Monday, September 26, 2011


You’ve got to learn to let it glow.

Cool bliss.

Ride the dragon.

The sun god’s chariot.

Not come undone like Icarus

over-reaching everybody’s best advice.

You know how to plunge

let go

but I can’t remember the last time

I saw you rise

or even try to hang on.

Yesterday you were gold

and today you’re the ore

and it feels as if you’ve had your heart ripped out

and there’s nothing precious about what’s left.

Take space from space it’s still space.

Who needs to put a gold ribbon around it

to prove there’s a gift inside?

Diamonds are born in the darkness

not the light.

The root’s more crucial than the blossom.

Alcohol, women, valium, sleeping pills, coke,

I know you’re a martyr to your body and your mind

and that cauldron of a heart you used to hover over

like a cloud around a visionary mountain

seeing things the rest of us could only guess at

has turned into a pharmacopoeia of sprites and goblins.

How many paths are you going to let yourself

be lead down by the nose

before you realize

they all leave you blind at a crossroads?

No starmap.

No windsock.

No astrolabe.

No compass.

No weathervane.

You’re immanentally on your own

with the rest of us here

apprenticed to the greater magic of the mind

that keeps casting spells upon us

it takes the transformative traumas of life to break.

So we can grow.

So we can get out of the egg

whether it’s a cosmic glain

a fortune cookie laid by a bird of ill omen

or the opal of a hummingbird.

So we can shed our skin our sky our myth

our preconceived attachments to a self

that promises one sip

of the snakeoils of death and desire

and you’ll fall in love forever

with wild dancing girls

swaying under their veils

like mirages on the moon.

And what a feeble affair

if life ever needed a why to live.

Who knows why?

For the fuck of it.

For the ride.

Because it’s inconceivable

that it’s being done everyday

in the most sublime and trivial ways

by people who say they can’t.

I’m not trying to scold your heart.

Or renew your burnish in an acid bath.

In Zen they say the mind is an artist.

Able to paint the worlds.

But that doesn’t mean

it just paints things you like to see.

When do the stars ever get to choose

what they shine down upon?

Stop strolling through the galleries of life

like some aesthetic voyeur

with a monolithic view of prophetic vision

discussing the relative merits of this and that.

Turn your lucidity around like an inner light

and illuminate your own masterpiece

like a work in progress you’ll never complete

because only the mediocrities

assess their successes in life as fait accomplis.

Real genius risks nothing less than everything all the time

for nothing

for the unattainable

knowing that failure’s a truer measure

of the ongoing attempt to avoid

the inexpressible outcome of its creative intensity

by filling all that dark abundance up

with the bright vacancy of a shapeshifting universe

than the self-contained success

of the goose that laid the golden egg

but couldn’t peck its way out of it.

I can’t imagine a river anywhere along its flowing

whether it’s hoisting the garbage barges of a city

up on the shoulders of its waves

or sporting yachts like feathers in its cap

thinking of itself as a loser or a winner.

Rain on a garden.

Rain in the gutter.

Is this successful

and that a failure of water?

And truth to tell

even the mirages can’t be held to blame

if you fix on them like a picture-frame

or a walled garden with no gate

that anyone can enter by.

They disappear like planetary atmospheres

that didn’t want to be held that close.

Mirrors with wanderlust.

But in your disappointment with life

isn’t that water?

Aren’t those real tears?

How can anyone or anything

within the expanding precincts

of these worlds within worlds

be considered false or lost or lacking

in this space where even the lies come true

and grow and bear fruit

rooted in their homelessness

like the thresholds of stars

leaving themselves

and the past behind

in all directions at once

as if the only future available to them

as for all of us who shine

whether we grope through the darkness

like a candle or a galaxy

a flash of lightning

or the merest hint of a firefly

is to open our eyes and see.

The drunk in the doorway is not junk mail.

And the ceo in the board room

dictating loveletters to his secretary

is not the last word in self-promotion.

If the mountain weeps

it’s not because it feels

it’s let down the ocean.


Sunday, September 25, 2011


Trying to weave a flying carpet out of the stray threads of the snake pit of life themes that so often at this time of night seems the subconscious content of a troubled mind. To get out of here. To rise above it all by conjoining the lowest with the highest and ascending the burning ladder of my own spine like a serpent with wings, no candidate of angels, forsake their feathers for the scales of the dragon? Shall I prophecy? Should I read the sine curve of every wavelength of thought and feeling like the Egyptian glyph for intelligence the viper leaves in the sand, in the stars, in the flowing of the mindstream? Forego the aviomancy of the dove for the Pythian herpetologists of Delphi? When the strong rope of my spinal cord is undone like a million weak filaments of tungsten nerve endings flickering like a lightbulb about to go out, is there one among these I can climb up to heaven on to shine among the stars like Draco around the axis of the earth? A circumpolar constellation. Half the double helix of the sign of a healer with only one wing and a dubious prayer to go on? And is it of any import anywhere in the wide wondering world that I should care to mend the unravelling of so much the full moon cherished before I swallowed it whole like a cosmic glain in a shaman’s nest to bring the rain? That I might be drenched in tears that could liberate my eyes like frogs and thorny flowers and egg-laying stars hibernating in the dry creekbeds of a desert that has spent a long time like a bride with a hope chest waiting to bloom?

Impasses and thoroughfares. Mirages undulating like the faceless veils of torrid atmospheres whose eyes have never known water. Ambivalence. Uncertainty. Doubt. Ambiguity. And the facile, end-stopped resolutions of holistic oxymorons trying to bridge the gaps between reality and delusion by yoking them both like copulating snakes to a chariot of the gods that’s trying to square the circle of its wheels to the passage of the sun and the moon. To the paths of the waterclocks that rise like civilizations living off the alluvial silt of the stars. If everything is one then how can separation stand apart and mourn the loss of anything? Is Orpheus made whole by his dismemberment? Is zero the fullest of whole numbers, and union differentiate the dark abundance and bright vacancy emanating spontaneously out of the void and returning to it just as unpredictably like the ingathering and dissolution of creation in every moment? Are the gods, if any, left guessing as well as we do at the hidden certainties of the elephant in the room. Do they feed their brains at the expense of their starving hearts the way the ideologues steal life and blood and bread like hungry ghosts from the mouths of mute children all over the earth tonight?

Ephemerids. Grave-robbers. Infanticides. I ask you. Would you steal the mummy from its pyramid? The butterfly from its chrysalis? The priestess from her temple? And leave all things speechless? The meaning isn’t in the words. It’s in the resonance that hovers over it like the dying music of an astral body taking flight like a hawk or a kite from your hand. Like a song from a window in passing that no one can hear until you let go of it. You might walk away with the feather of a lyric, a few strands of the melody, the enchantment of a voice when no one’s listening, but it isn’t until you let go of it, as if you were born without ears, that it returns like a bird to your windowsill. Like the sea to an empty shell. Like the sky to the canary in the mine. Like the soft and hard things of the earth to the intangibility of the mind that goes on forever without leaving anything behind. Because even when the sun goes down, and things go on until you’re wholly gone like a nightbird into the dark of your unknowing there is no dusk to time, only the dawn of moonrise giving voice to your eyes in a world of startled dreams. You can hear the echoes of what the stars are whispering in a choir of waterlilies gathering at the edge of the river. Themes of picture-music mingled in the mindstream like the flavours and colours of life on earth long before you had a tongue to taste them or the eyes to see them or the heart to be them, even when you’re a stolen masterpiece that doesn’t know it’s own worth, trashed in a back alley, a favela, a slum somewhere by a thief who doesn’t want to get caught handling something so radioactively hot with beauty and genius he can’t fence it anywhere without being recognized for what it is.

