Monday, May 30, 2011


The rain tonight

a gentle carillon of afterthought

pensively lingering like eyes in the window.

The town unusually quiet

even for two a.m.

Asphalt with the albido of a wet ratsnake

or a black bull

and blades of garish light

thrust through its back

like the swords of the streetlamp matadors

poised over its haemorrhaging

like solar daffodils

about to deliver the coup de grace

to the new moon.

The farmlands and the pot patches flourish.

Everything’s wearing the mirror of everything else

like skin

and the leaves

pour their hearts out

like spouts without pitchers.

Black beads of rain

falling from the rim of my gangster hat

I might look like a gun

but inside

I feel like a boy

who just shot a bird with a slingshot.

All my life I’ve carried the bloodguilt

of someone else’s crime

without knowing

what was done to whom and why.

It’s as if I have always lived

through six decades of this strange life

like a child

trying to make up

for something I didn’t do.

If my mother was the Virgin Mary

my father was

forty days alone in the wilderness

of a Vancouver Island logging camp

with the devil.

I never used to think

the sins of the father

were visited upon the sons

because it seems so savagely unfair

to damage their innocence by mere association.

Stalin McCarthy and Paul Pott come to mind

and if this is the work of God

then he’s got spiritual rabies

and we’ve all been bit.

And I’ve wondered as well

if the sins of the sons are visited upon the fathers

just as cruelly.

For what was done to my mother?

For what was done to me

and my brother and sisters?

For something I did in a previous life

that casts its shadow over this one?

Because conciousness is an agony of atonement

for lifting the veils of faceless gods

and realizing there’s no one there but you

for crossing the thresholds of hymeneal taboos

for stealing fire from extraterrestrial life

and feeling like Prometheus with a venereal disease

that keeps attacking his liver

like the moodswings of crackhead deathsquads?

I’ve always preferred the black holes

of the darkened midnight windows

staring bluntly out into the night

like mirrors in a coma

in an intensive care unit

unaware of what they reflect

to the more self-assured view from the inside

that presumes that it knows what it’s looking at.

Heretics pariahs outlaws underdogs fuck-ups

flawed beyond all human recognition

the crushed the lost the abandoned

the genocidal poverty

of those who are buried in the mass graves

at the last economic cleansing

they had to dig with their own hands

those who don’t know how to do anything

whatever atrocity is perpetrated upon them

but hang on to their innocence

like a doll with one eye that doesn’t blink anymore.

Those who eat their own ashes

out of tiny urns

like a junkie at a methadone clinic.

Those who were children until they turned six.

Those who have worked sacrificially all their lives for nothing.

The dead branch on the ground

the wind broke off the tree

still talking and dreaming of blossoms and fruit.

Those whose secret shy plan it is

to survive their lives

by staying out of their way

by taking the long way home from highschool

like a sword-swallower

who got one stuck

in the stone of his heart

he’s not strong enough to pull out

to make himself king of the castle.

Parsifal on a grailquest to save the ailing kingdom

mounts his mule backwards

like a court jester

inciting the laughter of Don Quixote

and the bitter tears of King Lear

that fall like the rain tonight

and make the light run like blood

down the street drains

like a miscarriage of the pot of gold

at the end of a rainbow

that had let go like a watercolour

of a sunset at midnight

someone painted in cadmium red carlights.

I embrace all of these

as if we were all the anti-matter of humanity

ghettoized in the new privatized leper colonies

of the twenty-first century.

It’s hard to love the whole person

when they’re nothing but body parts

but I try.

I get orgiastically drunk on inspiration

in the company of the pagan muses

but when I sober up

I feel the Christian muse of guilt

slip its cosmic cuckoo’s egg

in among the others while they’re dreaming

and one by one push them out of the nest

like alternative universes.

That’s when I write

like a snakepit looking up at the stars

wishing I had great vans of leather

tanned from all the eclipses I’ve shed like skin

and my words had the wingspan

of the inspired serpentfire

of kundalini dragons

when I see what happens to the flightfeathers

of innocent birds.

And then the rain begins to sing a strange lullaby

to a skull in a danse macabre

and it strikes me sometimes like a black mamba

in the back of the neck

as my hair stands up electromagnetically

that these aren’t the lines of a riverine poem

flowing along on its own

but whipmarks slashed across my back

like a flagellant on a long dark pilgrimage

of blue bubonic shadows

to the shrines of implacable death.

As if Perseus spurred on his winged horse

with a cat o’ nine tails

made out of Medusa’s severed head.

As if Hamlet were the wiseguy of a killer ghost

that put a contract out on everyone

including his son

to avenge his death

and wrest his marriage bed

from the hands of his brother

as if they fought over the same toy.

The night wears its darkness

like a hooded figure in a doorway

like a plague-rat behind the arras

like a black Isis in full eclipse

behind these veils of rain

that I am not yet nothing enough to lift.

It’s not true the shadow falls

between the conception and the reality

because they’re not two

and whether you slash at the river

or dedicate swords to The Lady of the Lake

whether you’re burning heretics at the stake

standing up

or kings lying down

at half-mast on a deathboat

you can’t separate one tiny little tear of a raindrop

from its fathomless watershed.

Thesis antithesis synthesis

two profiles and a frontal

of the same face

the same waltz

dancing alone

with its own shadow

to the picture-music

of mind-bending space

like the rain tonight

that sees more in the spring

that it does when its drenchs the earth in autumn

with the fading hopes

of sad seasoned eyes

that have seen too much.

But I’m not a rootless trees

trying to use my homelessness as a crutch.

I like my spatial relations with the world

just as they are.

