Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Never any further away

than the return address

of the stranger in the doorway

who showed you his passport

like a farewell kiss.

Never any further away

than a gust of stars

kicking up its heels

on The Road of Ghosts.

As close as an open window

can be to the sky

as the night can be to a firefly

never any further away

than water is from wine

than the heart is from mind

space from time

I shall be here

like an emergency atmosphere

when things get so rare

you can’t breathe.

When you can’t find a spare room

in any of the houses of the zodiac

and the work horses are getting too high

to pay the rent.

Call on me

and I’ll be your tent.

When your welcome’s been worn out

like a doormat

on the threshold of a black hole

I’ll stop by

and pick you up like a flying carpet.

Never any further away

than this is from that

than arrival is from departure

than the beginning is from the end

when love strikes you in the heel

instead of the heart

I’ll grab my longbow

and fletched arrow

and show up like Robin Hood

and put your last archer to shame

like a seasoned champion

who knows better

than to aim a loveletter

at the moving target of a lover

without giving her a lead

that can’t be judged by satellites.

Never any further away

than laughter is from your tears

when your spirit’s gasping for light

like a candle at a black mass

and the darkness is weighing you down

a vision of burning doves

will bring me wind of this in a dream

and I’ll wake up

and be your sacred clown.

Never any further away

than a curse is from a blessing

than a secret is from guessing

when the immensity of intense events

makes your planet start to disintegrate

I’ll make up for the loss of your black sheep

with a flock of shepherd moons

that will run tree rings around Saturn

and we’ll walk awhile together again

hand in hand

like psalms through the valley of death.

If you were to fall in love with an exorcist

and he dispossessed you of your past

I’d be the one demon

left standing beside you at last

with a renewable franchise

and an infernal sense of loyalty to your soul.

I wouldn’t let the fire go out in your lamp.

We’d jump toward paradise

and I’d show you how an angel

wins her wings

all the way down.

Never any further away

than I am to you on this day

whether the darkness has flashy eyes

or stares back at you bleak and starless

I shall always be the hidden nightbird

in the moonlit birch groves

whose unanswerable longing

rises from the depths of its solitude

to remind you

that not two

is the oldest lyric of the heart.

That what the light can’t say about love

the darkness will impart.

Never any further away

than your voice is from this echo

of things that were once said

in sadness and bliss

in tenderness and despair

in madness and compassion

never any further away

than a heretic is from the fire

than the truth is from a liar

than consummation is from desire

than the moon is from its lunatic

I shall always be there in your corner

never any further away

than music is from an unused guitar

happy if you remember once in a while

some old song from the sixties

with tears in its eyes

waiting for you to pick it up and play.

And if you should ever wonder

how the tiniest whisper of love

can be heard over

the thunderous commotion of the world

how one lone star

can mean more to your eyes

than all the lights of an all-night city

don’t ask the starmaps

to look it up for you

like seeing-eye dogs for the blind.

Walk up to the high field with the broken gate

before the dew is on the flowers and the grass

where we used to lie down together

in the unmade deer beds

and breath in the inviolate luminosity of the silence

until our lungs were full of light.

And take the whole view in

from horizon to horizon

from the nadir to the zenith

from the impersonal depths of space

to the more intimate urgency of the stars

that knew you before you were born

all that vastness

all that shining

all those root-fires

that have been burning

like the eternal flames of time

just to keep the mystery of the inconceivable

in all its indefineable specifics

alive and beautiful

and just as unbelievable to the stars

that see you with the same eye

through which you see all of them

never any further away

than the simple from the sublime

than the many from the one

than the sun is from the earth

when the distance isn’t measured in miles

but years and years and years of flowers

never any further away

than delusion is from enlightenment

than before is from after

than the message is from the sign

than life is from art

than the cosmos is from chaos

than the thorn is from the rose

than dark abundance is

from bright vacancy

than a wave is from the sea

than the incomprehensible is

from the abounding clarity

of the teacherless crazy wisdom of the mind.

And do you see?

Is it clear

even through a glass darkly

or under a blaze of chandeliers

you hold it all

the moon the planets the stars

all those reciprocal distances

all those astounding solitudes

that convince us we’re alone together here

with everything and everyone forever

here in this inexhaustible place

that holds the whole of the heavens

in every single drop of water

that gathers its translucency

like an eye of ripe fruit

at the end of a branch for awhile

and sweet enough for the angels

to fall in love with the daughters of earth

lets go to bring them closer to tears

than they’ve ever been before?

Never any further away

than now is from yesterday or tomorrow

or spring is from an aging sorrow

that wants to die young.

Never any further away

than good-bye is from the inseparable

I could no more be parted from you

than I could pour

the universe out of the universe

and expect to empty the cup.

It’s that way with all things.

There’s a million ways in

but there’s no way out again.

Never any further away

than a quick watercolour

of a double rainbow

caught crying in the rain

than the herb is from the pain

than a name is

from the anonymity of love

than the homeless are from a threshold

than the abandoned are

from the searchlights

of a cosmic lost and found

can mingled waters ever be unbound.

When one heart knows

the ways of another

like a fountain knows a well

one might be the flower

and the other

the root of inspiration.

One looks up to see the stars

and the other looks down.

And sometimes love might feel

that nothing is revealed

under the endless veils

and waves of heat

that offer you nothing but mirages

in the deserts of an hourglass

you can’t drink from

but no further away

than what’s to come is

from what has passed

than the prelude is

from the last word of farewell

no further away than the sky is from a bird

or the sea is from a fish

or a genie from the last wish

he’s about to fulfill

could I ever be from you.

No further away

than the mind is from being

than the heart is from seeing

than an exile is from longing

than a garden is from its gate

than a pariah is from belonging

than a poet is from his muse

than tragedy is from the news

than bliss is from the blues

am I from you.