Thursday, April 14, 2011


The last of the Saturday night drunks

have stopped shouting at each other blocks away.

A five minute interlude

and then back to the play.

The angriest of the two

is the one who’s hurt the most.

You can hear it in his voice.

He wants to freeze his pain cryonically

by killing someone

and wake up a thousand years from now

with tears in his eyes.

Not until you’ve lived long enough

to regret it

is your victory complete.

To learn from your defeat is easy

but how few can learn

from their supremacy

when things go well.

The brighter the light

the deeper the shadow.

The mountain is buried in its valley.

The knife in its wound.

The poor man digs the rich man’s grave

and doesn’t feel inferior.

The one with the most

is the one who feels

everything that’s lacking.

The one who has nothing

and gives even that away

is everywhere fulfilled.

Her life is inexhaustible

because it’s not her own.


Not a sound now.

Peace in this little room

immersed in a vast darkness

with the lights on.

A night on earth alive.

What’s that worth?

Immeasurable wealth

squanders the stars.

Everyone in town

has long since sunk

into their own sunsets

to go talk to the witchdoctor

about their dreams.

This must be what it’s like

to come back after you’re dead

and find everybody sleeping.

But it’s not the waste

of a good encore

because they all seem

like children somehow

to the nightwatchman

on the graveyard shift

who puts his flashlight

up to the window like the moon

and looks in on their innocence

knowing everybody will wake up from it

like the wrong dream in the morning

to live the nightmare

they think they need to be

to expect good things from life.

Even the worst of them.

How trivial it must seem

to the rest of the universe

this simple drop of time

hanging over the abyss

of a fathomless watershed

like an eye that can take it all in

and not be overwhelmed

by the dark sublimities

and cosmic distances

that don’t end in thresholds

it humanizes intimately within

as if it were throwing its arms around

dangerous strangers.

What a feat of being a human is.

However they try to deny it.

Surely the stars must be impressed by now

even if we aren’t

after so many millions of years

with how much darkness

we can take in like raw ore

and finding our eyes in it

like emeralds and sapphires

like diamonds in a sample core

refine it into pure seeing

such that sight is a kind of love

and wonder never casts a shadow on anything

that isn’t spontaneously illuminated

by the sidereal depths of our awareness of it.

The terrible forges of our wounded passions

can hammer out our differences like weapons

on the anvils of our hearts day and night

and the awful pulse of martial time

turn blood into a war industry

but who among them yet

has made even so much as a dent in the light

or conquered that imperium of shadows and eclipses

that threaten to oppress them from the inside

like quislings in their own ranks

who eat from the same plate

that raised them

like assassins and parasites

mustered and mobilized for mass suicide

as if the black cool aid

they drink from their own bad wells

were enough of an elixir

in the Jonestowns of the world

to turn into the bridal wine of a happy afterlife

with the children they say they do this for

and look forward to

already dead at the foot of the wedding bed?

Who among these

who have forgotten the generosity of water

are not thieves in the night

who steal from themselves

that which was already provided?

Bad mad sad people.

How imperfectly we’re here together

and how immaculately gone.

Why not give your troubles up

like a broken clock you can’t fix

and taking time off

leave it in the hands

of eternity to work on

like a retired uncle in the backshed

who likes to tinker with modern hardware

using out of date tools

and enjoys being useful?

Why keep the galaxy awake next door

with this supernova of words and wars

even as the dawn approaches

so you can’t hear the birds singing over it?

Sweet ones ugly ones poor ones insane

I no less nor more than you

my caustic brothers

my bitter sisters

know that honey doesn’t drip from fangs

and butterflies don’t know how to talk to spiders

and the feathers of love

have evolved from the scales of pain

and the sublimity of the profoundest child

is just a bell that eats its own afterbirth

like a voice eats its echo

a buddha shy of delusion

as the emptiness of life

begins to flood his mind again

like a bad memory

of enlightened chaos and nirvanic confusion.

It’s true that no one gets out of here alive

but more to the point for the moment

no one who stays can play

without getting wounded.

We bump into things.

We scrape our knees.

We skin our elbows.

We stub our toes on foreign cornerstones

in our haste to escape each other

and pull the wings off angels

mistaking them for flies at the window.

Goliath’s got a glass eye

and David’s out of stones.

Sweet ones sleeping like new moons

in the arms of the old

I ask you

without self-righteousness

why is affliction our favourite amusement?

Why do we turn our backs

on the original light we were born into

and seeing something it falls upon

we don’t like or understand

suspend our radiance

and shrink into ourselves like black dwarfs?

Why do flowers that were asked by the stars

before bedtime

to open their hands to the light

to see if they’ve washed them right

when darkness comes

close up like fists

they shake in the face of the night?

What window hasn’t been broken

in the house of light?

Is it any wonder

we live like abandoned shadows

of the things we could have been

alone with what’s become of us

each in a private orphanage

with a candle in a window

that doesn’t believe anyone is coming

and muttering something in its solitude

about the emptiness of life

and its lack of breath

sucuumbs to death?

