I WANT TO WRITE LIKE A
I want to write like a phoenix
but my blood is swaying
like a heavy iron bell.
Must be somebody’s funeral.
I want to write like the dogstar shines
rising in the early morning in the east
but all I’ve managed so far
is to shake a few pigeons out of the belfry.
I want to take my boots off
and walk on hot fireflies
all the way to the end
just to prove I’m fireproof
but I’m finding it hard to take the heat
for things I didn’t set fire to.
I want to immolate myself
like a Zen waterlily in
that doused itself in gasoline
or an outraged fruit vendor
in the souks of
but all’s quiet on the western front
of the Watt’s riots
except for the usual sound of gunfire
making the rounds of the neighbourhood
like the Crips and the Bloods.
And my heart is sick of protesting the wound
to the sword that caused it in the first place
as if there were any point
in bitching to my father
about what he did to my mother.
I’m sick of the froth and fury
of people with spiritual rabies
and the lather of hydrophobic opinions
and the deep dry wells of ungenerosity
that are at the heart of it
and how even the rain
arouses the suspicions of the rich and powerful
as the beginning of a welfare state.
I’m trying to find a flight feather to write with
when I should be painting for a living
but eagles are on the endangered species list
and all I’ve got for a pen
is the plumage of an albatross
and this curse in the doldrums
that’s laid like a white eclipse
on the black hole in my inkwell.
I want the sun to shine at
and my blood to turn like a mood ring
into the dusky yellow of enlightened dragons
that burn without the smoke
that keeps getting teary-eyed with emotion
whenever the wind’s blowing my way.
But the day settles down resigned and defeated
to its diurnal round of disappointments
like sunshine on the wild field stones
in the heritage walls of
that house the bank across the street
that knows the value of everything
but not the worth of anything that counts.
I need a muse with snakes in her hair
to wake me up out of the nightmare
of this stone cold coma.
I’ve kept my balance long enough
on this T-square of a tightrope
between one star and the next
but a web isn’t the same thing as a constellation
even after you’ve connected all the dots
into a dream catcher for spiders
and a good part of the art
of keeping your balance
from going to extremes
is knowing when to fall
without a safety net.
I need a muse
who doesn’t come with an ambulance
and haemorrhage all over me
as if I just had a head on collision with inspiration
at the corner of Gore and the Universe
and I was permanently paralyzed
from the mouth up.
I need a muse who knows
I’m too complex
even if she’s got thick sensual lips
that look like mushrooms on Botox
to be moved to do things
by pulling my strings
with a mere pout
and a turn of the face away
from the direction of prayer.
I need a muse who knows what an eclipse is.
I need a muse who doesn’t feed live fireflies
to the lightning but knows
what a witching stick is for
and how to go divining for stars.
I need a muse who doesn’t light me up
like the only white candle at a black mass
and then pinch my wick
like a monkish celibate
when she realizes the depravity
of the mistake she made.
The devil’s last trick
is to prove she doesn’t exist.
But I’ve caught on to this
like the Hubble Telescope
looking for infra-red haloes
around the black holes
she was last seen in
and I’ve abandoned everything but hope.