Monday, May 16, 2011


You say you’re the fruit of a different flower than me.

I bloom in sidereal fire

and there’s no higher or lower

to shine down on

or look up to.

You say you’re earthbound.

But I could show you how

to cut a shoot of lightning

and root it in the air like wild strawberries

and transcendental jellyfish

that swing like comets

from the handlebars of a girl’s first bike

around the sun symbolically.

You say you’re a jewel embedded in ore

because your eyes can’t take the light.

That you’re the eye-seed of an apple

born with shades on.

But I could show you things beyond seeing

that none of your material mirrors

have ever dreamed of.

Places where they don’t carve guitars

out of trees with lockjaw

where the trees and the leaves and their shadows

don’t lipsynch the music

they play on your face with feeling.

I could teach you how to play a birdhouse like a flute

and make a demo of the silence

that would top the charts

like darkness on a starmap.

You’ve got the voice for it.

You’re as vocal as bees in a hive

making honey out of Japanese plum blossoms.

But two minutes with a hook

isn’t the same as a run-on haiku

that reads like the mindstream

all the way to nirvana.

I know backroads and shortcuts

off the main highways of our lifelines.

Sacred groves at the back of abandoned barns

with big hearts

that buried their children

where they thought it was most beautiful.

You may have been a dewdrop

in this dewdrop of a world

but even so even so . . . .

Reflections of Buddha and Basho.

Most people bleed for the world they wound

but I’ve tasted the sweetness of the mellifluous moon

adding its blossom to a dead branch

out of compassion for the emptiness

that embodies it like the deathmask of a tree.

Green bough.

Dead branch.

Same song.

Go ask the birds.

They know what I’m talking about.

You say you can’t get a grasp on the infinite sea

of your own awareness

but you approach it wave by wave

dewdrop by dewdrop

oar by oar

lifeboat after lifeboat

when the trick is to down it all

in a single shot

like your eyes do

when they’re out for a night on the town.

But I’m the wolf-shepherd of mountain clouds

and the lightning master of fireflies

that rig the beaver dams with blasting caps

that go off like soft munitions

with a change of heart

in the wiring of a terrorist

with the perfect timing

of an ageless face.

You preach the morals of the valley

to a mountain of offense

not realizing that your redemption

is only as deep

as the mountain is high

and you’re buried in a landslide

trying to make a comeback from the dead.

You say a lot of things

as if you were trying to make sense

to a lunatic

about losing your mind

for the sanest of reasons.

And you talk about motivation

as if you were trying to fit spurs

on glass sneakers

and inspiration

like wings on that born again hobby-horse

you transformed from a witch’s broom

into a drone with the sensibilities of a stealth kite.

You say you feel close to God

in everything you say and do

but I can tell by the terrible solitude

of your grailquest

that you’’re just another stormcloud

divining for water with a lightningrod.

Insanity’s just like any other kind of religion.

First you go mad.

And then you begin to doubt it.

St. Jerome in the early church Latin

of quicksand cornerstones

trying to beatify their heresies

with murderous absolutes.

Credo ergo absurdum.

I believe it because it’s absurd.

But you’re not crazy enough

to know the conventions of God

as inventions of your own

when there was no else around to play with.

Trying to regain possession of your mind

as if it were a homeless flower

out of touch with its roots

by making an ally

of the occupying army

is like trying to train circus snakes

to jump through hoops of hellfire

for haloes they don’t believe are worth the risk.

You obviously have the courage

and fanaticism of an ant

but whenever you show up like a dove

to make peace among combatants

you’ve always got a stinging nettle in your beak

instead of an olive branch.

You talk like bleach

that wants to clean things up between us

but you burn like formic acid

whenever I hook up with you

like a bloodbank on intravenous.

I may speak in a universal language

with an extraterrestrial accent

but that doesn’t mean I’m a dolphin

you can saddle with the boyhood of a god

that speaks in tongues to the agrammatoi

like some polyglot Apollo.

