Monday, September 12, 2011


You lied to me once

and then you lied again about why you lied.

And I couldn’t tell if you were a hall of mirrors

who thought you could warp the truth like space

and bend the light to your way of shining

or just liked talking out of your ears

like the sea in a seashell

with multiple piercings along its nacreous lobes

like a Stonehenge of silver moon skulls

you kept like a calendar

to mark the best night of the year

to start planting things

in the hearts of the lovers

whose flesh you turned over like soil.

You said you were a witch

and I was your broomstick

but you didn’t mind

if I came along for the ride.

And though it felt foolish

to fancy myself a warlock

I’m intrigued

by the cosmology of dark matter

and alien planets with exotic atmospheres

I could explore like a runaway space probe

for signs of my own kind of life

and ok when in Rome

do as the Romans don’t

and throwing the stars over my left shoulder

like the spilled salt of an older radiance

wrapped your night around me

like the cloak and chrysalis of a warlock

and hoped I wasn’t defaming anyone

in the name of what you wanted me to be.

Your body was a unified field theory

and when I first lay down beside it

there was nothing in the universe

it couldn’t explain

and in that menacing shrine

of frankincense and black candles

you called a bedroom

we broke the oaths we’d made

to the thousand swords

that came between us like reasons not to.

And when I kissed your emergency mouth

I could taste the earthly taboo

on the lips

of your celestial fortune-cookie

like a full eclipse of the harvest moon.

We sowed the dragon’s teeth

and renewed the flesh of the skeletons

that arose from the dead.

And in front of the fireplace

where we made love on the Golden Fleece

I remember how you used to burn the prophets

who came dressed up in our feathers

as if we were waterbirds

and not the spawn of a phoenix

on the pyres of our ancestral demons

our mouths speaking in tongues

to our bodies

as if they’d just been discovered

like the native language of all Rosetta Stones

in a desert of bewildered stars

urgently trying to tell us something

for our ears only.

Dark raptures that didn’t sweat the details

of the unreal mirages we exorcised

through the pores of our skin

like the hot tears of lesser elixirs

that tried to palm themselves off

like snakeoil antidotes

to the serpentine love potions of original sin

though the consequences be damned for it ever after amen.

We knew a wonder that’s older than God

and deeper than night.

And I swear there were times I couldn’t tell

if I were shagging a witch

or in mystic connubium

with the eclipse of a hidden dakini

on the other side of the black mirror

of the mind I left behind me

like a note to reality

to go looking for itself without me.

And apparently it did

for the thirteen lunar months

I was with you at least.

And that’s not to say I have any regrets.

I can’t remember you

without hungering

for the dark fruit of the dead

you arrayed like the feast of your body

out on black satin sheets

that glistened like the skin of a snake pit

to summon Orpheus down into the underworld

like an oracular succubus

that liked to be possessed

by the picture-music of prophetic skulls

in the same key as her G-spot.

I was Hermes Trismegistus the Thrice Blessed

and you were all the occult sciences of the flesh.

Your esoteric eroticism

isn’t the kind of spell

you can cast off all that easily

or pass on to a willing novitiate

uprooting weeds in a herb garden

of untried remedies.

And lust has always been harder to heal than love.

The warlock thing wore off like a cult

once you started

handing out black kool-aid

from the fountain of youth.

I never really understood

why you thought

there was a lock on my heart

when I’ve always thought of it

as the missing link in the food chain

but you did

and it’s still oxymoronic as hell to me

to remember you sitting

in a rhombus of sunlight

on the hardwood floor of the living room

reciting an imported mantra

like a repeating decimal

that would eventually crack the code

to the vault where death kept its darkest jewels.

I used to watch you grind your teeth

like kernels of corn

on the lingam and yoni

of the stone age cosmic eggs

you tried to break like koans.

I still don’t know what it was

you were looking for

and I still deny

I was Ali Baba or anyone

of the forty-thieves

and there was no Open Sesame

that could have opened the cave any wider

than I’d already opened it to you.

And though I don’t mind

taking a bath in my own grave once in a while

to rinse the dirt of life off me

I told you from the very beginning

the tomb was empty

and I didn’t know who it belonged to

but if you wanted to believe you were Mary Magdalene

I’d try to relate.