Sweet one. In the shadows. In the sorrows. In the corner of your room. The spiders weaving veils to cover your eyes, and your back to the light like the far side of the moon, stroking your heart with your thumb like the black walnut of the soft bird skull that someone you love hurled like a rock through the window with a message for the occupant to get out of his life. Terrified by the sublimity of the silence when a song as innocent as a sparrow God overlooked dies and there’s no one there to pick it up but you. A nugget of pain. A moon-dipped arrow fletched with the flightfeathers of an iron weathervane lodged in a heart that doesn’t know which way to turn in a hurricane of hurt. I address this to you like an August wind, a rising thermal under your wings, a stairwell with serpent bannisters in a water palace of wavelengths light years from here where the prayer-mats can fly in any direction they want to answer the cry of the wounded princess like dragons on red alert. I address this to you out of the fathomless emptiness of a full heart. I lift the veils of the spiders that suck the light out of your eyes like undefineable singularities at the bottom of their black holes and I stand before you like the stalwart timbers of a loom with the skilled fingers of a Spanish guitar shaped like the universe, ready to follow your voice like the musical shadow of a new creation myth into the liberated skies of celestial spheres that flow like tears from your eyes when they hear how well you can sing. Your beauty can be as whimsical as a Japanese plum blossom, a sulphur butterfly, the eyelids of a black rose in a Stygian bloodstream that flows out of hell like oil from the injured earth. And still I will dig my heels in like the stubborn root of our shared humanity and draw you up like a fountain mouth from the deepest voids and darkest watersheds of hidden wisdom in the whole of the enlightened multiverse, to bloom again and again and again as if there were no end of spring when the phoenix sings. I will stand with you now like a spirit that knows its own in a wardrobe of flesh and even more so after my death when the potential for life returns to the realms of the boundless like water taken from the stream and raised to your lips like music to your mouth is returned to the stream with reverence and gratitude. When one hand is empty because someone let go I will open the palm of the other clenched like the fist of a flower and place the new moon in it like a black pearl of inestimable worth you wove like a flying carpet high above the earth and laid out on the waters of life, the waters of earth, to receive the return of the waterbirds. To hear in the urns of the Canada geese crying high over head late at night, returning the souls of the dead to life as they once carried them off to the west in autumn, my voice. And in a way that you can know that I am near. These words.



And you, angry one, down to splitting roaches

between the thumbnails of the moon

to make something flower in your poverty

because the soil you’re rooted in

keeps coming up snake-eyes and stinging nettles.

You whose heart is swarmed by fire ants

like the corpse of a hummingbird

that was lighter than gravity and faster than light

until it sipped from the sugar-coated feeder

of the double-dealer who spiked its drink.

You for whom the sound of life

is the snarling of a blue chainsaw

in an old growth forest of rootless trees

living in tent city on the cutting edge of grace

driving nails through your heartwood

to keep from being felled by those

who are more at fault than you are

for why the birds no longer sing in the morning.

You who weep like acid rain

on the bells and the gravestones

you keep writing your name on

and keep one dark card

like the Tarot up your sleeve

to trump the game your playing now

as if you were bound to lose your will to win

by pushing your chair back from the table

like an exculpatory suicide with nothing left to bet on.

I learned a long time ago from you

there’s a terrorist in your roots

that keeps twisting your nerves like candy kisses

with short fuses and blasting caps

that can go off in anyone’s face like a beaver dam

for nothing at all except trying to build

a small eco-system in the wrong place;

for trying to sow seeds in your wounds

where the plough of the moon cut into your flesh

and left the planting to the wind and the weeds;

for trying to turn all that pain

into something you could harvest

like golden loaves of bread

fresh from the ovens of a volcano

like small islands of life

cooling on the windowsills of your magmatic rage.

For years I’ve winched my heart up from a wishing-well

to pour sweet water on your burns

and watched you turn into a steam engine

whenever I suggested the tracks on your arms

were the wrong gauge

for two parallel lines to ever meet

like predestination in the wrong seat of here and now.

So many futures I could have had with you

that have learned to live outside the womb

like embryos in exile

like homeless thresholds no one ever crossed.

Strange and sad sometimes

when I look at you

to feel the loss of things I never had to lose.

Me in my sanctuary

and you in your asylum

though we’ve maintained mutual embassies in both

with high walls and barred windows

that have kept the measure

of how close we could have come to being lovers

instead of these refugees

seeking shelter from one another

like two storm birds under the overturned lifeboats

that saved no one from drowning

off the same shipwrecked coast.


Thursday, September 22, 2011


As the night and silence fall over Perth

and random voices are dwindling in the distance up the road

as I vow not to remember anything at all the right times

to the muse of broken gates hanging on the hinge of the year

and o most rare

not to forget a single intimacy

of the mystic love tokens she’s offered me

like black walnuts and ruby-throated humming-birds,

I realize I’m swimming in beautiful illusions

where the starfish lie down with the sharks

and inspired by my own absurdity

and the lack of any kind of enlightened credibility

I’m free of delusion and reality alike.

Crazy wisdom.

The penultimate insight into nothingness.

Who could wish for more?

The streetlamps are still in bud

in the third week of September.

And there’s a painting on my easel

with an autumn sun covered in black spidery birch branches

like a detached retina

that’s been keeping its eye on me since midnight.

Free enough to risk entreating the stars to be kind for once.

Free enough to be attached to the things of the earth that are perishing

to ensure they don’t as if I were one of them

on the inside of the joke

that’s stranger than not getting it at all.

Show me the wise man who hasn’t learned

to take his inner clown seriously

and I’ll show you an eagle born without eyes.

Fortune-cookies with all the answers

like dancers with knots in their muscular thighs.

Overhead I hear the Canada geese off into the going

as things are slowing down

and there are fire hydrants all over town

who’ve exhausted themselves trying to put the autumn out

that long to go with them just to know

what they’ve been left out of by holding their ground.

Does in the headlights,

two young women ditching a roach

at the approach to Rainbow Bridge

wondering if I’m the troll

or the pot of gold that lives under it.

I sublimate my indifference with a smile

and keep my distance

not to spook their high

as I pass unnoticed as I can

up the wolf path to lonelier timberlines

without them knowing

I think one’s a willow with slender blonde sorrows

and the other’s a raging sumac with phoenix wings

who eats her own ashes

like the flesh of the anti-Christ

just to get a rise out of things.



The stars so near it seems the approaching morning

could wet its thumb and forefinger

and pinching their wicks like intimate candles

that have held the lovers close

and the ghosts at bay all night

put them out with a hiss.

