Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Ungratified longing’s not much of a focus right now

but sometimes that’s all you’ve got to go on.

The dark energy of a few annihilated positrons.

Fossilized bones around a dead fire pit in a cave on the moon.

The ghosts of lost atmospheres.

An agony of thought and seeing

in a dispassionate waste of being.

Flat lining like the Burgess Shale.

So many lost beginnings in me.

So many aborted attempts at survival

I’m beginning to think I’m inconceivable.

How many worlds have gone extinct

failing to adapt to me?

And how many of my genes

are losing lottery tickets?

I know too much

to apotheosize random chance

and appeal for mercy

and yet I have an ignorant heart

that clings in superstitious awe

to love and compassion.

A sense of wonder that aches

to be intimate with the impersonal.

Last night I saw two full moons

one smaller one overlapping the other

and a smear of light like a snail-track

where it appeared a third one moved

reflected in the double thermal windowpanes

of the Masonic Lodge across the street

and I thought it was a visual clue

to how the infinite worlds of the multiverse

could be born of two membranes in hyperspace.

Of how a particle can replicate a wavelength.

And then I lit another cigarette.

Poured another coffee.

And watched the tail of my goldfish

shimmer in the water

as gracefully as the veils of the aurora borealis.

And then I thought of Isis

and how no man had lifted her veils

and I checked my left hand

to see if she had tattooed a star on it

to keep me from drowning

but she hadn’t

and I was left clinging to my cigarette

in a vast night sea of awareness

where everything I feel and think

ends like the maiden voyage of a shipwreck

and smoke and breath are all I have left to hang onto.

And I feel so sad for this absence in me

I’ve failed to fulfill

like someone’s last wish

on a deathbed

however I’ve laboured like Egypt

to make it come true.

This world that’s counting on me

like the apostrophe of an embryo

to conceive it in a fire womb

of imaginative facts

that seed the abysmal emptiness

with the cosmic significance

of even the smallest creative acts.

Knocking on the front door of absurdity

you realize there’s no one home

so the message doesn’t matter at all.

But knock on the back door

and the message means more

than the person it was meant for

but you still don’t get an answer

and there’s no trades entrance for common sense.

I end up following my train of thought

like buried arrowheads

downwind of systemic herds of stars

moving on to greener fields of vision.

All my life I’ve been consumed

by the creative extremes

of the energies released

by the spontaneous reciprocity

of mutually destructive intensities.

A cataclysm of insight

that’s one part lightning

one part fireflies

one part stars

and an exponential number of eyes

expanding in all directions at once.

I focus on things like space.

I resonate with objects in a room

as if we were all subject to the same doom.

I empathise with lamps and light bulbs.

I attend the funerals of forks.

I’m as fair-minded with my desk

as I am my kitchen-table.

I’m grateful to the windows

for their translucency.

And though I pace a lot

I try not to stress out my floors.

And every chance I get

I compliment the trustworthiness

and stalwart discretion of my doors.

Why not?

They’re as interior to me

as I am to them

or any mental image

of an old school delusion

I had of a self that was superior to them.

Now everything enjoys

the same parity as childhood

and we all get along

like unspeakable reflections

in the mirrors of one another.

They furnish me in my emptiness

and I people them with metaphors.

It’s an estrangement that is inclusively ours.

And I see the same arrangement

among stars and flowers.

Everything in existence

is immaterially real.

Why discriminate between one phantom and another

when a ghost of candle smoke

carries the burden of the theme

as well as a spearhead of flame

in the same dream of collaborative creation?

I sit here among things

in a small Ontario town

in the early hours of the morning

realizing how ridiculous it is

to wonder what my insignificance

might signify

and whether it was more wonderful

to be a human

two centuries ago

when they drove sheep down these deserted streets

than it is now

and if so

how have we been diminished.

Whose image am I now?

Is it more devastating

to be created in the likeness of a god

than what you can discern of yourself

in a cloud of unknowing?

What branch of the tree

did this skull-nut of a mind

drop off of

to root in the starmud

like a nervous system

and blossom into thoughts and words

and worlds within worlds within worlds?

One moment the mindstream

is an ancient river system on Mars

that’s either evaporated

or gone underground

and the next

it’s the white water of stars

where eagles hunt

and swans make the sign of the cross

before they land

and there’s a harp

that isn’t so much a musical instrument

as an untested hybrid wishbone

taken from the other two.

But I don’t want to break anything

before I know what to wish for

so it’s been drying on the windowsill for years.

I expose questions

like the Gordians

showed Alexander their knots.

I’m trying to cut my way

through a hydra-headed snake pit

hoping that the word is still mightier than the sword.

