Wednesday, August 4, 2010




I like a lot of solitude with my freedom.

I don’t like my liberty cramped.

I don’t want to be exiled from my past

or summoned to my future.

If there are longings

let them find their own fulfillment

like rivers flowing to the sea.

If there is darkness

let it come to light

and may the fireflies

and the emerging stars

jolt you into lucidity and life

as deeply as the lightning bolt

of an insight

that doesn’t leave scars.

The rarity of a few brief moments of clarity

has always made more

of an impression upon me

than a lifetime of dreams

and whenever I’ve come

to a trine in the road I’m on

pointing the way out to a wave on the ocean

I’ve always chosen the middle of three extremes

and chosen feet

over fins and wings

and walked on as if I knew where I was going.

To see things as they are

isn’t to rob them

of the strange beauty

of the way they seem.

It isn’t just enlightenment

that lays the moon

cooly on your forehead

in a fever of life.

Your illusions

are creators and healers too

engines and instigators

of what makes you you.

Trapped in the mirage of a burning house.

You’d need a mirage of water to put it out.

Real water wouldn’t work.

Sometimes it takes a lie

to expose a lie to the truth.

Anything that heals is true.

And anything that wounds is not.

Salvation can wait until we’re dead.

What the world needs now is rescue.

That’s why my heart drifts with the current

like a lifeboat

that’s been emptied of everything

including myself and my name

to make more room for people to get in. 

And if they’re out here with me alone

out of sight of land or hope or human

I teach them to swim through the great nightsea

like the stone of the moon

thrown through a window of water

to keep the lucidity of the child inside

from going out like the afterthought

of something mad and beautiful

that died in old age.

It took a fool to enlighten the fool

who became the sage.

It takes a lot of suffering

to look look deeply

into the heart of joy

and not feel saddened

by the way I disappointed the boy in me

by not finding an easier way to be happy.












Distempered by the vicious world

murdering its own in the name

of corrupt corporations

and cannibalistic governments

drilling for oil in the dark eyes

of carboniferous children

who haemorage just like heavy crude

when they come up like flowers

I stop by the side of the road

halfway between Bolingbroke and Maberly

just before midnight

and look up at the stars

as I always have since I was young

to escape the garbage-can of the neighbourhood

I was raised in looking for food.

The Milky Way unspools across the sky

as if millions upon millions of stars

were merely smoke.

And how far the eye can see

and how big the mind must be

to contain all that

in the glance of a passing thought.

No star has ever failed to astonish me

whether I’ve seen them all at once

or one by one

peeking through the clouds

to see what they’re missing.

They’ve always been

the alpha and omega of wonder to me

apocalyptic amazement

that I should exist to see them

just as they are without meaning anything

shining out of the darkness

like broken mirrors

or the quaking chandeliers

of ballroom fireflies

waltzing through space

to the music of celestial laws

that try to speak for the silence

speak for the stillness of it all.

Just to stand here on earth

a solitary human being

at the end of a long lineage of suffering

that stretchs all the way back to

Pithecanthropus Africanensis Gracile

scavenging bones for marrow

with a stone tool

when the leopard sank its fangs into her skull

three million years ago

when things weren’t as dangerous

as they are today.

Just to stand here

at the momentary peak

of a bell-curve of refutable intelligence

and feel the mystery

of the orange half-moon when its rising

and embody the vastness of time

with every breath I take

knowing I’m going to die

without any real answer as to why

that isn’t either a compassionate guess

or a venal lie.

And I may be nothing more

than the latest adaptation

of my ancestral hominids

to try and discern some purpose in it all

they could make their own

to stop the suffering

and the depth of the brutality

that must be endured

by random chance

or deliberate policy

when the world loses its personality

and the mountain of skulls I’m standing on

like King of the Hill

turns into a bodycount

of all the creatures and quasi-humans

and the unfathomable depths of unknown agony

of all the races they gave birth to.

How many had to die for me to be here now

this very moment like an empty lifeboat

lost on a great nightsea of awareness

ingathered from the mindstreams and rivers

of their genetic traces?

Antares brews its red venom

in the heart of Scorpio

and what the Ojibway call

the Road of Ghosts

smudges the Summer Triangle

like chalkdust on a blackboard.