An ancient mirror deep within me

I couldn’t bring myself to bury

with the woman who once looked into it

is beginning to flood like a river of eyes with autumn rain

and I want to cry for things

that have departed like water birds

from their circuitous reflections on the mindstream

and leave the heart knocking

like an empty lifeboat against the rocks

that no one sings from now.

I’ve stared at the moon several nights in a row

as if we drank from the same skull

and I want to elevate my tears to a higher level

as a rite of passage worthy of what I mourn

but no lights on in the lockmaster’s house

me and the moon both know

how impossible it is to raise the dead

from their watersheds

by adding a few tears to a dry seabed

out of the largesse of the living

in the wake of so many shadows.

I’m trying to align my third eye like a bubble

in the middle of a balance beam

and build on the cornerstone of the moon

a Taj Mahal of lunar coral to commemorate

the loss of so much beauty

to the things it touched like braille

as if it wasn’t enough just to light them up

but parting the depths of its fathomless veils

open their eyes as well.

I shall turn three times in the silver grass

and stretching my body out like a scar upon the earth

lay down in a deer-bed by the river

with her absence bigger than the night for awhile

and listen to the frogs and crickets

as I used to listen for her footfalls on the creaking stairs

and the moon won’t lay its sword of light on the waters

like a vow of separation to keep us apart

and I shall ask every star

down to the sixth magnitude of time and shining

what has become of her who used to weave

English ox-eyed daisies into her hair

as if she were already among the constellations

showing off the lesser luminaries of earth

as if there were nothing so small

nothing so slighted or disregarded

no moment of life so devoid of inspiration

even the fireflies that can’t stay fixed in one place

long enough to beat a path into a zodiac

and elaborate their own creation myths

into something unborn and unperishing

weren’t enlightened

by the immaculate darkness of her transience.

To suffer everything as if it were a blessing she once said.

I look up through the leafless bough of an aging maple

twisted like a burnt match stick

whose fire’s just flared out.

I look up at the stars

as if they’d built their webs between the branches

like momentary dream catchers.

And I can’t manage it.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Easy to extract oneself from the climacteric of doom

that will absolve humanity of its horrors

by placing its destiny in its own hands

like a loaded gun in the hands of a child

by taking long nocturnal walks by the Tay River

among wildflowers full of farewell.

To watch the moonrise glowing

on the Texas toes of my wet black boots

as if they’d just been spit polished by morning snails

and sense the just proportions

and inchoate eloquence of eternity

in the trivialities of sublime coincidence.

How randomly everything fits

into this urgent medium of life and death

as if it played the tailor to its own emergence seamlessly

the way the mind stream cuts a path for itself

among a bewildering array of rocks and fallen birch

or a startled rat snake adds its wavelength

like a higher frequency to the laconic water

and yet no river has ever flowed the wrong way to the sea.

Easy to step out of the polluted light of the streetlamps

into the cleaner darkness on the outskirts of town

to renew my innocence

in the macrocosmic reveries of my solitude

enchanted by the mesmerizing details

of the mystically miniscule.

How the New England asters

in the middle of September

that yesterday bloomed like stars

in happier zodiacs than this

today are watching their eyelashes fall out one by one

and the daylilies that blazed with desire

wither like the kisses of old women

when no one’s there to receive them.

Easy to accept catastrophe in nature

as the spontaneous gesture of a hidden wisdom

that our eyes are too dependent on the light to see yet.

The muskrat gutted by the cattails

by a posse of rampant coyotes

in a frenzy of panicked hunger

sensing the cold-blooded wind turn vicious.

Soon the air will bare its fangs and snarl.

Soon the earth will harden into knuckles of ice

and the raccoons semi-hibernate

and the blue jays come like thieves

to pick the time-locks on the sunflowers

and the seeds enter the cryonic comas of their afterlives

confident of their revival in a future beyond doubt

as the planet sidles up to the sun at perigee

like an old love affair gone cold

tilting its head away

to rebuff any further advances.

Easy to lose yourself in the life of the mind

and the phantasmagoria of reality

that makes you feel you’re walking with gods

you’ll never know the name of.

Turn your back on the world

and let your thoughts wander off like smoke

from the fire pits of lost caravans

that have pitched their tents

on the dark side of the moon

where they can make up their own myths

about the strange stars

that have misled them this far from home.

How the creek laps the rock

like a doe at a salt block

left out in a farmer’s field.

How the water purls over the terraced shale

that looks like a burnt book in the ashes

of a fire that’s just been put out

like the library of Alexandria.

You could do that.

And who could blame you?

You wouldn’t be wrong.

It’s hard to listen

the way you listen to a star stream

slipping through a grove of birches at night

astute to everything it’s whispering;

hard to listen to the blood

gurgling out of a wounded child

like a poppy choking to death.

Hard to fine-tune your sensibilities

to the miscreant devolution of your own species

and not be savagely appalled

into holding a mirror up to nature

that blocks the view as surely

as if you’d put your hands up over your eyes

to escape it all and wake up somewhere else

where skulls are more natural in Eden

than in the abattoirs of human carnage.

A clean life with no skidmarks of despair.

No fingernails scratching at the walls

in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.

No graffiti under the bridges of PsychoBabylon.

No university students on the road to Damascus

tortured like Rosetta Stones

that have just had their tongues cut out

for not saying anything

that makes any sense

to the body language of the depraved

mutilating their flesh like slang.

Just the claw marks on the rocks

that have been sanitized by time

like the glacial striations of the last ice age

that gouged out the eyes of the lakes around here.

The bitter aesthetes of retreat run back to paradise

to study demonology by the light of fireflies

to better understand their fellow man

and live tactically out of reach

of their common inhumanity

where there’s not chance of a ricochet.

Under a locust tree in full bloom.

A fragrant cloud of honey-bees

with as many thorns as they have stingers

behind a wall of zinnias, cosmos, gladiolas

on a hill in the eye of clearing

completely surrounded by trees

sitting at a picnic table

with a black coffee, cigarette, and journal

inspired by the beauty of the morning to write

before your lover wakes up

to tend nine bean rows in Innisfree

though it’s eleven miles

and a hundred years ago

outside Westport Ontario

where you can hear the scarlet carillons

of the wild columbine in the rain

tinkling like delicate wind chimes

and modestly agitated chandeliers

plucked by the rain like the plectra

of home-made harpsichords

on the moss-pated rocks

of their composer’s skulls.

No mediocrities in nature

it’s hard not to feel like Mozart

whatever you’re listening to.

No air raid sirens, ambulances

squad cars or firetrucks

screaming like banshees

like furies and erinyes

to the scene of the tragic event.

No fractious braying of political jackasses

grinding their teeth in their sleep

like the mill wheels of the stony bread

the rich resent the poor

like loaves and fishes and mice in the silo

boat-tailed grackles and black-capped chickadees

salvaging what they can

from the dumpsters of leftover gardens.

No pathological racket of garbage cans

being tipped over in a street fight

to end all street fights

like knights in armour on their backs

in front a shield wall of local police

picking them up to hold them for ransom.

