Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Even though the snow is still on the trees

I can smell the flowers from here

Like a distant fragrance of light.

Everything is creatively radiant.

Everything is an unsanctified insight

into the nature of everything else.

Whatever exists.

Whatever has ceased to exist.

What has never existed

is me.

Either I’m all of that

as you are

and we’re all of each

or we’re altogether nothing.

We make paths for ourselves

out of what we’ve already experienced

but those roads are always behind us

like the wake of a lifeboat

like the light of a star

like the generations of those

who summon us to a seance in the future

like the ghosts of those who haven’t died yet

because time doesn’t run just one way

and the mindstream doesn’t follow its own flowing

anymore than water does

because wherever it’s going

it already is.

Even at the end of all roads.

In dangerous backalleys

and suicidal cul de sacs

life makes a way out of no way.

It never looks back.

It never looks forward.

It doesn’t turn time into a schedule.

It doesn’t come early.

It doesn’t come late.

It isn’t full of hellos and farewells

because wherever it walks

it greets itself.

A bluejay turns upside down

to get at the seeds of the sunflower

with its face downturned in a crown of thorns

like a station of the cross

and a gust of stars flys off its wings

as if some stargazer

had just breathed out the Milky Way in Aquila.

You want to know who you are.

You’re that.

You’re this.

You’re him.

You’re her.

You’re it.

Just stop looking at the world

as if it were inanimate

and you can breathe in

the same night the stars do

you can breathe in the space and the darkness

and the abysmal depths of time there is

in every moment

in every breath you take

and you can turn it all

including the exceptions

into a clear light

that illuminates its own shining

nur wa nur

light upon light

with awareness

with life

with the jewel of a hidden treasure

by which the world is known

to be wholly and solely

no less or more than each of us.

I see the dead leaves

still clustered

this deeply into winter

on the young maple tree

that hasn’t learned

that poems were meant to be scattered on the wind

or that there’s a voice in the burning bush

that’s her own

she hasn’t discovered yet

that’s as passionate and generous as the fire

she speaks through now to the stars

she aspires to.

Why go looking for symmetries of randomness

like jewels in a dark ore

when they’re right in your face like your eyes?

There’s no secret eclipse in the heart of the jewel

that’s as obvious as a morning like this.

There’s nothing to know.

There’s nothing not to know.

And the light seems so much like bliss

I doubt if there’s anywhere anyone can go

where the light can’t touch the dark spot in the heart of a fool.



Long riverine violet shadows

snaking their way across the snow

like spontaneously confident brushstrokes on a white canvas.

Morning’s in its studio.

I’m at my desk.

And both of us were driven here

by our own free will

though the morning’s always

more gravely creative than I am.

There’s nothing sprightly about a limping iamb

that’s trying to wrestle

the angel in its way

without dislocating its hip

like a prophetic wishbone

that doesn’t know what to ask for.

But here’s a prophecy if you want one.

There will come a day

when you won’t want to know the future

and you will take your head in your hands

like the skull of the moon

and turn it around

so its dark face

looks down upon the earth

like the back of a mirror.

One day the wonder of being alive

will freeze like a mindstream

that’s gone deeply underground

like water on the moon

to keep from thinking

about the horror of what’s going on.

Cynics look into the future

and uncover the ancient ruins of their expectations.

The light festers like the ingrown hair of a solar flare

that screws up its spiritual compass

and turns back on itself

like a flower that couldn’t see the point of blooming.

The optimists look into the future

in an abundance of light

that rises like ghost bread

they’re always handing out to the dead

as if they were the most needy among the living

to be deprived of hope.

But ruining the future with hope

is no different than ruining it with despair.

But by far the host of humanity

keeps its eyes on the present

from the inside out

trying to be what’s not there.

They’re like lost trees that read their leaves like maps.

They’re like the wind trying to get a fix on where it’s going.

A voice taking singing lessons from its echos.

