Thursday, July 7, 2011


Old lovers in the rear view mirror

though things may be closer than they appear

you diminish us

when I see

what you’re not ashamed to be

the cunning and the greed

the unenlightened cynicism

the panicked arrogance

of everything you are not

afraid of being caught out in the open

like a fraud before God in a thunderstorm.

You come on like a lighthouse

but I liked you better

when you were barely a nightlight.

You talk like a lightning rod

with a new revelation

that’s going to save the world

but I can’t help feel

I’m listening

to the same old weathervane

that’s always been twisting in the wind

like a rooster without a big enough propeller

for take off.

You can’t be the clarion call

of the morning’s bugle boy

and still lay cosmic eggs.

What’s the difference

between being born

a sexy Anglo-Saxon hen

and wanting to make

a grand French entrance

dressed up as poultry

on William the Conqueror’s table?

You’re going to get eaten either way.

But I can remember when you

opened your legs like a tuning fork

that put everything in harmony

that was human and wrong and endearing about us

but by the way you walk now

I can tell

they’ve been broken like a wishbone

that didn’t come true.

And there’s a crack in your liberty bell

that can’t be fixed with superglue.

Once I was bewitched

by your spell-binding cosmetics

like a chameleon in front of a mirror

that never wore the same face twice.

But now I look into your eyes

and see white-out on the typos

in the spirit of the law

you follow to the letter

like a counterfeiter

in a game of scrabble.

I was diamond when you met me

but you treated me

like an uncarved block of marble

and you were Michelangelo

who could see what I could be

if I just let you chip away the rough parts

and I was happy to let you shape me any way

you thought you could

as long as you were pleased with the work.

But you couldn’t find a chisel strong enough

and it was always you that broke and ran

and me that ended up thawing

like a snowman

who thought he’d been too hard on you.

Now I see

you’re a palliated woodpecker

the bird of Mars

a jackhammer in a concrete relationship

that says it’s willing to die for you

like a Roman aqueduct falling

on the gladiola of your sword

if you ever break up.

After you slept with the jeweller

I had traded the rings off

for six large paintings

you asked me

if it was okay

after we broke up

if you melted them down

into a twisted symbol of us

you could wear around

like a mutant embryo on a necklace.

But I can remember

when I thought

you were the shape of the universe.

Never felt I belonged anywhere

as if I were living my life on the run

but I don’t know what from

and whenever

I think it might not be a place

but someone I belong to

like space belongs to time

I find myself being left behind

like a fingerprint

at the scene of the crime

as if I were a witness

to my own identity theft

called upon

to pick myself out of a line-up

of well-known shape shifters

with records the length of my arm.

And I hear you flew out

to tell my mother

what a clown I was

but she stood up for my womb rights

and said no

as long as she’s known me

I’ve been a brilliant idiot.

You can admire it or pity it

or learn to love it like an oxymoron

but my son makes a point

like a starmap

you can’t quite put your finger on.

Like a key to an unknown door

you’re never quite sure

you can afford to throw away

so you put it in a drawer

and let it stay

until you remember one day

what keys are for

when you’re dying in prison

of your own isolation

like a fish beside fresh water.

And then in an unexpected turn

of an impervious phrase

your event horizon

is no longer a cage

in need of a key

and your freedom

grows up to realize

that compassion is the fruit of insight

and how much you creatively owe

to everything you’ve abandoned.

Some hang on a cross.

Some hang on a key.

But I can remember hanging

on every word you said

as if you were some kind of female Jesus

whispering into the left ear of Lazarus

to come forth from the dead

and enjoy great sex.

And I remember the night we broke up

and you said

you were sick of trying to be famous

standing in my shadow

and I felt like some great evil failure of an eclipse

as you went on

telling me what was wrong with our relationship

like a swan in an oilslick.

And I honestly do hope the full moon

sheds your flightfeathers in clearer waters now

and your path to heaven is laid out for you like the Milky Way

and not the Road of Ghosts

with its sad autumn geese

bearing the souls of the dead southwest

and there’s still more creativity in your art

than there is in your name

because I remember a nobility of soul about you

that used to put me to shame.

A first magnitude dark star of savage superlatives

with the most paranoid heart

that ever killed her biggest fan

out of jealousy.

Shit happens.

I’m not all that bitter anymore.

The disease has given up looking for a cure.

The eagle doesn’t derive its personal myths

from the rumours of houseflies

and I still find

there are fewer lies

when I look into the eyes of a serpent

that there are in the startled stare

of a doe with stagefright

caught in the glare of the headlights

of the oncoming future

like the ghost of yesterday’s roadkill.

And I’ve learned to have

a lot more respect for my masks

than I used to

and let them go

like new moons and apple blossoms

with deep gratitude

for the pain of lost beauty

I embrace like a memory

I would rather be hurt by

than efface

from the taste of crazy wisdom

that has come to fruition in me

with the urgency

of an estranged loveletter

I’ve been writing ever since.