No drunks and druggies in the hallways

only bats velcroed to the burdock

blinded by the porch light

and star-nosed moles and snakes on the threshold

the cats leave like offerings

on the stairs of the temple of Bast.

So much easier to listen to the eerie wailing

of baby porcupines high in the basswood trees

than the shrieks of a family

being dragged out of their beds

by an occupation army

to see which of their daughters sisters mothers

will be raped like the Congo

whose childhood shall be pressed into murder

and who shall be bred out of existence.

Easy to buff the crack of the world with talcum powder

to spare you from getting diaper-rash of the mind

and side-track the ferocity of your insight into the horror

with lightning-rods and tuning forks

you can break with your pinky finger like wishbones

torn from the throats of children

who didn’t have time enough on earth

to learn to read the names on their own gravestones

if they’re lucky enough to have one.

Easy to have a time-share

in nature’s indifference to death

when there no place left

on the surface of a raging planet

that isn’t a dangerous vacation.

So much easier to tinker with echinacea

and smudge the bad spirits

out of the renovated farm house with sage

from home-grown herb gardens

than it is to inhale the reek of cordite

or the stench of organic decomposition

of the adolescent flesh of the festering corpse

found in a drainage ditch among the weeds

like a lily that smelled far worse than them

on the outskirts of Argentina

in the stadiums of Chile

in the Tiananmen Squares of China

in the mass hysteria of the bloodbanks of Syria

trying to assail a nest of dynastic vampires

with a silver bullet through the heart of the cloaked one

in the radical slums of Gaza

in the Warsaw ghettos of the West Bank

run by Israel searching children outside the gate

for smuggled vegetables from the Fertile Crescent

in the native reservations of the originals

who peopled Canada

like a charter of indigenous freedoms

without any concept of surveying their mother like real estate.

Outside the emergency exits and entrances of Arizona

where immigrants beaten to death

and dumped on the pavement to die

abandon all hope of ever entering there

and bullfrogs squatting on their sheriff’s badge

croak about getting tough on the mosquitoes

by hand-cuffing them to the food chain for deportation.

Flies eggs in the goat’s milk.

Spiders sucking the life out of the jewel

in the heart of the American dream catcher.

All that is hideous, grotesque, perverse,

genocidal, fratricidal, patricidal, matricidal, suicidal and worse

than acid splashed in the eyes of Afghani schoolgirls

learning to read through holes in the ozone

by flashlight under the veils of Isis.

Seek ye knowledge even as far as China.

Wheresoever ye turn is the face of God revealed

like the encaustic portrait of girl that came unglued

like a multilated candle on CNN

trying to shine a light on

nur wa nur

what’s dark and brutal

about the alif ba ta tha gim

of an alphabet in the mouth of an oral tradition

with an alchemical regime of hashashim for muscle.

You know how many dolls they collected at Dachau?

You know how many soccer balls

have had their feet blown off by cluster bombs in Gaza?

You know how many weathervanes

have stiffened their resolve

to look the other way like iron roosters

with alarmist political agendas

and industrious military complexes

as corrupted as the weather

when the wind is blowing the wrong way

like bad spin from the chimneys of Auschwitz

and Sabra and Shatila lie in the direction of prayer

like the gunsight of a Palestinian sniper?

Is this God’s ferocity

or the inconceivable atrocities of mad men

eaten alive by Herodian maggots

seeking the life of the first born of every nation

to preserve their myth of spontaneous generation.

Sweet to see the shadows of the autumn leaves

fossilized like bat wings on the sidewalk;

to notice how they turn

in the same succession of colours

from the outside in

as rainbows sunsets

and the emission spectra of nearby stars

busy on the nightshift making calcium and carbon.

Sweet to know this and to wonder at it

easy in the mystery

among the dragonflies and the blue hyacinth,

nailing bluebird boxes out of the reach of the barn cats

and egg-stealing raccoons

to play your part in it like a companionable spirit.

Asylum from the world.


Diplomatic immunity among the great blue herons

because you’ve stood there so long

without disturbing a fish

they think you’re one of them.


Monday, September 19, 2011


You phone me up after all these years

drunk and coked up

hot enough to blow glass

and ask me to forgive you

for things I didn’t even know you’d done

until you showed up at my funeral

with more mascara than tears on.

You turn the tap on

and it shrieks like a banshee in the rain

and then there’s a few moments lag time

until the blow back in the pipes

of a great apartment to burn to death in

groans like a foghorn in the desert.

In Perth they put the slums upstairs

to buff their coke in butter urns

just like the pioneers.

But I live like one of the livestock

they brought over on the boats

to go wild in North America

until the whole Sioux Nation

is mounted on winged mustangs

that refuse to be broken

in inspiration and spirit

even when they’re spurred in the eyes

by night riders with stars on their stiletto heels.

You want to know

if I might want to see you again

and I can hear you flipping your zippo

as if you were ejecting

the cartridge of a spent shell

like the coffin of a corpse buried at sea

to ignite the flame of love again

as I recall last time went out

twenty minutes to forever

after it was lit like a love lyric

to burn for eternity.

Now you want to see if it can live longer

on the ghosts and ashes of seasoned desires

than it did on the pyres of elephant bones

you dug up from the graveyard

like the memories of old lovers

to cremate your pet mouse by the Ganges

to give it an afterlife as big as the Taj Mahal

compared to that hole in the wall it used to cower in

for the few crumbs of the dreams

that used to fall from your eyes

into a coke spoon in the morning

like shining from cooked foil

to give an ironic twist to a line from Hopkins.

The black widow with the hourglass on her back

wants to know if she’s lost her sense of timing.

If she can still wake up from her coma

like a ravenous alarm clock

to eat her mate in the throes of sexual rapture

before he can dismount

and scamper away into the sunset

like an eight-legged easel

that paints a picture of itself

running back into a burning barn

like a horse that knows its way home.

The aging undertaker

wants to purge her crematorium

of the smell of burning flesh.

I want to tell her

that perishing isn’t so much

a matter of forgiving and forgetting

as it is a thorough exorcism of everything.

But I bite my tongue to spare the young and say

I was the one who put my heart in harm’s way

like a small warm mammal

thinking the same flute

I used to charm the spitting cobras

could teach an anaconda in pantyhose to lap dance.

You say you had two kids with the same biker

as if that were some kind of new norm for you

but then the government stepped in

and took the two kids and the biker into care.

And you’re on your own now

with no one who knows you the way I do

to ease your inconsolable despair.

And I don’t want to

but I remember how painful it was

patching that deflated vision of you up

when it went flat as a bicycle tire

by gluing my eyelids to your skin

like Japanese plum blossoms

over the holes in your inner tube

that kept letting the air out of the coils

of a Burmese constrictor

that couldn’t find a heart anywhere

to anchor its fangs in

and crush the life out of

and had to settle for the butt-ends of its own tail.

You were always a lamia

picking on sickly knights

who came to your rescue

but you occasionally appeared

almost human to me

whenever you were baffled to tears

realizing as your nerves went off the grid

like Sleeping Beauty

as the spiked apple fell from her hand

(Or was it a thorn she pricked herself on?)

even a full moon isn’t immune

to the poison glands of her own crescents.

