear of strangers.

Some things just transcend themselves spontaneously

like forest fires and birthday candles you can’t blow out.

No one needs to know what they’re talking about

when they have no doubt

nothing they know makes any sense

and it isn’t the long run

but the present moment

that makes all the difference.

And I don’t think time heals much

or that ashes pray for salvation from the fire

like a stay of execution from the rain.

Pain means pain.

It’s got nothing against anybody

though we try to appropriate it

like an enemy outside ourselves

we deceive ourselves into believing

can be slain

without slaying the slayer.

People might eat the hearts out of their noble corpses

and call it prayer

and wonder why it’s as dead here

as it is everywhere

but it’s only a sleight of the eye

that makes the vastness of being here

seem so petty sometimes.

When the pearl doesn’t outgrow the grain of sand

that’s getting it together like the moon

suffering opens its mouth like a wound

and gives birth to a miscarriage of language.

You see how it is with me these days?

I pay the rent

and hang myself out to dry in the backyard

like sunny laundry

to prove to the neighbours

I’m not walking skinless through the world

though I am

but just like them

I tan.

There’s no inside or out to me anymore.

Walls are just the flip-side of doors.

I notice how the light on the new leaves

seems to shine within

like the luminous green

of salt in a fire

and I start tripping on the connections

between chlorophyl and chlorine

and how one little twisted syllable

can mean so much

when you’re this far out of touch

with the conventional run of things

like a moon-boat on the mindstream

of a frequent flyer.

Even as a child among peers

they said I would go mad one day.

That was what my highschool graduation yearbook

prophecied as my most likely future.

Most likely to become a mad scientist mad teacher mad poet mad.

And so I have.

As my way of not disappointing anyone.

I went down with the ship like a good captain

when the daffodils came up

like periscopes in the desert

and torpedoed the moon.

And if now I walk under them

like lamp-posts with you

that bloom at night

down a long lonely street

with no one in sight for parsecs

as we did that night we both staggered drunk

holding each up other up down Drummond Street

who’s to say the delight I feel

is any less real

than being a weathervane of events

I can’t control

like a traffic cop at an intersection

where directions aren’t horizontal

and not all wrecks

despise the accidental.

The hollyhocks are cocking their elephant ears

at the base of a derelict antenna

and erratic white butterflies

are learning to sail like rudders

and I’m sitting here between pizzas

thinking about you

like one of nature’s elementals

before things took on their shapes and names

like picture-frames with nothing in them.

The scent of patchouli oil you wore

the last time we embraced in the doorway

flirts like a ghost with the flowers.

Words have no identity of their own

except to have none

like mirrors

so they can reflect everything

in their emptiness

and call that their true nature.

People are closer than water

though they give each wave and ripple a name

as they rise and fall like thrones of the sea

who are ruled by what they fool themselves

into thinking they are and rule over.

So be it.

Delusion too is as crucial to enlightenment

as play is to a child.

It’s just a game you can finish

when you wake up in the morning

and life perishes into life

light into light

like stars in the sun.

One is the only opposite of one when you’re alone.

It’s hard to keep company with zero.

When it isn’t unbearably lonely

it’s too drastic.

True solitude isn’t monastic.

And it’s not like the world

is some kind of sleazy cosmetic

or greasy facepaint you can wash off in the mirror

like the exaggerated tear

of a clown with a homely flower

that never made it like honey with the bees.

There are small ecstasies

going on in the shadow-crossed grass

practising persistence and patience everywhere

like a virtue even the sidewalks can’t suppress.

There’s more power in a blade of grass

than there is in a sword

and though there is a valley

and though there is a mountain

an up and a down to the fountain

they all use the same voice

to echo the bird that flys through them.

And there are incomparable lucidities of night

that surpass even the deepest insight

of light looking into a darkness

in which there’s nothing

nothing at all to illuminate

because existence hasn’t arrived yet

and there’s not a lot for the light to do.

There are eclipses like ladies in waiting

that have never disrobed the moon.

And the truth has no eyes.

It’s never seen the dandelions.

So I’ve sat all afternoon here with you

and watched the ants from a bird’s eye view

like Egyptians heaping up the sand

into tiny pyramids all around me

like a disinterred thing without an afterlife

that would only prove impossible to bury.

The tulips open their scarlet goblets like mouths

to French-kiss the sun

and there’s a large fat black crow

on the leafless branch above me

telling me things I already know

that will keep coming back to haunt me

like all these years on the run

as if my next breath were always behind me

but I think of you

I think of men and women

I think of God or the lack thereof

and time and death and life and truth

darkness light and love

all the usual stuff

and I’m so grateful God

isn’t bound to the truth like her word

and made a liar out of herself

more magnificent than anything I’ve ever heard

the moment she created the world.

Birds are perching in my roots.

My branches are witching for water.

Salmon are jumping in the starstreams.

And though it’s late in the afternoon

and I haven’t delivered anything for hours

I can already hear Aquarius tuning up to the fireflies

trying to stay in the same key as the flowers.