Thursday, July 14, 2011


The ultimate angle in life

is to be real

whatever that means.

Without wax.


so you don’t end up being confused

by anyone else’s lies

but your own

and Caesar doesn’t melt in the sun.

This is my voice

not the distant echo

of a truth in disguise

with the stage-life

of radioactive carbon

trying to keep up to date

with its own decay.

Everybody’s looking

for the reality behind the art these days

but I keep my third eye

on the art behind the reality

as if security cameras

hadn’t been invented yet

and the one-eyed liars

hadn’t made a two-eyed God

look like the fraud

they were sick

of staring back at

from the blind side of the mirror.

Bread and circuses

but who watches the watchers

who are making the whole thing up

to keep your eyes off of them?

I’m more than a little middle-aged

but my passions swear

they’re still nineteen

waiting to come down

from the bad acid trip

of the last forty-three years.

It’s nineteen sixty six six six again

and I still get my kicks

out of the most serious things in life.

Like what the fuck am I doing here?

And am I going to wake up in time

to see how it ends?

And did I fulfil my life’s dream

of ruining myself on poetry

so I could make some meaning

out of the absurdity

of never having found one

that wasn’t round

and I had to roll up a hill

to prove to the people who had none

that I had the gravitas

and staying power

of a cornerstone

who was able to pull himself up

by the bootstraps

like quicksand

trying to make something of itself.

But I got tired

of designing pyramids

like works of art

with their vital organs

in the urns and embalming jars

of other people’s afterlives

and struck out for Orion on my own

to perfect my solitude

like Plotinus walking alone with the Alone

among billions of stars

without an interpreter.

I stopped talking to myself

like someone I didn’t want to hear from anymore

and started listening

to the anonymous picture-music

that expressed me

like something hidden

that would remain unknown.

Something singing

like a nightbird in a dark wood

that my eyes and my mind

couldn’t quite make out

but my heart fully understood.

How deeply everything hurts to be real

in this agony of existence

where sentience would hurt a lot worse

if it weren’t for the occult arts

of spontaneous compassion

that can take a gaping wound in hell

and turn it into a celestial wishing well

that sometimes make things ring true

like lies that heal.

And as Dogen Zenji commented

if the medicine doesn’t make you dizzy

it’s not strong enough.

It isn’t poetry.

And that’s a lie

I keep repeating over and over and over again

like the mantra

of an incommensurable decimal point

of an insight into enlightenment

that can’t be realized fraction by fraction

as if you were picking up the pieces

of a shattered mirror

and trying to put them back together

to make things whole and clear again

when you come face to face with yourself

like an illusory cure for an illusory disease

in real pain.

And you put your fist

through your reflection in the mirror

like an antidote

to wake the others up

from these private nightmares

in public snakepits

but most of them

aren’t looking for an emergency exit

from the toxic delirium

of being stoned on reality

the way a cobra

holds the attention of a bird.

They’d rather be swallowed

like a cosmic egg

by a serpent they know

and live in a cozy eclipse

than break through to the other side

and leave the nest

to cross the event horizon

of their own wingspan.

And that’s ok too

because all the flowers

don’t bloom at once

and it’s wrong to try and pry them open

before it’s time.

Even when they’re disgorged like a collapsed parachute.

And it’s the snake that flys away

like an early oxymoron of God

in the form of a dragon.

But how can I be created

in the image of God

if God is unknowable

and unbounded by metaphors?

So I say

the ultimate angle in life

is to be real enough

not to conceive of a self

you can pin up on your bedroom wall

like a poster of who you’ll be

by the time you’re discovered.

Just because you’re holding on

to a starmap

like the birth certificate

of a myth of origin

with your name on it

like a number in the NGC catalogue

doesn’t make you a galaxy.

Doesn’t mean you’re shining.

Doesn’t mean you’re throwing a light on anything

and even if you’re convinced you are

what’s that

but old advice from an aging star

that’s moved on to other things lightyears ago?

The point is

not to let the road behind you

define the available omnidirectional dimensions

of the road ahead of you

as if you could only walk one road at a time

to get to where you’re going.

Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo

that some people walk some people fly

and some people take a train to the stars

when they die

but if you live in a starless darkness long enough

like a god without a similitude

they’ll come to you

and let you see through their eyes

what it’s like to be so full of light

and never seen.

The angels might keep their ancient places

under the sticks and stones

of warring cosmologies

but whatever was holy about Jerusalem

is a crusade in a bone-box of relics

that can’t hold a candle to the Burgess Shale

and one little fish with a spine

that threaded the eye of the needle

and made a rosary of its vertebrae

to count the names of God

like qualities it had in common

until it got to ninety-nine

and had to stop

because it couldn’t define the last one

like a skull of starmud

with an inexplicable brain at the top.

How could anyone ever hope

to understand a mystery

they’re too confused to accept

because they think it means

you amount to nothing

if it can’t be reflected in a mirror?

But an exemption from lenses

doesn’t mean you disappear

or that you’re everywhere at once

except here

the way most people think

in the presence of God

they’re being ignored by their lover.

