Saturday, October 23, 2010




The tragic bliss of having loved you

like a lost generation.

The farcical sorrow

of the one that was found

like the other shoe

of a crystal slipper that didn’t fit.

What was lost?

What was recovered?

Nothing’s lost until it asks where it’s going.

I was in love with the knower.

But you loved the knowing.

Everything was as it was.

Only the perishable growing.

Only the stars to clarify oblivion.

Only you telling me

like a leftover voice in my head

that’s been gathering dust in the attic

it’s one thing to do what you want to do

it’s another to do what you must.

It was only then

that I really understood your helplessness.

How weak you were.

How deeply enslaved you were

to adding a new link every day

to lengthen your chains

as a way of earning your freedom.

How far down the road did you get?

I haven’t gone anywhere since.

I let things come to me

so nothing’s ever the same anyway

whether I stay or go.

It’s still the same river

you can’t step into twice.

It’s still the same mindstream

watching the world flow by

like a starmap of fireflies high overhead.

I’ve got wounds that never wear the same scars twice

and get hurt worse

when they realize how rare it is

that a young scar ever listens to an old wound’s advice. 

I watch the moon slash her wrists over and over again

on her first and last crescents

and the shadows bleed out of me

across the seabeds of dead oceans

where the bride of suicides

trails her gown of seafoam

on the tides of adolescents

that never made it to shore.

I could never see life as intolerable

except as a form of self-disgust

however brutal it was

watching the seagulls swoop down on the baby turtles.

You changed like seasons of paint.

You wiped the moon off the window.

You disowned all your doors

as the whores of a saint

and rolled a stone back over your womb.

From now on things would be immaculate.

God would come down

and help you clean up your room like a desert.

Thorns for the main course.

And roses for dessert.

I tried to free you from your glass rapture

with lifelines of black lightning

that would thaw your chandeliers

and shatter the eyes in your face

like glaciers in an ice age

but you wanted to live forever

in a cold crevice of eternity

like a wooly Mammoth in an ice palace

with a thirty five thousand year old afterlife.

You felt a shift in the north pole

and followed your inclination

to fix everything in its place.

You found religion.

You found grace.

You made time stop

but you only widened the space between us.

That’s when I left the Sahara to its hermits

and what little water I had left

to the mirage of my wife

to look for something green

and obscene with life.



















My secret place down by the Tay River.

I deer-bed down among the atumn grasses

and last of the New England asters

half-lotus in cowboy boots

with a clear view of the stars

dancing on the water.

The waterlilies have perished.


And the moon at last crescent.

No one knows I’m here but me.

I’ve never come here with another.

A place where I talk to the universe alone

as if it existed

more personally

than the mere immensity

of a cosmic intelligence

super-saturating time and space.

Belief’s a bad habit of mine

and sometimes I want to be deceived

into believing someone’s listening

even when I know they aren’t

and that the worst always happens for the best

even though I know it doesn’t.

The sky’s a windowpane I can fly through

without breaking my neck on delusions

and the moon feels like a cool poultice on a hot wound.

I watch a spider repair its dreamcatcher

and say good luck.

And the stars don’t really give a damn

how they shine deep in my dark inner spaces.

Everything is so perfectly entranced with being itself

I wonder what it is about a human

that has to take time out like me

to reconsider what I’m doing here

wandering around on the earth

without any certain purpose

other than the ones I make up like poems

to spin bedtime stories out of my nightmares.

A birch leans out over the water

like a woman washing her hair in the river

and I sense there’s an inevitability about a tree

that isn’t like me.

I can’t find a fixed reality

to be in harmony with.

I have no doubt the rocks along the shore are getting it right

but with me conciousness is a light

that contradicts its own clarity

the moment it reveals itself.

There is no path to follow

no way to flow

no aspiration to fulfill

that isn’t pure folly.

Or just another way of running out of myself

like sand in an hourglass

piling up pyramids

until I’ve exhausted myself like Sisyphus

rolling stones uphill.

And then I’m overturned like an empty shotglass

to begin again

or just sit here by the river like an amphibian

and let the universe do what it wants to my brain

without assuming it wants to do anything

or that the damage hasn’t already been done.

A new way to be partially whole!

Flesh and blood with a mineral soul!

Prophetic tents full of snakeoil salesmen.

But I’ve never been tempted

by things I couldn’t give my heart to

and the curse of spiritual valium

is the same as it is on earth.

The withdrawal is as dangerous

as following the addiction

all the way through

to the emergency ward in heaven

that handed out the prescription in the first place.

It isn’t the soul of a butterfly I see

when I look the money-maggots in the mouth.

I’m not praying for an afterlife that’s worthy of me

as if anyone knew what that amounts to.

