Friday, May 13, 2011


The most fragrant flower of the spring.

The midnight shift of the Perth soap factory three blocks away.

The witch is brewing love potions

that put the grape hyacinth and trout lily to shame.

Something so sweet from something so ugly.

Waterlilies in a swamp do the same.

Just as this world of light roots in black matter.

And we invented the wheel

after losing our gumboots one too many times

in the starmud we were bogged down in

like a red-haired Pitcairn Man in peat.

Druids and Sufis and shamans

are all close nephews of the same Siberian uncle.

Hunting magic following the northern herds

like stars across vast expanses of land and sky.

The Sufis annihilated themselves

on roses and wine

and used vertigo as a compass at a crossroads

like St. Francis of Assisi

that secret Muslim

who talked the birds

into helping him into the garden

by giving him a lift over the fence.

He knew the black wisdom of imageless knowledge.

Nothing gave him offense.

He thanked the rocks

for the continuity of their friendship.

He didn’t lock the gateless gate from the inside

to keep anyone out.

But the other two liked garottes and groves

and drank blood from prophetic skulls

down by the water

where they could practise sacrificial slaughter

on a human condemned to divinity.

But I’ve never thought that death

was ever a fitting tribute to life

so I don’t think

I would have liked them too much

but I like the magic touch in their poetry.

Like this fragrance from the Perth soap factory

drifting through the warm spring air

like some siren practising music

by playing with her hair like the willows.

Amusing thoughts.

Charming mirages to disguise the way

water really feels about life in the desert.

I know one thing it feels

is elementally alone.

It wants to fill the empty cup of the moon

and drink to the shadows

in the Sea of Tranquility.

It wants to flow like a river

in a Malayan monsoon

but in these circumstances

you’re either a well

or a cloud at the other extreme

going straight up like a weather balloon.

No one shares their tears here with another.

The heat flows vertically like a stage-curtain

or the aurora borealis

with see-through illusions

like stealth-fighters

veiling what’s real and ineluctable

with imitations that are just as unsustainable.

So I wait for the stars

like the eyes of Isis

to peer over the horizon of her veil

that only no one can lift

and though I’m adrift in sea of sand

I raise a sail

just for the hell of it.

And she tatoos a star on the palm of my left hand

to protect me from drowning

and pierces my hearing with a gold earring

that gleams like Bailey’s beads

when the light beams

through the valleys of the mountains

in a full eclipse of the moon

to bury me decently

in case I ever do.

Her love of me

is a dispassionate creative dynamic

that doesn’t need a body to get physical

and looks down on deserts

and their myriad grains of sand

from the perspective of hundreds of billions of galaxies

as a spiritual kind of redundancy.

The life of a hydrophobic moralist

not the blissful lunacy of an enlightened human

glancing off the waters of life

like a sword dance with the light fantastic

and nothing but laughter up his moribund sleeves

patched together like a Sufi robe

out of locally embroidered autumn leaves

and skies as blue as the lapiz lazuli of Persia.

First you annihilate yourself


and then you continue


like the Buddha did

until you realize with questionable certainty

that nothing ever happened.

When I attained absolute perfect enlightenment

I attained absolutely nothing.

In other words

though his are perfectly clear

you’re only not a buddha

when you’re not what you are.

This is perfect that is perfect

take the perfect from the perfect

it’s still perfect.

And the reverse is also true

because water is the embodiment

of a complementary emptiness

it’s impossible to leave a hole in.

You can’t wound it

so it never needs to heal

though it runs like blood

and there isn’t a feeling

that beats like a caged bird

against the human chest

that it doesn’t express

like the house-key to freedom.

Water doesn’t have an identity of its own

and you can’t sneak one into its nest

like a cosmos in a cuckoo’s egg

or wisdom into a fortune-cookie

when it talks to you

in the same voice

in the same choice of colour schemes

as a chameleon in front of a mirror.

Interdependent origination.

Dreams are dreams.

You don’t wake up from them

like an explanation.

