Monday, January 3, 2011




If you’re braver than I am

it’s only because you’re more desparate you said

and I broke down laughing in tears

as you were tripping on mushrooms

and I was starting to peak on acid.

Why should you love me at all you asked

and I said I like to take subjective risks

and I can still light up at the smile you gave me

because you thought I thought you were dangerous.

Have you stayed dangerous over the years?

Did you ever find enlightenment?

Or have all those Doors of Perception we stepped through

way back then to expand our cosmic conciousness

by crossing all our thresholds

and dotting all our taboos

closed like space behind you?

Have you made your return address a point of view

you can live with

and turned those beautiful Hispanic eyes

into late night windows

that don’t see anything that ever goes down in the neighbourhood?

Is your seeing still ambidextrous

or have you shut your eyes to the world

so they’re more wall than window

and there’s only one way of looking in?

Sometimes I think that night I dropped acid with you

on China Beach under the stars

estranged by the flames and shadows and smoke

of a cedar fire eager to burn its first heretic

I got so high I’ve never come down

and though forty years have passed

I’m still nineteen back there somewhere with you.

Even my mother used to say in frustration

when she couldn’t win the argument

that I had a way of turning things upside-down.

That may well be so

but I’d still rather be an oxymoron

that can see all sides of things at once

like a multi-faceted jewel turning in the light

in front of a mirror

that doesn’t know which one of its infinite profiles to choose

and doesn’t

than suffer the Great Reversal of the Hourglass

and end up walking on my head

and thinking with my feet

just so everybody would think I was normal.

I’m still nineteen back there somewhere with you

and the fire we lit that night

like something ephemeral

among so much that was eternal

keeps flaring up in me like a phoenix that’s never gone out.

Clarity doesn’t turn a lie into the truth.

And enlightenment might be so blissed out

it celebrates its own ignorance

because everything is perfect just as it is

but I still think there’s more sincerity in the search

than there is in the finding.

I still think life is a mystery that surpasses its own wonder.

I still think every moment contains the whole of space

without beginning or end

like a water droplet contains the whole of the sea.

I still think that whenever people touch one another gently

they leave their fingerprints on the window

like constellations on the sky

that prove our identities are as indelible as light.

I still think there’s something more alluringly mystical about action

than there is in the undynamic peace of contemplation.

But the best is to make love as we did that night

as a tantric mode of creative annihilation

that showed the drugs we were on

like flying carpets

what it was like for once

to get so euphorically high on us

the next time they saw us coming

they’d just say yes.















I stand where the listening begins

as if my voice were just another one of the echoes

and my tongue were the tip of an edgy precipice

that doesn’t dare make a move

over an immeasurable abyss of eyes

that nobody belongs to.

This is a seeing that’s older than the stars

that were born of it

like a mirror is born of the shining.

Like a body is born of the mind

and takes on the shape of a universe

as an expressionist gesture of classical reserve.

In the great ocean of being before it turned into everyone

our eyes weren’t beaded like two drops of water

strung through our nose

like a statement we were trying to make.

They were waves.

Waves of water.

Waves of light.

Waves of thought and feeling.

They were waterbirds that came and went

without leaving.

They were meteorological events

in the emotional life of the sea

when it played alone with itself like weather.

We didn’t evolve hands to prove we had a grip on things.

We didn’t evolve brains to prove we were intelligent.

We’re not nuggets of insight

panned from the mindstream

that runs down the world mountain

in a rush of gold.

I stand where I can hear the night

breathing like a shadow in its own darkness

and whatever I am not

is as real as whatever I am.

And my sorrows drop away

like the black fruit of ruined bells

and my joys know a freedom

no holy war ever deserved.

Here my death answers to my life

and not the other way around.

My beginnings are not justified by my ends

and my solitude is so wholly itself

it embraces everything

as if it were space

and time were its only friend.

This is a poetic state.

A dynamic mode of creative anihilation.

This is a phoenix blooming in its own fire.

This is life.

This is the universe full of bright ideas

that come to it like stars in the darkness.

This is the white mare of the full moon in the high field

with the gates open

like wings growing out of her shoulders.

This is a space that is so spontaneously immediate

that you receive the reply

long before you’ve even asked the question.

It doesn’t take thousands of thoughtyears

for the light to get here.

A flower blooms.

A star comes out.

It’s as simple as that.

You lift one veil of the mystery like an eyelid.

Nothing has a history.

The old man remembers nothing.

The old woman forgets her name.

Once they were seabeds of meaning.

Now they’re just water.

And everything is ok with that.

People go grey

and turn into clouds in the mountains

just to catch the last of the light

and give their lives some colour.

And then it’s night again

and the dancing chandeliers of the stars

that are burning like legends

to make a name and a myth for themselves

fall like constellations to earth

and shatter like the rainbows of youth.

Every dawn has a taste of the sunset in it.

What’s the end of anything

if not the dark side of its beginnings?

I am the fool of a freedom

that lets things be whatever they want to be

deep within the heavy fruit of a compassionate heart

that ripens in its own lucidity.

There are worms.

There are birds.

There’s a green star in the apple core.

My skin is the chameleon of the sun going down.

I know how to swim through stone and water.

There are fish in my treetops

and birds in my roots

and when I drown

it’s the sun in the sea

and nothing ever really goes out.

Everytime I open my mouth to sing

this is where the muse

puts a finger to her lips

to teach me what I’m talking about.

I’m a star when I write.

First I let go of the light.

And then the children point fingers at me

and say in mutual recognition

of the stories they make up on the go

there you are

just as we foretold.

It’s the same way with water

when it’s lost in a desert of sand and stars.

Sometimes it takes a mirage to find your way home.

Death gapes like the jawbone of a mummy

and writes like a pyramid

as if it wanted to make all things last forever.

But when life picks up the pen

around the fires of the stars

to whisper into its own ear

things that only solitude

can suggest to the night

its poems are always tents on the move.

The moon sailing paper lifeboats down a river

like waterlilies

blooming in the pale flames

of their lunar immolations

as if each were a white phoenix

rising above its own ashes and smoke

like someone dreaming of swans.