Monday, November 8, 2010




I’m trying to care that you lied to me.

I thought that if you ever did

it would hit me like a tsumani

but it lies lightly on my shoulders

like a shawl of dew on the grass

that will evaporate soon.

I’m just sorry

you didn’t take

the path of least resistance

and tell me the truth.

Maybe in retrospect

you can blame it on your infamous youth

but it will sadden me

in some remote space in the future

that’s never heard of time and death and separation

where I sit alone at the end

of a rocky peninsula

and trust my thoughts

to the moon and the ocean

to remember what you did to yourself

when you pimped your emotions out to your mind.

Good-bye is such a harsh word

to use on those

who cried out for your love

and you tried to love them back. 

I doubt that even years from now

when things are more

the negative space of a silhouette

than they are the shape of a human

I’ll be able to say it and mean it.

How far and wide the leaves might travel

they’re still attached to the tree

and though I might be

a dead branch in autumn by then

I will still reach out to the full moon

like the last thing to ever blossom in me

that wasn’t eclipsed by the far side of the night

that couldn’t look into the light

without turning away.

And I imagine I’ll try to say to myself

something wise and cogent and grand as the stars

about this intimately lyrical life

I live with both feet on the ground.

How sad it was so much of the time.

How destructively creative

and how creatively mad

to live this dream of flesh and blood

for the sake of someone

I’ve never known.

And how much space it took

to wash the starmud off my face

to see that it wasn’t my own.

I let the earth take the weight

when the heaviness of life

is heavier than the weight of things.

I let the wind blow away my sorrows.

I wield a sword of water

against the titanium dragons in the mirror

knowing the soft and yielding

will overcome the hardness of my anger

and rescue the princess

chained to the rock of my heart

like that locket around her neck

with no one’s picture in it but her own.  

But I’ve always preferred to drown

in the company of sirens

who know how to sing

if I’m going to go down with the ship

named for a woman I loved

and trusted like a lifeboat on the moon.

It’s a diamond discipline of grace

I’ve honed over the years

to cut myself lose of my tears

like a river in an ice-age

that doesn’t flow anymore.

I have tried to live in such a way

that I never shamed

the wonder of being alive

by smearing it with a mirror of myself

that lied to my eyes

about what they were seeing.

I don’t know is a small religion

that encompasses everything

from the shrine of an atom

to the great temples of the galaxies.

It doesn’t try to convert deceivers into believers

It’s three and a half words of scripture

written by birds in the air at night in passing

to remind the perceivers that nothing’s lasting

but the silence beyond what they’ve heard.

The darkness that illuminates the stars.

The stillness of the perpetual motion machine

beyond the waxing and waning

the ebbing and neaping

of our lunar scars

keeping watch over our wounds

as we dream away the pain of staying alive.

I don’t know holds everyone accountable spontaneously

because it doesn’t ask anything of anyone


It makes you answer to yourself.

It doesn’t prophecy.

It doesn’t curse or bless.

It isn’t the fulfillment of anything.

It doesn’t have heretics.

It doesn’t have saints.

And yet it’s the holiest inspiration

to ever express itself as a human

looking into the nature of things

without knowing what it is

that’s looking back.

Or whether anyone can even tell

when things come to light

like stars and fireflies

far off in the intimate distance

of a limitless darkness

or a loveletter like a sail

crossing the zenith

of its own event horizon

without an adress to go back to

if life is a white lie or a black.

I don’t know is purer than mercy.

It doesn’t diminish its echoes

or raise its voice.

There’s nothing to affirm.

Nothing to deny.

It doesn’t send children to confession

like original sin

because it doesn’t know

if things start

where they begin

or if a good heart waiting

at the traffic light

for the red apple to turn green again

like an impressionist painting of innocence

is on its way out

or on its way back to Eden

like Monet in his gardens at Giverny.

But I’ve seen the waterlilies

enlightened at night by the moon

and drank real water

from mirages in a desert of stars

that longed to be taken seriously.

And I’ve seen Aquarius in love

when she pours her heart out inexhaustibly

like rain from above

on the burnt roots of dead trees

that bloom in the urns of their ashs

as if they didn’t know when to stop.

