Monday, May 30, 2011


The rain tonight

a gentle carillon of afterthought

pensively lingering like eyes in the window.

The town unusually quiet

even for two a.m.

Asphalt with the albido of a wet ratsnake

or a black bull

and blades of garish light

thrust through its back

like the swords of the streetlamp matadors

poised over its haemorrhaging

like solar daffodils

about to deliver the coup de grace

to the new moon.

The farmlands and the pot patches flourish.

Everything’s wearing the mirror of everything else

like skin

and the leaves

pour their hearts out

like spouts without pitchers.

Black beads of rain

falling from the rim of my gangster hat

I might look like a gun

but inside

I feel like a boy

who just shot a bird with a slingshot.

All my life I’ve carried the bloodguilt

of someone else’s crime

without knowing

what was done to whom and why.

It’s as if I have always lived

through six decades of this strange life

like a child

trying to make up

for something I didn’t do.

If my mother was the Virgin Mary

my father was

forty days alone in the wilderness

of a Vancouver Island logging camp

with the devil.

I never used to think

the sins of the father

were visited upon the sons

because it seems so savagely unfair

to damage their innocence by mere association.

Stalin McCarthy and Paul Pott come to mind

and if this is the work of God

then he’s got spiritual rabies

and we’ve all been bit.

And I’ve wondered as well

if the sins of the sons are visited upon the fathers

just as cruelly.

For what was done to my mother?

For what was done to me

and my brother and sisters?

For something I did in a previous life

that casts its shadow over this one?

Because conciousness is an agony of atonement

for lifting the veils of faceless gods

and realizing there’s no one there but you

for crossing the thresholds of hymeneal taboos

for stealing fire from extraterrestrial life

and feeling like Prometheus with a venereal disease

that keeps attacking his liver

like the moodswings of crackhead deathsquads?

I’ve always preferred the black holes

of the darkened midnight windows

staring bluntly out into the night

like mirrors in a coma

in an intensive care unit

unaware of what they reflect

to the more self-assured view from the inside

that presumes that it knows what it’s looking at.

Heretics pariahs outlaws underdogs fuck-ups

flawed beyond all human recognition

the crushed the lost the abandoned

the genocidal poverty

of those who are buried in the mass graves

at the last economic cleansing

they had to dig with their own hands

those who don’t know how to do anything

whatever atrocity is perpetrated upon them

but hang on to their innocence

like a doll with one eye that doesn’t blink anymore.

Those who eat their own ashes

out of tiny urns

like a junkie at a methadone clinic.

Those who were children until they turned six.

Those who have worked sacrificially all their lives for nothing.

The dead branch on the ground

the wind broke off the tree

still talking and dreaming of blossoms and fruit.

Those whose secret shy plan it is

to survive their lives

by staying out of their way

by taking the long way home from highschool

like a sword-swallower

who got one stuck

in the stone of his heart

he’s not strong enough to pull out

to make himself king of the castle.

Parsifal on a grailquest to save the ailing kingdom

mounts his mule backwards

like a court jester

inciting the laughter of Don Quixote

and the bitter tears of King Lear

that fall like the rain tonight

and make the light run like blood

down the street drains

like a miscarriage of the pot of gold

at the end of a rainbow

that had let go like a watercolour

of a sunset at midnight

someone painted in cadmium red carlights.

I embrace all of these

as if we were all the anti-matter of humanity

ghettoized in the new privatized leper colonies

of the twenty-first century.

It’s hard to love the whole person

when they’re nothing but body parts

but I try.

I get orgiastically drunk on inspiration

in the company of the pagan muses

but when I sober up

I feel the Christian muse of guilt

slip its cosmic cuckoo’s egg

in among the others while they’re dreaming

and one by one push them out of the nest

like alternative universes.

That’s when I write

like a snakepit looking up at the stars

wishing I had great vans of leather

tanned from all the eclipses I’ve shed like skin

and my words had the wingspan

of the inspired serpentfire

of kundalini dragons

when I see what happens to the flightfeathers

of innocent birds.

