Thursday, August 11, 2011


Should have seen you coming.

Should have pushed my heart out of the way

instead of just letting it lie there like a speed-bump

for a locomotive.

Seems just like yesterday

you saw the Klondike Gold Rush

in every nugget of raw ore

that washed down the mountain

nobody had ever been to the top of

to receive divine instructions.

You were panning for life among the asteroids.

I wasn’t someone you truly loved.

You just staked a claim in an avalanche.

You were the blossom of the moon.

And I was the leafless branch.

I wanted to fly

and you wanted to dance.

I asked

What about an aerial ballet?

I’ve seen killdeer do it in the spring.

You didn’t say a thing

but let your walking do the talking for you.

You were the have

and I was the have not

as the gap between the wealthy and the poor widened

like two continents

differentiating the split

into heretofore unknown species.

If the peduncle is lost in the ensuing phylum

maybe it’s taken asylum somewhere

its ancestors would never have guessed.

I was the pathfinder.

And you were a jest of razorblades

that cut trail like an artery.

I trusted the stars

but you preferred to consult your scars

like a map through the wilderness.

You always had to know where you were

before you went.

Like the Buddha said

you don’t need to know

the name of the archer

before you take the arrow out.

My heart was still flint knapping obsidian

when yours was into stealth technology.

I realized when I first met you

in the Tigris and Euphrates delta

that there were many more dead civilizations between us

than had been dug up to date

to meet the eye.

I’d just discovered writing

and you were already speaking in tongues

like the Oxford English Dictionary

on top of the tower of Babel

as if you were the Esperanto of Babylon.

O but I wrote you some lovely odes didn’t I

that summer you took me water-skiing on Mars.

I was so in love with you then

I breathed you in like oxygen

returning to a lifeless atmosphere.

But you changed like a mood ring

in love with a chameleon

and long before the garden died

we were back to red air and purple sunsets.

Deimos and Phobos.

Fear and Terror.

I admit I was a hopeless romantic

enchanted with a lunar vision of life

I kept to myself like the dark side of a lunatic

but you liked to be followed around like a paranoid dealer

by shepherd moons you kept on a short leash

like pit bulls on meth.

I got around in a crown of thorns.

You liked to drive spikes into your collar

like the anti-Christ working for the C.P.R.

I was the Crow’s Nest.

And you were the Kicking Horse Pass.

You abandoned me at the peak of Mt.Robson like a tourist

and took off like a train.

And there hasn’t been one by here since.

I’ve spent a lot of long lonely cold nights

listening to grizzlies talk about

starting a new life in the circus

but the view is as lovely

as any postcard you could ever hope to buy anywhere.

The wolves at night the moon the stars the shrieking eagles

and there’s something homey about an avalanche

when you look at it as a whole bunch of cornerstones.

And who could have guessed

that the talons and teeth of these jagged peaks

started out in life on the sea bottom of the Burgess Shale?

Makes me wonder sometimes

whether I’m an astronaut or a shipwreck.

But hey

it’s been a lot of light years

since my calendars stopped keeping track of their eclipses.

It’s been too long since I last risked

going down into the valley even at night

for fear of starting a mudslide

come like a gravedigger

after everybody’s gone

to finish filling in the vacancy

and I’m sure a lot has changed

since we lost touch.

Or maybe I haven’t missed as much

as you said I would afterall.

I like the solitude of these heights

and the unequivocal precipices

where the echoes go

like incomparable lovers

to commit suicide.

I like to watch the mountains

shepherd the clouds around

and the way the wildflowers

refuse to let you make keepsakes of them

you can take home.

They remind me of you.

Dangerously beautiful

and rooted in rock.

I still cling to my starmud

like a little bit of thin topsoil

that makes me feel grateful even for weeds.

Not much of a harvest

but it leaves me with enough seeds

to feed the birds occasionally on the coldest days.

And I imagine the Nile

has been kinder to your alluvial deltas

than my polar ice caps could ever have been

and remembering how much

you like to be pampered like Cleopatra

I’m happy to hear

all those bubble baths you took in your tears

have finally turned into ostrich feathers and barges.

My life is still unruled paper

without any margins

I keep writing love letters on

like twenty-six words for snow in a blizzard.

I never address them to anyone anymore.

You never know who’s listening.

I tried writing one to myself the other day

but then I remembered

what happened to us

and had nothing to say.

I’ve tried hard to love myself

as my neighbour would

but the alchemy just isn’t there

and all I end up doing

is wasting a lot of gold on base metal.

I took a poll of petals once

and within a three percent margin of error either way

they all said I was unloveable.

And that was confirmed a few years later

by a local census

of rosaries and daisy-chains

and a long pearl necklace of migrating geese

that looked like a progression of partial eclipses

over a thousand phases of the moon

all flying south like scenic calendars

trying to escape the cold weather.

Even though I live up here

I still haven’t managed

a high enough opinion of myself

to stoop to love.

As below.

So above.