It’s the curse of courage

for someone to keep on keepin on

long after they know for sure

they’ve wasted their life on nothing

but hungry ghosts

begging for illusory bread

they could feed on for life

like real flesh and blood.

But it’s worse to put words

in a dead man’s mouth

and expect him to live up to them

like a necromantic norm of cupidity.

It’s a twitch of mystic stupidity

to talk through God

like the dummy on your knee

and believe every word he says

as if for every ventiloquist

that says she loves you

there’s a burning bush

deep in the shadlowless valleys of her thighs

that lies.

But doesn’t it take the fun out of lying

for people like you

when people like me

accept everything as true?

And it’s hard to pull the wool over someone’s eyes

like a Las Vegas of lights that blindsides the stars

by playing at love like a casino

when they can see just as well

in the dark without them

the braille constellations

that punctuate the dice

like a starmap in a snakepit

trying not to get bit twice

by the same sting

that dragged you down

into the rootless underworld

by the heel

just last spring.

You’ll come up somewhere

rooted in manure

pure as a crocus again

and just as beautiful 

I’m sure.

But try not to con the rain

or deceive yourself into believing

that the truth is just a lie in pain

you can tell to anyone

to excuse the agony of living


Just say I don’t know to everything

like I do

and all the lies come true.






















































letters to everyone in particular


              Stop chewing over other people’s ideas as if they were wads of used gum you found under the desk. Stop trying to taste the flavour of yesterday’s meaning by drinking spit from other people’s mouths as if yours had none of its own. Is the water hot or cold? Does it taste like the moon? Does it taste like the sun? Is there a hint of stars in it? Can you drink from your own reflection like the moon on the mindstream without getting drunk on yourself like Narcissus in an asylum? Or are you just another prisoner preaching liberation to the key as if it were the my way or the highway kind of enlightenment and everyone else were the lock?

              I can see you, little brother. I can look into the black apple of your heart. I can see the green star shining deep in its core like a shy embryo of who you wanted to be and haven’t become yet you’ve kept like a secret souvenir of your future lucidity whenever I cut you open into life with the mystic switch-blade of the moon. What do you think about that? Is it logical enough for you? Ah, little brother, you want to be a tiger of fire but what kind of tiger follows a map? Or trusts someone else’s nose? Hot nervous blood on the wind at night agitating the leaves. Can you smell it like a fire alarm? Are you tiger or lamb? Or just another messiah at the last supper of a judas-goat chained to the stake of your vertical threshold like a scapegoat tempting fate to crucify it with claws? Are you a real sphinx or have you turned your instincts into laws?

              I don’t mind playing Zen tennis with you once in awhile and getting off on the profound frivolity of it all. And I like to hear you laugh when you see how spiritually Chaplinesque you are in that silent movie on the dark side of the mirror that’s always on rewind. You like to be discovered in your game of hide and seek because you think everybody forgets where you were hiding and you’re amazed when someone stumbles across you naked and shivering quite by accident on their way to somewhere else. You’re sure it’s a miracle. And then you try to convert everyone else by urging them to come to your movie.

              I’m probably too hard on you most of the time but you can’t master magic by showing up at the ritual like a voodoo doll with a lack of confidence in your ability to cast a spell. But I’m not without mercy. And I know that Everyone’s a lonely place to be. I’m not into some kind of ego-game. I take no credit for lying to you so realistically about spiritual things. I can tell you I’m a window until I’m blue in the face. But you keep flying into it like a stubborn sparrow that keeps insisting it’s the sky. And that’s got to be hard on your neck. Why don’t you adjust your eyesight to what’s there instead of running around in this delusion of a holy war looking for bullets with good aim? Now have I said something healing here or have I wounded you again? Would it ease the pain if I told you I don’t go hunting unicorns with a firing squad just for the fun of it or would it only add to the mystery of the game?

              How many times have you sought me out and asked me for spiritual advice over the mystery of life having coffee? Usually you want to get some emotional atrocity off your chest you’ve either suffered or perpetrated on another. And what if I did say ok you’re just having another bad dream and wake you up? Would that make it all better? Would that heal the tormentor? Would you walk away blessed and culpable thinking you were the invisible man? Or would your chains and straightjackets find a way of wriggling out of Houdini like a snakepit? And even if you did get free what would that be but just another loophole in the rules of a negative power-base you’re trying impose on everyone who can’t see what I do?

