Thursday, June 16, 2011


The western light

comes right in through my windows

and glows in a golden haze on the dirty panes.

It slashs geometric shadows on my landscapes

like some mad abstractionist

who took them way too personally.

And all they said

was moon tree star light stone flower river sun

as if that were enough of a vocabulary

to say the whole of creation

quietly under your breath

like a secret that’s shared by everyone.

Guess I’m not enough of an ideologue

to comb the swamp for my own skeleton

like the ancestor of modern art.

I’ve gazed too long and hard

at the waterlilies in the Fall River

as if I were meditating on koans

that effortlessly open by themselves

not to waste my mind on anything

that didn’t include my heart

like a work in progress

like a river on its way to the ocean.

Dark soon.

The night sheds petals of insight

like moonlight making waves

on the shoreless seas of enhanced awareness

where I stand like a human candle

with my little standard of flame

trying to light up the universe

so I can see what I am in the depths

of my own eyes.

If I’m the tragicomic clown of my own catastrophe

or if there’s something more profound

going on around me

than time and light

glancing off the mindstream

like birds against the delusive skies

that lie like the windows of insight

until you break through them

like the sun at midnight

shining its light

on a conspiracy of mirrors

against the moon.

I must have been mad before I was born

to see things the way I do now.

Everything is inconceivably probable somehow

like a fortune-cookie

that’s had its tongue cut out

for telling lies to the emperor

or the lack of a sign

for the thirteenth house of the misbegotten

in the neighbourhood watch of the zodiac.

Even when you lose your purpose in life

like a passport in a borderless country

you can still hang on to your identity

like a willess work engendered out of nothing.

You can still firewalk the ghost road of smoke

like stars under the feet of the dead

or follow your own breath

like a dancer that no one is leading.

It’s a surprise when you first come to see

that the greatest liberty of all isn’t death

but to cry as if you were bleeding

from a wound

so much sharper and deeper

than the poignancy of the knife that opened it

like a posthumous loveletter from the gods

you feel

reading your own fate

in the silence between their voices

as if forever hereafter

you could only be killed into life

and that every rafter of delusion

you ever sought shelter under

were the overturned hull of an empty lifeboat.

Sometimes I look at my life

like one of the splendid ambiguities

of a subtly nuanced godsend.

I try to befriend the way I feel

like the generous host

of a dangerous stranger

too cold and aloof

to introduce himself

as my shadow

my eclipse

my potential assassin.

I have tried to stay true to the lies

that led to the myth of my lucidity

like a mirage in a desperate desert of stars

I could drown in like an island

up to to the neck of an hourglass

in tidal waves of quicksand

laying my life down

like the foundation stone

of an inverted pyramid

that yearns for the state of mind

he enjoyed before life

more than that that won’t come after.

I have refused to put the torch out in its own reflection.

I have not tried to uproot

the beauty of the waterlilies

opening their eyes like stars

from the decay and the lies

and the scars that sustain them.

I have put to good use

the dysfunction of delusion

to make a credible raft

to get me to the other side

of this river of shadows

swollen like a flashflood

in a lunar seabed.

I have danced with ghosts

like a lonely shaman

around the unappeasable fires

of desire and death

entreating the nightsky

to rain on my flowerless roots

and sweeten the severity

of the dragon’s eyes

with tears.

I have lived in such a way

to actualize the nameless reality

of a few common words

like love and understanding

I’ve kept alight like fireflies on the wind

and cherished them

as if the seeds of insight

were the perennial beginning

of enlightened orchards

that taste like the fruit of compassion.

I have lived in such a way

like a thief of keys

to relieve the locks

on the nightwatch

of their tunnel vision

that it’s not safe

to give my new address

to my old mailbox.

But even in a black out

I have not kept the light out

by plastering my windows with starmaps

or gone underground

like a blind star-nosed mole

that put its eyes out

to share something

in common with the dead

who would never have dreamed

they would all end up sleeping with their mothers.

I open them to receive the sun.

I close them to remember the stars

I’ve been dancing under

for lightyears

against the gathering storm

like a poor man’s chandeliers.

I have celebrated my defiance

of hitching a winged horse

to a hearse

by expressing the joy I take

in the revolutionary spontaneity

of my unself-reliance.

But of all the things

I’ve ever outgrown

or overthrown

like a sword from a bridge

I gave back to the sacred waters of life

the last to fall

was the ghostship in the mirage

of the image I had of me.

I poured myself out

like imaginary water

from a fountainmouth

in a real drought

to green the secret Edens

at the sacred crossroads

of the four rivers

that might come of it

as if X marked the spot

where I was standing

as the best place to start a garden

on the waterwheel of the mindstreams

that radiated out of its stillness like spokes.

Sometimes you end up stealing fire

when all along

you thought you were meant

to invent the wheel

or make up a new language

out of the echoes of dolphins

breaking into birdsong

as if they had turned in their feet

to go back to the sea

but had not forgotten

that their fins

could fly as easily

as the wings they once wore on their heels.

Many rivers flow into the one sea

and the sea returns to transcendence

back the way it came

without stepping into the same mindstream twice.

And I prefer to think

that the same thing is true of the multiverse.

Everything that shines in the night

or in the mind

down to the smallest spark of insight

locked like a firefly

in a lighthouse of ice

on the same omnidirectional course.

And true north

just the magnetic attraction

of a voodoo doll

in a haystack of needles

trying to get a bearing on things

like the right ascension

and correct declination

of a lost soul

summoned like a deranged galaxy

to the singularity

at the bottom of a blackhole

to exchange the light it goes by

by upgrading its eyesight

to search for itself in the night

on the higher frequencies

of X-ray vision

on board an experimental satellite.

And yet for all the myriad universes

that bubble up in hyperspace

like the last breath of the drowning

I have refused to live

like a diving bell in a wishing well

trying to understand

why nothing came true but the coins.

If you’ve never resolved anything in your whole life

maybe you were meant

to keep the mystery alive.

The medium is not the message

when the message is the mystery.

A meaningful medium

is nothing but meaningless words.

The sky doesn’t intend to say birds.

The water doesn’t mean fish

anymore than an infinite number of other things.

Nothing lives like a machine

for something as small as a purpose.

You don’t have to live like a lense

to keep the sun in focus.

And maybe one of the greatest blessings

of being on the nightshift

is that when the universe is out of work

it has no use for us.

We’re free to be when and whatever we want.

Or thoroughly protean.

Or nothing at all.

A full eclipse of the clock on the wall

or a chromatically aberrant nightlight

like a colour crazy star

low on the horizon of the hall.

As for me and my house

I’ve lost track of the number of times

I’ve brought my starmud to enlightenment

like a horse you can lead to water

but you can’t make drink.

The words crawl.

The words swim.

The words take to their wings

like eagles and dragonflies

and startled waterbirds.

Half a sliced pear

looks like a short-necked Spanish guitar.

Looking for the meaning of this

isn’t the same

as listening to the music.