You don’t need to make up a myth

as a cover story

to corroborate an alibi

for not being here in the first place

if you realize your mind

is as innocent as space

of anything you might experience

that becomes attached

to a likeness of you in time

you keep passing around

to see if anyone can recognize you

at the scene of the crime.

Dispense with all that nonsense.

You can’t get an insight into the outside

without turning the light around

like a shadow of dark energy at high noon

so the sun shines at midnight

and the mirrors have no way

of telling the time

because there is no lost watch of a face

to show them how they’re aging.

Be sentient space

without a notion of being

in an ocean of seeing

that the life that is happening in you

is not happening to you

as if awareness were merely there

to witness its own downfall

and space got caught the act

of trying to hide the fact.

The metal petals of a radio dish

are just flowers waiting

for the buzzing of bees

in an exchange of honey and seeds

you can make of what you wish

like emission spectra you can read

like the genomes of meiotic galaxies

and their embryonic quasars

a star that drowned itself in a well

when it heard what you wanted

or a genie in a lamp

that thought it was haunted

but whatever way you look at it

whatever wavelengths you weave

on the loom of this space-time continuum

like the moon unrolling itself

like a flying carpet of white feathers on the lake

you’re the space it all happens in

and life is living itself through you

like water lives in a fish

like the sky lives in a bird

like darkness lives in the stars

like the universe lives in the life of the mind

without a mouth

without a voice

without a word

without a grammar

for the expressions of time

that space lives in

like unconditional existence

without a sign of resistance.



The webs I could once brush off my shoulders

as lightly as the hair of an old romance

that’s been sitting in the closet for years

are beginning to feel like rigging and ropes

and I’m at sea again under full sail.

No more enzymes fossilizing my mind and heart

like the La Brea Tar Pits.

You can’t get a tattoo of the sun

and not expect the occasional eclipse

but there are seagulls in my wake again

and dolphins at my prow.

I’m as omnidirectionally bound to everywhere at once

as any star

so no more trying to figure out where I’m going

by making constellations out of matchsticks

that enlighten me about as much

as the myths of black dwarfs.

And as much as I love the fireflies

they’re just going to have to work with the lies

I told them

to get them to start believing in themselves

and shine like galaxies.

I don’t know how I know this is so

but somehow I do.

It’s as if the future placed its hands on my skull

and my eyes have returned to me

like birds to nests that haven’t felt the weight

of a cosmic egg in light years

like spring skies with the silhouettes

of Canada geese

flapping their wings like eyelashes

against the full moon

as if it were flirting with the idea

of driving me mad again

just to see if it still could.

Of course you can.

And you’ve known it forever.

I bring the atmosphere

and you’re the weather.

I’m the genius in residence at a school of one

and you’re the muse that knows it all.

This isn’t midwinter spring

and I’m not sodden

nor sempiternal toward sundown.

My heart isn’t turning urns out

on a planetary potting wheel

to accommodate the ashes of a phoenix

that doesn’t know how else to pass the time

among so many dead things.

I see iridescent green fire.

Mystic orange-blue oxymorons and koans of colour

flaring like butterflies over flowers in flame

that open like third eyes

that would put peacocks to shame.

I bring the radiant intensities

and you

even more profoundly

bring the veils.

And together we make one mystery

like angel-fleets

with skulls and crossbones on their sails.

Hoofs and haloes.

Lunar horns

with the blood of roses on them

and sacred dolls

with thorns driven through their hearts

to wound their rapture

with seraphic spears of dark insight

that elude even the subtlest of seers

like the shadows cast by mirrors.

You cross a curse with a blessing

and the union is an expression of love

that doesn’t differentiate between pain and pleasure

or look upon fullness as half.

And it delights in the crazy hurtful crucial wisdom

that enlightenment leaves in its wake

like an afterlife of cool bliss

that can prophecy in a coma

when the next comet’s going to hit earth

like a species change

that has nothing to do with the judgment of God

any more than inspiration

clings to a lightning rod in a storm.

I bring the sound of one hand clapping

and you bring the encore.

I bring the medicine bag

and you bring the emergency ward.

I need a break from myself.

I want to turn a blind eye for a while

on the hurricane raging around me

and you look like club med

run by a Mexican drug cartel from here.

But my biggest fear

is that you’re not dangerous enough

to never have to prove your power.

My deepest wish

is that I’m still dark enough

to bring the stars out in your eyes

like a mix of tears and laughter

when I tell you

that when God took a rib from Adam

he didn’t know whether he should use it

for a rafter in a lighthouse on the sun

or the keel of a lifeboat

that’s tipped over on the moon.

So he split the difference

between the two of us

like a wishbone

and no one’s ever known

what to ask for ever since

but you get yours

and I get mine

and we both shine

a wavelength or two shy of a spectrum.

I’ll bring the eclipse

and you bring the rainbows.

In the eleven dimensions

of the inner and outer illusions

that currently pass for reality

I’ll bring the ten for space

and you bring the one for time.