Friday, July 2, 2010




And it isn’t as if I don’t miss you

it’s just that I realize

you’re not that person anymore

and neither am I.

People and things

grow away from each other

like stars in an expanding universe.

Their light might linger like a memory

but by the time it gets here

they’ve moved off into a different space

like waterbirds that leave no trace

of who we are now.

But we’re mingled in each other

like the nameless water

we took from the river

and gave back to the mindstream

that flows on forever

like stars and lovers and leaves.

I can still taste your valleys

even this high in the mountains

where even the echoes of things

are afraid of the heights

and hear your laughter

and the words you said to me

like nightbirds in the mouths

of lunar fountains

when no one else was listening.

I have gone on living with you

long after we left

for hearts unknown

as if gold still marrowed the bone

and the dead branch blossomed.

The breath within my breath.

The voice within my voice.

The  death within my death.

I can only see you on the inside now

but what has past

has as much creative potential

as the present

and I’ve watched you grow

as I have

into someone

as intimately inconceivable

as this world I find myself in

searching for something

that never shows up in a mirror

that can make me give up looking.  

Strangers to each other before we met

and what we knew of each other

by the time we left

stranger yet

how can I look upon

who we were to each other with regret

as if life had squandered an alternative ending?

Love might be

a heart-rending mind-bending bitch sometimes

guilty of war-crimes

and iron-willed truth

more of a truce with rust

than an oath of saint’s blood

sworn on a righteous sword

in a crusade of the word

against a forked tongue

but when has love ever not been

a lie you can trust

to lead you away from doubt

faster than thought can keep up with the universe

that keeps us guessing

whether it’s a curse or a blessing?

What gets better?

What gets worse?

And it’s an unholy obsession

to read a loveletter

as if it were the letter of the law on the make.

I wrote mine to you in fireflies

inspired by the muse of a snake

that struck me like lightning

with one fang

and healed me like a man

who could see again

with the other.

I treat yours like butterflies

I dare not touch

for fear of damaging their wings.

So I open their envelopes like flowers

and let them come and go as they wish

like earthly pilgrims on a divine wind

that has returned from an incredible distance

with news of the sinking of the Mongol fleet

by a hurricane-rose.

But I don’t embellish my defeat

or relish my victory

as if I lay at your feet

and you lay at mine.

I don’t stand long at the intersection

of a peace sign

where three roads meet

and take the one less traveled by

at a suggestion of the wind

as if it were a Road of Ghosts

and anyone who walked it

were walking away.

I whip the dust at my heels

into a gust of stars

that spins like a Sufi

bound to oblivion

like a shepherd moon

that’s just found its true direction

and freewheeling on my own thermals

like a red-tailed hawk on an August afternoon

or Messier 33

or a double helix

I let the road

that’s never left home

tag along with me as you do

all the way around the bend

of the known universe and beyond.

The red and black threads

of life and death

of passion and its passing

that bind us to one another

like rivers and roots and lightning

like the thorn to the rose

or horns on the moon

or two snakes copulating in the grass

like fire on the water

are not the kind of lifelines

that can be cut short

by fate and circumstance

anymore than you can wound

and separate water with a sword.

Water is its own physician

and heals itself

like a wound

that knows how to keep its mouth shut

when it’s drowning.

And fire is an old prophet

that sees better when its blind.

Two words for the same thing

like water and wave

come to the same sum

so nothing’s ever missing.

I loved you like time loves space

like absence loves

the nearness of things

in a loved one’s face

like an apple loves the ripening.

Like opposites engendered out of their union

love the continuum of knowing

no matter what direction they take

they’re headed back they way they came

like light out of the darkness

like the cosmos out of chaos.

But it isn’t as if

sincerity were born of falsehood

like a waterlily from decay

or the bad fell out of love with the good.

If you could only know

how many nights

I have spent thinking of you

down on my knees on the floor

looking for the skulls and moons

that have slipped from my spine

like beads from the broken rosary

of a cult that never caught on

or how many starless nights

I had to give up looking for my eyes

because of a lack of light

before the first gnostic firefly

showed up like a mystic insight

into a blackhole in the heart of the night

with a halo and a horn

that were both as true

as I was to you

and you were to me

or a knife is to its latest victim

or dark matter born of its own lucidity

to shape a new universe

out of everything that’s missing

until something comes alive that can see

it’s not the eyes that make the seeing

anymore than two lies make one truth

or two nothings make one being.

But the butterfly doesn’t make its debut

dressed in the jewels of the worm

it came from

like a loveletter out of a cocoon

when it opens its wings to let them dry

like the pages of a book

somebody’s been crying on.

Every moment of our lives is as true

as any other

even in the way they’re sometimes not.

And you may be long gone from here

but what’s far

is just the other eye of what’s near.

And though it was lightyears ago

that I loved you like a star

that was always a night shy of shining

like something you kept back

like the vagrant secret

in the flagrant heart

of a black rose

that only bloomed at night

I want you to know though it’s late

and my vision of life

is shedding its eyelids like the moon

to see better in the dark

by turning out the lights

like the small windows

in the houses of the fireflies

that could never keep their zodiacs in line

I could never separate space from time

and it’s always been you

that comes like a grape to a dead vine

or a constellation to the meaning of a firesign

rising from its ashes

with no exit in mind

that could ever find a way out.

The past of tomorrow

is the future of yesterday

and they’re both happening now.

Three waves of water.

Three petals of the same blooming

that goes on forever

like all the birds it takes

to make a feather.

And though there may be infinite room

in one mouth

for many words

and the eye can go on

gathering flowers and stars forever

without dropping one

the only way to say

what can’t be said

is to let it say you

so you don’t know

who’s playing the picture-music

though it sounds a lot like you

except the notes are true

to a theme that can’t be heard

except by a nightbird

that cries out in its solitude

like the first and last words

of the same voice in the dark

that calls to you

I am more inspired

by what I don’t understand

than I am by what I thought I understood

about how dangerous it was to be good

in a bad neighourhood in hell

that didn’t know how to defend itself

against thieves that returned their innocence

and generosity was looked upon as a bully

and any kind of compassion was acclaimed a coward.

But even through these broken windows

in the worst hours

when the heart was bruised

like the skull of the moon

and it wasn’t the solitude

it wasn’t the loneliness

that came to remind us

you can’t stare into the abyss for long

and expect to see stars at the bottom of the well

as your eyes are turning to stone

at the sight of your snakey reflection.

Sometimes it takes a lot of night

not to be blinded by the shining

like a star in daylight.

And I remember trying to deepen

the negative space

to coax the stars out of hiding

but nothing seemed to work.

And what gods didn’t we try on

like the stars and weather

to see if they could fit

the world we were living in like skin

with enough room inside to hide us

from what was most human about us

when we stepped out into the open?

The fame of a good name

that lives up to its legend

like a spontaneous myth of origin

is wine

compared to the vinegar of celebrity

that spells it out like bitter gossip

that’s run its course

like spit

from lip to lip

then sells it out as a farce.

I may have fallen upon

hard cold times

like a Martian meteorite

trying to put down roots in Antarctica

like a refugee’s last chance at survival

but that hasn’t changed my point of view.

I still look up to you

like a sad mad intoxicated fire

looks up at a constellation

on a long lonely desert night

and sees that it’s still just as beautiful

as the first time it bloomed in the flames

like the flower of a story I once knew

where all the lies come true

like lovers in chains

and unknown heros

that can’t put a face to their names.