And the provisional integrity

of not buffing the clarity

of what I see in the mirror

whether it’s fireflies in August

and moist stars hanging low

over the summer hills

just ripe for the picking

or an eyeless death in the void.

I risk the seeing

I expose my eyes to the dark energy

outside the field of vision

to burn the negative into white

so people can see what they feared

in the light.

So what was unknown and evil

could be shown

to be intimately their own karmic nemesis.

That the demons they feared the most

were the ones

they had done the most injury to

by condemning their innocence to exile.

That they are stalked and assassinated

by the shadows they dispossessed

like Tartars and Kalymyks

in a paranoid purge of Stalin

to walk and talk as if they didn’t have any

and it were always high noon.

I forego my own righteousness

to defuse the black lightning of my judgment

by taking the thunder out of it

like a detonator.

I’m the first

to walk myself like a road in the morning

to look for improvised explosive devices

my psyche might have buried in the night

getting carried away

by the insurgency of this recurrent dream

that keeps rising up against me

like the mahdi against Kitchener in Khartoum.

Of all the agonies of hell

the worst is

the oxymoronic intensity

of being doomed by an excruciating irony of hate

to abuse the internal discipline

of my infernal nature

to try and do some good

in a godless world

that never stops crying

like the rain tonight

over the Dufferin Road Cemetery

that’s gone on dying collectively

long after the last mourner has left.

Those that have power to hurt

but will do none

pay the steepest price for their compassion.

I take my finger off the trigger of the moon

and annul the contract

like a spider-mount

undoing the crosshairs

of its telescopic insight

into the eyes of human nature

when it doesn’t think anyone else is watching.

The sins of omission in hell

are the virtues of what was not done on earth

by those for whom dismantling themselves

like a high-powered rifle

focussed like a blackhole on the light

is not natural.

There’s more empathy

in letting your hunger

transcend your appetite

by turning the light away from yourself

like a dragon that didn’t swallow the moon

to make it rain tonight

than there is in exhausting your potential

by indulging it like an eclipse.

Lions don’t hunt flies

because you’re known

by the quality of your enemies

as much as your friends.

Ultimately there’s no distinction

between the means and the ends.

The injustice of slaughtering the innocents

outlives the death-sentences

that pass for the lifespans of the slayers.

I hold the angry dragon within me

like a glacial lava flow

up to the darkness before me like a torch

and then I put it out

like an island in the rain tonight

and leave it to the birds to give it a name.


is as close as I’ll ever be

to anyone.


Thursday, May 26, 2011


If I were to die in front of you publicly

would you love me for that?

Would you appreciate how well

I could communicate my disintegration

like some ongoing experiment with death?

I always thought it was rude

to haemmorage around other people

while they’re trying to hold their shit together

their guts in

like turtles and frogs

on a highway at night

after it rains.

Should I turn my death

into some kind of performance art

that encourages audience participation?

Would you love me for that?

Would you join me in the last act

like some intimate facilitator

whispering to me in a voice

as plush as the pile of the carpets

in a funeral home

that smothers the dead in silence

like a soldier that didn’t get a letter from home?

When there’s only you and I in a room

I see the way you look at me

as if all I could be at sixty three

were a third party to the events of life.

Would you find my poetic vision more acceptable

if I turned it into a newsworthy spectacle

of what happens to a life

that took the hard high path

down into the valley below

like an avalanche trying

to pull itself up by its bootstraps

to make a gift of the gifts it had been given?

To make things instead of breaking them?


not borders.

Bringing things together

in the heart the mind

and then to take the symbols of that union

and scatter them like seeds

in the available dimension of the future

knowing they will resonate in the medium

of a new reality

like stem-cells do in this.

New wildflowers along the roadside

so that our children will have something to name

that was for their mouths only.

Would it please you to know

how many times

I’ve fallen on the sword of compassion

the number of honourable suicides

I’ve committed

just to keep one step ahead of my high ideals

shadowing me like assassins

on behalf of the Old Man of the Mountain

sitting like a dealer on a throne of hash.

No good deed will go unpunished.

If you do for anyone now

and maybe it’s always been this way

and I’m just beginning to see

you’re feeding doves to a snake

you can’t train not to bite the hand that feeds it

or chops it off

in Che Quevara’s case

for a school bus

or in Victor Jara’s

just because he had a bigger heart

and could sing better than the rest of us.

I’ve been an Orphic martyr to the cause

of cosmic integrity

as it’s manifested in everything and everyone.

I’ve been the warrior minstrel of the forlorn hope

in a holy war of one

I knew I lost way back in the late westcoast sixties.

My heart has expanded

like the crematorium of space

and I’ve felt everything I ever cherished

evaporate like snowflakes and butterflies in its fury.

Children pride wives thresholds hope sanity

and saddest of all

watched how the light died

in the eyes of ancient stars

who didn’t have the candlepower

to take the measure of the darkness

they saw in us.

You can see into the matter before you

only as far as the light

you’ve been given to go by.

The same is true for hearts and fires.

A hungry man can consume things with his eyes

that a rich man wouldn’t even try

to fit into his mouth.

And I was born with an insatiable visual appetite

and like any other blackhole

when the light runs out

and there are black dwarfs everywhere

that are all wick and no flame

you take one long deep breath

that’s good for a lifetime

and you swallow the whole of the universe

in a single gulp.

After that

you’re either enlightened

or a star-nosed mole

chewing on roots in wormholes.

Would you take my life more seriously

if I were to make a clown of my death?

Would you think it was all rhyme and reason

at the beginning

if I were to go faithfully mad at the end

to make you feel moderately better

that you didn’t ever not once in your life

for anyone

or anything

not even to know

what you’re doing

walking so successfully among the living

as if by your own cunning

you earned the right to

and the rest of us are here

by some default of anti-matter?