And I want to cry out to all the men and women

all the unknown life forms

that were born and suffered and perished

for this view of the present

on the ledge of this shaky precipice

that is the growing edge of intelligence

in one long scream of assent

yes yes yes yes

we made it out of the basement

by standing on your shoulders

to squeeze through a window outside

only to discover there was no roof

on this house of life

to take shelter from the storms

that still torment us.

You thought the vernal equinox

was magical proof

encircled by rocks

things would be born again

like the eternal recurrence

of paleolithic clocks.

I see the ecliptic intersecting

the celestial equator at the equinoctial colure

like ripples of rain within rain

along the thin plane of the halo

that surrounds the solar system.

Everything’s still turning

as it always has

but we’ve secularized time

by breaking the circle

and turning it into a straight line

that doesn’t go on forever.

So it’s anyone’s bet

if I’ll ever be back again.

Matter never wears the same brain twice.

I have deepened my ignorance

in the expansive unknowability of space

like a star that got so far ahead of itself

the future lost touch with yesterday

and the present hasn’t left a forwarding address.

I want to scream out yes

like one long blood-banner of victory

we’re not the fools we used to be

when we were humbled by our environment

and life looked down upon us divinely

without resentment

and practised barbarities

on our flesh and our hearts so inconceivable

we had to turn the drastic into the tragic

just to make our suffering believable

even to ourselves.

As flies to wanton boys

are we to the gods.

They kill us for their sport.

But that’s not wholly true anymore

since we cleared the boards

of false idols and savage superstitions

like bad actors

and nature abhorring a vacuum

filled the emptiness with ourselves

as you once did when Africa

walked all the way to Australia

hugging the coasts of alien continents

seventy thousand years ago.

War disease climate-change famine poverty

now we afflict ourselves upon each other

and though we’ve stopped

shaking our fist at the sky

for what ails and fails us

we still shake it in each other’s face

with a ferocity

the unindictable gods never knew

because the worst atrocities take place

inside a family

and the deepest hatreds

are always the ones that love you the best.

Stars can you hear me?

Do you know I’m here at all?

Can you tell by the way the sun wobbles

and the lightbulb is dimmed by the transit

of a shadow of a speck of dirt

I’m here standing on this planet of skulls

trying to pull my heart up by the roots

to show you where I came from

and what we made of the starmud

we rose up out of

on our dendritic way

to taste its bitter fruits?

But all I can hear is the wind in the cedars saying:

Poor dumb brute beast human.

Where is the Ariel to your Caliban?

It isn’t the star.

It’s the darkness that flowers.

The stream is crammed with waterlilies.

It isn’t the blossom.

It’s the root that has powers to heal

its own passing.

And it’s all yours

without asking.

And I’m almost brought to tears

by the loveliness of the thought

as if a white-tailed doe

just stepped out of the woods

into the moonlight

but the rock of my heart

has been flintknapped

into the Clovis point

of a ballistic missile

I keep buried underground

waiting for the present

to catch up to the past

like a Mayan calendar

that could read the writing on the wall

but didn’t live long enough

to know whether it was true or not.

If you give it some thought

it’s easy to see

how we’ve changed

since we came down out of the trees.

Evolution isn’t a tree anymore for one thing.

It’s more like a shrub.

And apocalypse isn’t

so much the fulfillment of a prophecy

worthy of its end

as it is an ambush

at every bend in the river

by an old friend

straight as an arrowhead

that’s been chipped from the moon

in phases and flakes

and tipped in sorrow

and buried deep in our hearts

to be dug up

thousands of years from now

by those of us who have lived

our way into the future

like yesterday lives its way into tomorrow.

The peduncle is lost in the ensuing phylum.

But the glassy-eyed telescopes

are still stargazing

like high hopes on meds

in a cosmic asylum

that’s trying to establish

some order of madness

like the straitjacket

of a unified field theory

that comes in one size

that fits all.

Homo erectus looked at the moon

and might have seen a stone ax.

I watch it go from orange

to yellow to ivory white

as it rises through

a series of atmospheric effects

like the bare facts with no surprises.

There’s no mystery

in the bleached bones of history

that have washed themselves clean of us

to reveal who we were

like a waterclock of incarnations

that kept filling the future up

like empty cups

like empty hearts

like empty moons

with the blood of all

the lonely wounded creatures

that have struggled and died to get as far as now

and the unlikelihood of me and the stars

and the small animals hidden in the woods

existing without knowing why.