Tuesday, July 12, 2011


for Pat Doyle

Existing ubiquitously in multiple universes

because it’s getting too hard

to suffer this one on my own.

Dark room.

Star globe.



I just received an updated e-mail

from a friend who hanged himself

this past Christmas

that began

let’s change the world together

but then the computer said

there was a decoding error in the url

and that’s where the message broke off.

If you stare long enough into the nothingness

all your inconceivables

become synchronistically believable.

What is a mind the measure of

if it isn’t the quantum foam of hyperspace

blowing worlds like the bubbles

of an infinite multiverse

where the impossibly probable

does and doesn’t exist

like the way you look at clouds.

I had a dream once

where I stood on a cosmic precipice

and looked out into the abyss

and space was full of eyes

looking back at me

and ever since then

I’ve realized

that the seeker only exists

because the seer is the seen.

Like the Sufi master said

you can only understand

the things you’ve been.

And I would add in the same breath

that being is seeing

born in the heart of the stars

and that this life

this death

are just metaphors

for the way we forget and remember them

as if we were seeing ourselves

when we look back at them in time

from the inside out.

Yesterday throws a light on tomorrow

as if it were already a thing of the past

which explains a post-dated e-mail from a dead friend

but not why it should end so absurdly

or why it was sent in the first place.

What could any fundamental paradigm

in this house of warped mirrors be

except a distortion of my own face

in a space time continuum

that imagines me

out of the sum of all my reflections

as if I existed like an entity in arrears

long before I showed up

as what appears before me tonight

like anybody’s guess

as far as I’m concerned.

In a place so full of masks and mirrors

it’s hard to hold on to your lack of identity

like a passport to unknown worlds

when you’re the only witness.

No stars

except the stain-glass mobiles

hanging from the dirty windows

but there are beads of rain

enmeshed in the window screen

like jewels in the weave of Indra’s net

and they’re all marked

like a thousand tiny logos

from the Bank of Nova Scotia sign across the street.

A thousand eyes.

A thousand drops of water.

The tears of a thousand mirrors

created in the image of everything.

And when they’re all gone

what is it that disappears like my buddy Pat?

The bank of Nova Scotia sign across the street?

Or me

like someone I have yet to meet?

Cosmology or cosmetics on a clown

trying to run himself to ground

because in one world

he’s afraid to go to sleep

and in the next he never wakes up?

Does the rain remember everything it reflects

like mugshots of the usual suspects?

Does it dream of things in the tongues

of dead languages

like the forgotten grammar of chaos

and wake to the echoes of the voice

that talks to it in its sleep?

I’m tired.

I’m scared.

I could weep.

I’m at a crossroads

at the end of a cul de sac.

I’ve been uprooted like a weed

and thrown on a compost heap.

My mind is mulch

on a garden that doesn’t bloom.

I’m watering dandelions on the moon.

Whence comes victory and the help of God?

Or am I only a poet possessed

who wanders into every valley

where his hands forget what his mouth said

chasing exotic metaphors

for the incomparability of the multiverse

to anything in existence?

The fruits of a lifetime of labour

nothing but fossils?

I need a new assessment

of what it is I think I’m trying to do.

I thought I was leading disparate elements

out of this desert of insights

into the oxymoronic bondage of enlightenment

that sets things free for good

to celebrate their own human divinity

without having to give up their solitude

for a redundant union with God.

I’ve always thought the mystic

was the most vulnerable part of me

but now I’m beginning to see

it’s a false spiritual clarity

that’s the bigger threat

and I’ve gone back to trusting my eyes.

And what do I see

that’s at least honest

even if it isn’t very uplifting?

I see how the greatest achievement

of my existence

was being there to witness it.

To watch the dust gather on my blue starglobe

with its archaic constellations

like paper cut-outs

a kid would paste on the walls of his room.

To look at the crystal star clusters

dripping like mobiles from the window

and see how much the rain is like them.

And how the mind which brings things together

like infinite similitudes

out of the incoherence of their dissimilarities

so that people fall in love

and the planets stay in their orbits

and good people inoculate voodoo dolls

with the blessings of an antidote

like victims of the curse they’re spreading.

How the mind

which brings all this together

like an Arctic mirage of an iceberg

to the cosmic hallucination

of a lifeboat sinking in a desert of stars

is the loneliest of witnesses without a metaphor

when it looks for a face in the mirror

and all there is the endless space

in which everything happens

because it isn’t there to be noticed

though it’s what makes the difference

in everything we see.

I see how the mind

is empowered by its own impotence

like I am

to look for cornerstones in an avalanche

Ionian pillars among the asteroids

like a higher branch of learning.

I see how the mind is not set apart

from the blood in my heart

or the crescent moons of my toenails.

How breath and water and stars

and birds lifting off the lake

like the birth of rain

are all just vapours of a dream

in a mirror

that can’t wake up without me.

Gusts of stars

like gold-dust flowing down

from the world mountain

into the valleys and mindstreams

of the sleepwalkers below

panning for insights

that might shine a light

on the poverty of what they already know.

Chaos is the life of order

and order is the replication

of its own unpredictability.

Prometheus is liberated by his own chains.

Bodhisattvas are imprisoned by their freedom.

The grail goes looking for the ailing kingdom

and finds it as spontaneously as rain.

There’s no identity

to the endless variety

of a creative imagination in pain.

There is suffering

but no one suffers.

There is death

but no one dies.

The most intimate details of life

are cosmic laws

that are as inherent as pyramids

in the mystic specificity of every grain

as if everything

were the cornerstone

of the afterlife

of everything else.

You cut a witching wand

like a forked fractal

from a branch of the tree of knowledge

that begins like the letter Y

to go looking for the watershed

of the original design

and you end up divining

the meaning of the creative fever

that inspired you to search.

When the Zen master said

just regard the extreme chaos

of conditioned consciousness

he was talking about Nazis

goose-stepping their way

through the rubble of Berlin.

He was talking about chaos

failing with the highest grade-point average

in the graduating class

of a traditional military academy.

Form is a function of its own unpredictability.

Intensify the one

and you shorten the odds

in favour of the other.

You can see the immensity

and power of the sun

in the opening of the smallest flower

and the far sightedness of the most distant star

in the wavelengths of light

that inspired the eye to look

back into time and space

when the grammar of chaos

was the muse

of every sentence in the book

in an endless encyclopedia of beginnings

each of which evolved

like genomic alphabets

into the cosmic expression

of a work in progress

that always ends in a prelude.

But syllables are such a meagre way

of expressing what’s unsayable about life.

Like the gesture of an unfinished e-mail

that suggested we change the world

like the urgent imperative of an optimist

on the verge of suicide.

Homage to the ghosts that empower us Pat

and to yours in particular.

But it’s hard to imagine

sticking your head like a key

through the eye of the needle

whenever a lifeline

ties a noose in at the end

of an umbilical cord

is going to do much in the way

of bringing heaven down to earth

like a kite you can reel in

without getting hung up in the power lines.

And may the muse of inspirations that last

bless the poet who said

All things change when we do.

The first word ah blossoms into all others

and they’re all true.

And eventually the lies are too.

And maybe that’s why

you didn’t finish the e-mail.

Did death make you realize

as it does all of us at last

that you don’t have to hate something

to change it?

That what we don’t know

isn’t the probable cause

of our estrangement?

That the quickest way to end it

is to befriend it

like an unnamed road we made

of all the shortcuts we’ve ever taken home?