Would it make you less demoralized to know

my first innocence was demonized

like the scapegoat

the Jews used to drive out into the wilderness

like a garbage-barge out of a metropolitan port in May

when they cleansed the temples

and heaped their sins on the back of a goat

who was as undeserving

as they purported to be holy?

One for all

is a single shoe on a long dangerous journey.

All for one

is many feet

beating a hasty retreat

back to the screening rooms

of their epic vanity

like Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow

or the charge of the Light Brigade

once the dust had settled like spin

on the glory of their story.

You give a snake wings

and sooner or later

you’re going to get burnt by a dragon.

You heap evil on the innocent

as if you were rolling hot asphalt over a flower

and having turned the spiritual path you were on

into a parking lot


you’re going to pancake in an earthquake

like the sound of one hand clapping

in a thundercloud

when the desert turns around

like a sunami of sand

and that which was driven out

returns like the crazy wisdom of an oxymoron

empowered like a new alloy of opposites

to do better than you

to you

what was enacted upon it

to steal a blessing

from the purse of a taboo

as if perfection could be bought

by reversing the spin of your guilt

into a curse you place upon innocence.

I have within me a Mephistophelean compassion

for the savage inanity of my own humanity

and a great disdain

for this double-headed feature

in the nature of the creature

like a scar putting a broken-hearted smile

on an open wound in the heart

that’s been cauterized in hell.

Some fall.

Some jump.

Some are driven.

Some are on the threshold.

Some are on the ladder.

Some never ask to be forgiven.

Some make a career of it.

And some just let go of their shit

the way they breathe.

They’re not ecstatic when they breathe in

and they don’t grieve when they breathe out.

There’s a dark clarity within me

well beyond the circus barkers

and camera lights

featuring the spiritual grotesqueries

on the religious midway

that often feels

the noxiousness of exhausted morality

scavenging its own remains

putrefy the clear night air

like the liquefaction of lilies in a swamp.

Would it please you to know

that there are many days

when I even commisserate with the angels

that there’s not enough human decency left

to form a firing squad

and shoot someone like me.

Would it be an uplifting literary finale

for a growlight like you

if a darkness like me

were to do it on reality tv

just to prove to all the viewers at home

that creation might begin with a Big Bang

but it ends in the detonation of a celebrity flashbulb?

It’s not the unrighteous that the righteous hate the most

it’s those who can see like me

how a wasp like you lays its cosmic egg

on the body of the living host

like a vital food supply

as it tells the caterpillar its young consume

like the second womb of a born again

from the outside in

when you die

you’ll go to heaven

and you’ll be a butterfly

without sin.


If there’s anything I can find culpable at all

about God

is that she made someone in her own image like you

and then changed her mind

and in an inspired stroke of dark genius

created someone like me

who wasn’t her clone

and gave him eyes of his own

who could see in himself how different we were.

Virtue’s the muse of mediocrity.

The morally bankrupt baking soda

the white noise

you use to buff the creativity

of what’s going on in the fridge without you

like a still life when the lights go out.

And you don’t want to know anything beyond that.

You’re a well-behaved hawk in dove’s clothing

with blinders and a tether on

sitting on the right arm of God

feeling anti-ballistic about seagulls and pigeons

and any other small bird you can come down on

like a stealth interceptor

on a congregation of unidentified angels

crossing into your spiritual space.

High in your atmosphere

when you look in the mirror

you know you’re a hole in the ozone

that’s burning everything on earth

in your electromagnetic high frequency version of hell.

I know you well.

You’re a mutant birth in the Love Canal.

You’re a chemical agent in the nostrils

of the children of Bopal.

You can’t see into the dark brutal mystery

of the terrible absence of beauty within you

without using someone else’s eyes.

You’re a visual abuse of the radiance.

who hates anyone who can see

and light years beyond that


the lonely freedom

and eyeless clarity

of living creatively

with the Inconceivable

like a unifying field theory

that doesn’t have to be believable to be true.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Grey Sunday pallor.

Another church going morning in Perth.

The congregation risks getting a ticket

on their afterlife

for doubling parking.

It seems if you’re not being trod

like the grapes of wrath

at the feet of God

into the symbolic blood

of a wine-sipping saviour

you’re living off the backs

of sweating atoms

holding the world up on their shoulders

like an avalanche in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco.

Shakespeare where are you now?

I miss the homeliness

of your dream of the real world.

I want fire to be more intensely fire

and the ashs to be left unswept.

I want water to be more ponderous and wet

and the fields to have no extradition treaties

that didn’t send everybody back like wildflowers

all at the same time

to their point of orgin in a beginningless abyss.

I want to arise like a prophet in an aboriginal religion

that didn’t expect my coming

and say out loud

in five words

the whole of the perennial philsophy

we’re all native to this

that is arrayed before us now

like life on a habitable planet

whose only border is the wind

whose only flag is water.

Whose only moral suggestion

with respect to the conduct

of the mind the heart the hand the eye the ear

is keep them open.

No locks pleading like lost keys

at the doors of perception.

Peace rooted in the palm of your hand

beside the lifeline of a river

that isn’t impeded in its passage.

Compassion obsolete

because perfect empathy

has only one identity

and one passport

to go anywhere in the multiverse it wants

where the rights of humans

are written in light

and signed sealed delivered in blood

that makes them citizens of life

without anyone else’s approval.

Created in the image of God

who doesn’t live alone with their originality

without an image or a face or a shadow

contemplating the creation of worlds

to mask the unknowable with the known?

