Thursday, November 11, 2010




Time suffering and too much love have made me soft. I’m a moonrock that’s blunted its edge in a war against water. I’ve put my volcanos to bed. I’ve put my anger on ice like a Martian meterorite in Antarctica. And I don’t go looking for victories that are worthy of my scars as much as I used to. It’s enough to get carried back on my eyelids like a shield wounded in a solitary war of liberation whose frontlines are everywhere. You may be bullet-proof but how do you keep yourself from being assassinated from the inside by your own insight? Or the shadow of a loveletter being slipped under the door by someone in the well-lit hall late at night? I remember knowing who I was. I was whole with a goal and an undeniable direction. Everyone said I was a diamond in the rough but that only meant I couldn’t be cut by the baggage I was carrying. I was the eldest son of a single welfare mother and that’s why I think my small boy’s notion of doing good to please her turned into a holy crusade of gutter heretics against the orthodoxies of wealth and power that squatted like a landlord on the lid of the garbage can we were living in. I grew up like a goldfish in a shark bowl and quickly learned to get the jump on evolution by evolving teeth and fins. And though I’ve gotten rotten falling down drunk with the nine muses beside the Pierian Spring on Mt. Helicon just before they moved down from Thrace to Parnassus I still think of inspiration as blood in the water though I feel more like a dolphin swimming with sharks these days than I do a three hundred million year old marine carnivore who hasn’t changed his ways since his Paleozoic childhood.

              Sometimes I think I might be punchy enough to be loveable and good. But the further I get from home in space and time and thought the more the whole universe looks like my old ratty neighbourhood. And there’s that same old slumlord toad of a toxic Buddha still meditating on his lily pad flowering like the full moon of enlightenment rooted in corruption and decay like a garbage-can lid over the whole earth. Sooner or later you either have to indict life as a war-crime or convince yourself somehow that life isn’t fair or unfair and you can’t stuff the impersonal secret of the universe into your little sentimental heart. You’ve got to mentally outpace space in your expansion to stay one step ahead of the universe. You’ve got to understand that a curse isn’t the reverse of a blessing but two eyes in the same game face you’re wearing to scare your opposite into submission even as you read this now.

              So I turned to love like a romantic poet but women weren’t the church of my soul. They were the manger of thorns that gave birth to me creatively. I may have thought I was the matador with a sun-forged sword in my hand but it was my blood that ran down the horns of the moon. It’s sweet when the new moon lies down in the arms of the old but it’s hell on earth to be gored on the first and last crescents of a star-crossed calendar. But if someone were to ask me now I would say that sex is a farcical oxymoron that binds us to our spiritual profundities like sacred clowns. Love might stand up for the national anthem but fucking is the lyric of the mob. Two contradictions of the same coincidence or Nicholas of Cusa’s coincidence of the contradictories either way you cut it it’s still Shakespeare’s making the beast with two backs. The dark ores of those motherlode goldrush moments of rapture that punctuate the transcendental tedium of panning the mindstream for things that shine with nothing inside.

Now I consider the possibility that I’ve grown too immense to be loveable and it takes too much time and space for my light to get back to earth as a sign of intelligent life before I’m gone beyond myself again over the intimate edge of the universe as we know it like something that keeps outgrowing my mind. It’s not that I’m not getting younger as I approach the speed of light to make time stop it’s just that the stars get further apart and then go dark like braille constellations fingering the glyphs of their ancient myths as if they were divining for light in the blackholes of the cosmic mystery.

But all you have to do if you want to clarify the turbulent mud puddle of your personal history is evaporate. Liberate yourself from your own reflectivity on the other side of the mirror. The dark side of the moon. Where there is no emergency exit sign above the entrance to death because everybody goes in the same way they come out like a clock at midnight that’s lost sight of where it begins and ends. The shadows of the hands of time are amputees by noon. And by midnight they’re as blind as Tiresias looking upon two snakes copulating like DNA. The Atropic filos of fate severed like the umbilical cords of our afterlives by the scissors of the moon. Two hinges on the same gate that turns like a two-faced calendar of the new year. Two strangers trying to get over the same fear of the solitude that binds them to one another like an ice-bound roll of the dice in January.

Still it’s worth remembering that if you’ve grown bitter and spiritually impoverished by love because you couldn’t ring someone’s bell there’s always a line-up at the back door that’s longer than that at the front. And your knuckles bleed when you have to make a fist to knock. But if you’ve been enriched by love like a sour grape that’s turned its bitterness into wine you can always enter by an upstairs window like the full moon anytime you’re vine or ladder enough to climb up out of the radiant starmud of your own roots like a bootstrap theory of flowers. You can flow upwards like a river into the sky like the shapeshifting smoke of your remains scattered like ashs along the road of ghosts. The feather of a phoenix. Have you seen October sumac set its wings afire when it starts getting cold? You can burn like that beside the road.  Or you can lie there on your funeral pyre beside the indifferent night river alone in the dark wondering where you go from here for a whole lifetime. O.K. You died. Big deal. Everybody does. But if you don’t make a gracious bow and get back to life what do you do for an encore after the applause that’s going to make the cemetery sit up and take notice?







As long as you cling to your ego delusion

you’ll never amount to anything.

You’ll never cross the far horizon.