The way I read it

you’ve got to wince and cry a little

before your eyes can adjust to the light

and dream up a new alibi every night

to explain to the darkness

when it overwhelms you

whose tears those are

on the pillow beside you.

And as for the delusional nature of love

I’d rather think that love

was a super sensible iridescent soap bubble

blown out of a gust of time in hyperspace

like a crystal ball

that wasn’t too fanatical

about its sphericity

letting things take shape as they will

without keeping an eye on the future

as if it were something you could prophecy

without having to experience

than a diving bell

sightseeing the shipwrecks in hell

as if it had a navy

and I were first admiral

of all the mermaids in uniform.

But it would amuse you to know

how content I am more frequently

nacreously pearling grains of dirt

I took out of the burning eye of hell

into a succession of moonrises in an oyster-shell

as things have cooled down

since the early days

of our last attempt at a solar system

that wasn’t the center of the universe.

Have you heard

they’ve been looking for signs of life

in the saline seas

under the ice of Encelaudus

one of the fifty-six moons of Saturn?

I remember looking into your eyes

like the return address on a loveletter

that spelled things out

like a cosmologist on a seeing night

as clear as a telescope full of fireflies

wanting to make contact

with intelligent life on another planet

that was more conceivable

than the insight they had into this one.

And it’s sadder than a starless November sky sometimes

when I realize

I no longer need a muse

to ignite the wick in the inkwell

like serpent-fire up my spinal cord

to bend my mind and heart out of shape like

gravitational eyes in space

when it so evidently appears

by the way the light is distorted

in this hall of warped circus mirrors

called the mind

where everybody looks for enlightenment

as if it were the flipside

of blankly staring into an abyss of delusion

some were born

in the sterling image of God

and some

to a fucked-up imitation

of the image of Creation.

I no longer make a grailquest

of looking for the source of my illegitimacy

as if that were going to give

every misbegotten misshapen

bitch and bastard in the world

a better birthright

than the untouchable one

they already belong to.

On the hierarchical wheel of suffering and change

in the caste system of chaos

that preconditions the Buddhas

where everyone’s enlightened at birth

it’s the lower orders

rooted in decay

that bloom like waterlilies on the mindstream.

As if the earth

had something crucial to say to the stars

about the nature of life and love

they’ve been overlooking for lightyears

that receives the most attention

from extraterrestrial seers

with tears running from their eyes

like mirrors on the same wavelength

as the simulacrum of life they’re looking at.

Like a homeless addition knocking on a door

from inside the thirteenth house of the zodiac

on the wrong side of the tracks

from all those thresholds we had to leave behind

like the double-crossed children of the gods

denied the human divinity

of their cosmic heritage

on the stairs of an abandoned orphanage.

I can’t remember now

if we thought it would provide them

with a better future without us

than the extinction we were living

like the half-life of the radioactive isotope

of an undiscovered element

too unstable to found a life upon.

But I’ve never meant

any harm

to the living or the dead

I swear it

because I know

I’m fire-walking in a sacred place

full of stars and thorns and shattered mirrors

that still cut after all these years

like a crystal-nacht of chandeliers

that couldn’t quite keep up

with the constellations

they were trying to replace

with black market knock-offs

of theosophical swastikas

and racist armbands.

And it’s holy and quiet here

as if someone had died unconditionally

for something truer than love

and deeper than meaning

that wasn’t trying to set an example

by dying to live up to anything

you could follow like a logo on a running-shoe.

And it’s true

we’ve all gotten older

and probably pay more attention

to the candle holder

than the flame

or who lit what in the name of

the little we could see in the dark once

of what we were all convinced for awhile

was love with nothing to hide

from the blood brothers and sisters

we made like strong alloys of our solitude.

But the length of the shadow

isn’t a measure

of the intensity of the fire

that casts it.

And though dreams might pass away

the dreamers stay

lingering over old memories

they keep to themselves

like strangers around a fire

no mirage can put out

even though we’re up to our necks in it

because even among these phantoms of water

desire is the white phosphorus

of the inextinguishable radiance

in the glass eye of the diamond

that inspects the stars for flaws

and sees that everything worked out

perfectly for the best

when everything was allowed to break up

like one ancient continent

beside one whole ocean

like a fortune-cookie in love with a seashell

that didn’t get the message in time

to stop the new paradigm of things

from drifting apart

like species at variance

with the evolution of the heart

along individual fault-lines.

And as long as it’s been

since we last shared the same genome

I still look back in unaffected gratitude

to a time when

deserts woke up beside monsoons

like a sexy climate change

in the manic weather

that kept us together

in the early Jurassic

long before evolution

panicked like a seismic catastrophe

into a new food source

for gigantic warm-blooded dinosaurs

smart enough to wonder

if the distance between

the brains in their heads

and the brains in their tails

were the same distance

that could be measured

in the angelic flightfeathers

between them and us

as a direct function

of the demonic wingspan

of our scales.

Or as the homeless highway said

trying to explain the Grand Design

to a wandering river

drunk on the wine

of the Great Delirium

you’ve come a long way baby

but it wasn’t in a straight line.