Friday, September 9, 2011


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 Vietnam

that doused itself in gasoline

or an outraged fruit vendor

in the souks of Tunisia

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 midnight

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 Perth

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.