If you can read the whole history of the universe

in a single grain of sand

what can you read in a human?

Isn’t it clear by now

there’s nothing you can understand

that isn’t a womb

that’s already given birth to you

fire wombs

water wombs

habitable planets

with amniotic atmospheres

and within each and every one of us

entire lifespans of aeons of stars?

We are the afterlife of the light.

We are what comes to life

when the light reflects upon itself.

Even a single thought about nothing

on a Saturday night in a small town

after the bars have closed

and the cops have taken

your keys and belt and booze

transcends all that shining

the way the mind transcends the eye

that sees it

but doesn’t know what it’s looking at.

Respect the labour of the stars

that has gone into you.

Derive your self-esteem from that.

Walk in the world

as if you were their finest achievement to date.

Be a good candle.

Illuminate things that the light can’t see.

And be grateful to the darkness within you

that deepens the night

to enhance your lucidity.

Stop painting the lense of your telescope

with what you want to see

or think ought to be there.

Stop trying to frame your mirages

and put yourself in the picture

by clarifying who you really are.

You can’t look at a tree a cloud a flower a star

or a wayward firefly

without meeting one of your ancestors.

How could you not feel you belong here?

How could you not feel at home

even in the death house

when it’s stacked

like a Mongol reason to surrender

outside the city walls

with your progenitors’ prophetic skulls?

Cosmology is the psychology of the stars.

Pisces is a mental paradigm

not just two dim fish that shine.

What you see when you look at a tree

is you standing up for yourself among others

reaching out to the light with open hands

as many as the leaves

that spring from your dendritic thoughts

about dragons that eat the moon to make it rain

and what your roots really think

about all the fruitless pain

they had to go through

all the death they had to transform

all the eras of living underground

in the name of something higher than themselves

just to raise you up out of the starmud

to greet the sun with birds

as one of its own.

No one’s born

with a silver spoon in their hand

or a horseshoe up their ass

and no one’s given a chainsaw for a teether.

The way you see the world

is the way the world sees you.

You’re living in your own painting.

You’re the monster in the dark

that stalks you like a theme park.

You’re the keeper with the keys.

And you’re the empty cages.

And if someone were to ask you

how old you really are

wondering what act it is

you’re all ages of the universe.

Even as a child

who could keep track

of how many stars

you had to blow out on your birthday

just to keep a secret to yourself?

The stars have brought themselves

like lamps to a geni.

Now make a wish

that’s worthy of your powers

and live as if

it were already true at conception.

Stop belittling yourself with your own deception

or has Gulliver lived so long among the Lilliputions

he’s come to think of a million weak threads

as one strong nose-rope in his own hands

he couldn’t get around without?

Two drunks braying like bad asses on a Saturday night.

The donkey looks into the well

and the well looks back at the donkey.

Why spit upon your own reflection?

How many mirrors

need to drown in it

before you realize

that your eyes

are the furthest that the stars have ever seen

into the amazing potential of light

and the perennial beginning

of the original insight

that has grown like the universe into you?

Can’t you feel the starless vastness

of the spaces you encompass within

like cold windows

no one’s every looked through

waiting for you to break through them

like stars with an overview?

Don’t go down to the great sea of being

with a tall ship and a star to steer her by

if your eyes are only waves and tides

washing drunken sailors up like cosmic cinders

on the shores of your eyelids in tears.

Whether you’re living in a tidal pool

or swimming through stone

or thriving under the cataracts of Antarctica

or the deserts of Mars

your seeing is the water of life

the miraculous fires walk on like stars

to prove their faith in you

or the moon when she’s plumed like a Byzantine bird

in silver feathers of light

or the sun in a splendour of white gold

when it’s out in public

or slumming in its Joseph’s coat

at the bottom of a dry well

when it gets a chance to be alone.

Your seeing is the dreamwater

of the mindstream all things drink from

and see themselves in.

And there’s no more distance

between you and them

than there is the moon’s reflection

the moon

and the water it drops its blossom on.

Or as they say in cowboy Zen.

Live up to your stars not down to your spurs.

You don’t need to break Pegasus in

like a nasty jackass

when you already know how

to ride it like a constellation in the wind

with two hundred billion stars under your saddle.

Life is a fragile filament

between being and non-being

between seeing and not seeing

a shaky suspension bridge

a snakey spinal cord

plugged into the dragon fire of the stars

and yet look at the immensities it spans

and the gaping abysses it illuminates

like the eye-sockets in a skull

that went to sleep like an urnful of fireflies

with the taste of ashs in its mouth

and woke up like honey in a hiveful of stars.

The real magic of the first word wasn’t light.

It was let there be eyes

let there be grammars of seeing

that can arise out of what can’t be said

like dark matter

and express themselves so lucidly

they can summon worlds into being

even the darkness never dreamed of

just to listen to the light singing to itself

as it delights in you like a hidden secret

a masterwork

it wants to be known

like an enlightened way to live.