Muhammad was illiterate

and Jesus relied on ghost writers

to tell his story

and it took seventy-two Jewish scholars

in the library of Alexandria

before it was burnt accidently

against Caesar’s strict orders

to photocopy the Septuagint verbatim

out of the mouth of God.

Miracles and magic may be the backup authorities

that stand like default programmes

and power points

behind the throne of your actuality.

But I’m too steeped

in mystic surrealistic factuality

to look for a Rosetta Stone

to unlock the eloquent silence of God

with the echo of my own voice.

I listen to the sacred name

with a profane ear

and everything under heaven

and upon the earth

is a clear as a Sanskrit syllable

written in water

like the works of a tubercular poet

drowning in his own lungs.

The music of the celestial spheres

is like light.

It falls on the deaf and mute alike

like songs that were written just for them.

The lyric of life

can’t be heard by anyone more than once

but not knowing how to listen

you rewrite it as a hymn

to be sung over and over and over again

as if you could catch the picture-music of life

on an evangelistic video-cam.

But the word within the word

that can’t be heard by anyone

isn’t a linguistic scam.

Life is always sending everyone love-letters

but those with a nose

that sees more than their eyes

smell a lie in the rose

that keeps them from trusting their hearts.

They end up French-kissing the tongue of the envelope

and deleting the contents like spam.

And when they speak about life and love as you do

trying to legalize their wishful thinking

and unionize their guesswork

it’s as if all their words had paper-cuts.

But you can’t mend a forked tongue

by quoting God

as if she were a celestial brand

of super-glue

you were promoting

like a chastity belt

guaranteed to keep your legs closed

and your eyes shut.

You say it’s better to live like a clam or an oyster

at the bottom of a spiritual seabed

so deep

no one’s ever going to pluck your pearl

but when you edge your lips like that

I swear all your sacred syllables

sound like the tintinabula of falling paperclips

attached to the last word of God

as if they were in like pins

on a secret agenda.

I freely admit I may suffer

the loquacity of stars

that are always talking about something or other

they don’t understand

like what we’re all doing here in the first place

looking for our eyes like flashlights and cameras

in the gene-pools of candles and reflecting telescopes

that can’t believe what they’re looking at

even when they do find them

on both sides of their nose.

And it’s true that sometimes my silence

is a singularity in a blackhole

that sucks all the light out of the room

and it’s as hard to get on the same wavelength as me

as it is to tune a snakepit with a battery charger

but if I keep my mouth shut

about where my heart goes on its own

to be alone with the whole of creation

as if it kept me like a secret to itself

that doesn’t mean I’m a waste of life

because I would rather squander it all here now

like flowers and stars and leaves in the autumn

than squirrel it away for some rainy day in the hereafter.

I’d rather be a root

than hang my fruit

from a rafter in a house of cards

with one big toe of a cornerstone

over the fault-line in a earthquake zone.

Even if it means I’ve got to risk

bumping into God one day on my own

and I make a date to see her again

and she leaves me standing here

in this strange doorway in the rain.

Even if as you say

there’s no exit

for a heretic

who would rather go down in flames

of self-immolation

as the lesser of two agonies

than fly fighter-planes like a kamakazi

with a divine wind

in her tailfeathers

in defense of a hive of killer bees

who don’t know how to make honey

out of weeds.

Even if Eve

took a bite out of the apple

at least she spit out the seeds

like the taste of temptation for the rest of us.

She didn’t make jam or apple sauce

of what she learned that day

from the tree of knowledge.

And she didn’t knead the flesh

of her body-mind

with cold hands

into the crust of an apple-piety

that rises toward heaven

like the unleavened ratings

of a reality show

keeping one eye on the oven

like a crematorium

in a sports stadium

that moonlights as a prison camp

and the other on her cosmic temperature

as if

ah Faustus

why this is hell

nor are we out of it

weren’t the cause of global warming.