You’ll never rise to zenith

like a first magnitude star.

Because you won’t let go.

You’re hanging on too hard.

You’ve got a bit in the mouth of the wind.

You’ve got a rider in the race

that doesn’t know

she’s got a winged horse underneath her

like Pegasus or Buraq

no one’s ever laid a bet on

because there’s no way of getting the fix in

on Gabriel in the seventh.

The great thing about being a poet

is the less you are one

the better you can write.

It’s the same with everything else.

But it isn’t as if you reverse yourself

like an embryo in the womb of an hourglass

to let it say you.

Let it play you.

Let it paint you as you are

because if you get it right there’s no one there

to grab by the neck like a used guitar

to act upon.

There’s a mirror

but there’s no one looking at it.

It’s darker than a starless night

but it could see

long before anyone had eyes.

It amplifies its wholeness like the moon

in millions of drops of water

in millions of eyes

in tears and rivers oceans and lakes

by breaking into pieces like waves

like a path that’s strewn

with rose-petals

and the shards of shattered mirrors

as if to show someone the way

separation is a return to wholeness

and the many are not less than the one.

Originality is the lie

of an egotistical imagination.

Go ask the sea about creative collaboration.

Go ask the oracle at the end of the line

who you are and where you’re going

and he’ll tell you

you’re the journey the road takes.

Why cast an imperium of shadows

upon your intimate spaces

and huddle like a black hole

in the corner of your room?

Why stuff critical doctors

into the womb of your imagination

to see if your embryos are fit to be born

and then wonder why everything comes out dead?

Originality is an index

of how much you’ve been influenced by everything else

that flows into you like a galaxy

or a sea

that revels in the diversity of its oneness

in a low place

as if it were nothing

and all things were above it

at the table of life like salt.

Even in the smallest dewdrop of a womb

you can taste the world in the water.

Have you ever considered how much art owes to oxygen

and how little credit it gets?

Stop standing in the way of your painting

like Alexander in Diogenes the Cynic’s light.

Be a star.

Be radiant.


But remember spontaneous poetic vision

doesn’t consult a calendar

to see what night it is

or what star it might be following.

And if one of your eyes says to the other

as if one saw reality

and the other the way things seem

am I my sister’s keeper?

Say to them both

as I do to you

about the poems

you’ve aked me to look at.

Less sleeper.

More dream.

Poetic insight

isn’t a mixer

you add to the black exlixir

you drink from the mooncup of your skull

to make it go down easier.

You take it straight in a single gulp

like the grail at the end of the quest

and though you won’t know

whether it’s Athenian hemlock

nectar and ambrosia

or the nacreous milk of pearls

that suckles you

like a cobra at the Medusa’s breasts

one that seals your death

the other a herb that heals

you’ll feel the stranger

who’s always changing inside

like a firefly trying to make its way through the universe

without up-to-date starmaps

or a drunk in the doorway

to show it the way home

lift the curse that is you

lift it like a mirage of water

like a veil of Isis

like a cataract on your third eye

no one has ever lifted before.

Oudeis aneile peplon.

And show you your ego-delusion

is just a wave on an infinite ocean of mind.

A ray of light just like all the others

who frustrate themselves

like moonmoths at the windowpane at night

trying to open the eyes of the blind flowers

before it’s time to bloom.

Look at the ants on the planetary globes

of the white peonies

waxing to full moon

witching for honey and sugar.

They don’t pry things open.

They know when it’s time

to turn an antenna from a divining rod

into a magic wand

that sets the peonies free as doves

with a kiss on the eyelids

that wake up

without a return address

at the back door

of the homeless envelopes

that stand like tents

in a desert of stars

that bloom in the fires

of enlightened loveletters

signed by the wind on sand

in a cosmic hourglass.

And I know you want to be famous.

But the moment you begin to believe

in your own legend

you turn it into a farce.

Stay ahead of yourself if you want to shine like a star.

Don’t let people know where you are.

Never burn your face in your own light.

Be a waterbird in space.

Don’t leave a trace

of where you’ve been

or where you’re going.

You think of literary immortality

as a fountain of youth.

But it’s just a dead scar

on a living wound.

The bone-box

of a homey afterlife

that aspires to be a pyramid

among smaller gravestones in the cemetery.

Get over your death envy

and let your bones speak for themselves.

And don’t abuse your inspiration

by only using it to tune the guitar.

You might make it to the platform on time

but you’ll still be late for the train.

You can spend your whole life

mastering shadows

like an occult discipline

that lets you in on a dark secret

that’s only known to the blind

but you shed no light

on black matter

and you still won’t shine like a star

at a Toronto soiree of literary eclipses

who speak as if they were indelible enough

to have left their mark on the moon.

Better to be a watercolour in the rain

than get sucked into the blackholes of appearances.

Everybody knows who Shakespeare is.

They all know he wrote King Lear.

But what’s really weird

about being famous

is that Shakespeare doesn’t know

who Shakespeare is.

The genius of empathy

doesn’t wear a face on stage

like a passport to its identity

so it can relate to everyone

without leaving anyone out

because the ways things go 

a negative space is never empty.

Dark abundance.

Bright vacancy.

Who are you waiting to be?

Who are you waiting to see?

Look now.