THERE MUST BE SOME STAR SOMEWHERE
There must be some star somewhere
that can give me an insight
into what I’m doing here
on a habitable planet
it’s getting harder and harder
to live on anymore.
God is dead.
Long live the landlord.
Just finished the underpainting in burnt sienna
of an autumn scene I’ll work on in the morning.
My ornamental goldfish Toke
swims above the blue stones
at the bottom of his aquarium
in underwater moonlight
sometimes like a comet
sometimes like an orchid.
sometimes like the Bolshoi Ballet.
But I don’t know why.
But I don’t know of what.
My palms are covered in paint
and I feel as if I’ve got
the blood of
I study my star globe
and wonder how many eyes it took
to work its iconic constellations out of chaos.
The ecliptic will intersect
the celestial equator
at the equinoctial colure
in a little less than three weeks.
And I’ll be sixty-three in less than two.
I imagine the stars hooked up
like neurons in my brain.
and medicine wheels
talking to spider webs
in a vast nervous system of light
that keeps breaking into intelligence.
And I imagine more than a few of the arteries
that supply my mind with oxygen
have had their apertures narrowed enough
there must be black dwarfs
and the gravitational eyes of black holes
all through my brain by now
bending light and space
like apparitions of what they used to be.
Time turns the telescope around
and looks at the astronomer
as if he were further away than ever.
And if you were to examine
most of my wavelengths
through a spectrograph
they’d still be an emission spectrum
but shifted toward the red.
The T Tauri stars in the Hesperides
are aging like a windfall of overripe apples.
I’m in the autumn of my life.
The sumac is burning like a phoenix.
If I didn’t need to make a living
trying to catch the light
of a moment in passing
I’d finish my painting in the morning
and true to life
throw it on the fire
like an immolation
that might lead to an Arab spring.
As it is I have to sell
the way I feel about what I see
just to pay the rent.
But if I were rich enough to have my way
I’d let the wind take them like apple bloom
or Japanese plum blossoms
or the leaves of the maple tree
with a palette of strychnine and arsenic
to complement the photosynthetic greens
or if they were moon scenes
the petals of white peonies
and scatter them across the lawns
upon the stairs
and along the gutters of the streets
just to say I grasped what beauty is
and let it go.