Tuesday, April 5, 2011


The night intensifies its darkness

and exaggerates me like a lamp in a window

not waiting for anyone to come home.

The train whistle insists it’s a train

as it diesels past the hospital

but methinks it doth protest too much.

I can feel the turmoil of the town

settling down within me

like emotions you can’t do anything about.

Like loveletters slipped back into their envelopes

the houses close their doors

not really knowing what it is they’re keeping out

beyond the usual thief and made-for-movie nightmare.

I’m blooming in a black fire of radical shadows

and flexible heresies

that burn like intransigent thrones

I’ve learned to abdicate

as if I were in the wrong place at the table

that keeps moving the salt

like a standard of living I can’t keep up with.

I consult a candle that says

it was the guru to a great chandelier once.

I don’t really think it’s enlightened

but I go along with the delusion anyways.

There’s only so much that compassion can’t refuse

and I give my assent to everything

with a slightly beleaquered sense of gratitude

that it exists at all

to enchant depress or ignore me.

Thirty years ago I would have tried to understand

the wounded otherness of life

in myself and others

as if I could prevent it

from happening to somebody else.

For all my labours

even tonight

I feel about as useful

as a fire hydrant on the moon.

My intent was unintentionally good

but as the world mountain

gets steeper and meaner toward the top

Sisyphus is finding it harder and harder

to believe his rock

is the philosopher’s stone

he desparately needs it to be.

So much base metal

dark matter

so little light

so little gold

to come out of it

compared to the raw ore

left to be transformed.

It’s clear I’ve been developing eclipses

in a photo lab with a red lightbulb on

above the emergency exit

that imposes itself like a koan

that hasn’t cracked me yet

and let the light out

to fall where it may

on the brutal and tender

the positive and negative alike.

I’m a guest speaker on an exorcist’s agenda.

Time to leave.

But you can’t pour

the universe out of the universe

and that doesn’t give me a lot of places to go.

So I’m here and now tonight as I have always been

enjoying the deeper freedom

inside things

instead of out

that comes like a birthright

when I liberate them from myself.

My whole life is one long good-bye note

I write to myself and tape to the mirror

in case my reflection

ever shows up here again

without me

it’ll feel free to move on.

Ever since I started remembering

how many afterlives it took the stars

to achieve this sentient measure of me

by letting their light ripen into mind

I’ve been hung up about shining.

I’ve been awed by the dark.

I’ve been stealing fire from Prometheus

to warm things up in the glacial heart of things.

More words listen to a bird that sings

than a muse that talks.

So I write poetry

the way a Siberian tiger walks

among English larks.

Or I listen to the sirens

and dash my skull on the rocks.

I keep trying like rainbows

to come to some kind of peace with my tears

but they insist I get the taste of fire

out of the mouth of my dragon

and this argument’s gone on for years.

Is this or is this not me

that none of you recognize

by comparison with yourselves?

And it’s not unusual for me to ask

at this time of night

when there’s nothing but my window on

to throw a little light on the trees

whose prophetic presence saturates

the visionary air with their rootless wisdom

how has it come about

that my unlikeness has evolved a self

it has in common with everything?

Why do humans getting off their thought trains

at the various stations

of life and love along the way

hasten to embrace their rejection

by excluding everyone else?

The object and its subject.

The slayer and the slain.

The lover and his life.

And conciousness the knife

that skins the moon alive

for the value of its reflection

on the black market of a species exchange.

If you see nothing but strangers on the outside

and you don’t recognize any of them

as yourself

maybe it’s because

you’re not looking deeply enough

into the eyes of your own reflection on the inside.

Don’t judge me by the mark on my forehead

as if it were the only letter

in an incommensurable alphabet

until you read what’s been written on yours

in glyphs and riffs and runes

of Medusan stone

and snakes like dangling participles

in need of a good conditioner

that lisp as if their tongues were split infinitives.

But don’t mind me too much

I’m just working this hard this way for nothing

duct-taping feathers to Apollo Thirteen

to avoid disintegration

passing through the eye of the needle

into my own homegrown upper atmosphere

and having that slash of light

be the only prophetic mark I made on life.

But what’s a scar without a knife

to know how to make a lasting impression?

Here lies one whose name was writ in water.

He sat under a hawthorn tree

and wrote an ode to autumn

and then stuck it in a mailman’s book

to preserve the last of the flowers

as his roses were coughing up blood.

I am disposessed of my will to endure

by the excruciating sadness of it all.

How suffering clings like skin

to the baby girl

the baby boy

who grow up to see

the joy of being alive

when life is free for children

shake them out of the apple tree

like an autumn windfall

and blunt them on the human condition

as if every post-umbilical encounter

they’ve had with life on earth

were either a coma or a concussion.

And sometimes it’s hard to know

which is the worst of dreamfevers.

Life when it’s here

or life when it’s in remission.

But cynics aren’t absurd enough for their own good

and if I’m bitter

so what?

The glass may be empty

but nature abhors a vacuum

and it’ll soon be filled

with the urgency of new wine

new moons.

But don’t despise life

because the darkness is rife

with the energy of your delusions.

They’re the dragons and bluebirds of the mind.

They’re engines of light.

They do things that otherwise wouldn’t get done.

Even when I’m voidbound.

A singularity at the bottom of a blackhole.

A gravitational eye

badly in need of corrective lenses.

They keep things in focus

like a billion drops of water

going over the falls at night.

It’s the crazy wisdom of the fireflies

that you follow here and there

like a gold rush

panning for nuggets of enlightenment

from their mindstreams

looking for true north

as if everybody were given

the same axial alignment to know where they’re at

and one was supposed to be good for a lifetime.

It’s the spontaneity of the fireflies

who are the true masters of ignition.

Multiple enlightenment experiences

orgasmic with bliss

will liberate you from your lighthouse

faster than the light

can point to Polaris.

So don’t fall for that.

One size doesn’t fit all

anymore than a straitjacket

or a standard issue snakeskin.

Ask any river where it’s going

and it will answer outright.


Water my destination.

Water my guide.

My flowing pours into the cup

it empties like the moon

and I am everywhere fulfilled.

It’s the same with the mindstream

the Milky Way

the Road of Ghosts

or the waywardness of Zen.

You can run from things all your life

or you can run to them.

It’s all the same.

It’s water.

And one mile lost is one mile found

and even if you’ve wandered alone

far from home on a long starwalk

for lightyears

or just dressed up

to go to the corner grocery store

every step you take

illuminates your path

like the brilliant algae of a red tide

in the fathomless dark

painting your radiant feet in stars

behind you

on a deserted B.C. island beach

to teach you how to dance with the sea

and not feel like driftwood

when you bow to the water and light

at a crossroads of luminous covenants

with infinite thresholds

that are the true shores of life

we’re always being washed up on

into ever subtler

ever more creative mediums

that urge us like stranded fish

to take a deep breath

and transcend death

by stepping lightly

into the available dimension of the future

in astonishment and delight

that you’re the first rainbow

to ever shine at night.