But you let an open gate come between us

and the mirages evaporated

and the oases returned to their watersheds

the wishing wells dried up

and though I know you wanted

to breach the ultimate taboo with Jesus

and all I could manage to do

was get it up like Lazarus

I knew it was time

to add a little more sweetgrass

to the medicine bags of the scapegoat

and drive myself out into the wilderness

like an unwilling ascetic

to avoid being tempted by Jesus.

It gets lonely out here

but I still have dirty dreams of you

that puts the religious pornography

of St. Anthony’s hard drive to shame.

I’ve been the scapegoat for a lot of things

not of my doing but who knows

maybe not undeservedly

but I do know

when you place the burden of your own sins

like a lot of heavy judgment

on the backs of the irrelevantly innocent

they take their ostrakons out into the desert

like pieces of a broken urn

and in the vas hermeticum of their ashes

reintegrate themselves

into Renaissance masters of all evil.

The bestial becomes personified

by the sophisticated features and dark clarity

of intriguing familiars like Azazel

flying the Satanic banner of his bloodstream

from the horned crescents of the moon.

And the payback can be more illuminating

in its own dark way

than a mystic black hole in a hood

on the via negativa to enlightenment

or anyone of those myopic jewels you were looking for

like eyes that could see better in the dark than you could

even when the sun shone at midnight.

I’ve heard it said

that the devil’s last trick

is to prove that she doesn’t exist.

And it’s hard to imagine

a darkness deeper than that.

And though we’re overly discrete

when we encounter each other these days

as the Quran says

evil is separation

and knowing what I know of you

how could I doubt it?

Just the same

given you can only see

as far into the dark

as the light you’ve been given to go by.

You into burning your bridges behind you

and me into crossing the ones I see ahead.

The way we were in bed together.

For every demon that jumped from heaven

an angel rose from hell.

The zeniths and nadirs

the apogees and perigees of the bodymind

the spirit that knows the darkness in the fire

the shadow in the lamp

that like everything else in this looping universe

is cyclical

so as many good things come of the darkness

as bad things do in the day.

Nothing sits above or below the salt

at a circular table

and even that thirteenth house of the zodiac

the others signs used to peck at

for getting around like the warped ellipsoid

of a waterclock with its own tail in its mouth

instead of the precision cogwork

they were wasting their time on

finds a place for its homelessness.

And a sword they pull out of their hearts

like iron from a star

like a king from a stone

like a thorn from the lion’s paw.

And even if you could prove to me

you don’t exist

trying to pull the wool

over the sacrificial sheep’s eyes

like a Klingon cloak of invisibility

like Cat Woman at a bat rave

I wouldn’t believe you anyway.

Ten virtuous scars in a choir of bleeders

couldn’t hold a black candle

up to one of your wounds

or six exorcisms

and nine lost holy wars

or the decretal of a curse

stuck like a rolling paper

to the pope’s lips

ever make me forget

the human divinity

that conceals its sensual blessings

like hidden jewels

in the depths of a spiritual eclipse

I still walk in the shadow of even today

like the dead seas

of those long lunar wavelengths

redshifting in your bedroom

like the lost atmosphere

of a young igneous moon

lying in the arms of the old.

Water might grow bald

as a polar ice cap

and stellar passion

shrink to a black dwarf

and even when entropy

sinks into the rapture of oblivion

in the sexual narcosis

of its fourth level of dreamless gratified sleep

at minus 273 degrees Kelvin

you’ll never grow cold or inert.

In a cemetery of dead stars

that have relinquished their haloes

like the heavy metals of excruciations

too heavy to bear

one atom among

the dead starfish

of billions upon billions of galaxies

will budge.

Will run like tears of gold

out of the dark ores of time and space.

One small unspent firefly of desire

one chimney spark

in the mouth of the dark cosmic furnace

ignite the creative lightning of lust

that gives the universe its thrust

and gets the whole show

on the pilgrim road to radiance again

by deepening the darkness

that makes the night bird sing in extasis

like an inextinguishable candle

at one of those black masses

that tried to scandalize me

for being able to embrace

so much that was dark about you

so lucidly.