Monday, August 22, 2011


Not myself and not otherwise

I endure this discipline of emptiness

into the black hole singularities of my heartfelt extremes.

Rimbaud may have called out for

a rational dissociation of the sensibilities

but that’s just a Maenadic rerun

of an orthodox Orphic dismemberment.

Anti-self on the backside of the cross

asking us all to die

like an alibi

to forgive its sins.

And there are stone calendars

in the Ye Olde Cemetery

who’ve realized like Mayans

since they died out

that we all start raising the dead

the moment life begins.

The star of Isis through the veils of the willows

that lifted like rain.

The face of the Queen of Heaven

stapling posters of the missing

on telephone poles all over town

looking for her lost lover’s body parts

in the Cubist deserts of the Jack of Hearts.

Post-modern neo-deconstructionism.

But ask any asteroid or dinosaur

any hitch-hiker or tractor trailer

or the hadron particle accelerator

you’ve got to bring things together

before you can make a collision

that will tear them apart.

Union individuates.

Like koans and yokes and handcuffs

the oxymorons of the future

will be enslaved

by their reciprocal attempts

to escape the chain-gangs

of their tyrannical freedom.

Enlightened criminals.

The moon leaves out a saucer of milk

for a stray cat

wandering among the vandalized graves

like a leftover from Halloween.

The darkness is human and cruel.

The unliving molest the dead.

The air is charged with a significance

that doesn’t mean anything

though it expects to be fully understood.

There’s nothing very happy about the sin

of taking an approach toward life

as if it were a curse

you felt compelled to be grateful for.

There’s a white styrofoam cup

bobbing in the reflection of the moon on the Tay River

as if it were trying to raise some carbonized elixir

up to its cracked and dessicated lips.

Hell has its grails too.

Its river Styx.

Its next eclipse.

I look at the brick chimney

of the Old Brown Shoe Factory

and the smokeless urn

of its towering shadow

reflected upside down in the water

and I feel like the ghost of a nightwatchman

still making the rounds.

The butterflies of early nineteenth century industrial Manchester

adapted to the soot that left

the patina of an eclipse on the trunks of the trees

and on the souls of men and women

like the mascara of despair.

Taking evolution to heart

I’ve tried to evolve in the very same way

so that my species can survive me.

One man’s furnace

is another man’s chrysalis.

All the loveletters to the earth that I used to write

and burned on the nightshift

are scattered on the wind

like the ashes of black butterflies

and there’s no honey in the hive

of a bitter urn.

The song birds are all writing elegies

to make a big hit

with the turkey-vultures and the crows.

And a poet no more needs an audience

than roadkill needs an undertaker.

I’ve adapted to the way things are

but the night is a lot dirtier

and I’m further from the stars

than I used to be.