LIFE’S A GENIUS
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.