Monday, June 7, 2010




Before they turn space into real estate

and someone copyrights the seventeenth century

why shouldn’t I wander through the wide open spaces

of my own mind like a savage mystic alone with the moon

who keeps a place for me in a lonely locket of water.

If I drink from my own skull

down to the lees

of my homely archaeological remains

when I lived on posts

beside interglacial mountain lakes

like a spider that taught its webs to fish

thousands of years ago

what’s it to anyone

that I get homesick now and again

for a less contractual kind of pain

that I haven’t felt since nineteen sixty-six

than that inflicted by these corporate wasps

who lay their eggs

like logos on your forehead

to eat through your brain

as if you were always the host

and they were always the guest

and whatever was said

whatever was written

whatever was thought and believed

whatever you could feel

without ever reaching bottom

whatever you acted upon

whatever you were ready to live or die for

were just a way of holding your fork?

The polyp glued into the Great Barrier Reef

always thinks the fish is mad

to risk so much

to swim freely away as it wants

to explore the life of the sea

that gives birth to its own water.

If I’m a man rooted in my homelessness

like a face turned toward time

what crime could it be

to crawl out of my straitjacket

like a dragon-fly with a coat of arms

and tilt at windmills

in a crusade against the wind

where I’m always the champion of the infidels

who gets blown away by Saladin

at the gates of Jerusalem?

Let the lackeys of common sense

lick their block of salt

like dairy cows

in a close-cropped field

on their side of the fence.

I don’t look for tits on the Milky Way.

There’s a place in the world for potted plants

but as often as not

I’m off like a weed that no one wants

hanging around their windowsills

or plotting conspiracies of new life

that upsets their view of the garden.

So I keep to myself

in out of the way places

high above the timberline

of the world mountain

I’ve shrugged off my shoulders

like boulders of an avalanche

and howl at the moon alone

in the lucidity of my solitude.

And when I want to shine like a star

I take off my myths of origin

and walk out into the open

as skinless as they are

and just let things grow their own way

like hydrogen and helium

into anything they want to be.

Let the winners and losers

put rungs on a ladder of water

or argue over their place in the periodic table

about who sits above and below the salt

like Carthage and Rome

or carbon and silicon.

I’ve got a constellation of my own

that never wears the same myth twice.

I’ve got a muse that’s immune to advice

on the dangers of inspiration.

When she isn’t playing with me like fire

she’s an urgent intensity of radiation

that burns blackholes in my will to live.

Sometimes my eyes aren’t brave enough

to look upon

what she keeps hidden from the light

as I pass her dark window

like a stranger into the night

unenlightened by his own seeing

knowing his metaphors won’t last any longer

than the untimely fireflies of the last generation

that thought they saw her ghost.

But she’s not wired like a doorbell to a bride.

When you push her buttons

she’ll leave you standing in the doorway

not knowing if you’ve arrived on her threshold

like junkmail with a return address

or return to sender

scrawled across the envelope

of the last loveletter

you wrote to her in your blood

like lipstick on the mirror of a famous suicide.

She’s the kind of door

you’ve got to knock on from the inside.

















Don’t know what to ask for anymore.

Live in a house so big

it doesn’t need a front or back door.

Not all gifts were meant for someone else

and I’ve been given a few along the way

that had my name on them.

And though I opened them

with the delight of a child

and peered astonished into the box

at things I never realized were true

the more I understood they were not mine.

They didn’t belong to anybody.

The drunkeness was mine

but not the wine.

Listening to the rain

strike the plectra of the new leaves

on the black walnut tree

as if I had lived in vain all these years

and I’m just now beginning to acknowledge it.

In the locket of the rock

a cherished fossil

not the magic sword

that once lay between me

and what I loved

to teach my passion obedience

as I waited for signs of things to come.

Some did.

Some didn’t.

Moonlight and lime.

Many stayed hidden most of the time

but a few stepped out of the night

like the firefly beginnings of new universes

or the first drafts of constellations

that went up like the frames

of new houses

in the ghettos of a zodiac

that avoided animal names

like people who wear fur.

That was way back before

this was then

and now wasn’t the waste

of an unbelievable godsend.

But that’s just the way it appears

now here for the moment.

If you’re ruled by your mind

you want to be enlightened.

If you’re ruled by your heart

you want to be blessed.

When one’s the host

the other’s the guest.

The mind bows to the heart

with feeling

and the heart says something revealing.

When has it ever been different?

The paint’s not trying to hide the picture from you.

The marble’s not harbouring some secret form.

The water feels the same in a dewdrop

as it does in a storm.

Yesterday’s radical.

Today’s norm.

The going gets on without knowing

whether it’s a truth without effect

or a first cause lying through its teeth.

The poor man struggles

to be liberated from poverty.

The rich man prays for a thief.

The bright and the dark side of the moon.

Two faces of the same grief.

One asks for everything.

The other asks for more.

One is always missing something.

And the other lives in a big house

without a front or a back door.