Every identity is a lie

that believes it’s telling the truth

but matter is energy and emptiness congealed

in a bosonic force field

that cries on both sides of the mirror at once.

God was a hidden secret who wished to be known.

But the minute you know one

there are two

ad infinitum.

So truer to the image of God

than an exponential simulacrum

that doesn’t bear any resemblance to the original

is not to have one.

So I’m the empty atom

of the little piggy

who had none.

The less I know about things

the more I experience them

as the earthly specifics

of my own cosmic mystery.

The moon is the fruit and blossom of my roots

who remember them

as previous incarnations of a lifeline

between heaven and earth.

I think of the planet as a sentient life form

that’s as dispassionately aware of us

as we are passionately ignorant of it.

And I marvel sometimes

at the disparity between the message

and the messenger

at the optical illusion of a thought

that clings to the notion

that it knows its own mind.

And wonder if we’re merely the functionaries

of a vaster intra-terrestrial intelligence

with the wisdom of the life of the seas in its eyes

and in its heart

compassion for all the generations of the dead

who animated its art

like models in the studio

of a painter who liked to work from life.

When I write.

When I paint.

I always think it’s dangerous

to become so identified with the work

I think it’s my own.

That’s why I get lost in it

bury my name in its solitude

and wander through a mindscape

where nothing looks like home.

Just like the river Heraclitus

couldn’t step into twice

unless he was up in over his head

everytime I write

I have to learn a new language.

Everytime I paint

the colours don’t have the same eyes

I looked into yesterday.

Thought travels faster than the velocity of light

but it isn’t a constant

and feeling at the speed of sound.

When you put the pedal to the metal of time

like dark energy

things expand so fast

that tomorrow’s extremes

are already today’s cliches.

I don’t want to be diminished by a Theory of Everything

that blinds Paul on the road to Los Alamos

like a snowman with lumps of coal for eyes

in a nuclear test site.

I wasn’t persecuting anyone in the first place

so I’ve never needed divine intervention

to bring about a change of heart

when change is the only thing it’s ever known

from the very start.

Life is the kite at the end of a long wavelength

in the hand of a star

that eventually taught it to fly on its own

by letting it go

to come back home alone when it’s called.

Fourteen hundred and seventy five c.c.s of starmud.

My brain.

Seven thousand trillion trillion atoms.

My body.

The depths of space

the volume of my eyes.

The Big Bang the age of my ears.

I’m a unifying field theory of becoming

not a unified field theory of what is

and I don’t see how I can have

a meaningful relationship with matter

if matter isn’t a matter of mind

not over anything

because in the whole of creation

as it is in the abyss

nothing is the underling of anything else.

Regardless of its time and measure

everything is a whole note

in the creative collaboration

of an unfinished song

that interrupts the silence

with sounds of life.

With the picture-music

of the nightbird in the hidden grove

that’s a dead-ringer for the mind

that reveals the song

but conceals the singer.

Everyone can hear it

but no one can see it.

You can listen to all the ghosts

of all the millions of voices

buried in the grave of a dead metaphor

and still not be able to know how

to breathe life into words

so their meaning is a living experience

of the unsayable mystery

that inspires them

to speak to themselves

like someone whistling through the dark

like an echo of mirrors.

A word is a word.

A thought is a thought.

A kite is a kite.

A hawk is a hawk.

If you don’t try to make one live

like the lie of the other

by keeping them both on a tether

you can learn to fly like the wind

without keeping an eye on the weather.

You stop pulling the flightfeathers out of your pen

like arrows out of your heart

and your heels sprout wings

like the stars in the Great Square of Pegasus

like snakes become dragons

like worms become butterflies

like the medium becomes the god

of the message it delivers

like a lock to a key

that sets the lock free

of having to keep everything in.



To bind.


The human spirit

to the rosaries of the slavers

who compel it to servitude?

The raptures and excruciations

of two extremes of death

two visions of the same junkie

talking in his sleep

like a dream on crystal meth.

The one who thinks he’s the secret partner of life

writes his name in stone.

The one who practises necromancy

with his own shadow

and reveres his own lie

like a sacred object

everyone must bow down to

entrusts his mind to ink and horn.

He binds the spirit of the word

to the letter of the law.

Everyone is guilty

until they’ve earned their innocence.

The most absurd thing about common sense

when it testifies before a jury of mirrors

is that the more it disappears

the more it’s mistaken

for prima facie evidence

to verify the quick convictions of its peers.

But the eternal sky

doesn’t inhibit the flight of the white clouds

and I’ve got a whatever gets you through the night attitude

like a long wavelength of compassion

like a sure sign of intelligent life

from the other side of the universe

that eases the mutuality of our suffering

by realizing there’s nothing alien about life.

And it’s not so much a matter of life

reaching out to life

like someone who can teach us about ourselves

as it is

someone to talk to.

Someone to walk beside like a river.

Not a highway to heaven

or a shortcut to hell.

I have relative faith

in the interdependence of my originality.

In the whole history of the universe

there’s only been everyone of me.

Why should I ask the windows

what direction to look in

when I’ve got eyes of my own

with holographic vision

that can see further

than the eyebeams

of the gravitational lenses

fixed at both ends of a telescopic black hole

projecting itself on the universe

like Batman caught in the glare

of an antimatter flashlight?

Why should I live like a gibbering shade

in the afterlife of my own lucidity

when I’ve got it made now?

I can tell a silk purse from a cow’s ear.

The dark clarity of an enlightened heretic

from the occult magic

in the bones of a martyred relic.

There is as much of the night in me

as there are stars in my eyes.

What does the wind worship

if not the sky?

And what could be more false

than trying to true the idols of I?