You want to wash blood off with blood

mud with mud

paint with paint

me with me

but I say

you’d see a lot more clearly

if you were ever to wipe your make-up off

and take a look at things

you’re fanatically fixed upon

more like a window than a mirror

more like a bird feeling its way south

than a nervous weathervane

that thinks it’s the lighthouse and foghorn in one

of the coming apocalypse

you demonize in people like me

who mean what they say


so they can be overheard

and understood by the stars

more like a medium than a message.

Trying to palm an s.o.s. off as a lovenote

from the gods

is like saying the word always

to a one way street

baffled at the crossroads to nowhere.

Remember when Dogen Zenji

whispered in your ear

the place is here

the path leads everywhere?

He wasn’t trying to make candles out of earwax.

Or ladders out of crosswalks.

Rivers out of roadside ditchs.

Mindstreams out of oilslicks.

You might have wiped your lips

clean of the profanity of my name

like a full eclipse of the moon

but there’s still lipstick on the mirror

like the painted tear

on the mask of a spiritual buffoon

trying on the face of a sacred clown.

But there is no likeness

no working hypothesis

no masterpiece in progress

no unified field theory

not so much as the eyelash

of a holographic simulacrum

projected by the pineal gland

of my third eye

in the Buddha realm of a screening room

where universes are born to be stars

when no one is watching

and all the seats are empty

that can begin to compare

with my inconceivably unattainable life

just as it is.

You say that’s just mere existence

flatlining on the terminal nightward

like a wavelength that’s given up on going straight.

But I’ve torn a page out of the book of the light

without casting so much as a shadow of censorship

like an eclipse across my seeing

and I’ve travelled voluminously

through a near perfect vacuum

for billions of years

without ever losing touch with the source of my being

because every step

of the long dark strange radiant road I made by walking

was the ubiquitous threshold

of my original homelessness

in all directions at once.

And everywhere I look

these fireflies of insight

showing off like supernovas in distant galaxies

and Cepheid variables

in the playhouses of the constellations

that are not fixed

but show up in every lifetime

with a new script

for an old myth

behind the rising curtains of nightfall.

And whenever I’ve encountered the truth

along this pathless path

it wasn’t the angel in my way

or the demon at my back I met

but an intimate stranger

who travelled light and alone

without a compass or a destination.

But I’ve never bumped into a lie

by accident or design

who wasn’t travelling with a witness.

But the power of the truth

doesn’t depend upon its innocence or guilt.

There is no ultimacy in it.

No corroboration or culpability

because the truth is never complete.

It’s alive and creative as the past is.

As transformative as the universe.

It’s not the vehicle of law

nor any other conceptual nonentity

getting its hands dirty

in mundane realities

like ghosts summoned to a seance of the senses

to pass judgment on life

like black and white smoke

from the Vatican chimney

after a vote among flawed men

on who’s the most infallible.

The truth doesn’t know anything about freedom

because it’s never been bound

and even less about rights

because it’s never had to ask anyone’s permission.

The truth isn’t the flavour of enlightened buddhas

and its shadow the stench of sentient beings.

The truth is just as likely to free

the key from the jailor

or the jailor from the jail

as it is to liberate the drunken sailor

who posts bail for all of them.

The truth exists because everything else here does.

The truth lives because you and I do.

Because the stars do and the rocks and ants in the grass.


The primordial atom strikes twelve randomly

and Cinderella turns into a pumpkin.

Interdependent origination.

I owe as much to you for my existence

as you do the warring dragons of your worst fears

and they to you as the harshest of teachers.

And once the primordial atom

like the transcendent one

who’s always one step beyond

everybody’s best guesses

like the light of a star

by the time it gets here

got things started

its hereafter didn’t depend on what was to come

but the beginningless beginning of this moment now

at the center of everything

like a jewel in the navel of God.

Your future isn’t waiting on deathrow

for the past to come through

with a last minute reprieve.

You don’t need to close your eyes

to see the sun shine at midnight

nor open them

to see there are no shadows at noon.