And there’s no known antidote

tucked like sweetgrass

in the medicine bags of anyone’s balls

that can do anything for you

to break the fever

except offer them to you like a placebo

knowing the cold sweat of your nightmare

is as terminal as the dew

on the last flowers of autumn

when your blood drops below zero.

You ask me if I remember

when I first saw you

pole-dancing in Vanier

to pay your way through university.

A stripper into kundalini yoga

you wrapped your body

around the axis of the earth

like two wavelenghths

of synchronous serpent-fire

winding its way up the spine

of the winged cross

tattooed like a medical symbol

on the arm of that all night pharmacy

you called your boyfriend at the time.

One to afflict the wound with desire

and the other to heal it

by opening all its chakras at once

like a chimney-fire

making the pipes glow cherry-red with lust.

The silver thread of the moon

interwoven with the golden thread of the sun.

But it’s been a long time

since the tapestry

of that flying carpet came undone

and though Aladdin’s magic lamp still burns

it shines like a night light

in a morgue among the urns

of the afterlives

of a phoenix prone to nightmares.

So, yes, pop over if you want.

Sit down.

Unburden yourself like a volcano in therapy

and I’ll try to show you as I always did

the tropical islands that became of all that fury

when things cooled down enough for birds.

As the Oxyrhyncus sayings of Jesus Christ point out

what you bring forth will save you

and what you don’t will destroy you.

You can take the same approach to i.e.d.s

if you’re enough of an apostate not to kill.

Whether you’re a junkie

a wise-guy or a terrorist.

Not to make the hit

and then frame God for it.



Post-mortem conversations with myself.

Dissociated memories of old fires and distant smoke.

Rainbows in eclipse.

Gothic lovers with oilslicks on their lips.

Covens of doves at a black mass for bleeding hearts.

Echoes returning like smart comebacks

to the original lines of the voices

I keep trying to slip between

like a love note waiting for a name

to address it to

as if thinking weren’t a dialectic at all

not this not that

being and non-being

but an ancient mode of migrating

without anyone noticing you’re gone.

And I still burn in the memory of some fires

that weren’t worthy of the heretic they consumed.

Creative intensities that turned my eyes into glass

to clarify the darkness of the black stars

that kept their shining hidden

from the cults and constellations

on the fast track of the zodiac

that liked to see their name in lights.

I preferred hydrogen to inert gases at the time

and there was always something garish about fame

that made me see all that neon

flickering like a cheap one night motel for attention.

All outlaws are wandering scholars

but these days I feel more like a Druid

walking between warring factions

with the diplomatic immunity

of an estranged superstition

to put an end to old conflicts

that live and die like blackflies

in two intense days of direct sunlight

at the end of May when they cleanse the temples

of what winter tracked in like a shelter for demons.

The victory is as boring as the defeat.

And I’ve run out of white flags and red capes

to use for bandages to stop the bleeding

so I let my wounds mummify themselves

without interring any grave goods

under the geoglyphs of their scars.

And here come the righteous rich again

like another crusade against the infidel poor

to dislodge them from the global expansion

of the holy lands over the whole earth

like dandelions in the lawns of Disneyland

within the corporate reach of napalm

and bell-curves of white phosphorus

going supernova

like the Star of Bethlehem

burning through the eyes and skin and hearts

of the children of Gaza

like the evil side of Tinkerbelle

spreading the fairy dust of ethnic cleansing

like a foreign policy that salts hell

with deathstars no one can make a wish upon.

Six pointed stars.

Eight pointed stars.

And that square constellation of fifty

arranged like beer in a box

over thirteen wavelengths

of blood on the snow

with no return on the empties.

And there the bloody handprint

of the red maple

of my own autumn country

complicit in the history

of bigger fires on the world stage

than this one little flame

we’re all huddled around

trying to keep one side of our hearts

warm and human

in the first storm of the new ice age

that keeps blowing it out

like a candle in a manger of straw

like a phoenix in a barn-fire of heritage ashes.

Armoured war mice

war elephants

warring troops of snarling baboons

with red decals painted on their asses

like underbellies of Mitsubishi Zeroes

to identify the friendlies

from the swarms of killer bees

raising cults of i.e.d.s

like terrorist drones

in hives of milk and honey

wired to cellular phones

like bombs in the promised land

that break the word of God

like the bodies and hearts and minds of children

who huddle in their ancient places with the fairies

under the concrete rubble

of the stone that slew Goliath

and all his children

like a ricochet of collateral damage.

Hashashim pouring out of the mouth

of the Old Man of the Mountain

like fire ants down the slopes

of their heaps of formic acid

to sow the olive groves with stinging nettles

and make war on weddings

by rending that which God has joined together

asunder in Islamabad.

Undoing the zippers of their flies

as if they were parting the Red Sea

like the chromosomes of the unborn.

Half their genes on crusade

and the other half on jihad

where love has pitched its tent

as a disappointed Yeats would say

in the place of excrement.


Friday, September 16, 2011


upon being informed by a friend that she was dispassionately seeking an end to her life

Anywhere but here. Anyone but me. Any time but now. Worn out more selves than I ever thought I wanted to be. All these masks like petals fallen from the same rootless tree. But where’s the fruit? Where’s the face all this was practise for? Where’s the great unveiling that breaks through the clouds like the moon? Voids within voids within voids like the fractals of Chinese boxes. Gopher wheels of intellection. Cosmic eggs the mystics never broke out of. Where everything begins and ends. In wonder at the horrors and the radiance. Ageless wonder. Sixty-three years of experiencing it and still the noviate that apprenticed himself to deepening his ignorance at the hands of an unknown master. And what’s a master but someone who realizes they’re a constant beginner? The teacherless teaching. The gateless gate. The hinge of the way. Just to be here. Though my head be under its heel. Though my eyes long for fireflies. Though my heart aches for things that I did and are gone for good and things I didn’t do and are still not done. Though all that is lovely and kind soon perishes and everyone moves up one step in line as if nothing ever happened. But to be here wholly, intensely, as if it did matter, as if this much wonder at the mere fact of it could not be squandered on the banal absurdities of inconsequence. Why would sentience emerge from chaos if it’s just a masquerade of it own irrelevance? If it wasn’t as necessary as random chance to explain what we’re all doing here trying to second-guess what we’re all doing here? Is the planet breaking into consciousness, evolving a neo-cortex to cover the earth, growing itself a global brain and each of us a neuron, one of millions with fifty thousand relationships each, brought forth to facilitate the process by transcending our own? Are we the starmud out of which will come waterlilies with cool soft white lunar skin? Five petals open and one flower blooms? Infinite gods of darkness and light all peers of our own human divinity housed in the one temple that’s dedicated to the worshipper?