Water knows its place in the universe

like space and time and emptiness

glassblowing windows out of vitrified sand

so lovers and widows and forlorn astronomers

have somewhere to stand

to expand their point of view

into the longer wavelengths of infra-red insight

and the sea-bottom bioluminescent nightvision

where the fish have to moonlight for their eyes

on the nightshift of the Perth soap factory

to see where they’re going

and what’s to eat

when they light up like a fridge door.

The truth of water is as transparent and clear

as the eyeless void it springs from.

It’s only a mystery of occult starmud

when it comes down

from the clouds

that circle the peak of the world mountain

to speak to the mystified

in a language they can understand.

Whether it’s the mindstream the stars

an avalanche or a tidal wave

water teachs you how to look up

without being overwhelmed.

But the mudminds

are genetically descended

from a few surviving Atlanteans

and get an apocalyptic high out of drowning

and the continental letdown

of the aquatic afterlife that follows.

And you can tell by his

Maenadically scratched eyes

that Orpheus sang his heart out

until all that was left of his dismemberment

were old unplayable records

in the music collections of the spheres

and the metronomic apple

of his prophetic skull

bobbing up and down like a plumb line

exploring the depths of hell and Hades

on the surface of the waves of awareness.

Skip the barnacles

he’s been keel-hauled on the craters of the moon

tongue-lashed by long shadows of serpentine kelp

like a proto-messiah

and salted like Carthage

to preserve oblivion like the memory

of an old threat.

Lest we forget

and start to see through our enemies’ eyes

how hard it is to love our likeness

in someone else.

Homeless wavelengths of light

on an infinite sea of awareness

looking for something to shine upon

like a distant star

and watch it bloom like a flower

that shines back.

Clarity isn’t the answer to anything

except a lack of seeing.

Clarity isn’t a lightbeam

you ride like Einstein

at an absolute constant

on a unified field quest

to look for your eyes with your eyes

your mind with your mind

your hearing with your ears

your voice with the words

that fall from your mouth

like the snake-eyes of Pythian oracles

reading the braille on the dice

they roll like skulls with blackholes

where their eyes used to be.

Even when the mirror shatters

into a billion pieces

like water on the rocks

you are and have always been a unified field theory

in actuality

whole in every part.

A water droplet of cosmic lucidity

with a grail as full and as big

as the shoreless sea of your rimless awareness.

Why break off a branch of lightning insight

like a hazelwand in spring

to go witching for water

like a fish that’s gone divining in a seabed

for a dream that’s already a reality?

In every seed of light

like a fountain in a watershed

the archetypes of fireflies eyes and flowers

light upon light

that stays out of sight

to keep the stars from going blind.

Everything that exists

in the nucleated bubbles of creative inflation

like two people who don’t know they’re in love yet

accidentally touching each other’s skin

like the wing of a Luna moth

or a Monarch butterfly

or an M-theory with infinite dimensions

tuning the strings of its old saddle-shaped universe

to the resonance of membranous space

improvising bass runs on its vocal cords

like Jimi Hendrix playing Kiss the Sky

to a sell-out audience in the starfields

of his endless fans

dancing to the picture-music

that comes with the lightshow.

But I can tell by how playful I am

how estranged my freedom is

from everything I thought I was.

The deeper the wound

the lighter the gesture

that expresses it

as the poignancy of being alive

to surpass your own understanding

by letting go of everything you know.

And not expect anything to replace it.

Water doesn’t drown in its own reflection.

It effaces it without rejection.

It embraces its own exclusion.

Just as it’s delusion not enlightenment

that opens the door to liberation

from the inside

so water doesn’t distinguish the surface

from its depths.

Sweet sweet water from bottom to top.

And the fragrance of flowers from the Perth soap factory

overwhelming the warm night air

like the smell of decay on the corpse of an angel.

This is empty that is empty

Take empty from empty

it’s still empty.

It isn’t real.

It isn’t delusional.

It’s clear.

It’s the ghost of a willow

in front of a mirror

trying to remember her face

while the water does her hair.