THE MOST FRAGRANT FLOWER
The most fragrant flower of the spring.
The shift of the
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
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
drifting through the warm spring air
like some siren practising music
by playing with her hair like the willows.
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
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
veiling what’s real and ineluctable
with imitations that are just as unsustainable.
So I wait for the stars
like the eyes of
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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 the ghost of a willow
in front of a mirror
trying to remember her face
while the water does her hair.