And you can go ask the lightning

if you don’t believe me

about how hard it is

to put down roots in the earth

nerves in the flesh

like rivers and stars and cosmic themes

who don’t know where they’re going

but nevertheless

at the heart of their enlightened guess

indulge their taste for intuitive compassion

in the ripening fruit of their intellect

and that sweetness of autumn life on their tongues

like frost on the morning glory

dew on the stargrass

take the time

to teach the maps

that fall from the trees like leaves

to the mindstream below

as much as they do about flowing.

How you can only know the road by going

and that’s as true for the road

as it is you.

Because every step of the way

every whirl in the current

the path and the destination

the road and you

a star and its light

a thought-wave and its brain

the many and the one

are not discontinuous and discrete.

Death isn’t the singularity

at the bottom of the blackhole

envious of your rainbow Joseph’s coat of light.

And life isn’t a concept

that’s been reified

with fingerprints and blood samples

waiting nervously

for news of its purity

to come back like a vampire bat

from some celestial bloodbank

turning it into wine

and nasty drunks

defacing the shrines of killer bees.

Your heart’s not Jerusalem.

And your blood hasn’t gone on crusade.

You say you’re looking for god.

I say that’s o.k.

but why do you go about it

as if you were looking for her number

listed on the cellphone of a terrorist?

She’s not being held for ransom

because she’s worth less than nothing

and more than the inconceivable

but the moment you begin to look for her

I’ve got a hunch

she’s lost.

And there are missing posters

on telephone poles

out looking for your face everywhere

because you are

who you want to know.

The light doesn’t come

like a thug with shadows

to cover its back.

And life doesn’t need to show its i.d.

to the arresting officer

to prove its an ambassador with immunity

to criminal prosecution

in a foreign country

where one law of life for all

and all for one

covers all the flaws

of creationists mimicing evolution.

If the emptiness within you

you’re trying to fill with God

weren’t already aware of your potential

to change the course of the universe

with every breath you take

every step of the way to everywhere

you wouldn’t have been empowered into being by it

to achieve yourself exactly as you are

every moment of the unborn day

and in all the watchtowers

of the undying night

in the small quiet hours

just before morning

when the dew grows eyes in the dark

that ripen like luminous bells of insight

into what we’re all doing here

looking for our minds with mirrors

that have sweetened the light with our tears

like old wines

that have been dreaming for years

of dancing like stars on the waters of life.

And even after the blossom has bloomed and gone

like the plumage of a phoenix in spring

the drunks still sing unreasonably

of the seasonal sorrows

that come of untimely desire.

Because deep in their urn and furnace hearts

they can feel the seeds of fire

the ghost of the orchard left

sprouting like the bloodroots

of their next incarnation.

Salamandrine regeneration.

Dust to dust.

Ashes to ashes.

Though it all sounds

a little too cut and dry to me.

Let’s try

just for a change of pace

life to life

death to death

light to light

water to water

fire to fire

mind to mind

heart to heart

human to human

face to face

like inspired reflections

that don’t depend upon a mirror

to make things far

seem near?

We all enter life

before the inception of thought

like intuitive forms of the inconceivable

with stars on our breath

and even when death

shifts our wavelengths toward the red

they don’t go out.

When did we ever need

more of a reason to shine

than our own seeing

needed to grow our eyes?

So why average out the crucials

looking for god like your lost omniscience

when she’s omniabsent everywhere

the moment you begin to look for her

like the muse of a longing poet

who knows how to keep the fire burning

as spontaneously in the lamps

as she does the urns?

Why put on a death mask

and go looking

for the highest common denominator

to the sum of it all

as if you were trying to commensurate

the dynamics of the world like pi

or square the roots of your eye

into the self-contained monad

of a whole number

forgetting that every number

like the letter of every word that was ever spoken

is the alpha and omega of all the rest?

Myriad houses with the same address.

Who speaks of completion

in a world where

one inspires the all

and the all inspires one

like grains of sand

pyramids and pearls

or one atom

elaborating a lonely dark space

into billions of galaxies

without beginning or end

and everything in existence

is already the boundless center

of the infinite immensities

in the creative intensities

at the extremeties of everything else?