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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
nor open them
to see there are no shadows at .
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
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
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
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
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.
Dust to dust.
Ashes to ashes.
Though it all sounds
a little too cut and dry to me.
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
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?