And then the rain begins to sing a strange lullaby

to a skull in a danse macabre

and it strikes me sometimes like a black mamba

in the back of the neck

as my hair stands up electromagnetically

that these aren’t the lines of a riverine poem

flowing along on its own

but whipmarks slashed across my back

like a flagellant on a long dark pilgrimage

of blue bubonic shadows

to the shrines of implacable death.

As if Perseus spurred on his winged horse

with a cat o’ nine tails

made out of Medusa’s severed head.

As if Hamlet were the wiseguy of a killer ghost

that put a contract out on everyone

including his son

to avenge his death

and wrest his marriage bed

from the hands of his brother

as if they fought over the same toy.

The night wears its darkness

like a hooded figure in a doorway

like a plague-rat behind the arras

like a black Isis in full eclipse

behind these veils of rain

that I am not yet nothing enough to lift.

It’s not true the shadow falls

between the conception and the reality

because they’re not two

and whether you slash at the river

or dedicate swords to The Lady of the Lake

whether you’re burning heretics at the stake

standing up

or kings lying down

at half-mast on a deathboat

you can’t separate one tiny little tear of a raindrop

from its fathomless watershed.

Thesis antithesis synthesis

two profiles and a frontal

of the same face

the same waltz

dancing alone

with its own shadow

to the picture-music

of mind-bending space

like the rain tonight

that sees more in the spring

that it does when its drenchs the earth in autumn

with the fading hopes

of sad seasoned eyes

that have seen too much.

But I’m not a rootless trees

trying to use my homelessness as a crutch.

I like my spatial relations with the world

just as they are.

And the provisional integrity

of not buffing the clarity

of what I see in the mirror

whether it’s fireflies in August

and moist stars hanging low

over the summer hills

just ripe for the picking

or an eyeless death in the void.

I risk the seeing

I expose my eyes to the dark energy

outside the field of vision

to burn the negative into white

so people can see what they feared

in the light.

So what was unknown and evil

could be shown

to be intimately their own karmic nemesis.

That the demons they feared the most

were the ones

they had done the most injury to

by condemning their innocence to exile.

That they are stalked and assassinated

by the shadows they dispossessed

like Tartars and Kalymyks

in a paranoid purge of Stalin

to walk and talk as if they didn’t have any

and it were always high noon.

I forego my own righteousness

to defuse the black lightning of my judgment

by taking the thunder out of it

like a detonator.

I’m the first

to walk myself like a road in the morning

to look for improvised explosive devices

my psyche might have buried in the night

getting carried away

by the insurgency of this recurrent dream

that keeps rising up against me

like the mahdi against Kitchener in Khartoum.

Of all the agonies of hell

the worst is

the oxymoronic intensity

of being doomed by an excruciating irony of hate

to abuse the internal discipline

of my infernal nature

to try and do some good

in a godless world

that never stops crying

like the rain tonight

over the Dufferin Road Cemetery

that’s gone on dying collectively

long after the last mourner has left.

Those that have power to hurt

but will do none

pay the steepest price for their compassion.

I take my finger off the trigger of the moon

and annul the contract

like a spider-mount

undoing the crosshairs

of its telescopic insight

into the eyes of human nature

when it doesn’t think anyone else is watching.

The sins of omission in hell

are the virtues of what was not done on earth

by those for whom dismantling themselves

like a high-powered rifle

focussed like a blackhole on the light

is not natural.

There’s more empathy

in letting your hunger

transcend your appetite

by turning the light away from yourself

like a dragon that didn’t swallow the moon

to make it rain tonight

than there is in exhausting your potential

by indulging it like an eclipse.

Lions don’t hunt flies

because you’re known

by the quality of your enemies

as much as your friends.

Ultimately there’s no distinction

between the means and the ends.

The injustice of slaughtering the innocents

outlives the death-sentences

that pass for the lifespans of the slayers.

I hold the angry dragon within me

like a glacial lava flow

up to the darkness before me like a torch

and then I put it out

like an island in the rain tonight

and leave it to the birds to give it a name.


is as close as I’ll ever be

to anyone.