Not a will to power.

But a will to give

with more reasons to live

like fireflies and stars

dancing on the waters of life

without going out

without leaving scars

than there are

to kill your brother

your sister

in the grip

of your own fangs and claws.

Shoot your stars out like streetlights

and narrow your field of vision

like the eye of a needle

in a voodoo doll’s gaze

with hatred

and the chump-change

of inflationary payback

and then say you don’t know why you did it

but you had good cause.

Maybe you didn’t get laid.

Maybe she went home with someone else.

Maybe he’s cheating on you with your sister.

Maybe you didn’t mean to hear

what he didn’t have to say

and you both walked away


Maybe you wanted what wasn’t yours

and you turned yourself loose

like killer bees

on the children of Iraq.

It doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t last.

It doesn’t have a future

to remember its past.

It’s a solar flare

too weak to escape gravity

turned inward

like an ingrown hair

to fester.

It’s depravity.

It’s the obscenity of loveless ignorance

throwing acid in a child’s eyes

for knowing how to see

and learning to read.

It’s the jawbone of an ass

braying as if it had just seen

the holy ghost desecrating its grave

like a judas-goat making love to its prey.

The first function of the delusory ego

is to underwhelm you

with the conviction that quicksand

is a better cornerstone to build on

than the universe on which you rest.

Star-crossed lovers

wait for the traffic lights to turn green

but there’s a pettiness to their passion

that won’t wait for old ladies in a crosswalk.

Love isn’t a relative thing.

It’s absolute.

It gives you a rose

like a blood transfusion.

It knows what the others only suppose.

It’s bosons beyond that.

It’s the God-particle everybody’s looking at

as if dirt just got in their eyes.

Love is so relevant

it can’t be defined.

Deny it in yourself

like an unspeakable vulnerability

and you’ll wind up knocking

like a stranger with a foreign policy

at your own back door

and even your own children

won’t recognize you

as they stay bolted in their minds

and don’t answer.

You’ll end up asking flowers for a password

before you open up.

If you’ve got your hands up over your eyes

because your eyelids aren’t enough

to shut the light out

when you’re so blinded by your own blazing

you can’t see anyone else

you’ll undoubtedly think of love

of compassion

of understanding

of wisdom

as the sickly sweet sap

that gets the wasps drunk

on an over-ripe apple

that took the fall for all of us.

You’ll turn your nose up at it

as if you just got a whiff

of your own corpse.

And you’ll still be as mean

and green and bitter as you are

on a dead branch in winter

without a blossom for a shroud.

Love is more fundamental than space.

More sublime than time.

Love is rooted in the light

like a lucid intelligence

that loves at first sight

everything it’s aware of.

It’s the one wave

that’s not a condition

of the weather or the sea.

It’s the universal frequency

of creative ecstasy

not the echo of an s.o.s.

from the afterlife of the universe.

It’s the cosmic muse

that inspired energy and matter

from the very beginning

to transcend themselves

by fulfilling their unlimited potential

in actualizing me and you.

Love’s got one-way eyes.

It can take a death threat

and turn it into a love lyric

but never the other way around.

Things always look bigger

at either end of its telescope

because it looks at stars like a sky

looks in the mirror

and sees the jewels of insight

making new myths up

around fires it lit a long time ago.

Be kind.

Be compassionate.

Be spontaneously generous

as if everything of any true value

were free for the asking.

And when you speak the truth

and it wounds

make sure the d.n.a. on the knife

isn’t your own

when you fall upon it karmically

and your words aren’t bugged

to bear witness against you

when they turn on you

like mafia dons on the mob

who know where all the bodies are buried.

Truth is a vine that liberates

laughter and wine

among enemies and friends alike.

It doesn’t talk like barbed wire.

Truth heals.

Love empowers its words

like the leaves of an antidote in the jungle.

Love’s never known a lost cause.

Its effects go well beyond

event horizons

on starmaps for the blind.

The stars are bright in the mind mirror

because love makes them shine

by a light that’s deep within you.

Even with your eyes shut

and no moon no stars no sun no lamp

your dreamscapes are illuminated.

Light upon light.

Mind upon matter.

Love upon life.

Fire on the water.

You’re the painter and the paint.

You’re that.

You’re not just a survivor.

You’re not an aside to a theme

that doesn’t include you.

You’re the climax.

You’re the highlight

that goes on at the end

of a work of art

and transforms

everything that went before

from the underpainting to the midtones

and all the greys and all the colours

all the stars and leaves and people and clouds

all the leptons bosons hadrons and quarks

all the starfish galaxies

the whole composition of the universe

with all its still lives

and gestural expressionists

ploughing the sky with a brush

and sowing it with stars

and the momentary tents

of the firefly zodiacs

at the lighting of the lamps

to show you whatever way you take home

you’re not alone.

You walk in the light.

And the light walks in you.

And two makes a gift of a gift to everyone.

Myriad petals open

and one flower blooms like the universe.

And the shadows of its blessings are not a curse.