BEFORE THEY TURN SPACE INTO REAL ESTATE
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.