The shadows flow away from the light

like roads not taken

or the luckiest among the forsaken

who know

what’s most precise

about the cosmic paradigm

of the human mindstream

is that it doesn’t have a design

it ever squares with twice.


life’s a mood-ring

that changes like the colour of blood

or a reptile on a rock in the sun.


it’s a chameleon

that’s mesmerized

by its own reflection

in a palace of mirrors within mirrors.

But I put it to you gently

as if I didn’t have a voice of my own

when was the great sea of awareness

ever troubled by its waves

or confused by its own weather?

Don’t defame the shadows

because they’re trying to make their way in the world alone.

It’s the dog on the short leash

that’s trying its hardest to get away from home.

And you could just as easily read them

as a kind of poetic script of the light

written in a sacred alphabet

that evolved out of a secret insight

in how to delight in our own creativity

living in the moment

imagining what we might be

without knowing who we really are.



Trying to express a more immediate intimacy

with the life of the mind

without attributing a form to madness

might just be another way of looking for comic relief

from the actual facts of the tragic folly that confronts us

like a world that won’t tolerate any mask

you want to put on it for long

to lie about the atrocity of your irrelevance

and pretend you don’t know what you’re looking at.

I dream I suffer the same corpuscular purpose as a paramecium.

I wake up from these desert mirages

and it’s true.

OK it’s true.


Because nothing in life is an endgame

And despite the full stop like an empty cup

at the end of a thought

with the lifespan of a punctuation mark

my cup runneth over like the new moon

and everything is drunk on the lunacy of its light.

It’s not the content of life that matters

as much as the way space bends

to accommodate it.

It’s not the wine

it’s the emptiness of the cup

that shapes the forms of our knowing

so that they can be grasped by our eyes and hands

as separate things in the world.

Mind is a poet a potter a painter a parent a prophet

that will not be bound by its own works

or the laws of the defenseless who expound them.

Look out into space

and the furthest you will ever see

is a face in the mirror that’s older than matter.

Space is a vehicle of transformation

that doesn’t go anywhere

because anywhere it goes

its wheels are centered in the still points of themselves

as we are to our navels.

And all lifelines

straight or otherwise

are emanations of its radiance.

Order and logic and reason

are the dry wishbones of the fearful

looking for predictability in a world

that can’t be contained

by a unified field theory

or an elaborated straitjacket

on the fashion ramps of science.

Physics says one size fits all

but by the time the spiders are finished weaving it

the sleeves are always too short

to keep up with a universe that’s growing at the speed of light

and I’d rather walk naked

in the skin of my own clarity

than be clothed in someone else’s hand-me-downs.

I’m not out hunting birds and butterflies with a dreamcatcher.

I’m not looking for peace and healing

by abstaining from myself

like a promise I broke to my ancestors.

Everyone was born a lifeboat

in an abysmal sea of awareness

or they wouldn’t be here to know it.

So who needs to be saved?

Or is there some kind of holy war going on

between the lifeboats and the waves?

And where does Jerusalem go

to free itself of infidels

when it goes on crusade?

All waves are waterbells

that never stop tolling

and the mindstream

they’re raised upon

is in everyone

the sum of what’s holy about life.


to transcend your certainties

if you want to get over your doubts.

Don’t hoard the effects of your efforts

in the name of a good cause

that’s so blinded by its own light

that it can’t see

that there’s as much randomness in the wonder

as there is in the horror.

That what’s most terrifying about life

is that it’s free

of anything you can say or feel or think about it.

That every part in every moment

is not the sum

but the consummation of the whole

that roots and flowers in everyone

as if it were a secret that bloomed for them alone.

To know the names of things

like the names of stars and flowers

is to look at them from the outside.

Who called you Eve?

Who called you Adam?

If you know your name

you’re already in exile.

But it was not us who were driven out of the garden.

Knowledge drives the garden out of us.

It turns our eyes around

so we can’t see Eden from the inside

where our beginnings are always now

and we are no more dispossessed of our innocence

than the passion expressed by a flower

in a loveletter to the light

can be disenchanted of the insight that inspired it.