Stone. Water. Air. Ions. Space. We’ve progressed through increasingly rarefied mediums the least tangible of which is mind. And if the medium is the message, then why have we come all this way and what are we here for if it isn’t to speak for ourselves? Each charged with a vision and a mission of their own to express themselves like a loveletter in a bottle cast upon this expansive sidereal sea of awareness. And it doesn’t matter much if the message is trivial or sublime. One small red thread of a wavelength or the whole blue-white blinding radiance of a galaxy. Cherished or despised. Treat everything, every thought, every feeling, the ants at your feet, the shadows of the black walnut trees at sunset pouring their shadows out over the grass like water, as if it were the first sign of extraterrestrial intelligence. Because it’s the wonder, the mystery, the intrigue and shock of being here at all and our insistent urge to look through the open doorway and cross our old thresholds like dangerous taboos to run after the stranger who knocked and walked away that is the most vital about us. Wonder is the life blood of the imagination. Sever that jugular on an ostrakon of a broken mirror you’ve spent years polishing, and all your images, metaphors, similitudes and symbols will bleed out into ghostly abstractions that are forced to return to the gravestones of their senses at dawn to remember who’s buried under their names. And isn’t the wonder enough? Whether in love or in art or science isn’t it the wonder that impels everyone to express their amazement at what they see arrayed before them? Startled into being out of the inconceivable aren’t the rest of our lives just one long spontaneous gesture of fright and fascination? Each of us what the world whispers into its own ear when it wonders what it’s doing here alone? I was a hidden god and I wished to be known? Isn’t that the image of us? Each of us a different response to what’s going on at the moment, and all of them true, including the liars and illusions. The whole of the content expressed in all phases of the moon. Nothing ever missing because nothing can’t be grasped. You just take it in as it is as if you were the world the bottle the message the lover the sea the disappointment and the consummation all in one. The wave not distinct from the sea and neither of them strangers to water. The Luna Moth just one night flys up against your window out of the darkness and spreads its wings like a thought or a feeling and shows you the eyes it’s brought to the light to deepen and enhance the radiance the darkness and your seeing all alike staring at the mystery of each other in wonder at the other’s occurrence.

You are that. The voice and the listening. The witness and the event. The loveletter the lover and the return address. The myth of origin you’re writing that’s making you up as it goes along. Created and Creator. And always the space that goes beyond both to receive them like stars being poured into the mouth of nothingness to revive the moon skull of the night with eyes. Each of us the way the universe talks to itself in its sleep whether its dreaming the world on a lotus or agonizing its way through the excruciating transformations of a nightmare. And some flowers are looking at the stars. And some are listening. But whatever the outcome, when the world wakes up, it’s us it wakes up to. Us in our baffling mystic fearfully boundless entirety. You who are the meaning of meaning. You who are the hunger to know. You who are apprenticed to chaos. You who let things go. You who are trying to hang on. You who order yourself like a ladder for the birds to perch on. And you who approach them opportunistically like the green branch of a snake. You who underestimate your complexity to the detriment of your simplicity. You who can’t see in the act of washing your hands what the dead long for again. How the trivialities, follies, and mundanities of the world are as crucial as oxygen to those who are crazy enough to be wisely alive while they have the chance. You who are deceitful in love because you expect to lose your happiness last. And you who realize your own fulfillment in the act of truing someone else’s life to their longing. You who have given up asking the silence to speak because it never answers you gazing upon the stars that frequent your solitude until one night in a blaze of insight you realize the universe itself and you in it just as you have always been since the beginningless beginning is the way the silence roars.

You can taste this world with your eyes. You can distinguish among flavours of light. If your mouth has grown stale on a diet of cliches and your voice hoarse with screaming at the death masks you carved out of the jungle like Olmec skulls in the likeness of the dynasty of your own ferocious dissatisfied selves, you can exchange sculptors with other cemeteries and let the wind do the work of the rain. No pain no gain is the ethic of a puritanical food chain. How much work was it to be born like light in the body of a lamp to find your way here like the next step on the Road of Ghosts where everyone walks on the graves of their ancestor-selves like an afterlife that isn’t theirs alone though they cling to it like a single drop of water clings to a blade of star grass? Five and a half billion years of spontaneous emergence from the Burgess Shale to a hundred million neurons rooting in the starmud of a mind so boundless and indefinable it can encompass the superclustering of galaxies and the singularities of black holes and most of it growing effortlessly whether you grimace like a decision maker or smile as if you couldn’t care less. Not for seventy years of forced labour trying to soil your shining on the night shift. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust if you must see it that way. But stars to ashes to stars to dust to us and back to stars is a more accurate way to see it. The shining takes root in the earth and becomes flowers and trees and blackberries and fish and reptiles mammals and birds and then the radiance takes its greatest risk and accelerates us up to the speed of light and beyond into the faster shadows of thought and feeling that enter the available dimensions of the future ahead of the stars. And all for what? So you can answer: Creative play without a motive? Cosmos without an agenda? Chaos is the dark partner of all principles of organization? Or maybe just to stand in a wild open field silvered in moonlight by the wind and look at the stars until you can feel no veil between your eyes and them as you realize your seeing is no less than the latest masterwork of their genius whether you’re dazzled by the Pleiades or collapsing under your own mass into a black hole in a burst of gamma radiation. The predators evolve eyes for hunting. The prey learn to lie about their appearance. The predators see through the disguise. And life changes like a mood ring. The rose that’s as vulnerable as blood is always the one with the most thorns. The harvest moon in a total eclipse like the prophetic dreams of famine and plenty Joseph had of Egypt like a rainbow in the dry well of his abandonment. If you don’t want to be called back to this life don’t get caught with the goblet of the moon in your donkey’s saddlebags even if it’s given to you as a gift to keep you here. Just remember you can’t pour the universe out of the universe and time is an hourglass that drinks stars and sand and even when it turns its glass over as if it’s had enough for one life never runs dry. Look how the Milky Way runs from Rhea’s tit. And Cronos swallows his sons like swaddled stones. Where are you going to go when all roads and rivers and mindstreams lead you back to ask what you’re still doing here? Flee the light and it’s always ahead of you. Run from it and even your shadow takes the lead. It’s like water trying to run a race with the sea.