              Dogen Zenji once said that if the medicine doesn’t make you dizzy it’s not strong enough. You imbibe the cheap highs of the little waves of your emotions because you’re afraid of the great depths of the ocean of awareness underneath you. Your knees go weak when you’re walking on water. You’re hanging everything on a lottery ticket of random luck as if it were a sign of divine providence that you could finally afford your vices. You’ve worked hard at achieving the means to corrupt yourself whenever you want to go out slumming with success. I’ve seen you humming like a bee from table to table bumming beer from the flowers by promising them you can turn their earthly nectar into a spiritual honey that tastes like money if they’ll only front you one for free. Excess outgrows the ecstasy of living and oblivion sets in like a gangrene of the senses when you overexpose them to the fire and the cold. And you can lose more than just your big toe if you don’t know by now that enough is more than enough. My mother taught me to lead my dick around not follow it like a compass needle in a magnetic storm. You come on to women like an open palm in love with itself but deep inside you’re shaking your fist in bed because you’re angry at the power women have over you. You want to be mistaken for a lightning rod instead of a weathervane but the fireflies can’t take you seriously and they know by themselves when it’s going to rain long before you can put them out.










letters to everyone in particular


            You were born with gifts you haven’t realized. There are presents under the tree you haven’t opened yet. You hide your lights and their shadows like stars in the sun at noon. Your eyes evaporate in your blazing like troubled mirrors of water. And you talk like a stagemother to yourself. You blow the ashs of your youthful charms in everybody’s face like the urns of your latest ancestors. And you long to be loved by those you’re trying to conquer until you’ve managed it. And then you quit. You finesse betrayal with a coup de grace to the heart as if love were the farcical art of a mystic Polyanna practising voodoo on a simulacrum of its desire. Some are born with silver spoons and others are born with wishbones up their ass. Or is it fortune-cookies? Regardless. It’s got to be uncomfortable. Better to be born with nothing. And let things pass. And try not to take what you’re missing out on everyone else. You can’t tease love out of hiding and you can’t approach it with stealth. You’re out in the woods at night lamplighting for deer and you’re fishing for exotic birds with illegal nets in the clear mindstream that pulls you into its moonboat on the silver hooks of words that come out of your mouth like the lures of a fly fisherman who’s just caught the prophet in the belly of Leviathan lying to himself again about what he’s running from. But one mile west is one mile east and everywhere you go it’s the same place.

              Why ask anyone the meaning of life when you already suspect the meaning is you but you’re too upstaged by the truth to admit it? And don’t wimp out around me talking about suicide as if you were clocked by death when in fact you’re balked by life like a boy with his nose up against a candystore window feeling deprived of his longing. And don’t tell me you’re on a grailquest with Gilgamesh pearldiving for the moon in the corals like a snakeproof herb of healing when all you’re really doing is looking for the next tit to suckle you with feeling.

              But I know you can shine. I know you’ve got light in there somewhere deep in the ore of the night that wants to get out like gold. And when you’re saddest. When there’s no one around to know how disappointed you are in yourself like a penny-wish in a well that didn’t come true. I see your true genius for compassion master you as if death were a lighter burden to bear than the life of one who cares that people are so deeply wounded by their own mental snares. Yourself included. And me too. And that fool over there in the corner trying to live through himself by regretting who he is when he compares himself to others that are just as unfortunate as him.

              Divine gifts come in earthly wrappings because we’re human with features of fire and water and light. God doesn’t give anything to the angels because they were created perfect and long for nothing. They don’t call out in the night for her to answer them in a way they can understand. They might have wings but holier the hand that’s blessed by an earthbound way of giving to those who have less than the perfect. Just look at the generosity of the planet you’re walking on as if your path were strewn with flowers and thorns and stars. Have you tasted the wounded blood of the rose that scars your eyes like the moon whenever you refuse to drink up? Have you emptied the cup of sorrows down to the dark lees at the bottom that lie prophetically to the fossils of tomorrow’s embryos about a better future than this one? Don’t you know by now that life doesn’t keep what it can’t give away? That it doesn’t speak of things no human can say until their mind is at peace with its own bright vacancy and happy in the dark abundance of a heart that’s empty?