Woman wasn’t made from the rib of the first wishbone

like the short end

of something that sticks in your throat

like a harp in a chimney

and I can’t imagine any supreme being

being way more vindictive in hell

to the people he loved and couldn’t save

from the wanderlust of their earthly dust

gusting up along their path to salvation

like a dirt demon blowing stars in their eyes

than Hitler was in Poland and Stalingrad.

Immortal punishments

for ephemeral war-crimes on crusade?

If the water doesn’t turn to wine

when it first touches your lips

at the wedding of Canaa

you’re sipping from an eclipse

of black cool-aid in Jonestown

that tastes like spit

you drink from other men’s mouths.

What fool conducts his own life

like a foreign policy with God

as if a wavelength of insight

were opening trade relations

with the great nightsea of awareness.

I like to read scripture

that’s never learned to write

that’s as eloquent as water

when it says its secret name

like two rat snakes swimming in moonlight

like echoes of one another

returning to the far shore

of the mysterious voice that summons them

like a spring thaw

to express themselves creatively

without brainwashing their gene-pool

into believing

that in the rainbow of life

they’re the evil wavelength.

Why do people expect God

to teach them a language they already speak?

And when she doesn’t say a word

ask someone else to do the talking for them

like a medium channeling the infallibly dead?

Who needs an air raid siren to translate

the lyrics of a songbird

into a purple passage of life

that understands every word of it

like first light?

Grey Sunday pallor

of another churchgoing morning in Perth.

I love to mix the infinite prolixity of pragmatic greys

that are engendered by the union

of complementary colours

island hopping like new lava

on the palette of my eyes

as if grey were the third extreme

without an opposite

because it didn’t cast a shadow

at midnight or noon

whether it stood in the light

of Venus

the sun

or the moon.

The third wing on a phoenix

in the mystical ashes of billions of stars

I like to fly down the middle with intensity

when the fire refeathers the wind in my flames

and words overturn the urns of their old meanings

in sacred precipices

and holy mindstreams

to go with the flow of the picture-music

like the lyrics of a dream

they wrote the words to.

My emptiness is a watershed of inspiration

I can draw on anytime I like

without fear of depleting

my spiritual aquafers.

I’m an hospitable well

who doesn’t judge strangers

by what we all have in common with water

or whether they can tell a mirage from the real thing.


Sunday, May 22, 2011


Acoustic shadow.

Gravitational eye of a galactic hurricane.

Ship going down

I’m clinging to a plank

in the great nightsea of my awareness

as if the last great threshold of chaos

were the lone oar of a lost lifeboat.

The moon is weeping jellyfish like willows.

There’s more isolation

in one human emotion

than there is in the whole of the universe.

The abyss draws near

blurs the mirror

obliterates all thoughts from my mind

and pushs my feelings

on crutches and wheelchairs

off the Peripeteian cliff

down to the Periclean rocks below

just outside Athens

where they expressed their democratic distaste

for baby girls

and condemned criminals.

My skull shakes with sudden headquakes

like a cosmic egg that fell out of the nest

and smashed on the earth below.

The sun haemmorages a bright yellow

like the dusky blood of embryonic dragons.

I can hear music in the distance

like windchimes made of shattered windows

and my nerves are running their fingernails down a blackboard

that’s scribbling my name over and over and over again

like the writing on the wall

in runes of chalk

and quicksand hieroglyphs

and then rubbing it out

like an afterschool punishment

for saying what I meant

when I said I had nothing to say.

Since when has an empty mouth

been a sin of omission

or silence a confession of guilt?

The void’s got a voice of its own

and can speak to itself

in Etruscan linear A

but everything else in its grasp

is a word that was left as speechless

as the rubbished first draft of a tongue-tied play.

Sometimes I look into the future

send my eyes off into the night

like a crow and a dove

from the stern of my rudderless ark

to see if there’s anywhere to land

and they come back wounded

by the slings and arrows

of what they’ve seen.

Worse than losing your faith

is losing your sense of humour

when you’re a cosmic jester

in the tragic court of King Lear.

You can act as if life were a joke

but the gods aren’t laughing.

And all my best insights

have turned into Higgs-boson God-particles

that bend space with sticky grids

and take on mass like spiders.

And here comes Rilke like a gust of stars

to remind me that sometimes

the heaviness of life

is heavier than the weight of things.

For every angel that jumps from heaven

a demon rises from hell

and then there are those

who fall between the cracks

like cherubs with stone feathers.

I’m a Medusan snake-bird

with the eyes of a dragon

congealed like tears of glass

in a blast furnace

from lightyears of broken mirrors.

One moment I’m enlightened

and the next

it’s hard to know if what I’m looking at

is poetic vision

or the death throes of a violent exorcism.

And even when I’m dispossessed of myself

I still can’t tell

if the road I’m on

is the return of the prodigal son

or just another homeless demon on the street again.

So much pain.

Black mold in the walls.

A radioactive muse

abusing the watershed I drink from

until I glow in the dark

at all hours of the clock

like a nightlight in a morgue

for the dead who like to get up and walk.

Anti-matter universe.

I’m an unsychronized happening

in a discharged particle field.

I jump orbitals

like trains and thresholds

and coldwar wine-bottles

in a game of Russian roulette

with the empties

but all my photonic insights

are scattered like fleas on a hotplate

and even my tears hiss like scalded vipers of acid rain.

Worse than losing faith

in the candlepower of your imagination

like a canary in a coalmine

to enter a blackhole

and come out the other side

into a whole new universe

like the key that makes it true

is losing faith in your eyes to follow you.

But the only religion I’ve ever adhered to

is my next inspiration

and I owe my origin

as much to what hasn’t happened yet

as I do to the morphological past

reading the I Ching

like the Burgess Shales

while referring to Darwin’s Origin of the Species.