Deal with it. Don’t sit there on my futon, glaring at me because I take your suicide threat more seriously than you do. That I can take it to a darker place than your eyes have ever been eclipsed by. Grab your flute and see if you can teach the snake pit music. I care. Deeply. But the bitumen of my tears has turned into hard diamonds over the years with increasing access to clarity. Kill yourself. And what’s been left unaccomplished? Don’t kill yourself and has anything been done? And if I say you’re light, we all are, that doesn’t mean that you’re a candle and can snuff yourself out. And if you’re as dark as you say you are and want to end it all by putting a gun up to your temple what could that do but deepen the night for all of us? Add to the darkness by one less star? Don’t you think breaking into light would kill you into a new life faster than the Big Bang exploded into stars? I’m not saying don’t do it. I’m not saying do it. Look at the moon. It pulled the last crescent of a trigger on itself. Dead world. No atmosphere. Frozen cataracts of water at the southern polar cap. Drinking shadows out of the dry seabed of its skull. And yet it still shines like it or not. Brightest when it’s full. But darkest when it’s new again. Yes, pain. Yes, death. Yes, the rabid ferocity of human injustice. Yes, atrocity and savage indignation. Yes, madness and absurdity. Yes, the obscenity of human lovelessness toward all living things. Yes, futility. Yes, the maggots who run the world for the corporate delecti. Yes, the sorrow that longs to pour into the absence of everything and everyone you’ve ever cherished the way nature abhors a vacuum. Yes, joy denuded of its innocence and no one left to cry to but yourself. Yes, people in the water. All sharks into the lifeboat. Yes, ignorance, indifference, war, the skull beneath the skin, the dungheap covered in snow. Twenty-five million children starving to death every year on a planet that attributes the birth of civilization to agriculture. I understand. It’s as real as one of those razorblades you used to scar your arms and thighs like a prisoner scratching out a paleolithic calendar on a bone in a Neanderthal cave. Or do you cut into your flesh like an early version of cuneiform that’s become your mother tongue? And what is it exactly you’re trying to express? Your disgust with yourself? Your disgust with others who get up in the morning to count the raisins like an abacus in their cereal, certain they’re being cheated out of something they deserve while their kids are seizing the day on the sly from the medicine cabinet? And yes, I know your father tore the wings off the innocence of his two butterfly daughters just as you were beginning to grow breasts and that empathy isn’t enough to identify with the experience unless you’ve wholly lived through it yourself. But I’ve seen you when you didn’t know I was looking open your wings on the rim of a poppy that suddenly flared up like a distant fire on the hillside of a dark valley at night. Something warm and inviting that wasn’t as lost and dangerous in the vast homelessness of despair as you were. And when you opened your wings. They weren’t the wings of a housefly stained by snakeoil rainbows. They weren’t soiled or torn or bruised by the world’s filth like the lunar hymens of the morning glory. I swear when I saw you open them the first time you looked like you were opening a slim volume of lyrical love poetry that escaped the book-burning of the Grand Inquisitor of the Court of the Star Chamber. You are not the original sin. You did not bring death into the world. You are gold. You are the full harvest moon over the white gold of the grain. You are the sun at midnight and the sun of shadowless noon. Bathe in your own fires to burnish the shining. Time, tears, rivers, blood, the mindstream, the Milky Way clarify themselves by flowing as if they had their tails in their mouths and the circle remained unbroken. Inviolate. Zero. Black hole. The plenum-void, the dark abundance, the bright vacancy that keeps on giving by adding its nothing to one and making it ten times bigger. Dark energy. The engine of the expanding universe. The dark mother who bends space into a womb and gives birth to galaxies. Sex isn’t just a choice between the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene, as if you had to make love with one foot on shore like an oil slick and the other in the spiritual lifeboat of an immaculate womb. You could be Isis. The Queen of Heaven. And no one could lift your veils who stood before you with the slightest shadow of selfhood like shit on his shoes and track the slime paths of the world across the thresholds of the black rose of your mystery. Darkness is a big asset, a hidden jewel, the translucency of inner space that lets things pass freely through it like light on its way to see if it can inspire the beginnings of life on a habitable planet that needs a gentle jump start. The original immunity of your mind can no more be wounded than self-healing water can be injured by a sword. Letting go of things that inhibit your growth is not a concession to the atrocities of those who foul themselves with the salts of Sodom and Gomorrah so that only the poison fruits of the earth root in them and no stars flower. It’s not giving them the satisfaction of watching the toxin of their spiritual sterility paralyze you as if they’d finally found a way of wielding their impotence like real power. The spider stands back at the perimeter of its web and watches the frenzied death throes of the damselfly, gratified by the ritual obedience to its hunger. Why hang like a mummified fly on its trophy line when you can unbead the necklace like a radiant drop of water by dropping off your bodymind as easily as birds drop off the powerlines or whole notes off the strings of a guitar that isn’t tuned to the fangs of the crescent moon like wishbones ice-picks and death wishes. Serpent-fire might manage it in the talons of a Zen eagle with an eye for enlightenment high in the mountains, but why let a maggot wear your wings and think itself a dragon? Live well in defiance of those who would see you perish. Live like a happy antidote that knows how to milk the fangs of the destroyer like a healer who administers the power of compassion toward herself like a herb of immortality she extracted from a snake pit. Don’t believe anyone who tells you you can dive as far down into the corals of a dead seabed as you have to retrieve the pearl of the moon only to come up as empty-handed as they are. Open your hand. Your oyster mouth. Look at what you can do with a grain of sand. Isn’t that the lustre of a nacreous dawn returning like a new atmosphere to the milky tears of the moon like birds to a wordless aubade? Rise up, rise up, rise up like the gender of the sun in Arabic that feminizes the new day nurturing everything alike on the indiscriminate generosity and splendour of her light. Let the moon enslave those who subjugate others to the servitude of their appetites like long foodchains moving through the night like caravans through the lunar deserts that refuse to drink from the tainted wellsprings of their half-mad mirages. Preferring the taste of its own shadows to the fever of lies that fouls their watersheds like sewage. I think it was Dogen Zenji or it could have been Nangaki who said of enlightenment that fortunately you only have to shit once up here in the mountains and it’s good for a whole lifetime. Live, butterfly, live. Open your eyelids like chrysales and cocoons and unfold your wings like a love poem from an unknown mirror you’ve been carrying around with you for light years like the memory of someone you keep forgetting to look at. Revel in the life-giving fertility of your own creative powers as if you’d just turned a corner of darkness in yourself and come upon a constellation of white waterlilies transforming the malevolent decay of their supperative beginnings into the enlightened symbol of an earthly excellence. Do this like something unbelievably beautiful in the face of your ugliest disappointment. Don’t try to live up to any image, bad or good, you might have of yourself. That comes and goes like a ghost that wasn’t summoned to the seance. But thrive past that into fulfilling what is most inconceivable about you, knowing the possibilities are as boundless as all the permutations and combinations of omnidimensional worlds in the multiverse. Infinite. Blessings like the abundance of zeroes it takes to play that secret guitar in your heartwood like a tree in the rain. Like a night bird that greets every eclipse of its heart like the new moon of its longing to fill the void in the empty cup of its inspiration with the wellsprings of a lyric that sweetens the waters of the moon with their first taste of inextinguishable fire that burns like a feeling for life that isn’t estranged by the love affair.


Monday, September 12, 2011


You lied to me once

and then you lied again about why you lied.

And I couldn’t tell if you were a hall of mirrors

who thought you could warp the truth like space

and bend the light to your way of shining

or just liked talking out of your ears

like the sea in a seashell

with multiple piercings along its nacreous lobes

like a Stonehenge of silver moon skulls

you kept like a calendar

to mark the best night of the year

to start planting things

in the hearts of the lovers

whose flesh you turned over like soil.

You said you were a witch

and I was your broomstick

but you didn’t mind

if I came along for the ride.

And though it felt foolish

to fancy myself a warlock

I’m intrigued

by the cosmology of dark matter

and alien planets with exotic atmospheres

I could explore like a runaway space probe

for signs of my own kind of life

and ok when in Rome

do as the Romans don’t

and throwing the stars over my left shoulder

like the spilled salt of an older radiance

wrapped your night around me

like the cloak and chrysalis of a warlock

and hoped I wasn’t defaming anyone

in the name of what you wanted me to be.