I feel the lies and illusions

as profoundly as I feel the fugitive truths

or the reflections that don’t subscribe

to either point of view

as if to say

this is it

this is all there is

and this is more than enough

to keep on baffling the whizz-kids

for generations to come

with the interrogative silence that follows their answers

like a great clue to how much we don’t know

as we try to collate our faces

over a lifetime of mirrors

into a symbolic design of wavelengths and lifelines

we keep undoing like Penelope undoes the moon

like a flying carpet unravelling out from under us

or Icarus

exceeding his own wingspan

until it was too vast to include either him or us

and every threshold of knowledge

we’ve ever crossed since

were the event horizon of a blackhole

that isn’t big enough to contain us

as we expand like dots on a starmap

into lonelier and lonelier spaces

that can’t remember what it was like to be human

and shine until your light’s

tucked under the eyelids of the roses

like a secret love letter

written in the voices of dream figures

that sometimes wake up when you do

like a stranger knocking

on the inside of the door.

Not to be shut out.

Not to be rejected or abandoned.

Not to be ostracized and exiled.

Not to be wholly consumed on a pyre

as a last ditch effort to make it to the stars.

Not to be the collateral damage of creation.

Not to be a sentient monad in an anonymous mob.

Not to weep in empathy with the victims

and seethe in savage rage at the perpetrators

and then watch their role reversal in a morality play

then ends like the myth of Sisyphus.

Not to be misunderstood because you tried to understand.

Not to feel that life

is an averaging out of brutal crucials

and that mean-hearted cunning is the measure of a human.

Not to see that life’s inestimably precious and generous

and as rare and full of wonder

among things of radiance in a dark universe

as a jewel beyond compare

you found in the bottom of your empty pocket

standing in line at the foodbank

and that no river’s flowing the wrong way to the sea

that receives us all

like birds summoned home at nightfall

to watch the moon be born again

in the sacred groves where we began

and not be treated like a deaf-mute

because your rapture’s not two minutes with a hook.

Not to look at the picture-music of your mindstream

from an intimately cosmic point of view

like sand and stars stuck to the spiral arms

of a dead starfish

and be told you have to put out your eyes like Oedipus

if you want your dreams and visions

to have any commercial potential.

Not to suffer the pseudomorphosis of virtual reality

minerally fossilizing every soupy cell

and intuitive insight of your bodymind

with microchips that treat life

as if it were retrievable skeletal evidence

of how we’ve evolved

from stone age wisdom

into stoned age data.

Not to look upon a computer

as an advance upon women

as memory and muse.

Not to look in awe

upon the vastness and silence of the future

as if it were merely the afterbirth

of the hysterical pregnancies

that rage like the opinions and views

kicking like ghosts in the wombs

of the politicians and pundits

with the life-expectancy of a miscarriage.

Not to see a blade of grass

struggling to grow

through a crack in the concrete

as if it didn’t know

we’d imposed another ice age of cement upon it

as a punishment

for trying to grow where it wants.

Not to watch children die in their millions

of material and cultural attrition

with less chance of survival than houseflies

as see nothing accusatory in their eyes

as their bellies swell with starvation

like small disqualified planets

as if our impotence

were a greater obscenity

than their helplessness.

Not to see illegal immigrants

killed by an atlas

trying to find a place

in the shadows under the table

of the global economy

to live like ants

on the occasional crumbs

that get brushed off the corporate belly

like missing links in the food chain

that led to us.

Borealopithecus robustus Americanensis.

Like the land of the free with electrical fences.

This man’s liberty

that man’s nemesis.

And everyone decked out in chains

as a sign of status

like pimps and mayors

and forty-one percent

of the people’s representatives

ideological millionaires who believe

the poor are the reason the rich suffer.

And that the job-creators

have the same right as leeches

to bleed them for their own good.

Just to be free for a little while.

Just for a moment.

Just to find a small wormhole in the dung heap

like a caterpillar crawling into the fortune cookie

of a space-time chrysalis

to be displaced on the other side of the universe

like a butterfly with a profound effect upon physics.

Not to sit like a night watchman

on the graveyard shift

in the drab silence of a small room

wondering what things are being faithful to

and if a flashlight ever feels

like an undisciplined lighthouse

standing in the shadow of a star.

It’s not possible in a world that always in flux

to return to the way things are

because the way things are

is to never be the same thing twice

so I don’t even bother trying to find my way back

to anyone or anything

knowing they never did

and don’t now exist

except as a guess and an interpretation

of the ungratified longings

of the human imagination

dumbing time down to get a fix on things

like the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

How can you find your bearings

by doing parallax on a mirage.?

In the flash of a specious moment

it’s already light years between mirrors.

So if you were to ask me

where I’m at now

and really wanted to know

I’d say where I’ve always been:

physically intellectually emotionally and spiritually missing.

Even my most cherished memories

what they mean

and the whole of my past

creatively collaborate

in a dynamic equilibrium

with the present and the future

such that now always somehow seems

like just a long memory

of things and events that haven’t happened yet.

And I could easily believe I was prophetic

if I didn’t already know

that what starts out as my voice

invariably comes back

as somebody else’s echo.