Nine in the fifth place.

Dissonant yin.

Blue herons fishing like pens

in the starless eclipse of an inkwell.

Sometimes the light goes insane

and starts stabbing at mad shadows

that sit for their portraits like windowpanes.

Pain without reason.

Without explanation or alibi.

Time without transformation.

The bigger the space

the deeper the isolation.

Insight lost in a labyrinth of cul-de-sacs.

Imperatives without creation.

I break the crescents of the moon like a wishbone.

Soon the starving dogs

will gnaw at it like a fortune-cookie

to get at its mineral marrow.

I wish tomorrow wasn’t already too late

or fate preferred joy to sorrow

but when there’s only

two kinds of people in the world

toys and tools

you’re bound to end up

with a lot of deconstruction sites

like nuclear disasters

in a sandbox

manned by fools and ingenues.

When I used to ask life

what life was all about

the Buddha would always hand me a flower

or point to the morning star

and whenever I needed a heart-transplant

the government didn’t oppose

I’d wake up from a trance in intensive care

grateful to the organ donor

who gave me a new lease on life

with a previously used rose.

Now I sip tragic elixirs

from the breasts

of a morphine-drip

in the poetic snakepit

of a Medusan phase of the moon.

One tit heals.

The other kills.

But you can only know

which is compassion

and which is death

by the way it feels

when it’s way too late for appeals.

My spine is a ribbed skeleton of serpent fire.

A kundalini ghost walks over my grave

without recognizing its old name.

One of the great unspoken skills of a poet

is knowing

how to go down on the Medusa

without turning into stone.

Staring the dragon down like the razorblade

that first slashed its eyes open

like the birth-sac of an enlightened eclipse

without being blown away

like spun glass

by the intensity of the exchange.

You can’t grope around in the dark

like a piece of coal

looking for black holes

like star-nosed moles

in the tunnels of your mudmind

and expect to see like a diamond

on the cutting edge of the void.

Pure acetylene.

Not even so much

as the blue petal of hydrogen

in the immaculate heat of perfect combustion.

Nothing left unconsumed

in the fire-womb

of this creative crematorium.

Effusions of freak particles

and rogue elements

with radioactive halflives

converting to black energy

in a total liberation of the light.

All attachments go as cold as a murder case

some lonely corpse bears witness to

as if she were picking waterbirds

that don’t leave the trace of a clue

out of a line-up in a one-way mirror

that keeps one eye on the way things appear

and disappear like evidence

and the other on an artist’s sketch

of what she must have looked like once

before everybody tried to identify her.

Algol decapitated by a drug cartel

in the constellation Perseus.

Medusa’s severed head

hung from a bridge

as a warning to the snakepit

not to get stoned on your own product

or believe everyone who shows you a shield is a cop.

Some people reach for the top.

Others dive to the bottom

when the seas get rough

and some try to hide

in the corner of their eye

and play I spy with a storm-front.

Let the shore-huggers examine the local rocks

for the dna of sirens.

Let the sly ones tie themselves

like the sails of Luna moths

to the mastheads of their matchstick ships

to hear the candles crying

without the risk of flying to their rescue.

Even when you know how the trick is done

it’s ungracious in a poet

whether he’s listening to a siren a muse a lamia

Andromeda on the rocks

or a cashier in a fastfood mall

to resist the magic of a beautiful woman

as if you were a bandaid

and she were a bloodless wound.

The black widow times love

with the hourglass on her back

as if she were cooking an egg.

After that she’s a cannibal

and if you’re late

at making a getaway

you’re food on the plate

of your own children.

No one ever looks

for the motivation

behind their happiness

but everyone needs

a reason for their sorrows.

Who X-rays their joy

or seeks a second opinion

on the prognosis of their bliss?

But just look at the library of alibis

that have borne false witness

to human suffering.

And the snake-oil salesman

who have shed their skins

like the shirts off their back

to bind them.

But one answer doesn’t fit all

like a unified field theory

doesn’t do much

to cure the weak nuclear force

of a kid with cancer.

And yet there’s more inspiration

in the black muses of the negative

than there is in any number of positive prints

I would imagine in the same proportion

of occult matter in the universe to white.

Of darkness to light.

I’m being keel-hauled on the corals of the moon

in a seabed of shadows

cast by the flowerless light

like Roman salt into my Carthaginian wounds.

I’m the photographic negative of a galactic starmap

that swarms with brighter worlds.

And though there might not be any colour

or iris in my eyes

in the clear light of the void

that can’t be stained by seeing

the primordial atom

that grew up to be arboreal Adam

knows enough about creation

to remember that the world began

from a period at the end

of the previous sentence.

A full stop at the end of the road.

A supermassive blackhole

that warps space

into the nucleus of a galactic cell

to protect the contents

like a flash in the pan

that came out of nowhere

until it could replicate its luck

like white braille in a dark room

playing with loaded dice.

Sometimes it’s fireflies on hot August nights

lingering in the valley

like the leftover cloud of a thunderstorm.

Sometimes it’s snake-eyes in the light sockets of a skull.

Sometimes everything in existence

all events and forms

wake up from being the stuff of dreams

and begin to factualize the acts

of its creative memory

as if everything

everyone in the universe

could suddenly see

in the saddest wavelengths

on the darkest nights

of their longest shadows

what inspired the stars.

Demonically confessed as I am

under the truce

of this white phosphorus halo

of horned snakes and black laurel

I might suggest

to the true few among you

still seeking the truth

without knowing what you’re asking for

to watch your step

on the threshold of an event horizon

that can have prolific effects

throughout the mirroring multiverse

of your cosmic consciousness.

