Thursday, May 26, 2011


If I were to die in front of you publicly

would you love me for that?

Would you appreciate how well

I could communicate my disintegration

like some ongoing experiment with death?

I always thought it was rude

to haemmorage around other people

while they’re trying to hold their shit together

their guts in

like turtles and frogs

on a highway at night

after it rains.

Should I turn my death

into some kind of performance art

that encourages audience participation?

Would you love me for that?

Would you join me in the last act

like some intimate facilitator

whispering to me in a voice

as plush as the pile of the carpets

in a funeral home

that smothers the dead in silence

like a soldier that didn’t get a letter from home?

When there’s only you and I in a room

I see the way you look at me

as if all I could be at sixty three

were a third party to the events of life.

Would you find my poetic vision more acceptable

if I turned it into a newsworthy spectacle

of what happens to a life

that took the hard high path

down into the valley below

like an avalanche trying

to pull itself up by its bootstraps

to make a gift of the gifts it had been given?

To make things instead of breaking them?


not borders.

Bringing things together

in the heart the mind

and then to take the symbols of that union

and scatter them like seeds

in the available dimension of the future

knowing they will resonate in the medium

of a new reality

like stem-cells do in this.

New wildflowers along the roadside

so that our children will have something to name

that was for their mouths only.

Would it please you to know

how many times

I’ve fallen on the sword of compassion

the number of honourable suicides

I’ve committed

just to keep one step ahead of my high ideals

shadowing me like assassins

on behalf of the Old Man of the Mountain

sitting like a dealer on a throne of hash.

No good deed will go unpunished.

If you do for anyone now

and maybe it’s always been this way

and I’m just beginning to see

you’re feeding doves to a snake

you can’t train not to bite the hand that feeds it

or chops it off

in Che Quevara’s case

for a school bus

or in Victor Jara’s

just because he had a bigger heart

and could sing better than the rest of us.

I’ve been an Orphic martyr to the cause

of cosmic integrity

as it’s manifested in everything and everyone.

I’ve been the warrior minstrel of the forlorn hope

in a holy war of one

I knew I lost way back in the late westcoast sixties.

My heart has expanded

like the crematorium of space

and I’ve felt everything I ever cherished

evaporate like snowflakes and butterflies in its fury.

Children pride wives thresholds hope sanity

and saddest of all

watched how the light died

in the eyes of ancient stars

who didn’t have the candlepower

to take the measure of the darkness

they saw in us.

You can see into the matter before you

only as far as the light

you’ve been given to go by.

The same is true for hearts and fires.

A hungry man can consume things with his eyes

that a rich man wouldn’t even try

to fit into his mouth.

And I was born with an insatiable visual appetite

and like any other blackhole

when the light runs out

and there are black dwarfs everywhere

that are all wick and no flame

you take one long deep breath

that’s good for a lifetime

and you swallow the whole of the universe

in a single gulp.

After that

you’re either enlightened

or a star-nosed mole

chewing on roots in wormholes.

Would you take my life more seriously

if I were to make a clown of my death?

Would you think it was all rhyme and reason

at the beginning

if I were to go faithfully mad at the end

to make you feel moderately better

that you didn’t ever not once in your life

for anyone

or anything

not even to know

what you’re doing

walking so successfully among the living

as if by your own cunning

you earned the right to

and the rest of us are here

by some default of anti-matter?

Would it make you less demoralized to know

my first innocence was demonized

like the scapegoat

the Jews used to drive out into the wilderness

like a garbage-barge out of a metropolitan port in May

when they cleansed the temples

and heaped their sins on the back of a goat

who was as undeserving

as they purported to be holy?

One for all

is a single shoe on a long dangerous journey.

All for one

is many feet

beating a hasty retreat

back to the screening rooms

of their epic vanity

like Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow

or the charge of the Light Brigade

once the dust had settled like spin

on the glory of their story.

You give a snake wings

and sooner or later

you’re going to get burnt by a dragon.

You heap evil on the innocent

as if you were rolling hot asphalt over a flower

and having turned the spiritual path you were on

into a parking lot


you’re going to pancake in an earthquake

like the sound of one hand clapping

in a thundercloud

when the desert turns around

like a sunami of sand

and that which was driven out

returns like the crazy wisdom of an oxymoron

empowered like a new alloy of opposites

to do better than you

to you

what was enacted upon it

to steal a blessing

from the purse of a taboo

as if perfection could be bought

by reversing the spin of your guilt

into a curse you place upon innocence.

I have within me a Mephistophelean compassion

for the savage inanity of my own humanity

and a great disdain

for this double-headed feature

in the nature of the creature

like a scar putting a broken-hearted smile

on an open wound in the heart

that’s been cauterized in hell.

Some fall.

Some jump.

Some are driven.

Some are on the threshold.

Some are on the ladder.

Some never ask to be forgiven.

Some make a career of it.

And some just let go of their shit

the way they breathe.

They’re not ecstatic when they breathe in

and they don’t grieve when they breathe out.

There’s a dark clarity within me

well beyond the circus barkers

and camera lights

featuring the spiritual grotesqueries

on the religious midway

that often feels

the noxiousness of exhausted morality

scavenging its own remains

putrefy the clear night air

like the liquefaction of lilies in a swamp.

Would it please you to know

that there are many days

when I even commisserate with the angels

that there’s not enough human decency left

to form a firing squad

and shoot someone like me.

Would it be an uplifting literary finale

for a growlight like you

if a darkness like me

were to do it on reality tv

just to prove to all the viewers at home

that creation might begin with a Big Bang

but it ends in the detonation of a celebrity flashbulb?

It’s not the unrighteous that the righteous hate the most

it’s those who can see like me

how a wasp like you lays its cosmic egg

on the body of the living host

like a vital food supply

as it tells the caterpillar its young consume

like the second womb of a born again

from the outside in

when you die

you’ll go to heaven

and you’ll be a butterfly

without sin.


If there’s anything I can find culpable at all

about God

is that she made someone in her own image like you

and then changed her mind

and in an inspired stroke of dark genius

created someone like me

who wasn’t her clone

and gave him eyes of his own

who could see in himself how different we were.

Virtue’s the muse of mediocrity.

The morally bankrupt baking soda

the white noise

you use to buff the creativity

of what’s going on in the fridge without you

like a still life when the lights go out.

And you don’t want to know anything beyond that.

You’re a well-behaved hawk in dove’s clothing

with blinders and a tether on

sitting on the right arm of God

feeling anti-ballistic about seagulls and pigeons

and any other small bird you can come down on

like a stealth interceptor

on a congregation of unidentified angels

crossing into your spiritual space.

High in your atmosphere

when you look in the mirror

you know you’re a hole in the ozone

that’s burning everything on earth

in your electromagnetic high frequency version of hell.

I know you well.

You’re a mutant birth in the Love Canal.

You’re a chemical agent in the nostrils

of the children of Bopal.

You can’t see into the dark brutal mystery

of the terrible absence of beauty within you

without using someone else’s eyes.

You’re a visual abuse of the radiance.

who hates anyone who can see

and light years beyond that


the lonely freedom

and eyeless clarity

of living creatively

with the Inconceivable

like a unifying field theory

that doesn’t have to be believable to be true.