Wednesday, September 15, 2010




for Alysia to read with her first coffee of the day


Life’s a genius.

Not a mediocrity

looking for reasons to live in the morning.

Life’s not a plan. 

It’s a spirit that doesn’t need one

whether things go right or wrong.

Life is light and water.

It delights in going everywhere at once.

Mediocrities have genius

but they don’t know how

to play with it like a child.

Their eyes peek

through knotholes in the fence

but they sacrifice their longing

on the convential altars of common-sense

and never throw the ball back over the hills

like the moon coming up

or the sun going down

without worrying about

breaking the neighbours’windows.

Life throws whole mountains around

and turns the cornerstones into quicksand

and goes down with Atlantis

only to come up again like Moby Dick

spewing stars out of its blowhole.

Mediocrity has its feet planted firmly on the ground.

It never goes anywhere it hasn’t gone before.

It’s the kind of fire

that sleeps with an extinquisher

in case things get too hot to put out.

Mediocrity shares.

But life’s the kind of genius

that gives like an apple-tree

that fully expresses itself

through infinitely more

than four seasons

no two alike

without caring if it’s of any benefit to anyone.

Mediocrity’s stunned by the blossoms.

Genius tastes the fruit.

Life’s the kind of fire

that doesn’t have a root

you can pull up and take home with you

to add to your garden

like a new word to your vocabulary.

Mediocrity spells it out.

But genius is the dream grammar

of a spiritual alphabet

that isn’t used to taking orders.

It doesn’t have twenty-six words for inspiration

like potted geraniums all in a row

and only one for freedom

it weeds out like morning glory

and dandelions

whose vagrancy threatens

to overwhelm the rest

with a longing

for the happier memories of their homelessness.

Mediocrity’s a highway lined with roadkill.

Genius is a river

that goes around

not through the hill

and though there are fleets of waterlilies all along its banks

that gather like the Spanish Armada every year

to burn the infidel irises on the far shore

back into the true church

they never set sail.

They stay anchored to the coast

like loveletters from buddhas upstream

rooted in the flowing.

Mediocrity writes a great poem.

Genius lets the poem write itself.

Mediocrity signs its own vanity.

like a work done well.

But genius doesn’t have

anything to sell

that ever belonged to anyone

in the first place.

Life is the generosity of space

that blows stars in your face

and gives you the eyes to see them.

Mediocrity confines the muses to a hareem

to compel their obedience.

Mediocrity is a great sea without any tides.

Genius sleeps with women

it never thinks of as brides

because it can feel their power

like a waterbird feels the waves

breathing like the sea beneath it

wild and profound

cannibal creators

oceans in the black rose

dripping like the blood

of enlightened virgins

from Kali the Crone Destroyer’s mouth

eating her own like the moon

as if she were life itself.

Mediocrity never includes

enough destruction in its creations

to be credible.

It goes along with the swans

like afterlives in the moonlight

but not the snapping turtles

that drag them down into the mud

like constellations brought back to earth like kites.

Mediocrity defangs the moon.

Genius flows down

its first and last crescents like blood

knowing one fang kills you

and the other heals you for good.

Mediocrity is hemmed in

by thresholds it never crosses.

It never colours outside the lines

into the negative space

of the forbidden white beyond.

It’s never gone gone gone forever gone beyond.

It’s a star with a lazy eye in an expanding universe.

It never reads the writing on the wall

between the lines

like fossils.

It’s afraid of the dark.

It fills whole galleries

with works like arks

with two of every kind

that are signed like truces

it made with its imagination

as if the imagination

ever kept its word

to anyone who was afraid of it.

Mediocrity keeps an eye on itself

like a documentary.

It comes to the right door

but it never gains entry.

It’s lost in the labyrinth

of its own fingerprints.

It leaves too much evidence

at the scene of the crime

and turns over on genius

at the drop of a dime

for getting away with everything

like the mastermind behind it all.

Mediocrity sings like a canary in a coal-mine.

Genius howls at the moon

among the mountains

high above the timberline

where she takes

her first and last crescents off

like handcuffs off an escaped convict.

Mediocrity lives

as if it’s always

making up an alibi

for something it never did.

It’s easier to lie about a sin of omission

than it is to tell the truth

as if it you weren’t signing

a celebrity confession.

Genius lives out in the open

where everything’s well hid

like a masonjar full of fireflies

without a lid.

Mediocrity hugs the shore

like a lighthouse

that’s afraid of everything

it can’t shine a light on.

Mediocrity shows you its scars.

Genius shows you the wound.

Mediocrity’s amazed

that the universe

got as far as it did on its own.

Genius walks the rest of the way alone

and doesn’t care if the path it’s on

reads like an exit or an entrance.

Mediocrity looks for acceptance.

Genius throws the audience out the window

like an old typewriter with keys missing

and all its loved ones

smiling in the front row

as if they were in on the know

and sits down by itself at the piano

and lets the silence play

whatever it wants

all night long.

Mediocrity makes a big splash

like an inert gas

in a flickering neon sign

advertising one night stands

in a cheap roadside motel.

Genius shapes space like black matter

that stays hidden

on the far side of gravity

behind the leaves

that grow on its boughs like galaxies

that wait like nests in the treetops

for the shamans babies and birds

to fill their bright vacancy

with the dark abundance

of a language older than words.

There are lyrical swords

that have mastered the art

of writing their eloquent history

in scars that pre-date cuneiform.

That’s one muse.

And when the dark mother

who gave birth

to the ten thousand things

whispered the mystery of the universe

into her own ear

she said it in stars.

That’s another.

And when you listen to the moon

as she summons her own

like lost echoes and mad shadows

to the fullness welling up inside her

she sheds her eyelids like loveletters

she’s read over and over again

out loud to the lunatics

like cracks in a dry creekbed

or a prophetic skull

waiting for rain.

She’s beauty pain and death

all rolled up into one

black rose of inspiration

she hands out

to those of us she loves

like an eclipse

without an explanation. 

Mediocrity doesn’t understand this.

Three lucidities in one black mirror

before the arising of signs

and all it’s looking for

is its likeness

in the meaning of everything.

Humans may have been created

in the image of God

but the world’s not created

in the image of humans.

It’s a lot crazier than that.

Mediocrity makes a habit of significance

to justify its eyes

to the nightwatchman in the mirrors.

Genius pulls the hat out of the rabbit

and the magician disappears.