What’s truly tragic about life when it seems so

is not that it’s evil

but that it’s innocent

and its innocence is older than compassion.

The moon sheds its phases.

The flower its petals.

They’re always coming and going

from the same abyss they’re heading into.

The emptiness engenders this abundance

out of its own potential for growth

and even death is not culpable.

This is space.

That is space.

But the two

can no more be separated

than a wave can be from water.

You don’t need a unified field theory

to understand unity.

You don’t need to hold a mirror up

to your face

to see your own reflection

when you can see yourself in everything.

What does space look like to space?

Mind to mind?

Light to light?

The dreamer to the dream?

What could God possibly say to herself

that she didn’t already know?

There’s nothing hidden.

There’s nothing secret.

There’s nothing that escapes detection.

There’s no simulacrum for the void

that elaborates everyone’s likeness.

There’s no dead metaphor in the word

waiting to be resurrected.

The absolutes may be in denial

about the way things seem

but even when their eyes burn through glass like stars

lost in their own immensities

they can’t impress the darkness

with a theory of cosmic shadows.

They don’t need to look any further into space

than the ends of their noses

to see the constellations

casting them

across the universe

like the shadows of the stars

that aren’t there anymore

trying to throw a light on black matter

by noting its absence.

Gravitational eyes devoid of light.

Black holes without keys

in the doors of perception.

Dry wishing wells on the moon

that have never plumbed the depths

of their bottomless longing

to hear something irrevocably truer

than the echoes of their own voices

coming back to them

like crows and doves to an ark.

By the time you know it

any event is over.

By the time you see the dawn

the sun has already set.

In the seed of every insight

you can read your own gravestone.

You can see there’s as much death in it

as there is life.

You can feel the spring coming on

as if you were already buried

under the savage tiger-lilies.

And you can ask

until you’re as blue in the face as a hyacinth

what it all meant

after you’re dead

out in the incredible open

that’s closed to the living

just past the end of their fingertips.

Or if it ever meant anything at all.

You can see and be it this way.

You can go on a long journey

to a prison or a shrine or a hospital

and return home

with no more insight

than you had when you left.

And still wonder if it was all worth it.

Because no experience of life is truer than another

reality is not separated from our awareness of it

nor subject to reform.

There is no norm

that isn’t a prevailing illusion by consensus.

But the desert isn’t looking for water

and only the one-eyed fools

mistake their eye-patchs for an eclipse of the moon

and their own mirages

for a new way of thinking

when it’s thinking’s best virtue not to have one.

People and things are ok as they are

but they don’t realize it.

They keep trying to live up to their own reflections.

They keep trying to sweep the stars and the deserts

off their front stairs

looking for a stairway to heaven

where the dust of the world can’t find a place to rest.

But time is a pulse of the heart

not the heavy pendulum of a grandfather clock

and as Pablo Neruda once wisely said

the poetry is under your fingernails

and I would less wisely add

as is heaven.

No one’s on the wrong path

once they open both their eyes

to what’s underfoot

whether you’re walking on water stars or fireflies

or riding dolphins.

Whether your road is a shoelace or smoke

or the lifeline of an umbilical cord

measured in wavelengths and lightyears

or your journey’s still an astronaut in the womb.

Mirrors holding mirrors up to judgment for their spots.

Narcissus doesn’t like what he’s looking at.

So what?

The roads don’t suddenly turn back on themselves

because they lack floors

and a place of their own.

Heaven uses the same return address as hell.

But when death comes knocking in Aleppo

and you’re out walking your own mile

in your own shoes

to nowhere in particular

free of arrivals and departures

no one’s ever home

and every threshold you cross

is not hindered by an exit or an entrance.

Some walk.

Some run.

Some swim.

Some fly.

Some crawl.

Some ride.

Some dance.

And some sit still by the window

growing younger by the moment

the longer they look into the distance.