Monday, May 31, 2010




for Rebekah Cider


Crawling through Kelford’s junkyard

cursing my fucking life

looking for a cooling fan relay switch

to keep my car from overheating.

I long to be standing on a Japanese footbridge

over a quiet stream somewhere

watching how the water

bends at the waist to greet

the moss-covered rocks

as the soft overcomes the hard

by yielding.

And what a treat it would be

just to lie down alone again at night

in the long dry grass of the wild summer fields

up around Westport

and be renewed by the wonder

that is imparted to me by the stars.

There’s more to being a human

than looking for parts for cars

that are harder to find

than a compatible donor

with a healthy organ 

to do a heart transplant on a dinosaur.

I’m shucking the hoods of cars like oysters

trying to find a black pearl.

I’m opening their mouths like a Nazi dentist

looking for a gold tooth.

I’m a grave-robber plundering a corpse

for body parts

like Leonardo da Vinci

because I’m poor

because I dedicated my life

to my heart and imagination

to gratitude wonder and compassion

as was the fashion when I was young

for fifteen minutes on the West Coast in the sixties.

And something’s kept me true to the meaning

of a word I just made up back then

and never gave away

like the secret name of God

and because of that

I’m now snakier than Schopenhauer in a black mood

when he set his will against his own idea

like his jaw against his mother

or a man crawling through a junkyard

thumbing the grease off fuses

like quick-pick lottery tickets that won’t fit

and didn’t win.

My knuckles anointed in blood and oil

like brutal kings in the dark ages of man

coronated like Clovis at Rouen

I shake them against the gods like mountains

for leading me here to dig up the dead

and rob them of small change

to ensure my passage back to Pizza Hut

so I can spend the day in traffic delivering pizzas

without wondering if the car’s going to turn into

Mt. Saint Helen’s or a demonic exorcism

stuck in a cult of trucks on Drummond.

I picture waterlilies on a grailquest to the stars

as I step like a rogue planet

over the dead orbits of the threadbare tires

lying like the fossils

of empty life-preservers in the mud.

If I were rich

even if I just had a modest sufficiency

I could walk right into Canadian Tire

and buy the fucking part outright

like a real man

instead of enduring myself

crawling through a junkyard

like the punchline of some kind of joke I didn’t get

sixty-one years ago.

It may have been a mistake of the sixties

to liberate sex before work

but it’s still not too late

to liberate the lady at the stake

not only in bed

but from the slave-trade of the Puritans

who came here like refugee Nazis

full of imported hate

to lock us in the stocks of oxen jobs.

By God if she still exists anywhere

out there among the exiles outlaws and heretics

heads are going to roll

for the peace-crimes of the cultural memes

that have turned the human soul

from a labour of passion

into a nightshift of clones and trolls

working overtime on a toll-bridge into Jerusalem.

We’re all born into the light like mystic winners

but the profit margins of hell

compel us to live like sunspots and sinners.

And I can remember when

I was the golden boy

of whom great things were expected

by all the right people

for all the wrong reasons

and all I had to do

was rat on my own eyes

for seeing the things they kept hid

from a poor kid

if I wanted to improve my address

and make my threshold a rung on their ladder.

I didn’t fall from paradise.

I wasn’t pushed.

I didn’t stumble.

I didn’t commit suicide.

I jumped toward earth

like the kissing-stone of the Kaaba.

An alchemical meteorite of anti-matter

I threw my philosopher’s stone

through their projection of me in the mirror

and quickly turned all that gold

back into this base metal lead

and then walked away

from the periodic table altogether

to be true to my own elemental nature

even if that meant belonging to another universe.

I came to understand that existence is a mixed drink

two worlds in creative collusion

like galaxies pouring into a blackhole

and that the dark energy dark matter dark flow

in a five to one ratio

was mingled in my blood

like stars and ink and wine

that bloomed in my mind

like an eclipse of the black sun at midnight

crossing the nadir of enlightenment

like an unmapped constellation with eyes of its own

that couldn’t see where I was going.

I wasn’t the knower.

I was the knowing.

I wasn’t the flower

I was the flowing

of one branch into another

of one mindstream into another

like the arboreal reachs of the rivers of earth

all from the same drop of water that gave them birth

all from the same fractal of sand

that replicated death like a pyramid

in the image of what it was made of.

I came to understand

that there was nothing to be afraid of

because everything in existence and out

wasn’t created

it’s creative

and that’s the one sublime insubstantial dynamic

that makes me a human

making myself up as I go along

without beginning or end

not the singer

not the song

but singing just the same.

I was that extremity of chaos

that shows up like a stranger 

in the conditioned consciousness

of an intimate candleflame

you can’t get off your brain

like a moth or a thought

or an unknown bird in a black walnut tree

saying its name out loud to the stars

summoning its own echoes back

to their original voice

like music out of its own solitude.

Even here in the cemetery silence

of Kelford’s junkyard on a Sunday

where the trout lilies are blooming

through the windows of cardoors

that have been shed like petals and scales

and there’s a large black dog

rolling in blue flowers

growing in the shade of a rusty tractor

and my life seems no more

than bad advice

in a mad capitalist enterprise run amok

like a carcinogenic beserker

through the front lines

of an outmoded immunity.

Even here

where the buffalo are still slaughtered

for rubber and iron 

as the conventional weapons of my anger

grow into the nuclear rage

of an age looking for regeneration

like me for a relay switch in Kelford’s junkyard

out of the seeds of its own destruction.

Even here among the plundered cadavers

of these disemboweled vehicles

whose journeys ended like organ donors

who took asylum in a morgue

like the cattle of the sun

in a mythic midnight abbatoir.

Even here despising my life

as I do for the moment

like a sign of the times

that makes heretics out of humans

and binds diamonds to a life of coal

I can feel life emerging in me creatively

like something out of nothing

that is always full

even when the bright vacancy

of a sentient lucidity 

is blinded by its own dark abundance

like a star eclipsed by the sun

as if God were trying to hide from herself

to look for herself in fun

by putting her hands up to her eyes

and counting to forever and forever and forever.

And whatever

the urgency crisis emergency or catastrophe

I’m trying to run from like my own shadow

to evade some apocalypse

like rad fluid throwing up like a drunk

all over the overheated radiator of a seized engine

I won’t be riding away like a cowboy into the sunset

or the pizza delivery dude at Pizza Hut

because I can’t find the missing link

in the genetic code of the microchip

in a relay switch

that’s going to make my fan turn

like a beached starfish

or a dead sunflower

that’s run out of light to follow

like the law of the golden square

into a free-wheeling galaxy

that’s going to keep

the black holes

in my cracked engine block

cool for very long.

Even here now just as wretched as I am

I can still feel the wind

jinxing the pinwheel

of a life I sometimes curse

turning me around

like a synchronous happening

in a charged particle field

unpredictably reversing my spin

as I breathe myself out and in

upon the waters of the abyss

that’s always threatening

to drown me in a vast impersonal space

for making waves in a universe

that has transformatively come to think and feel  

its long dark strange radiant way

into people like us

living dangerously on the brink of the world

as if the only threshold we’ve ever known

were the one false step

on the edge of this heady precipice

we call home.