Two dimensional holographic picture-music

of everything I could have been or not

projected on the cave womb wall

opposite the black hole that’s casting them

like the infinite paradigms

of everything I am.

Worlds within worlds

procreating at the slightest touch of the wind

each one the afterlife of the other

like waterclocks that don’t keep time

like a dynasty

with a line of succession

but let their mindstreams flow freely

like the vast nirvanic ethers of hyperspace

breathing on the waters of life

like light mirrored through a blackhole

into infinitely expansive bubbles of inconceivable insight.

The mind puts the whole of itself into every thought

and what feeling was ever denied access

to any part of the heart?

And show me the redacted passages

in the conservation of information principle

that never burns its tats off

never shreds the enigma of its limestone frescoes

in the cave of Les Trois Freres

would rather live half-mad sad and lonely

with what it knows

than please a blind lover

by putting its eyes out

to prove that all it knows and will ever know

is for her eyes only.

The present may be well married to the past

but it longs for the future like a mistress.

And light’s just the dove

that carries messages

back and forth between them

in the first rush of enlightenment

that comes like a loveletter in the mail

addressed to everyone.

From the very first word

to the last

that leaves even the silence speechless

from the alpha and omega

of one flightfeather of a prehistoric alphabet

to the wingtip of another

lifespans across

from the snakepits in the deserted saltmines

of Sodom and Gomorrah

to the unearthly wellsprings

in the sacred grottoes of the stars

afraid you’re going to be upstaged

by your own suicide

or uncharacteristically vigorous

for a woman of your years

written indelibly

like the equals sign

between Einstein’s energy-mass equation

like a peace treaty between chameleons

like Monet’s Japanese footbridge

giving its blessing to the waterlilies

written where everyone can see it

smeared on mirrors in desperate lipstick

like the death lyric of haemmoraging snails

or written with a slow finger

in warm breath on a cold windowpane

like the nickname of a god

that’s late getting home.

Whether you meet God or the Buddha

Jesus working on his dovejoints

Blue Krishna dancing down the road with his Gopi girls

or surrender all the battleflags

of your holy wars

to the dark imageless beauty of Allah

or you’re working hard

on a Theory of Everything

to explain the unlocality of quantum events

like synchronous happenings

in a charged particle field

to explain how the message can get here

before it’s sent

like a future memory

of something that hasn’t been done yet

because reality is a singularity with personality

that takes the shape of the way you see it

like the pixellated skin of a space time continuum

with its tail in its mouth for eternity

stringing theories of picture music

over the supermassive blackhole

at the heart of a guitar-shaped universe

just to be

in this resonant medium

of interdependent awareness


you are that

when you’re looking at a starmap


but closer to home

where things are more

qualifiably human

from a more intimate point of view

than quantifiably true

there’s no doubt in the world

that doesn’t affirm

by reversing the spin

of the definition

I am you

multiplied by the velocity of thought squared.

A boundless circle

with infinite points of origin

where the tail isn’t at the end

of where the head begins.


Thursday, May 19, 2011


When you look at a star

can you see

how the night leaves

the intimate doors

of intuitive eventuality ajar?

I’m all future with a prophetic past.

Aviomantic signs of liberated doves.

So many lifespans in a single moment.

How many light-years to the nearest star?

And how many shadows back?

Trying to say the inexpressible in words is like

to trying to thaw a snowstorm

on the tip of your tongue

flake by flake syllabically

or trying to explain bubbles to a glacier

in a momentary suspension of disbelief.

When you look at a star

do you see

that’s it’s you

that’s shining up that far

and it’s you down here

receiving your own light back like a ball

you made of your childhood

and threw up in the air

like a celestial sphere

when you had

all the time in the world

to come back and catch it later?

And as I grew older

not waiting for it to come back down

I learned to play vertical pool with the stars

to move things around

that were once considered fixed.

When you look at a star

if you want to clear the table

if you want to make the longshot

if you want to change the birthmark of misfortune

into an upturned elephant trunk of good luck

you have to chalk the cue with your skull.

But I ask you earnestly

if no one’s ever failed their death

is it probable

anyone’s ever failed their life

despite what their tears and fears have told them

about where they’ve ended up?

But a good beginning doesn’t lead to a good end

because a good beginning never stops.

A good beginning is without conclusion.

It doesn’t need to look beyond itself

because nothing’s missing from the very start.

When you look at a star

do you see the ancient wisdom

in a child’s heart

do you feel the depth

of all the eyes that have looked at it before

with longing wonder and sorrow

asking you to give them some direction

by adding yourself like another dimension to the past?

Is there a firefly of human suffering

mingled in the shining?

A window makes a better starmap

than a ten inch mirror

in a Schmidt-Cassegrain reflecting telescope

on an equatorial mount with clock drive

following them around like paparazzi

but when the stars want to know

where they’re at

it’s your eyes they parallax

at both ends

of the wingspan of your orbit.

It’s your seeing that gives them a fix.

The same eye by which I see God

is the eye by which God sees me.

It’s the same with everything

from fireflies to supernovas.

The donkey looks into the well.

The well looks back at the donkey.

Tat tvam asi.

You are that.

The lampshade and the blue parrot.

The donkey and the carrot.

When you look at a star

do you dress your destiny up

in hand-me-down constellations

like clothes you’ll grow into one day

or do you wear them like patchs on myths

you’re trying to give up

about how rough it’s been

to be chosen beauty queen

and bear the diamond tiara of the Pleiades

like the Northern Crown?

