Friday, October 15, 2010




Apocalyptic hysteria of an endangered species

that’s run out of reasons for being.

The boy cries wolf.

The profiteers are scaring the chicken littles

into tea parties

like lifeboats in Boston harbour

sent out to rescue the vote

that doesn’t float

or carry the floor

when the sky’s falling in

and it’s the sharks that win

not the people.

Here comes that Nazi spawn again.

Here comes that millenial freakshow

that rants like a neo-Puritan

God just let out of the asylum

who stands against

gays Hispanics civil rights evolution

a woman’s right to choose

Muslims the minimum wage

education social security and medicine

and anyone who denies him the freedom

to carry guns in the classroom.

Most of us have evolved

from a small fish in the Cambrian explosion

that beaded vertebrae along a spinal cord

until it could walk upright like us

but his is a stake

that smells of burning flesh in Salem.

God I hate these black bitter voices

that keep cutting the heart

out of my words

like Aztecs

slaking the bloodthirst

of their cannibal gods

on top of their astronomical towers

in exchange for a cosmic power base.

I should be writing about

how much more beautiful the flowers are

at the end of autumn.

New England asters

and the odd delinquent rose

blooming like a tender afterthought

of what’s gone south

with the souls of the dead

in the urns of the Canada geese.

I should be at peace with the world

that’s eating me from the inside out.

At sixty-two

I should be wise and aloof and amused.

You’d think a man my age

should have turned the page by now

like a calendar

where all the full moons

have gone mad

and time is out of the picture

and space is out of its mind

like the rerun of an old double feature

that leaves you in doubt

if you really killed off 

the creature from the dark lagoon

or if it’s just waiting for a sequel.

Look how the flaming maples

burn from green

to yellow to orange to red

from the inside out

like a rainbow

like a sunset

like the phoenix in the sumac.

I should be throwing paintings and poems

like mystic blossoms

or a flight of black doves

on their funeral pyres

to sweeten their deaths

with stars on my breath

unspooling in the cold night air.

I should be out greeting

the new constellations

coming ashore

like a messenger that was sent ahead

like a friendly horizon

to show them the way 

into the palatial heart

of an impoverished human

looking up from the bestial floor

through a Taj Mahal of pines

at the whirling castle of Arianrod

in Corona Borealis

that stands on the headlands

of the dead Celts who went there

or the stargate in Orion

that aimed the pharoahs at their afterlife

like a gunsight on a pyramid.

I should be enraptured

by the mystic negligence

of just being me

alone in the world again

among the enlightened cast-offs

who weren’t included

in making a deathmask for the fire

that doesn’t look anything like the original.

I should have immensities on my brain

that prove my irrelevance

in the greater scheme of things

as if it were

of inestimable spiritual value

to know that.

I should be summoning the ghosts

of the humming birds

to a seance of summers

like the taste of honey and wine

in the lyrics of a leafless vine

that discovered its roots

in underground music

instead of listening

to the foreign policies

of xenophobic refugees

talking about bringing

new leadership and transparency

like Windex

to the windows of opportunity

that are open

to all of us equally

like a concentration camp

that cares about your point of view.

Abandon all hope ye who enter here.

Freedom’s out of work.

And someone’s got to pay

a scapegoat to the gods

on the altars of liberty

to give thanks

to Moloch and Mammon

the orthodox Christian way of all flesh:

gone on crusade

to beat infidels to death

in their own hometown

like Smith Falls come to Perth

like hooligans to hoodlums

with a big bloody red cross

that burns Jesus

the second time around

on the flammable crucifixes

of the pyromaniacs in the KKK

giving hate speeches

laced with lighters and flints

like Urban the Second

who forgave the worst filth

he could inspire in humans

from an infallible holy office

that was sure

with the help of God

their atrocities were pure.

The disease murdered its way

like a biblical plague on parade

all the way to Jerusalem

to wipe out the cure for itself

in the other fang of the snake

like an anti-dote to God

or compassion

charmed by reason

in the middle of an earthquake.

Horror never seems to age.

Nor the roses of blood

haemmoraging on the snow of this page.

Nature red in tooth and claw.

Maw. Maw. Maw.

There will be no peace

until the generals hearts are satisfied

and all the gains of war

are ruined by singing and dancing.

Alloys of Zen wisdom

that doesn’t carry a sword.

And I think I can do something

to change the world

with my puny little word?

I scream murder.

No one stops.

I scream injustice

and get beat up by the cops.

I say look at that

isn’t that beautiful

and people think I was born

a hundred years too late.

I say scrape something off your dinner plate

and give it to a starving kid.

If you’ve got the cure

I say give it to everyone for free.

I say put the risk back

in what you desecrate like children.

Be a real man.

Give them something to kill you with.

I say the milk of human kindness

is suckling

its own homegrown assassin

like the snake at Cleopatra’s tit.

And suicide is a big committment

I’m not prepared to make

at this juncture of my life

now I’m past the age

of dying for women

from dysfunctional families like mine.

Julaladin Rumi once wrote

if the drinking is bitter

turn yourself to wine.

But so far

all I’ve managed

is lava blood and water.

I say

I must be

a bad Sufi.

I say

the world is a bad place

with a lot of suffering

like an eternal flame

that just won’t go out

in the lamp of the human heart

hanging well out over the edge of the lifeboat

to see if it’s one of the survivors.

I’ve tried to give the light back

on the dark side of the mirror

like a face that was always turned away from me

like a life-preserver on the Titanic.

Turn a lotta sunshine baby

sweet fine thing?

I’ve tried to give it back in spades.

I’ve stood up to the schoolyard bullies

picking on my fat friend Larry Gamash

in the schoolyard

as if he didn’t have a right to be rescued.

I’ve jumped in.


Old pond.

Basho’s frog.

Fourteen year old German Jews in Auschwitz.

Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza.

Pakistan and Bangaladesh.

Victor Jara killed by Pinochet

and the Chilean junta.

Benjamin Chee Chee

hanging by his shirt

in a city jail in Ottawa

they will later turn into an arts court.

And this new holy war of one

between the haves and the have nots

trying to divide the baby like Solomon

I keep fighting within myself

knowing I’m never going to win.

The religious have as much right to sin

as a secular humanist has to commit a crime.

But we need a new word for both.

We need to give a new name to Evil.

We need to find a meme a gene a symbol

an image an icon

a new simulacrum

to designate

their extraordinary rate of growth.

We need to put a new nightshift on the truth

and work out a new logo

that forgets all about the beginning

and the word

that grew

from a little black farce

into a cosmic absurdity

that gushed

like an oil well in an hourglass at the end

of its haemmoragic output.

Turn prophecies into polls.

Turn your airmiles into lightyears

that can leave the planet.

Turn your past lives

into future shares

in a volatile market in Bagdhad.

Don’t be an anal volcano

disgorging the earth

like something that didn’t agree

with what the corporation ate yesterday.

Peace is pink.

Peace is Pepto-Bismal.

And there’s alway more

than meets the eye

in the two ply toilet-paper

the world wipes its ass with

like the Jensen high gloss

on a sixteen month wildlife calendar

where the wolf and the fox

and the lynx in the snow

don’t have a clue what year it is

but know that timing’s

the whole of the content

and there may be reasons you can’t ignore

but extinction isn’t the kind of thing

you can come prepared for.