SINCE I LAST WROTE TO YOU
Since I last wrote to you
I told a Napoleonic goldfish
who thought she ruled the shark bowl
to take my job and shove it
as the measure of a man
who still hasn’t acquired the habit
of eating shit
and calling it his daily bread.
I’ve gone back full time to my art
and now I’m eating paint
and enduring the tedium of terror
in a dangerous life
struggling to pay the rent
as I paint and write
knowing I am bereft of the elements of life
for refusing to be economically deprived of my freedom.
If you’re never hungry
you’ll never know what it means to eat.
I laugh blackly like a raw martini
at the cutting edge of irony
when I think of my art as a Zen oxymoron
that’s discovered a way of starving
that bears fruit.
I can taste my food better now
and if I don’t waste anything
it’s a much happier experience
when it isn’t done out of principle.
I count the probability of the number of years
I have left to live
the springs and autumns
I have yet to become
on my fingers and toes.
And I try not to let my disappointment
in the humanity of demons
keep my heartwood
from blowing tree-rings up to heaven
just to give the angels something to crow about.
I’m alone and sad most of the time
and lately I’ve noticed my solitude
flirting with the idea
of turning into a conviction.
Women approach me
with the ambivalence
of a koan in their gut
they can’t resolve.
But it’s not a good idea
if you’re trying to get laid
to baffle the mystery
with your estrangement
and I strive real hard
as often as I can
not to spook
the middle-aged youth
by being a younger man.
I greet guests warmly when they arrive
but it’s rare that I grieve for anyone
when they leave
like most of what was left out of the conversation
we didn’t have
about who among us was telling the truth.
It’s been awhile since I’ve heard a good lie
that didn’t bore me.
I’m an all-inclusive recluse
more interested in studying the psychology of time
as I get to know it experentially
as the immediate intimacy
of the serial-killer at my throat.
I’ve decultified my work
to keep it from turning into a career
but even as we speak
five poems are being translated into Spanish.
And upon learning
I was the last poet laureate of
and after me there was no deluge
they could find to fill
the empty ark of my shoes
I emptied on the mountain top:
or I bruised everyone’s feelings so much
like a pebble in their boot
that turned into an avalanche
I endangered my species with extinction.
Whatever the case
I feel the mystic glee of blacklight fireflies
like stars and lighthouses
I’ve never listened to
about looking for shelter
from the storm of dark energy
that is released by knowing I’m the last of my kind.
And my spirit and mind
have missed you too
as the months have gone by
as if the colour of my blood in autumn
were missing from my palette
and my heart were an urgent artist
who wanted to get out
and paint with you in
where the rivers meet in a sacred place.
I’ve never wanted facebook
to be all that I know of your beautiful face
or the starmaps of our cosmic loveletters
to be all that I know of the grace of your shining.
I can still see the stars mirrored in the flowers
in our gateless garden on the moon
where the roses that fell on their thorns
have healed well enough
to go on blooming without us.
I think I felt more like a weed than the waterlily
I wanted to bring into your life
like a paper ship
I floated down the mindstream
to see if my favourite siren
had any use for an empty lifeboat like me.
On the worst of days
when misery gloated
that pleasure might be a principle
but it was a fundamental law of the universe
even as a shipwreck going down
I could still be entranced
by the memory of your singing.
You get a different view of moonlight
when you look at it
with the eye of the sea
from the bottom.
And now once again
your voice pearls me
like a grain of sand
you can see in the universe
if you look closely enough
under the stones
where the angels keep their ancient places.
And I couldn’t be more delighted
that you still love me
and that your heart aches
like an unanswered telephone
or a wounded seance
when my ghost doesn’t answer my absence.
I’ve lain here like a dead seabed on the moon
for so long waiting for you
to pour your ocean into me
I was beginning to think
the vast expanse of my interminable emptiness
was nothing more
than the homely measure
of a cracked teacup
the little I’ve known of you
that was wet
kept leaking out of.
And it would take a great void
to embrace the depth of your waters
and a clear sky immense enough
not to inhibit the flight of your white clouds
and even if my feelings
were to break
like telescopic mirrors on your rocks
it would take a great three-eyed stargazer like me
not to see that you can’t point
to a piece of me
like the firefly chandelier
of a shattered constellation
that was too spaced out
to fit into anyone’s zodiac
that doesn’t still reflect the whole you
on any good seeing night.
I look at you
as I look at the stars
and you’re the lucid muse
of what’s radiantly possible
deep in the dark secret heart of the improbable.
And I want to reach out
like the uppermost branches
in the crown of an inspired tree
and touch you on the cheek
as if my fingertips
were a chaos
of falling apple bloom.
I want to fall asleep with you
and share the same dream
that summons the waterbirds
and scatters the Japanese plum
like loveletters everywhere
under the eyelids of the wind.