When you look at a star

is it the chip of a broken mirror

the plinth of a shattered chandelier

the Holy Ghost of fireflies

a fire-womb of immaculate fusions

that bear the transgender features

of their ancestral elements

like Abrahamic hydrogen?

A burning bush

in the valley of Tuwa

that eventually talks itself out like a candle

when the conversation begins to harden

like an auditory hallucination

into a puddle

of earwax shadows and wicks?

Or do you discern something more

you can’t quite put your finger on

or point to

not a presence

but there

an absence

but everywhere

and you standing there

like this tiny insight

with the precipitous extremeties

of a human being

trying to discover your own nature

in the inexplicability of all that shining

wondering if the rumours of awareness

the universe has been spreading about you

are true or not?

When you look at a star

have you ever thought

if mass is energy

maybe matter is mind

and thinking of one

as something that has to get over the other

is like expecting a wave to transcend water?

Light and lamp.

Body and mind.

Not one of two

but two in one

and even that’s one too much.

The flower opens

in the light of the sun

like a kiss on the eyelid

and the sun blooms

as if it had a crush on the flower.

When you look at a star

can you feel how the light

touchs your eyes as gently as a butterfly

as if all the eyelashs you’ve lost in a lifetime

like the ribbing of broken kites

or the spokes of a bike

or the straws of overworked brooms

had come back to you

as a living thing

with antennae legs and wings?

Have you ever looked at a star

and wondered how far away it would be

if you were to measure the distance in thought-years?

And such a small thing the mind

a child’s hand

and yet within its grasp

all that mass black matter energy light space time?

How could you fit

all those cosmic immensities

and the abyss that contains them

into such a small place

if they weren’t your own ideas?

When you look at a star

do you ever get the feeling

you’re swimming through your own gene-pool

your own meme pool

the Pierian spring

where it meets the sea

at the bottom of your mountain mindstream?

When you look at a star

do you ever turn the light around

and look into yourself

through its eyes

and realize

you’ve been communing with your own reflection


for billions of years

and that little insight

is the cosmic light of awareness

that fills the night with everything that is

when is is not the opposite of is not

and there’s no separation in the first atom

between thought life light mind matter and form

and the lion lies down with the lamb

and the old woman says she is not old

and the sparrow lays her egg in the serpent’s coil

and the old man who has seen everything says

my eyes are as young now

as you were back then

and your beauty is today?

When I was a boy

growing up in a garbage can

like a diamond in the rough

everyone wanted to cut

and buff the edges off

to polish me like a lense

so everybody could see how focused I was

when I looked up at the stars

from the bottom of a spent wishing well

where you could see them even during the day.

Though I was taught

they were responsible for my fate

and I should blame them for what I am

and not the black dwarfs of hate

who perverted the space around me

like slumlords

until even the buds of the flowers

were white as the knuckles of clenched fists

I never thought for a moment

that anything that clean and beautiful

that far away

from the scene of the crime at the time

could ever do anything here

that needed an alibi.

When I looked at the stars

I was enraptured by their mystery.

I was exalted by their unattainability

and the age of the silence

that surrounded their fires

knowing they’ve burned longer

than the light has lived

and seen more

than their eyes can forgive

of human life on the planet.

And the greatest agony of my childhood

from seven till ten

such that I would weep

my bitterness to sleep every night

like a child abandoned to a hospital

was that I was born way too early

to get to Aldebaran.

When I looked at a star

I didn’t gape like a telescope

into the depths of its utter solitude

but looked upon it like a far intimacy

I could draw near

until I could feel it breathing like silver

all over the mirror

that was as clear

as any dark spear

that ever wounded a mystic with bliss.

Strange whisperings of exiled sages

pouring stories of home

into a young boy’s ear

like my mother used to talk about

her childhood in Queensland

as if she were in the Garden of Eden.

When I looked at a star

and listened to its picture-music

I was so deeply moved

by the beauty and sadness of the song

like inspiration in utter solitude

I went into exile with it here

and it was my blossom

no wind could blow away

and it was my root

in the starmud

nothing could pull up

and throw away.

When I looked at a star

I was enthralled

by the dispassionate attachment

and creative dynamic

that burned me like a sacrificial heretic

in the ice of inspiration.

I could forget the small orbit

of house arrest

that a circumstantial planet

had affixed like an electronic anklet around my leg

for being born unforgivably poor.

When I looked at a star

it was as if the flightfeather

of a bluewhite fire bird

landed on the windowsill of my cell

to take pity on me

and share its freedom

with someone living in a cage.

When I looked at a star

it was the synteretic spark

I sent out like a dove from the ark

with two of every mind

in the zodiac aboard

after forty days of flood

to look for Atlantis

like the next best thing

to Mt. Ararat or Cathay.

It was the angel that always looked back

with the same mystic fury in its eyes

that were in mine

when I looked up.

When I looked at a star

I could prognosticate the future

like the distant memory

of someone returning to their origins

waking up from exile

to discover it wasn’t a dream.

You can tell by the way a star

flashs like a panicked chameleon

on the event horizon of a blackhole

things are what they seem

when you’re peering through atmospheres

with tears in your eyes.

I used to make telescopes when I was young.

I would grind their pyrex eyes

with ever finer grades of carborundum

until they could see just right.

I shaped their fibre-glass bodies

until they were as smooth as a woman’s skin.

And I took them out into the open fields naked

far beyond the intrusions of the city lights

and exposed them to the stars

who revered them like clear-eyed mirrors

and adorned one with leaves

and the other with sidereal veils

and said like the elders

and old midwives of an Ojibway tribe

when they name the newborn.

This one shall be called Eve.

And this one Isis.

And to celebrate their birth

opened a third eye

and said

as it is on earth

it shall not be in the sky.