Your body was a unified field theory

and when I first lay down beside it

there was nothing in the universe

it couldn’t explain

and in that menacing shrine

of frankincense and black candles

you called a bedroom

we broke the oaths we’d made

to the thousand swords

that came between us like reasons not to.

And when I kissed your emergency mouth

I could taste the earthly taboo

on the lips

of your celestial fortune-cookie

like a full eclipse of the harvest moon.

We sowed the dragon’s teeth

and renewed the flesh of the skeletons

that arose from the dead.

And in front of the fireplace

where we made love on the Golden Fleece

I remember how you used to burn the prophets

who came dressed up in our feathers

as if we were waterbirds

and not the spawn of a phoenix

on the pyres of our ancestral demons

our mouths speaking in tongues

to our bodies

as if they’d just been discovered

like the native language of all Rosetta Stones

in a desert of bewildered stars

urgently trying to tell us something

for our ears only.

Dark raptures that didn’t sweat the details

of the unreal mirages we exorcised

through the pores of our skin

like the hot tears of lesser elixirs

that tried to palm themselves off

like snakeoil antidotes

to the serpentine love potions of original sin

though the consequences be damned for it ever after amen.

We knew a wonder that’s older than God

and deeper than night.

And I swear there were times I couldn’t tell

if I were shagging a witch

or in mystic connubium

with the eclipse of a hidden dakini

on the other side of the black mirror

of the mind I left behind me

like a note to reality

to go looking for itself without me.

And apparently it did

for the thirteen lunar months

I was with you at least.

And that’s not to say I have any regrets.

I can’t remember you

without hungering

for the dark fruit of the dead

you arrayed like the feast of your body

out on black satin sheets

that glistened like the skin of a snake pit

to summon Orpheus down into the underworld

like an oracular succubus

that liked to be possessed

by the picture-music of prophetic skulls

in the same key as her G-spot.

I was Hermes Trismegistus the Thrice Blessed

and you were all the occult sciences of the flesh.

Your esoteric eroticism

isn’t the kind of spell

you can cast off all that easily

or pass on to a willing novitiate

uprooting weeds in a herb garden

of untried remedies.

And lust has always been harder to heal than love.

The warlock thing wore off like a cult

once you started

handing out black kool-aid

from the fountain of youth.

I never really understood

why you thought

there was a lock on my heart

when I’ve always thought of it

as the missing link in the food chain

but you did

and it’s still oxymoronic as hell to me

to remember you sitting

in a rhombus of sunlight

on the hardwood floor of the living room

reciting an imported mantra

like a repeating decimal

that would eventually crack the code

to the vault where death kept its darkest jewels.

I used to watch you grind your teeth

like kernels of corn

on the lingam and yoni

of the stone age cosmic eggs

you tried to break like koans.

I still don’t know what it was

you were looking for

and I still deny

I was Ali Baba or anyone

of the forty-thieves

and there was no Open Sesame

that could have opened the cave any wider

than I’d already opened it to you.

And though I don’t mind

taking a bath in my own grave once in a while

to rinse the dirt of life off me

I told you from the very beginning

the tomb was empty

and I didn’t know who it belonged to

but if you wanted to believe you were Mary Magdalene

I’d try to relate.

But you let an open gate come between us

and the mirages evaporated

and the oases returned to their watersheds

the wishing wells dried up

and though I know you wanted

to breach the ultimate taboo with Jesus

and all I could manage to do

was get it up like Lazarus

I knew it was time

to add a little more sweetgrass

to the medicine bags of the scapegoat

and drive myself out into the wilderness

like an unwilling ascetic

to avoid being tempted by Jesus.

It gets lonely out here

but I still have dirty dreams of you

that puts the religious pornography

of St. Anthony’s hard drive to shame.

I’ve been the scapegoat for a lot of things

not of my doing but who knows

maybe not undeservedly

but I do know

when you place the burden of your own sins

like a lot of heavy judgment

on the backs of the irrelevantly innocent

they take their ostrakons out into the desert

like pieces of a broken urn

and in the vas hermeticum of their ashes

reintegrate themselves

into Renaissance masters of all evil.

The bestial becomes personified

by the sophisticated features and dark clarity

of intriguing familiars like Azazel

flying the Satanic banner of his bloodstream

from the horned crescents of the moon.

And the payback can be more illuminating

in its own dark way

than a mystic black hole in a hood

on the via negativa to enlightenment

or anyone of those myopic jewels you were looking for

like eyes that could see better in the dark than you could

even when the sun shone at midnight.

I’ve heard it said

that the devil’s last trick

is to prove that she doesn’t exist.

And it’s hard to imagine

a darkness deeper than that.

And though we’re overly discrete

when we encounter each other these days

as the Quran says

evil is separation

and knowing what I know of you

how could I doubt it?

Just the same

given you can only see

as far into the dark

as the light you’ve been given to go by.

You into burning your bridges behind you

and me into crossing the ones I see ahead.

The way we were in bed together.

For every demon that jumped from heaven

an angel rose from hell.

The zeniths and nadirs

the apogees and perigees of the bodymind

the spirit that knows the darkness in the fire

the shadow in the lamp

that like everything else in this looping universe

is cyclical

so as many good things come of the darkness

as bad things do in the day.

Nothing sits above or below the salt

at a circular table

and even that thirteenth house of the zodiac

the others signs used to peck at

for getting around like the warped ellipsoid

of a waterclock with its own tail in its mouth

instead of the precision cogwork

they were wasting their time on

finds a place for its homelessness.

And a sword they pull out of their hearts

like iron from a star

like a king from a stone

like a thorn from the lion’s paw.

And even if you could prove to me

you don’t exist

trying to pull the wool

over the sacrificial sheep’s eyes

like a Klingon cloak of invisibility

like Cat Woman at a bat rave

I wouldn’t believe you anyway.

Ten virtuous scars in a choir of bleeders

couldn’t hold a black candle

up to one of your wounds

or six exorcisms

and nine lost holy wars

or the decretal of a curse

stuck like a rolling paper

to the pope’s lips

ever make me forget

the human divinity

that conceals its sensual blessings

like hidden jewels

in the depths of a spiritual eclipse

I still walk in the shadow of even today

like the dead seas

of those long lunar wavelengths

redshifting in your bedroom

like the lost atmosphere

of a young igneous moon

lying in the arms of the old.

Water might grow bald

as a polar ice cap

and stellar passion

shrink to a black dwarf

and even when entropy

sinks into the rapture of oblivion

in the sexual narcosis

of its fourth level of dreamless gratified sleep

at minus 273 degrees Kelvin

you’ll never grow cold or inert.

In a cemetery of dead stars

that have relinquished their haloes

like the heavy metals of excruciations

too heavy to bear

one atom among

the dead starfish

of billions upon billions of galaxies

will budge.

Will run like tears of gold

out of the dark ores of time and space.

One small unspent firefly of desire

one chimney spark

in the mouth of the dark cosmic furnace

ignite the creative lightning of lust

that gives the universe its thrust

and gets the whole show

on the pilgrim road to radiance again

by deepening the darkness

that makes the night bird sing in extasis

like an inextinguishable candle

at one of those black masses

that tried to scandalize me

for being able to embrace

so much that was dark about you

so lucidly.