What would you suggest

for an agony of snakes in a bag of skin

that’s got nine holes in it?

The tears I’ve wept for the world

have all turned into serpents.

The tears I’ve wept for myself

watered the roots of a mirage

in a desert where the stars burn your eyes like sand

and turn your blood to glass.

I wonder if the birch knows

what’s passing it by.

If the river is its mindstream.

And then it comes to me

like a message in a bottle.

Maybe my sole purpose on earth is passage.

Maybe I’m just time looking for a reason for itself

to go on like a season that’s known by the way it changes

by always being estranged from itself.

Maybe I’m the more-than-me I can’t conceive of.

Maybe all these things seem self-possessed in their tranquility

because I’m a mess.

Maybe my being as fucked-up as I am

helps get them through it

and all my pain and turbulence

all my preposterous longings

to be well-meaning and beautiful

all the black elixirs of the ruthless mystery

I’ve drunk from my own skull

held up to the gods

like the begging bowl of the moon

when it’s full

just to see if the darkness tastes of light

the way a lump of coal foreshadows diamonds to come

after aeons of excruciating transformations

and if there’s more room for chaos on a calendar

than there is space in the scheme of things for thought.

But there I go again.

You see what I mean?

Fish jumping out of the stream at the stars

that lure them up out of their depths

like low-flying insects

to take one great leap into a new medium

out of themselves

like an arrow through the back of a bullseye of ripples

it didn’t know it was aiming at.

But things are getting too elaborate

and at this rate I’ll soon be speaking in voices

like some right-brained polyglot in a rapture of saying

going on like the Rosetta Stone

as if I weren’t sitting here alone

like the misbegotten seventh son of zero

trying to come to terms

with a formless reality

I keep stubbing my heart on.


Great wisdom for the further shore.

Gone! Gone! Gone!

Completely gone beyond.

Isn’t that what the Buddha said

in his secret place

when he went out of his head

trying to stare the world in the face

and all he could see was Venus in the dawn?

Desire and its afterbirth

at the beginning of nothing at all?

An insight into what’s unearthly about the eternal

or just the way the light’s bent by an atmosphere?

To those who can’t let go of things

and to those who cling to letting go

impermanence is suffering

and the only way to cure that

is to pour yourself out upon the earth

like the bitter cup of the moon

when she’s had enough of herself

and find peace

in the sweet potential of your emptiness

to be filled up again.

To sit here in a secret place

like I do

tangled in my human roots 

with waterlilies on my brain

strung out all the way from earth to Venus

like a chain of thought

severed in the distant past

we had resolved would never come between us.

Where is the peace?

Where does that flower bloom

that’s rooted in blood and starmud

if not in the solitude of a human heart

that’s wandered this far from home

along the shores of its longing to return?

Why does my heart argue

against the will of the world

like a salmon swimming upstream

on the downslope of a cosmic mountain?

I’m not trying to scheme my way out of

my dream of this

like someone who turns his back on his eyes.

I’m sick of lies.

I’m sick of universal truths.

I’m sick of how blithely everything obliges death

with every second breath.

I’m sick of the grailquest.

I’m sick of the hypocritical crusades.

I’m sick of Aztecs and Christians

with the blood of gods and children on their lips.

I’m sick of atheists who claim its lipstick.

The lightbulb in the well on the moon

to keep the water from freezing up

has gone out

and I’m sick of the way things don’t flow anymore

like a tide in a sea of shadows

like the road of ghosts

through the cold dark vacant interstellar spaces

of an enlightened lunatic with a creative abyss for a heart.

I’m sick of the bitter black ghost bread of my art

that tastes like the futility of burnt paper.

I’m sick of trying to understand

what isn’t understandable

about my own and human nature.

I’m sick of all these long incommensurable interminable questions

I’ve walked all the way to the end of time and again

only to return with an ambiguous answer

that’s rarely communicable through form.

In all humility

take the low place like the sea

and the sewage of the world runs down into me.

Take the high like the open sky

and the mountain turns into a mudslide.

The best is to be here right now as I am

with all my dilemmas answers contradictions insights questions and aspirations

all the paradoxical sorrows that have come

of my physical assurance that life is joy

and ultimate unity is bliss

without the oxymorons

and love’s a deeper insight into life than death

if only by a breath

and though why we’re here in the first place

is anyone’s good guess

intelligence is not the anti-Christ of chaos

but the genius of dark matter becoming aware of itself

like a hidden secret that wished to be known.

What is dark will appear light

if you surround it with something darker

like a star shining in daylight

no one notices

until the night reveals it.

The best is to be here right now as I am.






































like the mirror in a reflecting telescope