Thursday, May 19, 2011


When you look at a star

can you see

how the night leaves

the intimate doors

of intuitive eventuality ajar?

I’m all future with a prophetic past.

Aviomantic signs of liberated doves.

So many lifespans in a single moment.

How many light-years to the nearest star?

And how many shadows back?

Trying to say the inexpressible in words is like

to trying to thaw a snowstorm

on the tip of your tongue

flake by flake syllabically

or trying to explain bubbles to a glacier

in a momentary suspension of disbelief.

When you look at a star

do you see

that’s it’s you

that’s shining up that far

and it’s you down here

receiving your own light back like a ball

you made of your childhood

and threw up in the air

like a celestial sphere

when you had

all the time in the world

to come back and catch it later?

And as I grew older

not waiting for it to come back down

I learned to play vertical pool with the stars

to move things around

that were once considered fixed.

When you look at a star

if you want to clear the table

if you want to make the longshot

if you want to change the birthmark of misfortune

into an upturned elephant trunk of good luck

you have to chalk the cue with your skull.

But I ask you earnestly

if no one’s ever failed their death

is it probable

anyone’s ever failed their life

despite what their tears and fears have told them

about where they’ve ended up?

But a good beginning doesn’t lead to a good end

because a good beginning never stops.

A good beginning is without conclusion.

It doesn’t need to look beyond itself

because nothing’s missing from the very start.

When you look at a star

do you see the ancient wisdom

in a child’s heart

do you feel the depth

of all the eyes that have looked at it before

with longing wonder and sorrow

asking you to give them some direction

by adding yourself like another dimension to the past?

Is there a firefly of human suffering

mingled in the shining?

A window makes a better starmap

than a ten inch mirror

in a Schmidt-Cassegrain reflecting telescope

on an equatorial mount with clock drive

following them around like paparazzi

but when the stars want to know

where they’re at

it’s your eyes they parallax

at both ends

of the wingspan of your orbit.

It’s your seeing that gives them a fix.

The same eye by which I see God

is the eye by which God sees me.

It’s the same with everything

from fireflies to supernovas.

The donkey looks into the well.

The well looks back at the donkey.

Tat tvam asi.

You are that.

The lampshade and the blue parrot.

The donkey and the carrot.

When you look at a star

do you dress your destiny up

in hand-me-down constellations

like clothes you’ll grow into one day

or do you wear them like patchs on myths

you’re trying to give up

about how rough it’s been

to be chosen beauty queen

and bear the diamond tiara of the Pleiades

like the Northern Crown?

When you look at a star

is it the chip of a broken mirror

the plinth of a shattered chandelier

the Holy Ghost of fireflies

a fire-womb of immaculate fusions

that bear the transgender features

of their ancestral elements

like Abrahamic hydrogen?

A burning bush

in the valley of Tuwa

that eventually talks itself out like a candle

when the conversation begins to harden

like an auditory hallucination

into a puddle

of earwax shadows and wicks?

Or do you discern something more

you can’t quite put your finger on

or point to

not a presence

but there

an absence

but everywhere

and you standing there

like this tiny insight

with the precipitous extremeties

of a human being

trying to discover your own nature

in the inexplicability of all that shining

wondering if the rumours of awareness

the universe has been spreading about you

are true or not?

When you look at a star

have you ever thought

if mass is energy

maybe matter is mind

and thinking of one

as something that has to get over the other

is like expecting a wave to transcend water?

Light and lamp.

Body and mind.

Not one of two

but two in one

and even that’s one too much.

The flower opens

in the light of the sun

like a kiss on the eyelid

and the sun blooms

as if it had a crush on the flower.

When you look at a star

can you feel how the light

touchs your eyes as gently as a butterfly

as if all the eyelashs you’ve lost in a lifetime

like the ribbing of broken kites

or the spokes of a bike

or the straws of overworked brooms

had come back to you

as a living thing

with antennae legs and wings?

Have you ever looked at a star

and wondered how far away it would be

if you were to measure the distance in thought-years?

And such a small thing the mind

a child’s hand

and yet within its grasp

all that mass black matter energy light space time?

How could you fit

all those cosmic immensities

and the abyss that contains them

into such a small place

if they weren’t your own ideas?

When you look at a star

do you ever get the feeling

you’re swimming through your own gene-pool

your own meme pool

the Pierian spring

where it meets the sea

at the bottom of your mountain mindstream?

When you look at a star

do you ever turn the light around

and look into yourself

through its eyes

and realize

you’ve been communing with your own reflection


for billions of years

and that little insight

is the cosmic light of awareness

that fills the night with everything that is

when is is not the opposite of is not

and there’s no separation in the first atom

between thought life light mind matter and form

and the lion lies down with the lamb

and the old woman says she is not old

and the sparrow lays her egg in the serpent’s coil

and the old man who has seen everything says

my eyes are as young now

as you were back then

and your beauty is today?

When I was a boy

growing up in a garbage can

like a diamond in the rough

everyone wanted to cut

and buff the edges off

to polish me like a lense

so everybody could see how focused I was

when I looked up at the stars

from the bottom of a spent wishing well

where you could see them even during the day.

Though I was taught

they were responsible for my fate

and I should blame them for what I am

and not the black dwarfs of hate

who perverted the space around me

like slumlords

until even the buds of the flowers

were white as the knuckles of clenched fists

I never thought for a moment

that anything that clean and beautiful

that far away

from the scene of the crime at the time

could ever do anything here

that needed an alibi.

When I looked at the stars

I was enraptured by their mystery.

I was exalted by their unattainability

and the age of the silence

that surrounded their fires

knowing they’ve burned longer

than the light has lived

and seen more

than their eyes can forgive

of human life on the planet.

And the greatest agony of my childhood

from seven till ten

such that I would weep

my bitterness to sleep every night

like a child abandoned to a hospital

was that I was born way too early

to get to Aldebaran.

When I looked at a star

I didn’t gape like a telescope

into the depths of its utter solitude

but looked upon it like a far intimacy

I could draw near

until I could feel it breathing like silver

all over the mirror

that was as clear

as any dark spear

that ever wounded a mystic with bliss.

Strange whisperings of exiled sages

pouring stories of home

into a young boy’s ear

like my mother used to talk about

her childhood in Queensland

as if she were in the Garden of Eden.

When I looked at a star

and listened to its picture-music

I was so deeply moved

by the beauty and sadness of the song

like inspiration in utter solitude

I went into exile with it here

and it was my blossom

no wind could blow away

and it was my root

in the starmud

nothing could pull up

and throw away.

When I looked at a star

I was enthralled

by the dispassionate attachment

and creative dynamic

that burned me like a sacrificial heretic

in the ice of inspiration.

I could forget the small orbit

of house arrest

that a circumstantial planet

had affixed like an electronic anklet around my leg

for being born unforgivably poor.

When I looked at a star

it was as if the flightfeather

of a bluewhite fire bird

landed on the windowsill of my cell

to take pity on me

and share its freedom

with someone living in a cage.

When I looked at a star

it was the synteretic spark

I sent out like a dove from the ark

with two of every mind

in the zodiac aboard

after forty days of flood

to look for Atlantis

like the next best thing

to Mt. Ararat or Cathay.

It was the angel that always looked back

with the same mystic fury in its eyes

that were in mine

when I looked up.

When I looked at a star

I could prognosticate the future

like the distant memory

of someone returning to their origins

waking up from exile

to discover it wasn’t a dream.

You can tell by the way a star

flashs like a panicked chameleon

on the event horizon of a blackhole

things are what they seem

when you’re peering through atmospheres

with tears in your eyes.

I used to make telescopes when I was young.

I would grind their pyrex eyes

with ever finer grades of carborundum

until they could see just right.

I shaped their fibre-glass bodies

until they were as smooth as a woman’s skin.

And I took them out into the open fields naked

far beyond the intrusions of the city lights

and exposed them to the stars

who revered them like clear-eyed mirrors

and adorned one with leaves

and the other with sidereal veils

and said like the elders

and old midwives of an Ojibway tribe

when they name the newborn.

This one shall be called Eve.

And this one Isis.

And to celebrate their birth

opened a third eye

and said

as it is on earth

it shall not be in the sky.